Paint the Town with Rona Graf
Name: Rona Graf
Job Title: Founder + Principal Designer of Grace Blu Interior Design
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rona Graf is a former educator who discovered her true passion for design when she moved to sunny California. She quickly combined her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a formal education in Interior Design from the Interior Designers Institute in Newport Beach, CA, and Grace Blu was born. Her midwest roots and values, combined with her love of world travel, contribute to her unique design approach and sophisticated design aesthetic. A yoga instructor for over sixteen years, Rona’s approach to design and service is often described as “holistic” by her clients and colleagues.
What inspires your design?
We approach every project as a blank canvas. Having an in-depth conversation with our clients to discover what it is that they want their home/space to feel like is usually what inspires us most. We love finding something that special or unique to them as the inspiration for the design.
What is your favorite part about owning Grace Blu?
We get to create whatever we want and do it our way! We love “designing outside the box” and not conforming to what is the norm. I love that we’ve created a work environment where everyone can use their gifts!
Describe your “design style” in a few words.
Authentic, timeless, moody!
What is one of your favorite local projects you’ve worked on in Newport Beach?
One of our favorite projects to work on was our Balboa Cottage project at Lido House hotel because it truly was unlimited and there were no design restraints. We were able to use our full creative minds and design the entire cottage however we wanted it. To this day, it is still one of our most fun and loved projects.
What is your favorite place in Newport Beach to shop for home decor?
We love mixing the old with the new, so one of our favorite go-to spots is Heirloom in the Westcliff shopping center. We also love supporting fellow designers and small businesses.
Do you have a favorite local artist? Who is it, and why?
One of our favorite local artists is Matt Allen. Not only does he have a fresh surf vibe, but his art is playful yet very intentional. I love the way he uses different materials as his canvases, such as recycled sailcloth, amongst other things. He is a talented illustrator, graphic artist, photographer and surfer.
Best Newport Beach souvenir?
A Slightly Choppy flag! These handcrafted flags represent all the cool local spots and make a great souvenir. Another great spot to head to is the Cove gift shop at Lido House, where you can purchase my art: “The Only Good Suit is a Wetsuit.”
Three of your favorite activities to do in Newport Beach?
– Stand-up paddle boarding in the harbor
– Watching my son surf and/or taking pics of the sunset
– Grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many cool restaurants in the Lido Marina Village.
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger