[caption id="attachment_2430" align="alignnone" width="577"]Wearstler’s designs set the scene at Santa Monica’sViceroy. Photos by Steven Barston.[/caption]
BRINGING GLAMOUR TO DESIGN
“I love it when someone asks me to work with a style I’m not used to. I love figuring out how to make it all work,” says interior designer Kelly Wearstler. With a daringly complex and theatrical style, this charming Southern belle has designed many of LA’s hottest hotels and sophisticated residences, written a New York Times best seller, created her own line of furnishings and proven herself to be a multi-talented, multi-tasking maniac.
Like many artists,Wearstler was influenced at an early age. “My mom is an interior designer so I grew up in a house where furniture was always changing,” she says. Wearstler quickly adds,“But we have very different styles…She’s very country, stuff everywhere…my style is more of a mix. I don’t want to say eclectic because everyone says that but I’d say I have an unex- pected style. A little European…very layered…rich colors.”
Fueled by a love of the visual arts, Wearstler worked as a set designer before focusing on real-life living spaces. After founding her design firm, kwid, Weartsler achieved international prominence by blending a crisp graphic style with vivacious colors and glamorous designs reminiscent of old Hollywood movie sets.
Wearstler first ventured into the hotel world with real estate super-developer Brad Korzen. Their first hotel was Beverly Hills’ seductive, neo-modernist Avalon. The pair continue to enjoy an incredibly successful business venture—not to mention that, somewhere along the way, they also fell in love, got married and started a family.
Together they are responsible for such chic, cutting-edge hotels as the flagshipViceroy in Santa Monica and its Palm Springs sister, Estrella, and for Maison 140. “La Maison is my favorite,” Wearstler says. “It’s charming, intimate…different from anything else in LA.”
Today Wearstler continues to push the boundaries of design. Adamantly staying away from white walls, Wearstler mixes bold hues and patterns and blends furnishings from a broad range of eras. The designer particularly likes to use historic embellishments and is deeply influenced by her love of travel. “I travel everywhere. I love to find vintage textiles and interesting pieces of furniture. Even if I don’t know where I am going to use it, I’ll put it in storage until I can figure out the right place,” she says.
And currently Wearstler has plenty of projects to choose from. The designer is redesigning the luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman as well as developing the Viceroy Anguilla, a lavish Caribbean resort.