At Home with Designer Kelly Wearstler

  • PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler
  • WORDS Sophie Lewis
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    Multi-disciplinary designer Kelly Wearstler’s home in Beverly Hills, California, is an ever-evolving stage for her innately cool creativity.

    To enter the world of Kelly Wearstler, founder and principal of her namesake studio and brand, you must first get to know her virtual milieu. She engages with an Instagram following of 1.8 million through a signature mood board of interiors, styling, fashion, art and flea-market finds; a feed that is equal parts evocative, playful and personal.

    Since founding her interior design studio in 1995 and playing a pivotal role in the rise of the designer hotel in America, Kelly Wearstler has established an interdisciplinary force for design products and projects.

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    Kelly says lighting sets the mood of a space. She specifies light fixtures that are a piece of sculpture in themselves, such as the playful Shield sconces in her foyer by Luke Lamp Co. that can be moulded into different shapes. Materials, such as the Arabescato Carrara, Nero Marquina and Italian Verde patterned doors, were selected to underpin the home’s glamorous Hollywood history and architectural details.

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    The custom Kelly Wearstler Bravado Graphite runner on the staircase engages with the Georgian ironwork through unexpected patterning and contrast. A vintage Marquina marble table accentuates the curved narrative.

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    Kelly creates a sequenced sense of discovery from one room to the next in her home by seeking out rare and unusual pieces and curating them with her custom work. The living space features her custom sofas, and Dolores armchairs designed by Rob Eckhardt, together with vintage and flea market finds.

    Her Beverly Hills home for the past 15 years which she shares with her husband Brad Korzen, their two sons Elliot and Oliver and dogs Javier and Willie, is a constant muse on Instagram, distilling both her instinctual design approach and the building’s star-studded history. First built in the 1920s for Hollywood’s famed silent film actor Hobart Bosworth, Kelly purchased the home from the Broccoli family – creators of the James Bond franchise, in 2005. “I love the rich Hollywood history of the house,” she says. “My style is all about old soul and new spirit, so this home is the perfect embodiment of what I seek to achieve when designing spaces.”

    Originally Spanish Colonial in style, architect James E. Dolena, loved by A-listers at the time, remodelled the home as Georgian in 1934. “The house has so many amazing architectural features – from the intricate Georgian, Federal and Neoclassical mouldings to the handsome marble bathrooms and the solid boiserie panelled doors,” Kelly says. Her material mix speaks to the home’s confluence of styles, engaging with the existing architecture, but at times through tension and unexpected pairings, creating contrast.

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    Texture is an important part of Kelly’s approach, as seen in the dining room with her goat hair-upholstered Sonnet chair, Entler 6-Globe plaster chandelier and antique ceramic table cast as a tree trunk. A Split mirror by friend Lee Broom also features by the bay window.

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    The original wood panelling creates a warm atmosphere, together with the vintage leather lounge chairs designed by Illum Wikkelso. A Robert Roesch sculpture and Kelly’s Ives consol designed using ebonised oak and marble also feature.

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    Kelly Wearstler

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    The home’s manicured surroundings uphold a sense of place. “What you see outside the window becomes a part of your interior experience,” Kelly maintains. “I designed my garden in collaboration with Art Luna studio to include a sculptural element. I tried to reflect this inside by introducing architectural elements and sculptural furniture to create a conversation between the interior and exterior.”

    The designer is quick to admit; she didn’t take any risks in her own home that she wouldn’t with a client. “The only difference is that I use our home as my creative laboratory to experiment with new works I discover by artists and artisans and antique treasures I find in my travels,” she says. This underpins her design sensibility; “my aesthetic has always been about mixology and juxtapositions,” she adds.

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    Kelly custom-designed her kitchen using stainless steel cabinetry and solid brass trim. The kitchen also features her Precision pendant and Heath bowl.

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    For Kelly, lighting sets the mood of a space and often resembles a piece of sculpture in her projects. Her innate curiosity emanates from the Shield sconces in her foyer by Luke Lamp Co. – custom LED rope lighting made in New York City that can be moulded into different shapes.

    Kelly sees corners as “naturally carved out spaces” for expression, and it’s where she creates a “meeting of meaningful designs” through maximal texture, scale and pattern. Take Misha Kahn’s 2019 bench Somewhere in the Multiverse – a hand-crafted piece made from concrete, steel, glazed earthenware and enamel that Kelly commissioned for her upstairs hallway, or the pair of Utrecht chairs by Gerrit Rietveld in the powder room vestibule, upholstered in Kelly’s geometric District fabric.

    Kelly’s home is anything but precious. As the testing ground for unorthodox ideas, it speaks to every part of Kelly’s infectious energy: glamorous, light-hearted and warm, all at once.

    This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue #43.

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    Inside the bedroom of one of Kelly’s sons, a four-poster burlwood bed from the 1970s, two buttery leather vintage Togo Fireside chairs by Michel Ducaroy from the same era and a lamp by Los Angeles artist Garry Knox Bennett hone a rich and tonal dialogue.

    “The furnishings are by a mélange of progressive contemporary furniture designers and artists, with important vintage furniture alongside.”

     

    – Kelly Wearstler

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    A pair of Utrecht chairs by Gerrit Rietveld upholstered in Kelly’s district fabric.

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    Kelly worked closely with Art Luna studio on the poolhouse and landscaping, reflecting the home’s consistent sculptural thread. The Krios Loungers by Conrad Sanchez and coupe-shaped umbrellas by Paola Lenti are for relaxing by the pool – in true Beverly Hills style.

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  • kelly wearstler's signature style

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