Born in South Carolina in 1967, Kelly Wearstler is one of the most renowned interior designers worldwide due to her bold and maximalism motto. Based in Los Angeles, she’s known for mastering the art of blending Art Deco, Hollywood Regency, and Mid-Century Modern styles. Her unique aesthetic and approach to design attract an enviable client base and a list of celebrities from cinema, music industries and tastemakers worldwide.
Born to a mother who was an antique dealer, Wearstler from a very young age has been inspired by the gems of history found in flea markets and antique stores. She studied at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston obtaining a Bachelor Degree in Interior and Graphic Design. She started her own business in 1995, named Kelly Wearstler Interior Design (or KWID), and since then, she has revolutionized the look of American glamour with the modern fusion of organic and graphic furniture silhouettes.
The famous interior designer started off by doing residential. In the late 1990s, she decorated the house Brad Korzen, a real estate developer whom she married years later. Wearstler would go on to redo the interior of the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, owned by Korzen. The New Yorker as described as “a playful take on mid-century modernism”, highlighting the success of her maximalism style. This launched her foray into hotel interior design, becoming a hotel a renovation maven, gaining fame to pick up multiple projects such as the Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, and The Tides Hotel South Beach in Miami. In 2006, the decorator has designed too the restaurant and lounge of the Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store, the BG Restaurant.
Conceiving not only luxury hotels interiors but also grand residences, her projects are always with over-the-top accents, mixing it with rich textures and statement pieces from different eras. She confesses being inspired from all travels and daily striking details. Everyone knows her love for minerals, architecture, nature and contemporary handmade pieces. This background allows to spice up all her most famous interior design projects, floating from coastal glamour to the Disco Era decadence yet they are always iconic interiors with relaxing feel.
“I like things that are glamorous and sexy – everyone does – but I really like the tension between raw and refined”.
She knows how to play with elegant neutrals and rich metallic details creating an effortless yet bold vibe. On the other hand, the exquisite patterns are part of her signature, sometimes with pop colors, from hot pink to tropical greens and strong blue hues.
As and interior designer, she finds influence in Modernism and Old Hollywood glamour as created by Dorothy Draper and William Haines, and the work of architect Aldo Rossi. Also, Jacque Grange is cited as her favorite designer in part for “the way he puts things from different periods together so beautifully”. She also named David Hicks, Mark Rothko and Piero Fornasetti as among has aesthetic influences.
Kelly Wearstler visits to auction houses to collect furniture and decor for projects, as well designing her own. She believes clutter to be a big faux pas in home decor, as well as “somebody buying all furniture from one place. The result just looks flat; it has no depth or dimensions, like a showroom”.
Her eponymous boutique store houses everything from the contemporary collection of high-end custom furniture, patterned wallpaper, luxury lighting pieces, to jewelry and little faucets. She had a store in Bergdorf Goodman for several years and in the decorator opened her own showroom in New York City where she presents exclusively her brand and aesthetic for an audience of discerning design lovers.
“Having an eye is one thing, but you have to be able to execute.”
She has collaborated with luxury renown design houses such as exclusive bed sheets for Sferra, fine china for Pickard China, wallpaper for F. Schumacher & Co, chocolate boutiques, packaging, rugs for the Rug Company, designing lamps with the Italian furniture company Kartell, and so on.
Wearstler also published four best-selling design books: Modern Glamour (2004), Domicilium Decoratus (2006), Hue (2009), Rhapsody (2012). Her residential and commercial projects as her profile have been featured in best interior design magazines such as Architectural Digest, Elle Decoration, Wallpaper*, Vogue Living, House & Garden or Tatler Homes. Along with her eye for decoration, she’s also been mentioned by renowned lifestyle and business media like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Condé Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, or The New York Times.