Decorating & Design

October 3, 2011

Interview: Kelly Wearstler

Interior designer Kelly Wearstler is renowned for her glamorous reinterpretation of old Hollywood style, pairing bold colours with striking graphic patterns. Her portfolio includes a roster of high-profile celebrity clients and a fleet of boutique hotels including the Viceroy hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs, and the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. When not running Los Angeles-based Kelly Wearstler Interior Design (KWID), which launched in 1995, the South Carolina native is a celebrity judge on Bravo’s reality series Top Design.

Wearstler debuted her eponymous retail boutique in 2007 at Bergdorf Goodman, the prestigious Manhattan department store where she also masterminded the posh BG Restaurant. In 2008, she introduced a signature carpet collection through well-known retailer The Rug Company, and also launched a luxurious line of fabrics and trimmings through Groundworks at Lee Jofa.

Along with her earlier publications, Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style (2004 Harper Collins Canada) and Domicilium Decoratus (2006 Harper Collins Canada), Wearstler published the design bible Hue (2009 Ammo Books). These days, Wearstler is busy putting signature touches on her new Beverly Hills home, where she resides with her husband, Brad, and two young sons, Oliver and Elliott.

House & Home: Describe what you like most about your home.

Kelly Wearstler: Right now, my home is still a work in progress, but my favourite room is my bathroom. It’s the one place where I can catch a few minutes of peace.

H&H: How would you describe your sense of style?

KW: Sassy and unexpected.

H&H: Do you have a favourite colour or colour scheme?

KW: I have no favourites!

H&H: Are you a collector of anything?

KW: I collect vintage furniture and accessories, which I’ve culled over the years during my travels. I’ve always loved shopping at antique stores in new cities — it’s so therapeutic.

H&H: Describe your perfect vacation getaway.

KW: A month at a beach in the south of France with my family.

H&H: What city do you find inspiring at the moment?

KW: Paris is always amazing — from the antique shops and fashion boutiques to the art, food and culture.

H&H: What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

KW: Going to the beach with my family.

H&H: Whose personal style do you most admire?

KW: Doris Duke is the ultimate in chic — she will always be a style icon. The inspiration for my former home was her Hawaiian villa, Shangri La.

H&H: Do you have a secret indulgence?

KW: Acupuncture.

H&H: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

KW: Love.

H&H: Name three people you’d love to have at a dinner party?

KW: Coco Chanel, my great-great-greatgreat-grandmother — to learn more about the history of my family — and the Dalai Lama.

H&H: What is your definition of beauty?

KW: Confidence and honesty.

H&H: What one item couldn’t you live without at home?

KW: My bathtub.

H&H: Finish this sentence: “I feel most comfortable when …”

KW: I’m home in bed with [my husband] Brad, and [our sons] Oliver and Elliott reading a book.

H&H: Describe what makes you feel rich, fulfilled and happy.

KW: Coming home to my family after a long day at work.

H&H: What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

KW: Barry’s Bootcamp [a popular exercise regime and gym in Los Angeles].