She’s the creative genius behind some of the most unforgettably striking coastal hotels in the world (The Viceroy Anguilla and The Tides South Beach, to name a couple), the author of four design books, and the designer of fabulous coastal homes from Mercer Island, Washington, to Seal Beach, California. With coveted home furnishings and accessories in nearly every category—a green ruched leather chair or a handcrafted wooden surfboard, for example—Wearstler’s world is rich with organic textural nuances.
2 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler
The Queen of Glam (cont.)
Her visceral experience stems, in part, from Mother Nature. “I’m always looking at rocks, and underneath our house at the wood’s patina, and taking pictures and thinking about how you can use that in different ways,” says the South Carolinian-turned-Californian, who spends weekends on the beach with her family at her oceanfront home in Malibu. The furniture is a little lower there, so that the sea is the star. “Looking out the window is like having a painting on the wall,” she says.
There’s a harmony to everything that Wearstler touches: “Everyone wants to have things that are easy, with a casualness but also a sense of chicness,” she says. “It’s about finding that balance.”
In one sentence, what’s your design philosophy?
Love color and take risks.
Favorite antique find?
A Peter Shire tea set. His designs are as wildly imaginative as they are functional. He elevates everyday objects to art and has such an expressive use of color.
Color outside – do or don’t?
Living without color is like living without love. Color evokes mood and tone. In an outdoor setting, I sometimes allow the primary color focus to come from nature itself or a dramatic view. A subdued palette of rich neutrals feels iconic and elegant outdoors. Depending on the season, I might play up complementary colors of foliage or garden flora.
4 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler via Instagram
Q&A: Beach Lifestyle
Describe your perfect day at the beach.
It would be a day in Malibu filled with family and relaxation. I get to catch up on my reading in Malibu. I start my morning delving into stacks and stacks of design and fashion magazines or hitting the farmer’s market with my sons. My boys are very athletic. They surf and run on the beach all day with our two rescue dogs, Rigby and Willie.
What’s your favorite beach snack?
Fresh fruit and veggies from the Farmer’s market.
Boating or paddleboarding?
Why does the coast inspire you?
Mother nature is the best designer. The topography of California’s coastal landscape is so diverse. Malibu has everything from lush green forestation to sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs. California style is all about casual elegance. It is an unaffected blend of soulful cool and relaxed sophistication.
5 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler
Trend Watch: Outdoor Spaces
“There’s a whole world of outdoor fabrics that used to feel hard and uncomfortable, that are now getting so much softer and truly feeling like indoor fabrics,” says Wearstler.