Kelly Wearstler’s California-Chic Style Has Been Blazing the Trail for Future Interior Designers

The legendary designer has worked for a slew of A-List celebrities, including Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera and more.

Kelly Wearstler is one of the interior design world’s biggest rockstars. The design powerhouse has become famous for her eclectic, unabashedly opulent and sophisticated interiors which mix modern pieces with vintage treasures.

 Born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1967, Wearstler developed a passion for design and fashion at a very young age. After attending the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Wearstler moved to L.A. to start a career in the film industry.
In 1995, Wearstler started her own design firm, KWID, eventually being hired to design several houses in the Hollywoods Hills. One of her first projects was to design the legendary Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, whose playful and quirky yet elegant design was later described by the New York Times as “changing the look of boutique hotels around the world.”
Notoriously hard to pin down, Wearstler’s style is all about mixology—combining unparalleled contemporary sophistication and wit, with a nod to the timeless Hollywood aesthetic of the past. As opposed to falling back on a specific trademark style, Wearstler makes sure to artfully treat each new project with an authentic and fresh perspective.
Elle Decor described Wearstler’s famous hotel interiors as “displaying a virtuosic talent for color, gliding confidently from the hushed tones of midcentury modernism straight into the intense hues of a Technicolor musical...featuring elegant bergère chairs, unexpected lacquer finishes (glistening lemon yellows, Amazon parrot greens) and old-style stately wallpapers.”
Wearstler soon became wildly popular for her work at various resorts, including Viceroy Hotels and Resorts and The Tides Hotel South Beach in Miami. “Travelers are living in the moment, outside of their normal, daily routine,” she told Interior Design Magazine. “Senses are heightened, and expectations are open. There’s a thrill of designing environments for people to expand their experiences.”
In addition to hotels, Wearstler has become a go-to designer for luxurious, A-list homes. One of her projects is Gwen Stefani’s $35 million dollar estate, designed in 2006. The Maximalist design features highly-contrasting black-and-white striped walls, marble floors, pops of bright color and flashes of black and goldstone. Stefani’s sweet escape features masterful attention to detail and the perfect combination of styles.
Another Hollywood A-lister that enlisted the genius of Wearstler is megastar Cameron Diaz. After owning her luxurious Manhattan apartment for a few years, Diaz decided to remodel the pre-war space in 2008 to add a splash of Wearstler’s razzle-dazzle. Wearstler brought her love of fashion and jewelry to the design by infusing referential elements to light fixtures of mottled glass and hammered metal, lavish bronzed bathrooms and leaf-shape glass candle holders amid the dining room table. The bedrooms feature a mix-match of black silk, painted doors, custom wallpaper and snow-white upholstery.
To her personal life, Wearstler makes sure to bring just as much glamour and pizzaz as she does to her celebrity clients. Wearstler and her family live in a stunning, renovated Malibu beach house, with floor-to-ceiling, ocean-facing windows and an enormous skylight. According to Elle Decor, the color palette and building materials match the beachfront home, with “spindrift white and driftwood taupe paint as well as bleached walnut flooring, Douglas-fir kitchen cabinetry and wave-patterned marble walls.”
In addition to four self-published books, Wearstler’s oeuvre includes countless designs and has been endlessly discussed and documented for future generations of both loyal lovers of the Kelly Wearstler aesthetic and new fans the world over. Whatever she touches turns to gold, and her brand shows no sign of plateau.
Whether it’s projects of a more personal nature or larger collaborations at a commercial level, Wearstler’s work continues to highlight the sensations of California cool and pave the way in the interior design and architecture industries.