Designing Woman: Kelly Wearstler


 I am also pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with Bergdorf Goodman not once, but twice; the first time with the BG Restaurant and most recently with my first boutique on the Decorative Home floor.

I knew from a young age that interior design was my calling because I grew up in a home that was constantly evolving. Beautiful and unusual objects, textures, and colors always surrounded me, exciting me to no end. My mother is a closet interior designer, so everything in our home was always in a state of flux—I’d come home from school and the dining room would be a totally new color. Growing up in South Carolina, our house definitely had a “country cute” feel, but my Mom let me decorate my room, which was always modern.Although my room wasn’t her style, to her credit, she always let me experiment with my own space and encouraged me to be creative.

I went to school for graphic design, received my BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, and spent time interning with Milton Glaser Inc. in New York, as well as with Cambridge Seven and Associates in Massachusetts. My extensive years of education, formal and otherwise, afforded me the access I needed to begin my career as an interior designer.

My first real design project was my Hancock Park apartment. Since then, I’ve evolved in many ways, from my knowledge of antiquities, architecture and art to my love of playing with color and scale. As a designer, I’m always becoming more confident—and sassy—so I’m willing to take more risks.And I always say that the best ideas are born out of risk!A commonly asked question is where do I derive inspiration, and it’s from just about everywhere: travel, fashion, nature, modern art, technology, James Bond films… Inspiration is lurking everywhere if you train your eye to look for it.

I have designed several hotels, including the Avalon (my first commercial project), Maison 140, Viceroy Santa Monica, Viceroy Palm Springs, and most recently, the Tides South Beach.Designing the Tides South Beach was especially fun, not only because it was my first project in Miami, but also because I was able to update a landmark, paying homage to the history of the building, while carefully respecting Miami’s culture and Art Deco roots as well as the city’s inherent beachfront spirit.I am currently working on six hotel residence projects in Miami, Anguilla, Mexico’s Riveria Maya and Vietnam.

I recently collaborated with The Rug Company, hand-picking a multi-colored palette for our collection. The rugs are hand knotted in fine Tibetan wool or wool/silk blends in somewhat uncommon color combinations.Depending on the space in which they are used, they can look timeless or very contemporary—a sort of intermediary between styles. For this collection, I drew inspiration from the Art Deco movement as well as Op Art and nature.

I am also pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with Bergdorf Goodman not once, but twice; the first time with the BG Restaurant and most recently with my first boutique on the Decorative Home floor. My boutique opened last fall, and each season, I will introduce 20 additional pieces to the existing collection. For the next collection, I drew inspiration from the textures and colors of rough crystal and precious gems including jade, turquoise, alabaster, and tourmaline, and combined them with new finishes like bleached wood and patinaed copper.

Always promoting the mixing and matching of patterns and colors in an interior, I’ve found that it’s best to take a chance and put aside the “rules” of interior design. In creating my new collection of fabrics and trimmings with Groundworks at Lee Jofa/Kravet, which will be available this fall, I made it easy for people to mix and match different colors and patterns. For this collection, my inspiration came from my travels including Japanese kimonos and embroideries as well as antique textiles and trims.

Up next on the product front is bedding, table top, and a book of fine wall coverings with famed hand printer Cole & Son.I’m also planning a follow-up to my debut monograph Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style and Domicilium Decoratus.

As for the future of Kelly Wearstler, Inc.?As with everything I do, the next phase of my work can only be one thing—unexpected.