A Day in the Life of Designer Kelly Wearstler

Photos by Mark Edward Harris

Being the woman who defines West Coast interior design isn’t, as you can imagine, without its time constraints.
Kelly Wearstler, however, makes her action-packed day look effortless. Her day starts with a 5:30 a.m. Barry’s Bootcamp class and doesn’t end until 11 p.m. most evenings, and in between she’s a whirlwind of activity. The 46-year-old designer is focused on promoting her new fall home and jewelry collections as well as working on an exclusive collaboration of marble diamonds, upholstered leather furniture and limited-edition leather jackets and totes with visual artist Shantell Martin that launches October 7th—and still manages to spend quality time with husband Brad Korzen and the couple’s two children. For enquiring minds, the answer to your unasked question is yes—Wearstler does do this all while still looking supremely stylish. To answer another question: yup, we’re jealous, too.

5:30 a.m. My day starts with a Barry’s Bootcamp class. I’ve been going for 12 years and it keeps me feeling refreshed, along with regular yoga. I try to make it to a class every day. I always feel more focused and energized when I exercise.

7 a.m. At home I wake my boys with a kiss and get them ready for the day. Then I drive them to school and head to the studio. It’s a 40-minute drive to work, so I use the time to take calls with clients about everything from big-scale projects to little jewelry.

8:30 a.m. My workday starts with a meeting with my interior design team. We’re working on several residential and commercial projects, including a new hotel brand that’s set to open its first location next year. I can’t say much about it yet, but the design will tell a story through color, scale, and texture. I’m such a curious person. A project like this lets me take risks and that’s the only way to grow as a person and as a designer. I’m often asked which of my projects is my favorite and it’s so hard to choose because each one is so distinctive, so unique. Viceroy Anguilla was especially unique because of its scale—35 acres and 166 rooms, suites, villas, and residences. It took five years to complete.

10:30 a.m. The artisan I’m working with to produce my fine jewelry collection visits the studio. I oversee every step of the process, from concept to finished product. Every piece is one-of-a-kind and handmade in Los Angeles. Quality is luxury. The pieces are made with raw stones—from rutilated quartz to rare African zebra sapphires—that I love to seek out and find all over the world when I travel. I handpick and place each one. Whether it’s an oversized pendant necklace or a cocktail ring, each piece comes in a handmade leather and fur bag. You can dress them up or down and layer them with other pieces. I love to layer and layer my jewelry. It is like designing a room—each piece tells a story.

11:30 a.m. I touch base with my home furniture team. My furniture designs are inspired by my love of vintage design, rich textures, and sumptuous materials. My signature juxtaposition of raw and refined design is always present in every piece.

12:30 p.m. For lunch, I have a fresh vegetable juice from Erewhon with apple, spinach, kale, ginger, lemon E3 live, and beet juice. It’s the next best thing to fresh fruit from the farmers market. Local produce is the best—the flavor is just incredible. I snack all day—almonds, veggies and quinoa are my favorites.

1:30 p.m. I go to my flagship boutique on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. I opened it two years ago to have a physical embodiment of my luxury lifestyle brand. You can find my furniture, home décor, vintage books from my personal library, fine and artisanal jewelry, silk scarves, clutches, curiosities, and one-of-a-kind and bespoke designs there. The boutique team fills me in on what clients are responding to. Learning which items are inspiring my customers inspires me in turn.

3 p.m. My website and social media meeting back at the studio is next. I work with my team to choose the emails that my subscribers will receive, our next homepage update for kellywearstler.com, and social media posts. It’s important to me that my online customers have the same luxury experience that they’d have if they visited my flagship boutique. I have a quick manicure as we speak so my nails look amazing for a photo shoot tomorrow for a project with the artist Shantell Martin. I’m great at multitasking—probably from all of my years waiting tables!

5 p.m. Next is a meeting about product. There’s home décor, pillows, and throws, rugs, wall coverings, and tabletop. My fine china collections are all named for streets in LA—there’s Bedford, Doheny, Hillcrest, Mulholland, Trousdale and Pickfair. I’m always thinking about which name will be next.

7 p.m. My boys arrive. They love coming to the studio! It is a night out to our favorite place for dinner, Fico. It’s my go-to for pizza in LA—its thin crust whole-wheat pizza is amazing. My husband, boys and I go there once a week as a family. After dinner, we head to a concert at the Greek Theater.

11 p.m. We drive home. Each day is different and each meeting complements the next. Each product category complements the others. Some days it is design projects charettes where we focus on one specific project. Other days are more varied. Now it’s time for bed—I have an early call time for my photo shoot tomorrow.