2014 CH+D Awards Design Icon: Kelly Wearstler


“It’s purely emotional—like love at first sight,” says Kelly Wearstler, wistfully. She’s talking shopping, but like everything she does, the act becomes more artful under her impeccable eye. “Sometimes a piece just stops me in my tracks. I know it’s an anomaly and that I must have it,” she explains. Following her heart has clearly worked in her favor. She instinctively marries raw and refined in her landmark interiors. Her strategic product partnerships (Lee Jofa, The Rug Company, Paperless Post and more) elevate her brand without diluting it. Even in her romantic endeavors—in 2002, Wearstler married Brad Korzen of the Kor Group, the real estate developer behind the Avalon and Viceroy Hotels—her heart seems aligned with high style.

Savvy business moves aside, any design junkie will tell you that Wearstler is worthy of icon status simply for her über-glamorous, unabashedly cool and unflinchingly eccentric style. “It’s so important to find your voice, to figure out who you are as a designer,” says Wearstler, whose eponymous interior design firm will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015, and whose myriad creative outlets now include fashion, graphic design, jewelry, furnishings and home accessories. Walking into her flagship store in West Hollywood is as close as most will get to peering inside Wearstler’s brain—unless they follow her highly addictive Instagram feed, that is.

In addition to having found her voice early on in her career, the South Carolina native also found her home—Los Angeles. California has helped define who she is. “Today, LA is like Paris or Rome. People look to what is happening here for inspiration,” says Wearstler. “California is the perfect fit for me.”

This was originally published in the Spring ’14 issue of California Home+Design. Click here to subscribe.

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