15 Minutes with Kelly Wearstler


Fifteen minutes just isn’t enough with Kelly Wearstler. A trailblazer to say the least, Wearstler continues to present refreshing, enigmatic designs that leave us feeling inspired and eager to push creative limits. From her recent work at the Proper Hotels to a robust residential design business, working on her own collection and clever collaborations while being a mom of two, Wearstler exemplifies that we can have it all.

How are you approaching the design of the Proper Hotels differently than previous hospitality projects?
The starting point with Proper is the service and how we want guests to feel, from the moment of arrival through the lasting memories after they leave. What will make for an authentic experience? How can we infuse a cool, local spirit and strong identity into every hotel? This has helped shape the design DNA of each Proper as we consider the specific location—the climate, the history and iconography of each city—and create guest experiences unique to every project. The design process has been so exciting, withthis distinctive fabric of influences leading to unexpected discoveries and beautiful, sensual layers of materiality, color, pattern, silhouettes, art and experiences. Each city is my muse.

How has your work with hotel design influenced your product lines?
It’s all about creating comfort and thoughtful details, the melding of form and function. This applies to hotel and residential design as well as to designing furniture, lighting, rugs, fabrics, etc. The beauty of my work is to create an experience that touches all the senses. All the different mediums fuel one another with an amazing cross- pollination in my studio that I find so inspiring.I learn and become a better designer with every project, merging clients’ needs and desires with functionality.

Travel is clearly one of your passions. What hotel has inspired your work the most?
Every aspect of travel and experience influences my work more than one particular hotel or destination. I always remain open to new materials, architectural details, colors, forms, textures, artists and furniture whenever I am traveling, keeping a full awareness of my surroundings—on the street, in local galleries, museums, hotels, fashion boutiques, flea markets and even just people watching. That allows me to find the beauty in all that I see and translate it into my work. Design is largely intuitive for me and I am truly inspired by everything.

Name one female who has made the greatest impact on your career.
It’s hard to name just one. The women in my family instilled in me a strong work ethic and supported my independence and creative spirit. Women bring a unique perspective to design and everything they do—a different sensibility and thoughtfulness that encompasses a worldview inclusive of their own ways of moving through life.

If you could design a home for anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?An amazing, iconic California artist with a strong point of view, like Ed Ruscha or Robert Irwin.

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