Kelly Wearstler: From Playboy pin-up to Hollywood it-decorator

by Sara on February 23, 2010

Maison 140 Lobby

Unless you’re a design nerd, a Hollywood mogul, or a long-time reader of Playboy, chances are you’ve never heard of Kelly Wearstler, the centerfold model-cum-interior-designer behind hotels and homes from L.A. to Anguilla.

If she’s not quite a household name, however, Wearstler has been getting a ton of mainstream exposure lately (sorry). Last year, the New Yorker ran a 4,000-word profile about Wearstler, dubbing her the “presiding grand dame of West Coast interior design.” And just two months into 2010 she’s already earned mentions in Oprah’s magazine and People. Not bad for a decorator.

There’s nothing subtle or quaint about Wearstler’s designs. They’re bright. They’re bold. They’re tactile. They’re lacquered. And some critics argue they induce sensory overload. A Los Angeles interior designer told the New Yorker’s Dana Goodyear that Wearstler’s designs feel “like an overstimulated child. ‘You just want to say, ‘Quiet, quiet. Settle down.’”

Critics be damned – the former judge on Bravo’s Top Design counts Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, a DreamWorks’ principal, and numerous other moguls, tycoons, actors, and rockstars among her clients. And she’s big into designing hotels, three of which Oyster has covered – Maison 140 in Beverly Hills, the Viceroy in Santa Monica, and Tides South Beach. So we thought we’d show you some of her signature looks.

  1. She likes dogs and lions
  2. She likes bookcases
  3. She likes bold splashes of color, particularly fuschia and green
  4. She likes tassels and giant chandeliers
  5. She likes busts of all kinds
  6. She likes tuxedo-style couches
  7. She likes outrageously patterned everything – wallpaper, carpet, and zebra-print rugs
  8. She doesn’t go for subtlety. But neither does Playboy.

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