We're bringing you a dose of Californian sunshine in the form of Kelly Wearstler's (opens in new tab) boundary-pushing Beverly Hills family home. Internationally recognized for creating glam interiors commercially and for residential clients, Kelly Wearstler is a true design icon when it comes to American contemporary interior design.
Mid-century modernism and Hollywood Regency combine in this incredible villa that epitomises maximalist, confident West Coast glamor. Lush grounds and an inviting pool surround the home, while inside grand scale rooms are home to eclectic and unique design schemes. Let's peek inside and see what Kelly has to say about her striking abode...
When did you pick this property and why this particular one?
'I absolutely love the rich Hollywood history of the house. The house was originally built in 1926 as a Spanish Colonial, and remodeled as a Georgian around 1934 by architect James E. Dolena,' explains Kelly. 'We purchased the home in 2005 from the Broccoli family. Albert R. Broccoli was the producer and creator of the James Bond films.'
This monochrome living room mixes the traditional bones of the property with elegant modern furniture beautifully. If Spanish influence architecture is your bag, then check out these beautiful Spanish interiors for inspiration.
Did you give yourself a brief and if so, what was it?
'For every new project, I start by considering the surroundings, the location, and the history of the building. This forms the base of my brief, so I can create a space that is truly authentic to its surrounding and provenance,' Kelly says.
'When we purchased our Beverly Hills home we added about 4,000 square feet as the house needed to be adapted to modern living. Architectural additions and modifications complement the history whereas the furnishings are by a mélange of progressive contemporary furniture designers and artists, with important vintage furniture and curated unique finds from my travels.'
'I discover and fall in love with new artists and artisans every day, and use our modern home as my creative laboratory to experiment with their works.'
- Be inspired by Kelly's style lessons from the Downtown L.A. Proper hotel
Why did you choose certain materials?
With several different dining spaces throughout the property, there are plenty of dining room ideas to take inspiration from. This particular room looks out onto the manicured courtyard that's filled with elegant Cypress trees.
'The house has so many amazing architectural features – from the intricate Georgian, Federal, and Neoclassical moldings, to the handsome marble bathrooms, the solid boiserie paneled doors, even the beautiful green garden surrounding the house and the internal courtyard,' adds Kelly.
'I wanted to choose materials that not only complemented the existing architectural features, but also create contrast and unexpected pairings. It remains true to my passion for mixing styles, eras, and mediums, pushing boundaries whilst creating environments that are inviting and comfortable.'
What were you inspired by and where do your ideas come from?
'I find inspiration and design ideas everywhere; travel, fashion, art, graphic design, nature, photography, landscape design, architecture... The list goes on. I believe in finding inspiration from a variety of sources to allow your own voice, your own signature style to shine through,' she says.
'For me, each new project is an invitation to embark on a fascinating and unique journey. With design, I aim to tell evocative stories that are adventurous and full of texture, pattern, and color.'
What were your biggest learning curves on the job?
'Re-imagining classic architecture with a contemporary voice called for thoughtful respect for materiality. The house has such a rich history. One must always have a knowledge and reverence for history before creating something new, bringing forth a fresh contemporary voice while still paying proper respect to the original integrity and spirit of a space,' Kelly explains.
Kelly custom-designed and fabricated the kitchen with stainless steel cabinetry and solid brass trim. Take note from these modern kitchen ideas if you're planning a new kitchen for 2022.
What are your top clever design ideas?
'I always consider the surroundings of spaces – what you see outside the window becomes a part of your interior experience. I designed my home garden in collaboration with Art Luna to include a sculptural courtyard, visible from a number of rooms in the house,' Kelly adds.
'When curating an outdoor environment, I love to include a variety of plants with varying shapes and sizes - like Italian Cypress trees paired with incredible succulents.'
- Discover more modern garden ideas in our gallery
Does the house remind you of anything?
'The house is host to incredible memories with family and friends that I treasure,' says Kelly.
This staircase is by far the grandest of all the staircases in the house. A sweeping structure featuring curvaceous ironwork typical of the Georgian era. The graphic stylish stair runner idea was a custom design made specifically for this staircase.
What's uplifting about the house now?
'The house is a constant source of inspiration. I am always discovering new emerging artists and antique treasures that I love to bring back to Beverly Hills to experiment with,' says Kelly. 'Our home is not only the place I share and create memories with my family, but also my creative laboratory.'
A 1970s burl wood four-poster bed takes center stage in this modern bedroom.
What does the house smell like?
'One of my favorite ways to heighten the senses is using incense. I tailor the scent to the seasons the same way I transition a space to heighten seasonal changes,' adds Kelly.
This intimate room is anchored by a pair of bold red club chairs and a beautiful rose-tinged marble table that floats over the top of solid brass supports.
How does your family spend their time in the property?
'Our home in Beverly Hills is my passion project as I was creating a space for my family. We love to spend a lot of time in our living room, playing games such as chess, poker and backgammon, or just relaxing and catching up on what happened in our days, says Kelly.'
'The house also has an interior courtyard with the most beautiful garden that all the rooms on the ground floor look and open onto through tall glass doors. We love entertaining and opening up all the doors to the garden. The house has an incredible energy and spirit.'
As the Houses Editor on Livingetc, Rachel has been obsessed with property ever since she was a kid. With a diploma in interior design and more than a decade working on interior magazines under her belt, she feels very at home sourcing the best contemporary houses the world has to offer for Livingetc. It's not just the day job either, she admits she's spent a scary amount of her own time researching schemes for her own renovations - scrolling Instagram, stalking Rightmove and Modern House, flicking through magazines and snooping in other peoples' windows - so she really does live and breathe houses on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Before Livingetc, Rachel had a stint finding homes for Ikea Family magazine where she was lucky enough to gallivant around the world on shoots meeting and interviewing interesting people, all with a very keen eye for blending high-end design with everyday items from Ikea. It inspired her to not be afraid of mixing new and old, expensive and affordable, vintage and modern and so Rachel's current Victorian terrace in north London is very much an updated, contemporary take on a period property; think open-plan modern kitchen with concrete floors, feature fireplaces and her grandmother’s paintings on the walls. Rachel is currently crushing on reeded glass, large gingham prints, squishy curved furniture; like Buchanan Studio’s Studio chair, and vintage wall sconces; she especially adores Retrouvius for sourcing antique finds and feels inspired by Lonika Chande, Beata Heuman and Matilda Goad and already can’t wait to start planning her next home, wherever that might be.
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