Kelly Wearstler’s Latest Project Is A Celebration Of Curves And Archways

Kelly Wearstler's design for the just launched Santa Monica Proper hotel is relaxed and beachy, with vintage furniture, rustic woods and curved arches aplenty...

Renowned LA-based interior designer Kelly Wearstler has unveiled the interiors of the latest Proper hotel, based along California’s coast in Santa Monica.

The Proper brand was founded by the designer’s husband Brad Korzen, together with Brian De Lowe and Alex Samek, and the hotel group is known for their striking interiors – all done by Kelly Wearstler.

Santa Monica Proper sits in a 1928 Spanish Colonial building, designed by Arthur E. Harvey, which has been restored and revived. Local firm Howard Laks Architects added a curvilinear extension.

The building was the starting point for the sleek new interior, as Kelly Wearstler capitalised on the Spanish and Moorish elements with archways and inlays, smooth stone, knobby wood and lots of low-slung seating.

She also incorporated an eclectic mix of details in palettes that allude to its beach setting.

Original art, including works by Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga and Len Klikunas, is all around.

The lobby is punctuated with huge, tile clad columns with bulbous tops. The alcoves feature cosy nooks with curved banquette seating, perfect for intimate dinners, meetings and just hanging out.

The furniture is vintage, and Kelly Wearstler scoured vintage shops to source the mix of eclectic furniture.

Meanwhile walls are rendered with a hand-troweled, pitted gritty plaster texture and the wire brushed oak hardwood floors feature a pattern reminiscent of open umbrellas.

The wood reception desk is custom-made, and the front is covered in striations that are reminiscent of a beach shell.

Other details include a large pair of vintage fan-shaped bamboo wall lights designed by Ingo Maurer; a particularly rare find as only a very small amount were produced and they were actually made in a small village in Japan.

The sprawling lobby and ground floor restaurant contains a mix of contemporary furniture and repurposed finds. Wearstler chose the eclectic mix paired with various greenery to make it feel like a large living room, to encourage visitors to relax.

There are a number of different seating areas designed for both working or enjoying a drink from the bar.

Santa Monica Proper has 271 guest suites split across both the landmarked building and the new structure.

The rooms feature abstract botanical wallpaper and are flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows…

… while the bathrooms are handsomely adorned with tile, marble, brass fixtures and Aesop toiletries.

Wearstler chose floral wallpaper and deeper hues for the rooms in the existing building and a muted, neutral palette for those in the extension.

Textiles and wall coverings are from the designer’s own collection. The curved headboards in the hotel rooms are a nod to the sunsets in California.

Aside from the ground-floor restaurant Onda there’s the more formal restaurant Calabra, which is decorated with richly textured dark wood, brickwork and stone.

The hotel also has a rooftop pool – a key feature for each Proper outpost. Here there are alcoves that are apparently full at happy hour.

It’s a strikingly different look from the Austin outpost – the brand’s first location outside of California – which opened its doors in early 2020.

Austin Proper drops the buttery tones of its beachy siblings, instead featuring sharper angles, along with Patchwork throws, paisley wallpapers and oak wood panelling.

But Wearstler kept her signature mix of clashing prints, bold colours and just a sprinkle of bulbous shapes, and the restaurant features patterned walls and vintage rugs.

Even Austin Proper’s lobby features sharper lines and grid-like shapes.

These two new hotel launches will be joined this summer by Downtown LA Proper, which will be opening in another historic building. We can’t wait to see what the designer has in store for us next…

Photography is by The Ingalls

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