Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's Up with Kelly Wearstler?

Eureka! Thank you Vogue, I think I get it now....

What's up with Kelly Wearstler? The opinions are all over the blogosphere, and no one seems to understand her "bravura modern" guesthouse featured in the latest Domino magazine (check out Paola's post here to see a great rant!). I've been trying to understand it, and I think Kelly is always ahead of the trends, but some of it is really fugly. Kelly modernized Hollywood Regency style and was at the forefront of it's recent resurgence as a trend (here's my attempt to explain Hollywood Regency style I wrote awhile back at Hatch) . Now she's moved on. The English major in me is trying to find to make a bit of a visual essay to see what I can learn from the house tour and her recent work:

In the above photo, I think La Wearstler is pushing her mix and match abilities to the maximum in terms of color, pattern, and texture. If you are going to experiment, why not go completely over the top in your own home? I'm thinking in this project she used her guesthouse as a laboratory.

Personally, I just don't like the furniture in the photo above (the dressing table is hideous; you can't see it well in this shot. Interestingly, left out the picture that showed it the most on the web tour). I do kind of dig that crazy dressing table chair though. The screen is gorgeous, and at The Tides in Miami, she recently used screens to add architectural dimension and reflection to perfection:

The kitchen - bravura modern provencial?

In her guest house, she used furniture and light fixtures are full of curves and shine...

At The Tides, the furniture definitely departs somewhat from classic Hollywood Regency lines and has the curves going on as well. It seems to be a transition zone between Hollywood Regency and Art Deco, which is fitting considering the hotel's history. The gilt and glam of Regency style have carried over into new shapes in the furniture and fixtures. She toned the overall look down by using neutral palettes:

Finally, the details. Wearstler's line for Bergdorf's starts with and then springs off from a glam Regency look:

In her guesthouse, these types of objects are a crazy mix, with oversized objects one would not think of as tablescape material. I actually really dig these mixes:

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle. This whole post came to me last night when I saw this picture of The Coral Bar at The Tides in Vogue. It seemed to be the perfect result of all this experimentation. Chic Miami bar with Art Deco history meets Wearstler. I had trouble finding many pictures of this online, but here's one from

Side Note: It was interesting to see Kelly with her hair down and uncrimped wearing jeans in the Domino spread. Even her pale lavender shirt complements the room's color palette. It's like she lets the room take the spotlight, while on Top Design she expresses herself through the way she styles her look. By the way, if history has taught us anything, "bravura" will soon become a hot eBay keyword for sure!

top photo from Vogue via
guesthouse photos by Melanie Acevedo from
photos of The Tides from


shanon said...

Gosh, I do know for certain that I love the colors. I suppose I don't have to "get" what she's doing, if she's doing it in her own house. Right?

edit: I am a sucker for different, so I'm already starting to like many of the elements... LoL

thebubbreport said...

Shanon, the more I look at it, the more elements I like, even though I can't see myself living in it. It's funny, after writing this today, my Elle Decor arrived, and I started to see elements of bravura slipping in. Once again, KW is ahead of the trend!

Charlie @ So Lovely said...

I'm not a fan, its not original. She needs to give credit, where credit is due. Lets start with thanking DAVID HICKS.

thebubbreport said...

As long as she doesn't have to credit India for being his offspring. :) I think she's one of the designers of today who brought Hicks inspiration back to the forefront in a really bold and modern way. Jonathan Adler did as well.

thebubbreport said...

Charlie, I think that tablescape from her guesthouse is David Hicks on crank!

VisuaLingual said...

Wow, some of the juxtapositions in the guesthouse are making my eyes bleed, but some of the elements on their own, or in more pared down surroundings, could be great. A guesthouse is the perfect laboratory for a designer, since no one spends a long stretch of time in it [or, they're not supposed to].

Kenneth said...


I'd appreciate if you can give me some feedback on our site:

I realize that you are home decor-modern design connoisseur :) I'd like to hear your opinion/feedback on our products. Also, it'd be swell if you can place our tulip table on your blog.

Thank you,


thebubbreport said...

Um, Kenneth/Nancy, You didn't leave an email address, so there is no way to contact you except through this forum.

I don't understand. Are these licensed reproductions? I think if they were, they would have the official names. I am not a fan of such flagrant rip-offs of original designs. I would only buy a licensed piece myself. If they are unlicensed, they are the equivalent of a cheap Canal Street Louis Vuitton handbag.