Renowned Designer Kelly Wearstler Shares Her Recent Passion Project - Her Family Home

This spectacular creation is the current incarnation of the Wearstler-Korzen residence - the family home for the past fifteen years

Originally built in 1926 as a Spanish Colonial Revival, it was remodelled five years later by “architect to the stars” James E. Dolena in a classic Georgian style. Shares Kelly Wearstler, “We bought it from the Broccoli family (Cubby Broccoli created and produced the James Bond films), but had to reassure them that we wouldn’t tear it down. We did embark upon an extensive renovation of all structures on the property, including the pool and gardens, and added a wing onto the home to accommodate the needs of our family. We were intent on preserving the historical integrity of the home, and took steps to ensure it was listed as a historic property and protected going forward.” She continues. “It is truly magnificent, with several smaller structures, including a guesthouse and pool house that was once used as a cinema. The two-story main house retains many original, refined details, from the intricate Georgian, Federal, and Neoclassical mouldings, to the handsome marble bathrooms and even the solid, boiserie panelled doors. Viewed from above, the house is a square shape with an internal courtyard that can be seen from almost every room in the home, which often makes it feel like we’re living in a tree house.”

Wearstler shares that the interiors have evolved as she continues to discover and fall in love with new artists and artisans every day, and uses her home as a creative laboratory to experiment with their works. She reveals. “My eye has become more educated and refined with time, and I actively seek out pieces that are unusual or rare - the anomalies of the world - to create a global assemblage of unique and important pieces of furniture, furnishings, and art. It remains true to my belief in mixing styles, eras, and mediums, bringing together the stars of the past with today’s emerging artists to create environments - indoors and out - that are at once inviting, comfortable, and evocative.

Dating back to 1926, the majestic residence features a landscaped interior courtyard with majestic cypress trees and manicured greenery, which can be viewed from most rooms. Entering the space, a period-appropriate skylight is prominent in the entryway, while an interesting architectural detail sheds natural light into the rotunda, illuminating unique pieces such as a sculptural metal chair from the 1980s, a circular table by Jordanian artists and a Louis Durot mirror. As a master of illuminating contrasts, Wearstler has showcased this art with flair: alternating black and white stripes of her Lineage chair, crafted from honed Nero Marquina and white marble, stands in stark contrast with the home’s period mouldings on the wall it is set against but simultaneously echoes their horizontal line. Its angular shape speaks to the geometry of the stone floor of the rotunda, a combination of marbles with colours chosen to mimic those in the courtyard just outside this area. 

Standout pieces shine at the home in every turn. In the living room. An angular vintage Dolores chair by Dutch designer Rob Eckhardt is one of a pair, while in an adjacent corner of that same light filled room houses a mid-century French credenza. Doors painted in black and white are set underneath a painting by Los Angeles-and Boise based artist Len Klikunas, and a sculptural leather bench. In the rest of the space, the living room was largely left intact with the exception of a black marble fireplace which was added. This is an honoured pride of place opposite a large, plate glass window, which offers views of the pool, pool house, manicured garden and iconic Los Angeles palm trees. 

While the house, at one thousand four hundred square feet is vast, it has only two stories, which are accessed by multiple staircases. But the piece de resistance is the grandest one, a sweeping structure featuring curvaceous ironwork typical of the Georgian era. 

Wearstler explains that the Music Room - so named for the record player and a collection of vintage vinyl housed within - is one of the more intimate spaces within the home, yet anchored by a pair of build, red club chairs by Vldamir Kagan, flanking a table by Los Angeles-based artist Garry Knox Bennett. The Rosa Alicante marble top of Pelle Studio’s Lost & Found table seems to float over its radial pattern of solid brass supports, and to its left sits a wrinkled stool by Omaha based artist, Christopher Prinz. 

Meanwhile, the Garden Room, is so named as it cantilevers out to the outdoors, into a veritable forest of fragrant eucalyptus trees, giving the effect of lounging in a tree house. While the wood panelling is original to the home, it is now painted the colour of tree trunks to stylistically dialogue with the landscape. 

Words: Sphere Editorial
Published on May 24, 2024