Designer's seaside home a sanctuary for quality family time
Kelly Wearstler's seaside home on Malibu beach in California is a resort-style peaceful haven. It embodies the American designer's inherent connection to nature.
"I love to be surrounded by nature and the outdoors, particularly the ocean," Wearstler said.
"I spend most weekends here enjoying quality family time. During high tides, the waves come crashing underneath the house – it feels like we are on a boat."
She said California holds a special place in her heart.
"When I was growing up, I always knew that I would end up there – it was like a subconscious dream of mine. It takes time to find the right home where the energy feels good. We knew this one was it. My favorite time of day is when my family and I settle into the open-plan living room, chatting about what happened in our days, playing games, and watching the sunset over the Pacific."
When she purchased the property in 2010, she kicked off a complete gut renovation.
"It's truly lovingly done. We opened up the second-floor plate to create this amazing energy on the ground floor that then opens up to the bedrooms on the second floor. We placed a beautiful 5.5-meter-tall ficus tree in the center – we actually had to have it craned in. Placed in the heart of the home, it gets a lot of love every day and introduces so much natural energy into the space. Across the ficus tree, we have a stunning sculptural staircase that my studio and I designed," Wearstler said.
The first floor is opened up, creating a terraced effect that steps down to the panoramic window of the view of the ocean.
"Our home is 6 meters from the sea, so I wanted to create a conversation between the outdoor and the interior. The first thing one sees upon entering the house is the incredible resin cornucopia that I found in a garden of a home in Miami during an estate sale – it is monumental and had developed this incredible patina, which really spoke to the Malibu coastline," she said.
"We included an incredible fireplace made of a stunning marble which has this beautiful movement, echoing the ocean we look out onto. These large installations of marble create a feeling reminiscent of walking on a beach."
"With every space I design, I always begin by taking a moment to consider the surroundings of the building – drawing inspiration from what is outside the window and creating a seamless conversation between the interior and exterior. The vibe is inspired by vintage 1970s California. I chose materials and a color palette that felt raw and refined, synonymous with things one would find on the beach," Wearstler said.
She wanted all the textures and colors of the Malibu house to be organic, natural shades that spoke to the Malibu coastline.
"Drawing inspiration from the surrounding coastal landscape, I selected a color story of tonal blondes and rich woods that brought a considered quiet, yet extraordinary sensual experience into the home. The neutral color palette is also transitional, allowing the ocean view to take center stage upon entering. Depending on the time of the day, the sea might be a slate grey or deep blue."
Wearstler infused the space with natural calm; the incredible marble, vintage finds and inspirational artworks – all set against the blue of the Pacific Ocean.
Composed of connecting elements, from bleached walnut flooring to a natural color palette of quiet whites and rich woods, the living room, kitchen, and dining room flow into one another, evoking the same openness one feels when on a beach.
"The open layout is illuminated by incredible natural light. The ambiance transitions throughout the day and creates a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. We spend a lot of time in the living room playing games such as chess, poker, and backgammon until the sun sets, at which time we will transition to the kitchen and dining area," Wearstler said.
The open-plan living room is punctuated with defined spaces – the dining room is at one end, with the living room at the other.
"I wanted to make sure that all of the furniture in the house was quite low, so the view of the ocean was not obstructed," Wearstler said. "I love the dining table, which is a custom piece I made in a stone veneer. At the end of the room hangs one of my favorite artworks, which I found during a trip to London and has been at the house since we moved in.
"My home interiors continue to evolve as I come across designs that inspire me, whilst sourcing vintage and contemporary works for projects and traveling. My home is an expressive take on the spirit of my family, imbued with timeless pieces that exude their own individual personalities and together create an interesting dialogue.
"I love to play around with the designs in our home, changing the composition or introducing new pieces. For this project, I selected a number of furnishings that presented soft and rounded silhouettes, similar to a shell or the smooth edges of a pebble," she said.