Kelly Wearstler – Creative Powerhouse

When one thinks of interior design, Kelly Wearstler’s name is certain to come up. The eclectic interior designer is world-renowned for her bold and vibrant designs, all of which have unique stories. Born in South Carolina, USA, she received her degree in interior and graphic design from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, after which she moved to LA to look for a job. However, after taking on an unplanned gig, she ended up launching her own practice instead. It has now been over 25 years since Wearstler founded her studio, and there has been no looking back since.

Interviews with Architects: MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler by MasterClass - Sheet1
Kelly Wearstler_©

Apart from having completed a wide range of high-end residential, hotel, commercial, and retail projects, she also has several product collaborations with prominent manufacturers like Bergdorf Goodman, The Rug Company, and Lee Jofa under her belt that are testimony to her design prowess. Wearstler also has her own line of furniture and accessories and is a published author of five design books. The design powerhouse is the recipient of several accolades – Architectural Digest’s AD 100, Time Magazine The Design 100, Elle Décor’s A-List, and Wallpaper Magazine Top 20 – to name a few. 

Masterclass – Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design

Interviews with Architects: MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler by MasterClass - Sheet2

In 2020, Wearstler launched her Interior Design course on MasterClass, an educational streaming platform that boasts 80+ classes taught by the world’s best and most accomplished individuals in each field. Needless to say, her class generated a lot of interest and was very well received from the audience. MasterClass launched a new initiative where members can interact directly with the instructors. The 1-hour long “MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler | MasterClass“ is part of this initiative in which Wearstler is interviewed by Serena Smith, Senior Creative Producer at Masterclass, where she answers questions asked by MasterClass members. The viewer gets to first-hand observe how Wearstler analyses and solves design problems while answering questions from the Masterclass members, which simultaneously provides insight into her thought process and design philosophy.

Style and Design Philosophy 

Interviews with Architects: MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler by MasterClass - Sheet3
Santa Monica Proper Hotel_©
Hillcrest Residence_©
Hillcrest Residence_©

For Wearstler, each design has a story to tell – a house’s design is telling of the homeowner’s personality, taste, and hobbies, while a restaurant’s design speaks of its cuisine or even the restaurant’s location. While the highly sought-after designer works on primarily high–end projects, she believes that good design is democratic, and in its essence, should make you feel good in your daily life – whether that is at home, a restaurant, or a hotel. Aesthetic and functionality should be in synergy and need to go hand in hand – the experience of the space is as dependent on the placement of the furniture or the type and size of lighting, as it is on the design itself. 

The Interview – Design the Wearstler Way

Interviews with Architects: MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler by MasterClass - Sheet5

Considering that the entire world was under lockdown for most of 2020, and people were spending more time at home than ever before, this live interview session is filled with insightful advice from Wearstler covering a broad range of topics – including setting up a home office, redoing living rooms, and even designing a bachelor pad. Out of the multiple topics discussed, some particularly interesting ones are – creating a guest bedroom and gym in a singular space, and doing up rentals on a budget. In the case of creating a guestroom-cum-gym, Wearstler’s key advice for creating cohesive multi-use spaces is to use versatile pieces that serve multiple purposes. A sofa-cum-bed saves space, while also creating a sense of place when put along with a small table and lamp. A folding screen can separate the different functions of the room by hiding the gym equipment while also adding colour and pattern to the space. For doing up rental spaces, colour can play a big role in transforming a space – which can be implemented through painted walls and art pieces. It is also important to curate the space to make it uniquely yours, which can be done by buying home furnishings from a variety of shops like flea markets or yard sales over a period of time, which is also economical. 

Interviews with Architects: MasterClass Live with Kelly Wearstler by MasterClass - Sheet6

During the interview, Wearstler also analyzed photos of specific spaces, sent in by members, to provide design solutions. Her process of analyzing the space to narrow down the problem areas and providing multiple quick, easy, and effective solutions to the members in a matter of minutes spoke tremendously of her wealth of knowledge, experience, and expert eye for detail. 

Takeaways from the Interview | Kelly Wearstler

Wearstler’s interview with MasterClass gives the audience a short glimpse into the mind and working of the celebrity designer. It is an incredibly interesting and informative watch for all – regardless of one’s professional background. Wearstler possesses the unique ability to explain her complex design processes and thinking in an engaging and easy to understand manner for laymen. Designers will find this interview equally compelling, as it will provide them with a chance to hear one of the best interior designers in the present-day talk about her inspiration, design philosophy, studio culture, client interactions, and design solutions targeted towards tackling specific problems and spaces. Considering the large number of design topics she succeeding in educating her audience on in the short duration of an hour, one can only imagine how informative and enlightening her MasterClass would be, which consists of 17 different lessons – all of which cover the steps in her design process in detail. 


Vidhi Agarwal is a practicing architect and designer, striving to be a better person and architect every day. She loves reading fiction, exploring new cities, finding the next best spot for brunch, and drinking coffee. For her, architecture is about resilience and optimism, capable of limitless positive change.