Art Deco Revival

From floor to ceiling, being bold and striking, deep and geometric, injects personality into a home’s every nook

Written by Karine Monie

Internationally acclaimed, Los Angeles-based designer Kelly Wearstler is known for using bright colors, striking patterns and bold furniture in dream interiors. Her aesthetic is about mixology—the juxtaposition of contemporary and classic, masculine and feminine, raw and refined—and she has a great passion for art history. According to Wearstler, important vintage and soulful historical reference points lend such spirit to a space. One of Wearstler’s favorite art history movements is Art Deco, a style that originated in France, and was most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. In contrast to minimalistic design trends, Art Deco finds its foundation in geometric shapes, rich colors and strong angles.

Using interiors featuring black-and-white patterns and abstract designs—as in this 11,000-square-foot home on Mercer Island in Washington—Wearstler epitomizes the renaissance of everything glamour and opulent. She considers that there is no substitute for history in a space and that design is storytelling. The tension of opposites has always been innately sexy to her and she wants to tell a story that is adventurous, unexpected and special.

Common in Art Deco is making a big statement though decoration, which is achieved both through the use of sleek surfaces—such as lacquer, gold, steel and polished wood—and light fixtures, including chandeliers, sconces and floor lamps. In every project designed by Wearstler, lighting is integral to the mood and look of a space. The pieces from her collection are transitional, chic and distinctive in any environment. They carry a cohesive voice that allows for any combination of styles.

Sophisticated and timeless at the same time, a black-and-white palette adds a sense of drama to any interior space, and perfectly matches with gold and brass touches, as well as with mirrored furnishings and accessories. Combining different textures to create layers results in a luxury aesthetic that makes the most of the symmetrical designs typical of Art Deco design.

In this private residence, Wearstler reveals a daring mélange of historical references and contemporary influences, marrying elements of cubist furniture, pistachio green millwork and handmade brass railings.

Taking risks by using large-scale pieces of furniture, and exploring contrasts through colors and patterns, are some of Wearstler’s secrets to playing with maximalist Art Deco style. She has always been drawn to pattern, be it a beautifully tiled floor, a hand-painted wall covering, or an iconic rug. When it comes to pattern in a space, Wearstler thinks one adage applies: the dose makes the poison.

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