Kelly Wearstler designed Santa Monica Proper Hotel to be genuinely “California cool”

July 6, 2021



Daniel Lampa

For years, Santa Monica has been so deserving of a hotel that genuinely represents “California Cool,” and it finally got one through Kelly Wearstler.

Maximalist Interior  Icon Kelly Weastler  designed the interiors of  The Santa Monica Proper Hotel, which opened its doors in the summer of 2019. Located at 700 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, California, it was built on a 1920s-era Spanish Colonial Revival-style building which used to be known as the Santa Monica Professional Building, designed by Arthur E. Harvey. It has been restored to its original glory, crafted from the Moorish details and baroque embellishments from the exterior, furnishing it up with luxurious materials on the inside creating a beautiful proportion.The new building at the back, designed by local architect Howard Laks, exerts a contemporary style of sleek minimalism, characterized by undulating glass and concrete facades, which contrast to the older structure.

Santa monica hotel proper

Santa Monica proper hotel

Two hundred seventy-one rooms, decorated in sandy, earthy tones, and textures of the Santa Monica coastline are split across the old and new buildings. In the restored wing, Kelly Wearstler plays up the retro aspect with floral wallpaper and deco lights. The new wing features a more contemporary design with exposed concrete walls and sculptural mid-century furniture. The only thing common in all the rooms of both wings is the curved headboard in the hotel rooms, a radius headboard that reminded the designer of the California sunset.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

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Santa Monica Proper Hotel

The Santa Monica Proper Hotel reception highlights functional terracotta and fiberglass chair-vase by emerging designer Chris Wolston. At the lobby, a must-see is a cozy library nook called The Grotto, where visitors can get to lounge in the iconic Soriana Sofa and Ottoman Designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa. The shelves have books that the designer curated and sourced from her favorite book stores such as The Strand, The Last Bookstore and even 1stdibs. Making sure to include her favorite titles and have a thematic curation with a seaside, art, and nature thread. Santa Monica Proper was harmoniously done to create an intimate and personalized space that would replicate what you might find in someone’s long-lived-in beachside residence.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

The Beautiful artworks and installations result from custom collaborations with many artists from Los Angeles like Bradley Duncan, Morgan Peck, Ben Medansky, and Len Klikunas. “Bulbous” pieces of furniture in sandy and earthy palettes were placed strategically beside sleek mid-century pieces in organic textures like marble and wood. You can’t miss the deep rust-colored couches that pop up along the floor paired with eclectic coffee tables that make a playful statement and add visual interest. The mixture of both new and vintage pieces adds to the layered aesthetic and sense of the unexpected.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Kelly Wearstler has mastered juxtaposing styles from a range of eras and risk-taking aesthetics. She says that her aesthetic is constantly evolving, and each project she is a part of is uniquely based on the client’s vision. It’s all about alchemy and layering in her vision, giving each of her projects a unique story.

Notes about the Contributor

Daniel Lampa

Art enthusiast and into Fashion, French Culture, Mid-century modern design and spends a lot of his time curating his home in Manila and LA. He lives with his 3 dogs, Coco, Yohji and Junya.

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