Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Domicilium Decoratus

This time last year my highly anticipated copy of Kelly Wearstler's Domicilium Decoratus, published by Harper Collins, arrived in the mail. When I opened it, I was immediately drawn to the lush detail shots of her Hillcrest Estate, such as the one above, with the amazing chunky turquoise and Chinese brushes juxtaposed against the bronze figure. I still can't seem to get enough of those greens and blues.

But many design-mad Wearstler fans seemed to have had a rather dramatic reaction to the book -- they either loved it or hated it. What was your reaction?

In interviews Wearstler has mentioned Doris Duke and Tony Duquette as sources of inspiration, and I definitely see their influence here in the many collected objects, along with a little Billy Haines. Now I'm anxious for the release this year of Wearstler's third title for Harper Collins, which is supposed to feature her latest 1920s Georgian-style residence.


pinkmohair said...

I, personally, didn't love the way she was posed on display, sort of "Look how gorgeous my house is, but I'm even more beautiful." It seemed superfluous and self-indulgent. It's her book, though, and she can do what she likes. I, too, loved the green brushes and have noticed them at antique stores since. They would make a lovely vignette in a room.

Anna said...

Hi Courtney, I received a signed copy of Domicilium Decoratus from a very close friend of mine and I was in awe of the book for weeks after I received it. I think it will be a collectors item in years to come and I treasure it very much. Her design style in this house is very interesting and will certainly go down in my thoughts as an iconic piece of design. That's just my thoughts.

Stefan said...

I bought this book after all the rave reviews and LOVED it. I agree with pinkmohair though that her posing in a lot of the pictures was a little...ridiculous and took away from the beautiful rooms. However, I LOVE this book and can't wait for her new book out this year!!!

style court said...

Editor's Note: Only comments related to Wearstler's design can be published here, to keep this site appropriate for young students who visit. But many thanks to everyone who is taking time to share their thoughts!

style court said...

Below is an excerpt from a comment posted by "Birdy"

"I have to say I was initially a little disappointed in DD since it was such a departure from the bold and graphic Holllywood Regency style featured in Modern Glamour (which I LOVED!). But DD has grown on me mostly for the sheer gutsiness and lavishness of the Hillcrest Estate. It was still eye-candy for sure, I just happen to crave spaces that are well-edited and have a more cohesive feel. Which is why Wearstler's commercial and retail environments are way more compelling than her residential spaces (in my opinion). Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Wearstler fan. Her work is absolutely inspiring. For instance, the previews of her work for the Tides Palm Beach that you posted look gorgeous.

As for the stilted ball-gown poses, I actually found them sort of funny (if a little self-absorbed). I'm sure they were meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I hope."

style court said...

Hi Birdy,

I agree. I think the shots were meant to be fanciful and tongue-in-cheek.


IzzyLu said...

I love that she never does anything that does not scream Kelly Wearstler. I did not know she had another book in the works. Something else to add to my wish list!

Anything else but a ball gown in that library would look out of place.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love her sense of color and her attention to fine details. My only disappointment is that now the Hollywood Regency style and her updated Billy Haines/Doris Duke interpretation is becoming trendy. I hate to see things that are unique and special become mainstream because then they loose their special-ness.


style court said...

You said it! I feel exactly the same way. Others are copying the KWID look and often doing it, to me at least, in sort of a heavy-handed, almost vulgar way.

Kelly Weasrstler seems to keep stretching in new diirections though, to remain unexpected. That's why I can't wait to see her new projects :)