Kelly Wearstler’s Malibu Surf Shack is adorned with “rustic and raw” decor


Interior designer Kelly Wearstler has turned a 1950s beach house in Southern California into a bohemian retreat for herself and her family.


The project, called the Malibu Surf Shack, involved an interior renovation of a four-bedroom house designed in 1953 by an unknown architect. The wood-paneled house is located in Broad Beach, which stretches along the Pacific Ocean.

Above: Photo is from Ingalls Photography. Above: Malibu Surf Shack is clad in wood. Photo is from Mark Durling Photography

The 395-square-meter house previously belonged to American actor Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker in the 1970s television series All in the Family.

The property had been in the market for several years when Wearstler – who runs an LA studio of the same name – decided to rent it for the summer. She set out to create a comfortable working environment for herself and her surfing family.

The house was sold after the owner photographed it with Wearstler’s decor.

The house is in Broad Beach
The rooms are equipped with versatile furnishing elements. Photo is from Ingalls Photography

“I first got to know the property through a friend who stayed nearby three years ago and took me to visit,” said Wearstler. “It was an architectural gem – a hidden surf hut.”

Wearstler drew on the property’s original details, including Japanese Shoji screens. The wooden wall paneling of the house was retained, but the shaggy carpet was replaced with seaweed.

The rooms were filled with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary pieces.

“I was inspired by the architectural shell of the house – its earthy and rustic tones,” says the designer. “I wanted to choose objects that were handmade, rustic, and raw.”

The rooms were filled with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary pieces by Kelly Wearstler
Plants are included throughout the house. Photo is from Ingalls Photography

In the entrance area, a bench made of bronze and leather by Chuck Moffit is paired with a chunky console made of blackened wood from the LA Studio Base 10. Under a staircase you will find a steel chair draped in white plaster – a piece by the Austrian designer Lukas Gschwandtner.

In the living room, Wearstler placed a Soriana sofa by Afra and Tobia Scarpa and a lamp from the 1950s by American designer Mitchell Bobrick. The dining area – conceived as a light-flooded solarium – has an Isamu Noguchi pendant, mid-century Danish chairs, and a leafy table in vintage fiberglass and earthen planters.

Malibu Surf Shack is a home for Kelly Wearstler and her family
The living room has a lamp from the 1950s. Photo is from Ingalls Photography

The plants include locally harvested sanguisorba, castor oil, and tilandsia that were sourced and arranged by LA florist Sophia Moreno Bunge.

The family room is furnished with lounge chairs by Ilmari Lappalainen, a tapered side table made of Iroko wood and cubic coffee tables with a tortoiseshell look. In Wearstler’s office there is a green marble table by Mario Bellini from the 1980s.

One bedroom at the Malibu Surf Shack has bright colors and casual furnishings
A plaster and paper mache lamp sits on a bedside table. Photo is from Mark Durling Photography

One bedroom has bright colors and casual decor, including linen sheets, a vintage bedside table, and a plaster and paper mache table lamp. A lounge chair by Ryan Belli with a wooden frame and sculptural backrest gives the room a little bit of humor.

The house has an abundance of plants, both inside and outside, that Wearstler selected in collaboration with Bunge, landscape architect Art Luna and the Inner Gardens nursery.

The kitchen of Malibu Surf Shack by Kelly Wearstler
Wooden furniture in the kitchen. Photo is from Mark Durling Photography

Other Wearstler projects include a hotel in Austin with vintage carpets and striking white oak stairs, and a hotel in San Francisco with contradicting colors and patterns.

Earlier this year, the designer released a concept design for a garage to house the LeBron James electric Hummer.

The photography is from Ingalls Photography and Mark Durling Photography.



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