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Kelly Wearstler-designed Downtown L.A. Proper

Kelly Wearstler’s Downtown LA Proper—an Effect Magazine design hotel to watch

There are beautiful hotels – and then there are hotels with beautiful design, where exceptional attention to interiors and architecture elevates the entire experience for their guests. In this edition of our series of hotels for design lovers, we visit the Kelly Wearstler-designed Downtown LA Proper

It all started with a storied structure in the heart of LA’s South Park District with an eclectic past – a Curlett & Beelman-designed 1926 landmark that was once a private club in the 1930s, followed by a hotel in the 1940s and a YWCA up until 2004. Following three years of painstaking restoration, interior designer and Proper’s longstanding collaborator Kelly Wearstler has now transformed the property into a spectacular 148-room destination hotel, the Downtown LA Proper Hotel, and it sure is a sight for sore eyes.

Seamlessly blending the past and present with compelling design, vintage influence and local art, Wearstler used the building’s California renaissance revival style as a starting point, retelling its multifaceted history with a fresh and modern colour palette.

The design of the hotel was greatly inspired by the community – early California, Spanish missions and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Building across the street.

Kelly Wearstler, interior designer

Drawing inspiration from Downtown LA to later vestiges from the 1920s with elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and Moroccan design, guests can feast their eyes on everything rom architectural panelling and marble details to site-specific murals and installations by local talents such as Judson Studios stained glass and ceramicist Morgan Peck.

“The design of the hotel was greatly inspired by the community – early California, Spanish missions and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Building across the street,” says Wearstler.

“The building is also a Historic-Cultural Monument, so we maintained some of the original integrity and fabric, like the window casing and brickwork, while elevating it with contemporary jewel tones, patterns and plasterwork.”

In addition to vintage furniture and rugs, the LA-based designer has also employed more than 100 different kinds of hand-painted and custom tiles throughout the property, providing an intricately textured backdrop that plays host to everything from the hotel’s intimate guests rooms to LA chef Suzanne Goin and restauranteur Caroline Styne’s first floor restaurant, a library lounge and one-of-a-kind suites – one with its own basketball court. What more could you ask for?

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