Kelly Wearstler is behind some of the most artfully appointed rooms and outfits in the world, so it’s no wonder that her biggest inspiration is modern art and artists. Her house and office is filled with literally hundreds of books on all topics and the library in her home is easily her favorite room in the house. Though she finds books on and by painters and the natural world the most influential to her work in interior design and fashion, Kelly admits that some of the prints in her spring ’13 collection are riffs on patterns of minerals and crystals she found in a book from the ’70s on the racks of her library. So, on the eve of the publication of her fourth book, Rhapsody, we asked Kelly to dish on her favorite books of all time; make sure you check out all of her picks plus don’t miss out on the exclusive opportunity to win a copy of her brand new book before everybody else!

  • Kelly's Top 5 Books:

    The Magic of M. C. Escher by J.L. Locker

    Picasso and the War Years

    Anything featuring Wasily Kandinsky

    Jean-Michel Basquiat by Dieter Buchhart and Glenn O'Brien

    Calder's Universe by Alexander Calder

  • Rhapsody Giveaway:

    Kelly's newest title, Rhapsody, goes on sale tomorrow, but we're giving away an exclusive copy today! Just tell us in the comments of the story what the most inspiring book you've ever read and why and the answer that sparks our creativity the most will win this beautiful tome!

Meet our October guest editor, the mutli-talented interior designer and fashion designer  Kelly Wearstler!

From our friends


  1. The most inspiring book I have ever read is It’s Kind of a Funny Story because at the time I was reading it I had just found out I had depression and I was doing really bad. The book is about a teenage boy that becomes suicidal because of his depression. I was just really able to relate to all the problems he was going through. He was dealing with lots of problems in school and I felt that he was kind of telling my story but through the eyes of a boy in high school (while I was in first year university). I cried so much during the book and kind of guided me. I know it probably sounds so cheesy but it really did help me to see someone, even if he is fictional, be in the same situation I was in and able to get better.

    Nicole W | 10.22.2012 | Reply
  2. The book that I have been most inspired by is by John Waters, called Role Models. While the title itself doesn’t make for much of a standout in terms of hinting at the books diversity, all it takes is the turn of one page to realize that it is a journey through the mind of a deeply interesting and talented man. The greatest quality of the book is that it provides a close examination of beauty (in the form of anti-beauty, esoteric characterizations: complete with the examination of fashion such as Comme des Garçons, cultural references like Little Richard, etc.). The author’s close friendships with a pretty diverse and colorful group of people is thrillingly executed. It helps one remember to look at some of the most fantastic things in life that might be right in front of your face, and might be ugly/beautiful.

    Garrett H | 10.22.2012 | Reply
  3. My inspiration book is called UnBridaled ~ The Marriage of Traditional and Avent Garde. Even though it is a wedding book in the sense of the title, it is chock full of the most inspiring photos I have ever seen. Models in the most exquisite gowns, the unexpected props, the soft lighting, the product placement of the Swarovski crystals so hidden in a photo yet it seems to bring the photo to life! This coffee table book is brings a highly contemporary, fashion-forward sensibility to the time-honored wedding ritual, whilst also sparking worldwide cross-fertilization of traditional celebration, creative invention and modern design interpretation.

    stephanee | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  4. The most inspiring book I have read recently is the Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Before Mr. Pollan’s discriptions of his meanderings in search of food, I had never really thought of how food arrived at my table other than “organic: or not. What an eye-opener to learn so much about the the realities of today’s food “chains:” industrialized food, alternative (including organic) food, and food you bring to your table yourself by hunting, foraging or gardening. I have greatly changed my food-sourcing habits, really thinking about each item I buy and how its “coming to be” has impact on not only my health but the health and well-being of the environment and others, including animals and other people. One of the biggest changes I have made is to re-think what “organic” really means and focusing my choices instead on “organic AND sustainable” food. I’ve also gone foraging, a completely satisfying and mindful activity – highly recommended!

    The Tasty Companion | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  5. I’ve read many books that have impact, but one that I consider truly inspiring is “Ultramarathon Man: confessions of an All Night runner” by Dean Karnazes. In it, Dean talks about how he manages to push his body to the limits of ultramarathon running, and to learn how to push beyond my comfort zones. It reminds me that most of what we suffer through is both body and mind, and only through the balance of both halves will we be able to succeed.

    erika klein | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  6. The most inspiring book i ever read is “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was separated from my husband and in this process became severly depressed. I have a cousin that is a meditator and big in to Bhudism, he introduced me to meditation and asked me to travel with him to Italy to a meditation retreat where in w few weeks i got off of all of my medication. I have become a more spiritual person and a meditate on a regular basis. Our paths with her are very similar and a lot of things that happened to her I had a similar experience. It felt good to know I was not alone. I am now a changed person as a result of many things that happened along the way.

    Eleina | 10.24.2012 | Reply
    • These are so beautiful!!! I love your post prsnesoicg! I haven’t been lucky enough to be do any pregnancy shoots, but I will definitely keep yours in mind when the time comes!! Thanks for swingin’ by my little corner of the interweb!!!

      Miixzs | 12.15.2012 | Reply
  7. I read Clean by Dr. Junger. It changed the way I think about Western medicine. How we wait until we are so much in pain that we go to the doctor or hospital and then the “make us feel better” by relieving the pain, but not necessarily telling us what we need to change about our lives. I’ve always been a picky eater… trust me, I’d rather not be, it’s annoying. I basically would never eat vegetables except raw carrots. After reading Clean I immediately went out an bought a juicer. Even though I didn’t go through the entire cleanse, it got me started in eating — or drinking rather — my veggies. Now I regularly drink a giant glass of kale, spinach, broccoli, lemon, cucumber, celery, and sometimes pear, apple and pineapple juice. I’m much more conscious of my health and vegetable intake, and obviously juicing since it’s the only way I get enough veggies. In addition to juicing, Kelly is my ultimate design inspiration, so I’m loving your series with her!

    Meg Biram | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  8. The most inspiring book that I have ever read is the 4th Edition Lonely Planet “Travel Survival Kit of India”. I purchased this book in 1992, two years into what ended up being a six year odyssey around the globe. Now, when I flick through this travel guide and read my notations scrawled throughout the book, I’m reminded of the intense curiosity that allowed me to jump, unafraid into the unknown over and over again. I have traveled the globe, created a family, built a solid marriage and forged a career, and now I find myself suddenly unemployed. This book, indeed all of my dog-eared travel guides, remind me of who I am. I am not defined by my career. Instead, I am shaped by the sounds, colors, tastes and beauty of cultures other than my own, and this has allowed me to encourage and inspire my children to pursue their own wonderful life adventures.

    Julie Scott | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  9. I immediately think of the book ” Carlo Scarpa Architect: Intervening With History” probably because Kelly Wearstler’s work reminds me of the work of Carlo Scarpa. The book reveals the genius of a person who gave an incredible amount of attention to detail in the built environment and created spaces that are both poetic and timeless. The environments he created are transformational to the person experiencing them, even a point of connection, such as a piece of metal hardware to wood can be magical. People who can take the time to focus on the details of anything to the degree of intensity that he did, while respecting nature, history, and other people are always inspiring to me. Taking the time to do what you do masterfully while respecting and enjoying the world around you is a great achievement, no matter what field.

    Sheila | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  10. My “library” is easily my favorite space in my life too. There is magic that radiates forth from each and every tome, a calling to be inspired, to travel, to dream, to even live lives over a course of days that shake us to our very core and ask us to step up and start living an even better life than we did yesterday. I have so many countless favorites that I return to, as well as lost treasures that I have not thought of since the last time that I moved and decided that my life could not be parted with this delight despite the effort in bringing it along. And although my answer to this question may seem a frivolous one, I indeed do have many a “serious” book on my shelves. But here I would like to speak about “Dr. Ernest Drake’s Dragonology Handbook: A Practical Course in Dragons”. It is delicious beyond measure and contains some of the most inspiring illustrations of the recent age. It is a reminder that our imagination fuels the possibilities that we bring into our life, regardless of our age. As an artisan, it is a calling to remember that all the details are so very important and that talent is a showing and a marketing in and of itself, without the need for extensive advertising to cover up all of the flaws that wouldn’t be there had we taken the time and love to create from the depth of our souls. It is my loving connection of inspiration with my 6 year-old nephew. Serendipitously, it is also my inspiration behind renewing my connection to my greater community through my art, and in creating works representative of our disconnect from such and how it hurts every one of us on the inside. And finally, this wonderful tome was a catalyst for my return to personal spiritual growth due to my need for balance in my life, a call to celebrate the simple and delightful in everyday and to find greater meaning in how I decide to show up every day. Thank you for the opportunity for sharing one of my greatest delights with you all – irregardless of if you can see the amazing connections that I draw from this charming book, or not. For it has been said that a book is not complete until it has been read. The reader affects the passages just as much as the writer had – and as such opens the doors of possibility, creation and inspiration in their own lives simply by opening the covers of a book with an open heart.

    Alanna Jane | 10.24.2012 | Reply
  11. What inspired most and changed the my life style wasn’t a book. It was the Brundtland Report. It opened my eyes to what environmental consumerism is doing before us. With this as the spark I started looking into more where the things we consume comes from. I started watching Ted Talks about the ethics of materials. It changed the way I shop, eat and see the how the world works pretty much. It made me look beyond the U.S. and into developing countries such as “Garbage City” Zabbaleen. It’s amazing that these people live in the world’s garbage and barely anyone acknowledges this.

    Christine Phu | 10.24.2012 | Reply

    The Chalkboard | 10.26.2012 | Reply
    • Thank you so much Chalkboard team! I’m thrilled to be receiving Rhapsody. I love Kelly’s edgy and glamorous style and can’t wait to see her new book. Julie

      Julie Scott | 10.26.2012 | Reply

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