Design & Style, Home & Lifestyle

Materiality in Design

Kelly Wearstler

Lesson time 13:02 min

Wood, stone, tile, and metal are some of Kelly’s favorite materials. Discover how to create what she calls a “vibe tray” to play with materials and keep your project fluid.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Materials Are Dynamic · Problem-Solving · Take Risks · Alternatives to High-End Materials


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So in this lesson, we're going to talk about architectural materials and just materiality in general and why it's so important to me and to all of the projects that I do. Here, I have many different trays. We have stone, mirror, tile, metal, woods, and paint and plasters. And at every project, this is how I start. So for example, this is a new project. And we're starting a vibe tray. I call these vibe trays. A vibe tray is my lingo on how I organize a project. Each project has its own tray per room. This could be the living room. Every material, whether it's the stone or the wood being used on the hardwood floor or the metal, goes in this tray. And I like to keep it loose because the projects are always evolving. The client could say, you know what? I went to my friend's house, and I saw this great wood on their kitchen island. And so we want to keep it evolving and flexible. We're going to build out a vibe tray that is for a residential project. And it's a bathroom. It's a his and hers bathroom, and it's quite large. And the client wants something warm. This is a viola, which has a lot of movement. I started gathering this beautiful redstone. And then here, we have a beautiful peach color. And we can actually scan these stones and we can put them in Photoshop. And we can immediately see which one feels the most successful. The ceiling, we know is going to be plaster and a portion of the wall. I feel that this red one is going to seem quite heavy in the space. And I think this stone is going to have quite a bit of movement, but I think it'll be beautiful. Now that we've gotten to the point where we've gathered some of the stones, we're going to look at what the cabinetry and any millwork that's in the room. This is a blackened oak sample that has a really refined texture that could look really nice as the millwork. This oak sample that has been bleached, which I actually really like because it has a nice dialogue with the plaster and will feel lighter in the realm. This dark is going to be a statement. Then looking at that, what is the metal color? And things to consider, what are the plumbing fixtures that we-- we have this burnished brass, really delicate, simple, modern silhouette. So what will the cabinet handles be? Maybe we want to coordinate the color of the metal. But I'm open because I love mixing metals. So looking at does this color work with this oak, or perhaps do we want it a little more quiet with the handles, which is more simple in the space. Mixing metals is amazing. I mean, look, jewelry. Like, you just mix metal. I love it. And I think it adds interest. It's a natural material, and they all actually tell a really wonderful story. If we're going to select this stone, this viola stone, and we're going to put it on the walls, I might want to do a different stone on the floor. And maybe it's going to be something richer, or maybe it's going to be a stone that's a little lighter. No...

About the Instructor

Eclectic and experiential, Kelly Wearstler’s style helped redefine modern American design and influenced the rise of designer hotels. Now the award-winning designer takes you behind the scenes to demystify interior design. Make any space feel larger, and choose colors, materials, and textures with confidence. Curate collections of art and objects, cultivate your own distinct style, and create spaces that tell a story.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Kelly Wearstler

Award-winning designer Kelly Wearstler teaches you interior design techniques to make any space more beautiful, creative, and inspiring.

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