This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of ELLE DECOR. For more stories from our archive, subscribe to ELLE DECOR All Access.
Cameron Diaz is that rare actress who can rock a surfboard as convincingly as she does the red carpet. Whether riding a rogue wave or a wave of publicity, the towering blond, blue-eyed beauty with the blinding smile oozes glamour both on and off the screen. So it makes sense that when it came time to rethink the interior of her apartment in Manhattan’s West Village, Diaz looked to the West Coast’s reigning queen of razzle-dazzle, Kelly Wearstler, to give the space a healthy dose of Hollywood swagger.
Diaz found a kindred spirit in Wearstler. “I blame my love of sparkly, shiny things on my Cuban roots,” says the Southern California–born actress, who points to the formative years she spent on the beach for her tomboyish ways. “But I also wanted a place that felt very homey, very tactile. Kelly is unparalleled when it comes to striking that mix.”
Diaz—whose breakout role was in the 1998 comedy There’s Something About Mary—owned the 2,400-square-foot prewar apartment for several years before she decided to heed the impulse she had on first seeing the place, which featured all-white rooms done up in a vaguely nautical theme.
“I knew right away that the space needed color,” she says. A professed design freak—she recently took on the role of artistic director for the fashion-accessories label Pour La Victoire—Diaz spent time compiling tear sheets of rooms that she loved rather than hiring a designer right away. “The majority ended up being homes Kelly had done,” Diaz adds. That’s not surprising, given Wearstler’s fondness for spinning the color wheel with abandon through every room she creates. For Diaz’s apartment, it landed on the hues of burnished metals and lustrous minerals: malachite, onyx, rose gold, silver, and copper.
“The palette reflects Cameron herself—it’s innately sexy without being overly flashy,” says Wearstler, who considered Diaz more collaborator than client. “Cameron has excellent taste and understands how colors work together and why quality pieces make rooms special,” the designer adds. Indeed, there are few home cooks who would agree to the fearless combination of unsealed brass countertops and dramatic emerald-green cabinets in the kitchen. “It’s the first room I see when I walk through the door, and it’s where I spend a lot of time, especially in the morning,” says Diaz. “I like that the counters show every water ring and squeeze of lemon juice. They give the place soul.”
The kitchen may be her favorite daylight lair, but at dusk it’s the living room, when the space is at its most seductive and the custom rose-petal-color wallpaper and mirrored walls throw off the kind of light that makes everyone look like a movie star. “It’s a bit like living in a silk-lined jewelry box,” Diaz adds.
In fact, Wearstler loves fashion and jewelry references—she has recently revamped her clothing and accessories lines to include leather, denim, jewelry, and clutches—and makes sure they show up in every room. Light fixtures of mottled glass and hammered metal punctuate rooms with the élan of showstopping earrings. In the lavish bathroom, an artful grid of bronze knobs is strung across a stretch of storage like beads on a necklace.
A fabulous brooch could have been the inspiration behind the leaf-shape glass sconces flanking the dining room table.
Silk linens and a ruched skirt and headboard dress the bed in the primary bedroom, where a snow-white chair upholstered in plush mohair recalls 1970s fashion. In the hallway, the onyx hand-troweled plaster wallcovering has the look of a wonderfully weathered leather bag. And like the finest couture, the rooms are luxe from the inside out. Drawers are lined in raw black silk, the back sides of doors are clad in hammered metal, and the interiors of closets are covered in custom wallpaper or in vivid paint.
For both women, completing the project was bittersweet. “I learn new things with every client, but Cameron taught me to be more sensitive to the hand of fabrics and textiles,” Wearstler says. “She was so involved in every step, every choice, that I’m delighted by how well the place represents her.”
For Diaz’s part, if the acting thing doesn’t work out, she could see herself indulging her design passion professionally. “I’m really going to miss those four-hour-long meetings with Kelly. I got to look at, touch, and talk about beautiful things,” she says.
For now, however, she’s anticipating the release of her next film, The Other Woman, directed by Nick Cassavetes. And she’s happy to have a place to truly call home in New York: “I’m surrounded by things that mean something to me. That’s what a home is.”
This story originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of ELLE DECOR.