It’s not surprising that art consulting comprises a main part of Martha Angus’ interior design business. It’s usually the first thing she discusses with new clients. Indeed, Angus’ background as a painter shines through in her interiors. Citing noted American Abstract Expressionists as major influences, she fills light, open spaces with bold splashes of color. Deploying bold, graphic art in classic spaces is signature Angus; the results are always chic and stimulating.
Describe your childhood. How did your parents influence your career choice?
I always felt like an artist growing up. I moved around constantly for my father’s career, so the whole idea of “home,” a place where you feel comfortable and can settle into, is the most important thing in the world to me.
I always advise my team to stick to a consistent color story. This might come from a statement piece of art or a special material selected for upholstery, window coverings or custom carpeting.
Mixing bold colors is not for the timid. Do you have a formula for combining them?
I always suggest starting with warm neutrals. A peanut shell wall, for example, is beautiful with soft and bold shades of pink. In my Napa house, I mixed 18 shades of gray until I landed on the perfect one—a very special French gray. Once I had the color, I chose energetic green upholstery to add a pop of color and bring the luscious hues of the vineyards of St. Helena indoors.
Both classical and modern interiors always do great with decorator white, a classic bright white that reflects light in a unique way. I don’t believe there are “good” and “bad” colors, but I will admit that I am never drawn to plain red. It reads as sad to me. I go for pinks and citrus reds—orange and grapefruit.
Artwork plays a premier role in your interiors. Do you pick the art before you design the space, or is it the other way around?
What purpose should art serve in a space?
Art is the most important aspect of a space, aside from the people collecting it! I live for bold statement art. High art should not be treated as a mere decorative item, an accessory, but, instead, as a living element of a space. It has its own personality.
Never be afraid of a graphic statement. In even the most traditional spaces, custom word art [putting your favorite phrases or words up on the wall] brings fun and a little edge to a room. It’s a great way to add authenticity to an interior.
What is the must-have material or product in any space?
Upholstery is key. High-quality upholstery can go a long way. Not only is it a good investment, but it also brings a sense of tailoring and richness that other items just can’t deliver. After art and essential furnishings, accessories can do wonders. Scented candles and cashmere throws, for example, add luxury to a room without a major investment. Small trays and projects bring warmth and livability, too.
Space planning is, by far, the biggest challenge for most people. I often get the sudden urge to move furniture around to make a layout make sense and become livable! We offer restyling to our clients, to bring quick, dramatic improvements to their spaces.
Besides design, what are your other passions?
My work and interests are always evolving ,but I have never abandoned my first loves—painting and contemporary art. I’m coming out with my own line of hand-painted canvases and prints to be available exclusively on Gilt. Blogging has become a great source of inspiration, too. My blog, Post and Grant, lets me share what’s influencing me right this second.
To learn more about Martha, click here www.marthaangus.com