Angela Blehm spent her childhood painting, turning cardboard boxes into playhouses—once earning $5 for redecorating a friend’s bedroom. So it’s no surprise that her adult life is full of beauty and imagination. The artist and her family live on a gently sloping lot overlooking Lake Lanier, but the tranquil setting belies the dramatic palette indoors. “From the outside, it looks like a traditional white house that fits into the neighborhood,” says Angela, “but the inside holds lots of color and surprises.”
Pink living room walls, mint-colored kitchen cabinets, and pop art panels in the dining room are just a few of the visual treats within. Although Angela is a talented decorator, she majored in fine arts at the University of Houston and became a mixed-media artist. Her painterly viewpoint inspires her to take risks. “As an artist, I am probably more prone to breaking rules and experimenting,” she says. “I also don’t feel as tied to trends or popularity. I want to create my own little universe different from the other universes out there.”
Angela often tweaks her interiors and is in no rush to finish. In fact, she calls her approach “slow decorating”—a reference to the slow food movement—and, like the foodies, embraces local sources and time-intensive methods.
To create backdrops for her imaginative vignettes, Angela and her husband, Clayton, first tackled remodeling projects. They added windows to provide more natural light, as well as views of the lake and woods. They also gutted the kitchen and added modern cabinets with wooden handles, a detail Angela spotted on Pinterest. As she considered colors for the cabinetry, the artist kept coming back to mint, eventually mixing a custom concoction herself to get just the right hue. She enlisted her carpenter, Chris Lund, to build a wooden cage surrounding a trio of pendant lights over the island, a clever trick that adds warmth and scale.
The homeowners have collected vintage pieces from Scott Antique Markets, Craigslist, and random mom-and-pop stores. A found metal bed, for instance, was powder-coated a vivid red for the guest bedroom. Angela’s art studio is filled with quirky items that inspire her, from glossy orange mannequin legs to a circa-1950s cutout of a lady’s head.
But, not surprisingly, the Blehms’ art collection—some pieces done by Angela, others by up-and-coming artists and even her own father—takes center stage. “The one constant in all our houses has been the art,” says Angela. “I definitely design rooms around paintings; although, I will add, because anything goes color-wise in our house, it’s always easy to add art after the fact.”
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.