For Gainesville artist Angela Blehm, her home is her canvas

“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.”
Angela Blehm

Photograph by Christina Wedge

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.”

Angela Blehm
Angela and Clayton Blehm, plus Ashton, 13; Juliet, 11; and Callan, 9. They moved to Gainesville because of a job opportunity for Clayton, an ophthalmologist.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
“I came up with the caged light idea after seeing a similar brass light fixture in an Italian magazine,” says Angela. “I decided to do our cage in white-washed oak to coordinate with the cabinet handles.” The cabinets are a custom shade of mint green.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
Angela’s geometric paintings on wood offer a dramatic focal point for the dining room. The photograph of her legs in blue tights by Matt Odom is another unexpected touch. Table is by Crate and Barrel.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

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.

Angela Blehm

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
“We chose white marble and gray paint because we wanted a bright and happy master bath,” says Angela. Brass lighting and hardware warm up the cool tones. “Our favorite feature is the bath tub that looks out the window to the lake,” she adds. “It’s like taking a bath in a tree house!”

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm

Photograph by Christina Wedge

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.

Angela Blehm
The marble kitchen table was made by Atlanta-based Grey Furniture. “I love how the bright blue chairs pop against the Carrera marble,” says the homeowner.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
A glimpse into Angela’s whimsical home studio.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
“I’m kind of a girly-girl,” says Angela, who chose “Lotus Flower” by Sherwin-Williams for the living room walls. Drapery panels of Kelly Wearstler fabric and a sofa by Steve Leonard for Brayton International anchor the vivid space. Angela’s love of vintage style shows up in the marble coffee table and 1980s-era black chairs from Bloomingdale’s New York store.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm
The playroom, below, features a mix of vintage and custom, including a wedge-shaped ottoman built by Chris Lund; ottoman fabric is Clarence House “Aimee.”

Photograph by Christina Wedge

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.

Angela Blehm
Repurposed vintage screens serve as sliding doors for Juliet’s room.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Angela Blehm

Photograph by Christina Wedge

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.

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