Exclusive Interview With Martha Angus From San Francisco



Few days ago we have talked with an interior designers Martha Angus from San Francisco  who shares here tips for refreshing your home’s look.She belives that bright throws are one of the easiest ways to spruce up any room and create richness through layering. And they keep you warm!

Tell us about the moment when you decided to follow a career in the field of interior design.

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. When I was a child, I absolutely fell in love with color, especially coloring books. I became so passionate about art and color, I thought “Oh, wow!” this is all I ever want to do, which led me to eventually study painting at Carnegie Mellon and the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris.

When I came out of college the options for a female artist were quite limited yet art has always been a driving force in my career. As a young artist fresh out of school, I got my start as a fashion illustrator and textile designer in New York City. That eventually led to store design and high-end residential design. My work and interests are always evolving but I never abandoned my first love –painting and contemporary art. To this day, art is the most important feature in my designs. It’s usually the first thing I discuss when starting a new project.

Did you have other options in mind at the time?

My interests always shaped my career which took a natural progression from working in fashion to retail design and finally high-end residential design. When I moved to California due to my husband’s career I was committed to becoming a commissioned portrait artist. I ended up, however, re-launching my career in the West Coast and start my own business which has been a very enriching experience.

Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?

I find inspiration in my usual trips to the Paris flea markets. I believe my ideal shop would include that sense of history, unstated elegance and fun that the French do so well. As in my projects, my ideal shop would include timeless and elegant items such a Gustavian settee or a weathered neoclassical zinc planter paired with a super chic custom designed plexi-glass bench upholstered in zebra silk-screen hide and bold Ellworth Kelly prints.

What is your first design project?

My first Philadelphia apartment. I covered a long Parsons table in snakeskin wallpaper, did grass-cloth on the walls and an Empire steel and brass campaign bed that I still own. I still love all of these things and they are still super chic!

What would be your recommendation for “what to do first” in a decorating project?

Start with a good floor plan and remember that upholstery is the 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 can’t. Once the art and essential furniture items have been selected, accessorizing can do wonders. Scented candles and cashmere throws add a sense of luxury to a room without a significant investment. I always include small trays and boxes that bring the project down to a warm and livable level.

I always say that 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 that accessorizes a room, but almost a living element of the space – something with a very distinct personality.

What’s your favorite room to decorate?

Small rooms are always the most fun to decorate because people are often not intimidated by them. Take a powder room for an instance, that small intimate space usually hidden off the grand rooms of the house. Even the most traditional clients always go for fun artwork, unexpected wall coverings, bright dramatic paint colors or super funky light fixtures. How can anyone not have fun decorating a powder room?

What’s your current paint color obsession?

I believe in airy, fresh spaces that usually call for very subtle neutrals so that I can come in later and play with fun splashes of color in art, fabrics or accessories. When it comes to paint I find myself constantly going back to some Farrow and Ball colors precisely because they have that timeless elegance that relates so well with my philosophy. Some of my favorites are Middleton Pink and Arsenic.Throughout my career I have always recommended Benjamin Moore’s decorator’s white for its freshness and vibrancy. I have a life-long love affair with textiles of every kind. In fact my career started in New York City as a textile designer and fashion illustrator. I believe David Hicks style fabrics are classic and always so chic.

What is the trend for bathroom/bedroom/kitchen and living room this year?

We are classicists. Bathroom and kitchens of all places need to be able to stand the test of time.

What advice do you have for someone with a new house to decorate and perhaps a limited budget?

Small changes can go a long way. I also advise my team to use color as envelopes for a room. Soft neutrals like French Gray or even Decorator’s White are great colors for walls, ceilings and trim because they can give an atmospheric look to a room and make it timeless, standing the test of time and whimsy trends. The one item I would recommend investing in is good upholstery pieces. The big items should also be covered in a neutral material that can stand the test of time. It will not only look good but will wear well for many years to come.

What’s exciting you in the design world right now?

There are no rules. Now it’s all about having fun. My client base has evolved dramatically in the last couple of years and I tend to have younger and younger clients, often Silicon Valley couples who work in the tech industry and do not want anything that might look like it came right out of their parents’ home.

What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?

The Parsons table.

What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?

Once you have a neutral canvas you can have fun with unexpected colors in items like pillows and accessories that can be changed easily and at a low cost. There are tons of great retail options available online for fun accessories and pillows that can dress a room without a significant investment.

Anything new and exciting that you want to share with the Homedit readers?

I am a painter at heart and I keep making my own art all the time. The great American Abstract Expressionists are always my favorites and we are coming out with our own line of hand-painted canvases and prints available for sale exclusively on Gilt Home: Profile Martha Angus.

Besides painting, blogging has become a great source of inspiration. Through my blog Postandgrant.com I get to share my passions, ideas, trends and new ways to live beautifully.  I absolutely love sharing what’s influencing me right this second and reading the comments from other design lovers.


Published by in Exclusive Interviews, on February 6th, 2012

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