Inside an Artist’s Bold, Rebellious Georgia Home

At the home of Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, located just outside Atlanta, saturated colors, customized designs, and statement-making patterns create maximum impact.

Black and Blue and White Living room
A secondhand nickel chandelier looks completely refreshed with a coat of white spray paint, while Arrabescato marble adds texture to the fireplace. | Rainbow Portal by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm; Vintage Couch, Gillian Bryce Fine Art; Vintage Etcetera Chairs by Jan Ekselius, Gillian Bryce Fine Art; Floor Lamp by Adesso Nelson, Bed Bath & Beyond, $210; Vintage Coffee Table, Stephanie Schofield; Photo by Matt Odom.
Photography by Jessica Antola

It’s hard to believe that Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, a painter, mother of three, and amateur decorator, existed in the dark days before Instagram. She is a woman perfectly suited to the medium, with a color-drenched style that’s superbly photogenic and an effortless way of crafting a caption and hashtag that has helped her connect to thousands of followers.

And when you consider that she is telegraphing her world from the least likely location—a neighborhood of rolling hills and traditional brick homes in Gainesville, Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta—her wonderland becomes even more inspiring.   

“When we arrived in this little town, everything about us was so different,” the native Texan says with a laugh, recalling moving to the area 11 years ago with her husband, Clayton, and their children Ashton (14), Juliet (12), and Callan (10). “At the time, we were vegan and I was homeschooling the kids. I thought: I won’t fit in no matter what I do, so why not go all out? I’m an artist and I just wanted to be myself—you could say there’s a bit of rebellion in my style.”

The family had followed job opportunities to North Carolina and Atlanta, but it wasn’t until they found this home, with a lake view, high ceilings, and loads of untapped potential, that Blehm’s vision really took shape. Lipstick-red walls, patterned ceilings, and large-scale contemporary art and sculptures in every room—along with an impressive collection of repurposed and custom-made modern furniture—create a vibrant whole. (It comes as no surprise that friends of the Blehm children think they live in a museum.) 

Red and White Living room
Easy Stripe Wall Decals, Walls Need Love; Vintage Couch, Gillian Bryce Fine Art; Custom Ottoman by Chris Lund; Aimee Fabric, Clarence HouseTime Travel by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm Photography by Jessica Antola
Blue and Red Playroom
Aqua velvet and a raisiny red paint make an unexpected pairing in the playroom—as do a garage-sale sofa and Panton chairs around a painted Crate & Barrel table in the dining room.   Photography by Jessica Antola

Blehm originally caught the bold, modernist bug when she spotted the Milan residence of ’70s Italian architect Gae Aulenti. “That apartment gave me some direction. It had such an incredible, collected feel, and I loved the look,” she explains.

Yet it would be hard to pinpoint a jumping-off point because the space Blehm dreamed up feels entirely original—which becomes clear as soon as you open the front door.

Black and Red and White Staircase
Ribbon #5 by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm; Vintage Chair, Gillian Bryce Fine Art. Photography by Jessica Antola
Angela Chrusciaki Blehm home
Custom Credenza by Chris Lund

Wood cutouts of one of her signature paintings, the graphic black-and-white Ribbon #5, hang above the Missoni carpet–lined stairway. A taxi-yellow metal light fixture, cobbled together from a vintage frame and metal pieces her brother made in his shop, is suspended from the deep gray ceilings. In the living and dining rooms, charcoal walls provide the backdrop for a riot of color.

A large pink painting in the entry, which two of the kids (then 3 and 5) created one night while their mom cooked dinner, sits on a custom credenza, recently updated with several coats of glossy paint and round knobs. In the far corner, a round Crate & Barrel table is surrounded by vintage molded Vernon Panton chairs and a curved sofa, picked up at a garage sale for $15. It’s a stunning collection of high-low, scavenged, and built furniture, art, and accessories. 

Blue and White Dining room
Custom Light Fixture by Chris Lund; Bleeker Chair, NJ Modern, $529; Custom Racetrack Line Dining Table by Sarah Atkinson, Grey Furniture, $8,750. Photography by Jessica Antola

One constant in Blehm’s approach to interiors is confidence, along with a disregard for trends and a willingness to experiment. “The house does have a sense of humor,” she says. “I temper things with a lot of gray, though, so it doesn’t end up looking too ‘Toontown.’”

She scours websites such as Chairish and The Mine for pieces that speak to her, visits Atlanta-based dealer Gillian Bryce for art and interesting objects, and buys furniture off Instagram from shops and designers she follows (Marquis de Mod is a favorite).

If Blehm can’t find something she wants or afford something she loves, she makes it. The helping hand behind most of these projects is Chris Lund, whom she contacted on a whim after her first contractor fizzled out.

White Kitchen
The custom wood fixture around the lights was constructed by Chris Lund, who Blehm has collaborated with to create dozens of custom pieces throughout her home. Photography by Jessica Antola

“I was at the local Home Depot and I saw this van with a nice painted font, so I called,” recalls Blehm. “We’ve worked together nonstop ever since. I mean, Chris has a key to our house.” Whatever she envisions, Lund can construct, like the wood frame around the globe lights that hang in the kitchen and the built-in daybeds in the “sleepover nook” upstairs.

But don’t expect the duo to open a business together anytime soon. “I can’t do design work for other people,” says Blehm, who often participates in the One Room Challenge, an online design showcase, but focuses only on personal projects.

Black and Pink and White and Yellow Entryway
Once rusted and covered with '80s-era fabric, a set of chairs in the living room was revived with canary yellow armature and velvet seats. | Custom Credenza by Chris Lund; Quenouilles Table Lamp, Restoration Hardware, $495; Vintage Sculptures, Stephanie Schofield; Vintage Statue, Scott Antique Market; Vintage Candelabra, Gillian Bryce Fine Art
Angela Chrusciaki Blehm home
“I’m an artist and I just wanted to be myself—you could say there’s a bit of rebellion in my style," says Blehm.

“For years, my dream has been to be in my studio and paint what I want and be able to sell it—and I’m doing that now!” she says. While some may view the task of putting together a home as a process to be completed, Blehm’s “slow decorating” inspires every part of her life. “I’ll be in the midst of painting and think: I just want to do a room or make some furniture—and I say the exact opposite when I’m painting. I need to do both.”  

Black and White Portrait
On Blehm: Vintage Dress by Diane von Furstenberg, The Real Real
Green and Red and White Dining room
Vintage Folding Screens, Gillian Bryce Fine Art; Panton Chairs, Design Within Reach, $310 each; Arya Taper Candleholder, CB2, $40; Vintage Painting, Chairish; Vintage Console, Gillian Bryce Fine Art
Angela Chrusciaki Blehm home
Photography by Jessica Antola
Gold and Red and Taupe Entryway
A hand-painted mural, graphic wallpaper and art, and a black taped ceiling showcase Blehm’s flair for creative, DIY decorating. | What Would Elsworth Do? by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm; Vintage Console, Chairish; Vintage Side Table, Gillian Bryce Fine Art
Angela Chrusciaki Blehm home

OFF THE WALL
Stop-in-your-tracks paint color is Blehm’s secret weapon for reimagining furniture and humdrum surfaces of every kind.

Get to know your local powder coater

A professional spray-resin paint job, typically used on outdoor furniture, is an obsession of the artist’s. There are dozens of shades available and it’s very durable, according to Blehm, who has used it to refinish chrome chairs, metal table bases, and light fixtures.

Take it to the floor...or the ceiling

Instead of investing in potentially pricey (and more permanent) tile, Blehm used high-gloss enamel to paint stripes on her wood floors—as well as to create patterns on the ceiling (what she refers to as “the fifth wall”).

Let the kids get dirty

Two of the Blehm children and a friend painted a mural (with their mom’s art direction) on the wall of the family playroom. When they were finished, she went back and added refined touches. (Remember, it’s low commitment. If it doesn’t work, you can paint over and start again.)

Play with the spectrum

By selecting gradient shades of gray, Blehm gave a simple staircase an ombré effect, creating visual interest and dimension with a couple gallons of Sherwin-Williams paint. No stair runner required.

Breathe new life into everyday materials

Blehm has yet to see a natural wood surface she didn’t want to transform. With high-gloss paint, some patience, and many coats, she has altered vintage beds, kitchen cabinets, and the frames of paintings and mirrors.

Blue and Red and White Bedroom
An arched headboard in lipstick red set against a classic baby blue canopy is a shocking success in Juliet’s bedroom, where arty paintbrush accents look right at home. | Fabric, Gray Line Linen; Arty Fabric, Pierre Frey.
Black and White and Yellow Entryway
Lascaux Wallpaper by Alan Campbell quadrillefabrics.com
Contractor and regular collaborator Chris Lund created these built-in daybeds in the “sleepover nook."
White Graphic
Photography by domino

Shop the look:

01
A Poster a Day Rug, Studio Proba, from $765
02 Kiss Me by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm
03 Aimee Fabric, Clarence House 
04 Silhouette Lamp, Troy Lighting, $478 
05 Varese Cerulean Decorative Pillow Design by Designers Guild, Burke Decor, $145
06 Ring Dish 4, Elyse Graham, $75 
07 Pac Console Table, All Modern, $1,560
08 Dark Pewter Paint, Benjamin Moore
09 Parma Gray Paint, Farrow & Ball
10 Wistful Green Paint, Behr 
11 Elroy Chair, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, $1,125 
12 Alexandre Bust Candle, Trudon, $125

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm home
Photography by Jessica Antola

A version of this story originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue with the headline "A Modern Edge."

See more colorful homes:
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Published on July 14, 2018 - 5:00am EDT

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