It's clear that the home of Angela Sun and Ate Atema is a labor of love. Almost every item in the couple's two-story Manhattan abode tells a story: The Harvey Probber sofa in the living room was discovered during a trip to Palm Springs, and personal objects and curios from their travels pepper every vignette. But it's not these lovingly sourced pieces that make the biggest impact when you enter the Flatiron home—it's the art.
Sun and Atema called on advisers at online gallery Uprise Art to add the finishing touch to each room. "When helping collectors or their interior designers find artwork, we take into consideration the way they use the different rooms and spaces, and then identify ways that art can enhance the experience of their space," explains founder Tze Chun. For that reason, many of the artworks frame social areas of the home, such as the bar cart and living room, and meditative artworks create a sense of calm in the home office.
Here, Atema takes us on a tour of their effortlessly cool family home while Tze shares the styling principles to instantly elevate every room in your house. Step inside: This stunning New York City home is a lesson in styling art.
Finding the perfect artwork for your room isn't the only aspect to consider, says Tze. The way you choose to display it is just as important. In fact, opting to display an artwork on a blank wall that's free of furniture and accessories can instantly elevate a space.
"The main consideration to make with hanging height is visibility," says Tze. "Utilize walls that are free of furniture for vertical pieces that can take advantage of the floor-to-ceiling height, [and] avoid large pieces in the hallway since it's hard to stand back far enough to see the works in their entirety."
Sun and Atema followed this principle in their living room. Three artworks by Brooklyn-based artist Colleen Ho take pride of place above a custom-made cabinet, displayed high enough so that the candles and stacks of books below don't obscure the view.
Choose a Common Thread
"Angela loves decorating and has a very good sense of pulling a thread of color throughout a space," says Atema. This approach creates consistency throughout the home, despite the eclectic collection of objects and art. "A few books on the table in our bedroom pick up on the color of the yellow chairs. Those little moments of color reappear," he says.
For Tze, the key to achieving cohesion is choosing a theme. "When creating a gallery wall, it's helpful if there is a common thread; for instance, having consistent framing, selecting all vintage pieces, or keeping to a single medium," she explains. "In this wall, we selected works that had a fair amount of negative space so that the grouping was light and airy."
Consider the Canvas
Looking to give your favorite artwork double the impact? Take cues from the couple's dining room and home office, where one wall was given a coat of charcoal paint to make the artwork pop. "We like to go to Art Basel every year and found this Mel Bochner piece through a dealer," says Atema of the large painting in their dining room. With the dark feature wall, this statement artwork is more defined and contrasts dramatically with the citrus Tom Dixon chairs.
Think Outside the Frame
Not all artworks come in a frame. Sun and Atema's nursery shows that treasured objects and patterned wallpaper can be treated as works of art, too. "We both still read paper books, rather than use Kindles," he says, so the couple chose to create a library wall that displays their favorite tomes en masse. "Angela curates them all by color in our Hamptons home, which looks great."
Whether it's a beloved book or favorite artwork doesn't matter. It's clear from Sun and Atema's home that the most important decorating rule is deeply personal: Fill your home with items that speak to you. "Your artwork should reflect your personal style, interests, and aesthetic," says Tze. "The only thing that matters is that it makes you happy in your home!"