There’s an ethereal quality to Angela Free’s work. Inspired by the silvery-grey light of San Francisco, her interiors are lustrous and quiet. Following an international career in fashion, Free translated her sense of classic elegance and global experiences into interior design, launching her eponymous firm in 2001. Since then, her projects have ranged from grand San Francisco residences to vacation retreats to a new winery in Sonoma—all imbued with her personal vision of serene, refined beauty.
“I’ve been lucky to live on three continents and to immerse myself in cultures worldwide,” says Free, who spent her early years in Japan growing up near Tokyo. “There was such a high value placed on aesthetics,” she recalls. “Everything had a curated quality, every dimension of presentation was highly considered.” Free then settled in London, where a historically formal tradition thrives side by side with the creative exuberance of modern fashion. “Everything was new and revolutionary—everything seemed possible! There was an explosion of creativity in fashion and art on all fronts,” she says. Later, Free would travel to Europe every few months in her role as a fashion executive, shopping for inspiration for weeks at a time, people watching and trend-spotting. That sartorial mindset continues to influence her interior design work.
“I’m always inspired by Chanel and Yves St. Laurent,” says Free, “their tailoring perfection, unparalleled craftsmanship, and richness of materials.” Stepping into the designer’s own feminine and refined living room, those influences are evident. A space enveloped in grey, white and cream, it’s a backdrop for a chic mix of tailored custom pieces, antiques, and fine art. An antique English wing chair upholstered in amethyst silk velvet anchors the space, placed in conversation with a pair of custom club chairs with deep inverted pleats-one of many dressmaker details. Punctuated by a pop of black opaline glass on an Adnet-inspired coffee table, it’s a floating world that rests lightly on the pale, intricate motif of a custom, hand-knotted rug.
"Subtlety is my guiding principle," says Free. "The results might seem simple at first glance, but the layers and richness reveal themselves over time."