With decades of experience within the design and production industries up his sleeve, Angus Buchanan is no stranger to the intricacies of conscious creativity. Offering a wide range of professional design services and co-running the creative design company, Buchanan Studio, with his wife Charlotte, his work and lifestyle bring to fruition a paradigm of smart creativity and beautiful, liveable spaces.
From event and set design, all the way to the creation of a unique line of interior design products, they have utilised an eclectic mix of materials and breathed new life into traditional designs.
Angus’ myriad endeavours in set and interior design have a theatrical sense of style, which resonates with SIRPLUS.
We visited Angus and Charlotte at their home on an early Spring afternoon, to be surrounded by Buchanan Studio creations… with a one-of-a-kind ottoman to checked velvet and soft pink stripe sofas, we were given a taste of their style.
SP: In transforming a blank Edwardian house into a comfortable home, how did you ensure that the design met the functional needs of you and your family?
Angus: We were lucky that an ambitious kitchen extension was possible and this allowed us to design a very practical kitchen space with durable concrete floors and a full stainless steel commercial kitchen. This is something we’ve wanted for a long time, influenced by the restaurants we design.
The stainless and the concrete are of course hugely durable but we also find them beautiful and we softened the look with timber and marble as well as fabrics and furniture from our own Buchanan Studio collections.
For the rest of the house, we knew we wanted spaces where we could display all the things we love whilst also avoiding too much clutter, therefore we designed lots of visible open shelving as well as discreet storage for hiding all the ‘stuff’ that comes with having two children and a rather mad dog.
SP: What was the inspiration behind the design of St Marys?
Angus: We knew we wanted to retain as many original features as possible in the original house, whilst juxtaposing that with more modern touches, and a modern extension. The design inspiration changes from room to room and we always advocate that a house doesn't have to only follow one aesthetic.
Our master bedroom and bathroom, for instance, are very neutrally decorated with a calm palette and lots of natural materials, however, our children's bathroom is intensely colourful and theatrical with a bold tile pattern and a pink three-piece bathroom suite.
SP: If you had to pick, which room and object are your favourites?
Angus: My favourite room has to be the living room, it retains all the original mouldings and features, but we installed a beautiful travertine fire surround as sadly the original fireplace was damaged, the room is calm and comfortable but has the juxtaposition of our huge Studio Sofa in the Ruby stripe creating the focal point in the room.
SP: How do you communicate with your clients the benefits of using vintage and reclaimed items in their design projects?
Angus: Antique items, when combined with some fantastic new pieces, will add character and charm to a space and all our clients recognise this. There is of course also a fantastic sustainability rationale to reuse and repurpose where it's appropriate and all our clients appreciate this. Also, although antiques can of course cost a fortune, there are also hugely affordable vintage and antique options around.
SP: How has set design influenced your approach to interiors?
Angus: I suppose in my mind an interior space is just an everlasting set, so the approach is really very similar from an aesthetic point of view.
With set design, there will be a creative brief that we respond to, and this is the same as for a client’s home – we treat each one as a unique creative challenge as opposed to having too much of our own set ‘house style’.
With that said, of course, there are differences from a practical perspective. Often a set only needs to look good from a few angles – for instance, if you are creating an image – whereas clearly an interior needs to be beautiful as an environment, and from all angles, as well as working as a space on a functional level.
"an interior space is just an everlasting set"
SP: We know that you appreciate a nice set of suits, can you describe your approach to styling a suit, and how being in a suit changes your mood?
Angus: I do love a suit. For me, it is great to be able to throw one on with a T-shirt and trainers for an everyday look, but then if the same suit can be smartened up with a shirt and loafers that's a huge bonus. Being in a traditional suit and tie definitely can feel overdressed in a lot of situations, but the great thing for me about being in a more casual suit is that if I go straight from the office to a dinner or even a client meeting, I can be appropriately smart without feeling overdressed.
With his years of involvement in the fashion industry, it is no secret that Angus can appreciate a good set of suits.