Asking Jill Helmer to name her favorite room is like asking her to choose a favorite flower.

“It depends on the season,” said Helmer, a floral and event designer.

In the spring, it’s her den with a view of Penelope roses outside. In the summer, it’s how the dining room’s wall of windows frame a foliage-filled window box.

In the fall, she loves looking out from her master bedroom and office as the leaves change on the trees across the street in Peachtree Heights East’s park. She’s a member of the neighborhood’s The Ladies of the Lake Garden Club, which will host its 31st annual Garden Party, celebrating the newly restored Duck Pond Park, on May 7.

PHOTOS: See inside this beautiful renovated Peachtree Heights East home

Floral and event designer Jill Helmer, with her mini goldendoodle, Winnie, is a member of the Ladies of the Lake Garden Club in Peachtree Heights East. The club is holding its 31st annual Garden Party on May 7 at the restored Duck Pond Park in her Atlanta neighborhood.
Photo: Christopher Oquendo Photography/


Residents: Jill and John Helmer and their mini goldendoodle, Winnie. Jill is a floral and event designer and co-author of books, including “HOME-Celebrating Autumn and Winter,” expected this fall; John is retired.

Location: Atlanta’s Peachtree Heights East neighborhood

Size: About 2,400 square feet, four bedrooms, four baths

Year built/bought: 1917/2002

Architectural style: Dutch Colonial

Favorite architectural elements: High ceilings, including some with beadboard, and large windows

Project consultants (renovations): Architect Richard Dooley, David Jenkins (decorative details and antique hardware), interior designer Susan Howell Branch (paint and furniture layout), Ellis Landesign’s David Ellis and Bradley McGill (hardscape and landscape design)

Renovations: Demolition began when the Helmers were on their honeymoon in spring 2003 and finished in February 2004. The second floor was removed and redesigned with two bedrooms, two baths, linen storage and attic space. They tore off the front of the house and created a master on the main. As a result, they moved the front door and stoop to the side of the home. They moved the staircase in the front foyer, which has beadboard and shiplap. They reconfigured and added bathrooms. A kitchen renovation with new cabinets, countertops, appliances and a sink became necessary when they discovered termite damage under the floors. They added the detached garage, which serves as her flower studio.

Interior design style: Traditional eclectic

Favorite interior design elements: Furnishings from the mid-19th and 20th centuries. “It has a story to tell, because many times it has had several homes,” Jill said. “It’s the same with accessories. I have a couple of collections, because I know each piece that I collect is a part of someone’s history. To me, this is what creates warmth in our home.”

Favorite outdoor elements: Her garden, which includes Limelight hydrangeas, boxwood, shasta daisies, white Loropetalum, hellebores, phlox, spirea, nandinas, lamb’s ears, Chinese snowball viburnum and New Dawn roses.

Fig vine-covered walls, with New Dawn roses planted in front, anchor a section in the garden. Often in the planter, Jill Helmer uses dusty miller, grasses and ivy.
Photo: Christopher Oquendo Photography/

Resources: Tile from Zumpano & Specialty Tile Products; plumbing fixtures from Noland

Decor tip: Even a century-old home can use a contemporary element, such as artwork. “I think a touch of contemporary in an older house gives it a little more vibrant feel,” she said.

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