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.
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.
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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