Janice Palmer grew up in Jamaica, but her decorating style transcends a strictly Caribbean vibe. “I was raised around houses with the British Colonial look, but I would describe my own style as more classic-contemporary,” the interior designer says. She is known for colorful rooms like her lively orange outdoor space at the recent Atlanta Symphony Decorators’ Showhouse (voted “Most Loved” by showhouse visitors). But at home, she’s more about tone-on-tone. “Brown is my favorite neutral,” she says.
Palmer refers to her Buckhead townhome as “her lab,” where looks are always evolving. “I’m always experimenting with things at home,” she says. Case in point: the grid of thin wood strips giving her plain-Jane dining room walls some architectural definition, an idea she came up with along with her significant other, artist Carlington Brown. He’s become a willing collaborator for such finishing details. When Palmer wanted a specific type of art for the living room, Brown created abstract paintings to match.
She first admired brownstone-style homes in New York City, where her mother lived. “It was always my dream to have a home like that: all brick with the steps leading up to the front door,” she says. To make the builder-grade place her own, Palmer changed out all the lighting, adding signature accessories such as bubble-glass pendants in her stairwell and a modern crystal chandelier in the living room. “Lighting is important,” she says. “I want people to see a light fixture and say, ‘That’s really cool.’”
Similarly, she loves the sparkle of glass for furniture. “You can have a piece that’s huge, but if it’s glass, it sort of disappears and you can see through it,” Palmer says. To soften a room, she’s a big fan of draperies in patterns or rich colors.
“I love dressing a window,” she says. “I think there should be something at every window.”
Palmer’s dream project would be a luxury resort. But a mix of residential and commercial clients is keeping her busy for now—not to mention tweaking her own place, although, she admits, “at home, I’m both my best and worst customer.”
This article originally appeared in our September 2014 issue under the headline “Brownstone Glam.”