The (Florida) coast is clear – and present – in an interior designer’s dreamy Atlanta cottage.
Jayme Armour didn’t cast a wide net when she decided it was time to buy a new home because she’d already fallen in love with a sweet 1950s Cape Cod located two doors down from her rental in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood. “I’d find myself daydreaming about it on walks with my dog,” Jayme says. “It’s on this large, lush lot and has a really amazing banana palm tree in the backyard that’s visible from the street.”
The only problem? The place wasn’t for sale. Even so, one day she decided to stop walking and start talking. She dialed up the owner and left a message, asking if he’d ever sell. Two months later he returned her call, and just like that, she became a homeowner.
Before moving into her three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage, Jayme, an interior designer and Florida transplant, wanted to address the Cold War–era floor plan. “It was a series of small rooms and a tiny closed-off kitchen. It needed some breathing space,” she says. After removing a wall, reconfiguring some rooms, and finishing some light renovation, she was ready to move in and get down to the business of enlivening the space with a Gulf Coast–inspired palette.
“Florida is kind of in my blood,” Jayme explains. “The style is definitely a nod to 1980s Miami—my birthplace—in terms of color, but there’s also a wink to nature around every corner: sea urchins, birds, plants, shells, flowers, and waves.”
She also layered in texture and pattern from the floor up via seagrass and sisal rugs, a combination of grass cloth and graphic wallpaper, block-print textiles, and a mix of old and new artwork. “For me, texture and pattern are grounding, and color brings a space to life,” she says. “Combining the three is like a balancing act. I’m trying to make sure there are moments of rest and bursts of interest in every space.”
“I was born and raised in Florida, so it’s kind of in my blood.”
—Homeowner Jayme Armour
Although Jayme has access to the most luxurious finishes and furniture in her line of work, like most homeowners, she had a budget and needed to make some choices along the way. “If I could have, I’d have covered the entire living room in the Jim Thompson Arun wallpaper—it’s a replica of a Thai temple mural painting depicting a magical forest,” she says. Though the price tag was prohibitive, she created a one-of-a-kind wow moment by using it on a single wall and hanging a contemporary painting by Julie Jones Boulée against it.
While she remains loyal to her roots when it comes to color, Jayme is less tethered to her furnishings. “One thing I’ve learned over the years is that furniture doesn’t always translate from house to house,” she says. She took stock early on and held onto only a few pieces—an old dining table was repurposed as her desk, and a rustic English chest holds outdoor lights and party supplies on the screened-in porch.
She then began hunting in earnest for just-right finds at local stores like Scott Antique Markets, Bungalow Classic, and Dixon Rye, as well as the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). “To facilitate buying a house’s worth of furniture in a short period of time, I had to get creative about where to spend and where to save,” she says. Some of her very best scores didn’t cost a dime. “The Milo Baughman chairs were a trade with a friend, and the Indonesian console was a gift.”
As much as Jayme loves how all of her rooms have come together, for her, the best part of the house is the screened-in porch that runs along the back. That’s where she hosts family and friends—fried chicken and Champagne are usually on the menu—and takes five with her dogs, Chino and Emmett, while flipping through home magazines. It also provides a clear reminder of why she was drawn to her home in the first place. “The back porch has the best view of my beloved banana palm,” she says.
By Laura Kostelny | Photographs by Emily Dorio
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Drew + Jonathan Reveal, Drew & Jonathan’s home and lifestyle magazine.