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At Home Again in Senoia

Interior Designer Angie Palmer helps Senoia couple bring their space to life.

Several years ago, Jim and Janet Berridge downsized from their home in northwest Atlanta and built a custom home in Serenbe. The home was lovely, but Janet felt they had taken the downsizing too far, especially when it came to their favorite hobby, cooking.  With their kitchen, grilling stations, and pan storage in three separate spaces across two floors, they knew it wouldn’t work for them long-term. When an opportunity to live near Senoia’s historic district with its quaint downtown and tight-knit community presented itself, they jumped at the chance.

The Berridges are empty nesters who both work from home, which they share with Sobe, their very sweet miniature Australian Labradoodle.  They not only love cooking but also entertaining and being a conduit to bring people together who share common values, travels, and cultures.  In fact, they influenced two other couples to build near them in Senoia, one just two doors down.  With their first grandchild expected later this year, Jim and Janet wanted the house to be very comfortable for the kids and future grandkids to spend time with them.

Upon reviewing the original plans with the architect and builder, they were able to change the layout of the home so that their entire living and cooking space is on the main floor.  When they retire, they won’t ever need to go upstairs unless, of course, it’s to play with the Grands! Enter, Palmer Kay Design. 

Based on the Berridges' desires, the kitchen design approach was akin to a commercial operation with a scullery and multiple workstations.  Historically, a scullery was a small kitchen or room in the back of the house used for washing dishes.  However, today’s scullery functions as a second kitchen and/or entertaining space with everything from ovens to coffee bars, and they have become quite popular in the new build arena.  The Berridges needed functional working space to accommodate their tools and ingredients, and even the interior cabinet dimensions were created based on the sizes of their pans, some of which are made specifically for commercial kitchens. 

There is also an outdoor kitchen with grills and a third “smoking station” near the pool for preparing Jim’s famous barbeque. A native of Indiana, he learned the art of barbeque from his dad and has continued to take it to the next level by reading, watching cooking shows, and experimenting on his own. His goal is to create the perfect barbeque meal!  He takes an artisan approach, cooking with charcoal and wood, and loves patronizing local butcher shops with two of his favorites being Cork & Cleaver in Sharpsburg and Spezzano’s Market in Tyrone.

Originally from North Carolina, Janet attended the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City and then spent two years at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  She focused on graphic design and video before ultimately completing an undergraduate degree and MBA in healthcare administration where she worked in design project management early in her career, eventually moving into asset management and supply chain contracting.

From the preliminary design meeting, it was clear that they both had strong ideas going into the build process. They wanted some avant-garde touches, and a way to add depth without a lot of color.  We quickly decided upon black interior doors and deep green as a backdrop for their caramel-colored sofa.  Later in the process, we mixed metals adding gold, silver, and black to the lighting scheme with the black metal making a connection point to the doors and windows.

When it came to working with me, they said they most appreciated my role in being a mediator regarding design decisions, calling out design issues within the building process, and level setting regarding materials, budgets, and the like.  Their favorite part of the home is, of course, the kitchen and scullery.  Their favorite design element is the limestone wall in the kitchen.

The Berridge’s were a fun couple to work with because they really wanted to push themselves into something fresh and new.  Wallpaper presented a challenge, but Janet and I worked through the books in my studio and eventually brought Jim in to see the favored selection for their master bedroom.  It’s a modern mixed metal look with gold and silver geometrics on a cream background that perfectly suited their aesthetic.  

Jim and Janet have been in their new home since the fall of 2022, and have most recently hosted friends for a barbeque competition complete with a blind taste test by their Dutch neighbors.  Jim didn’t win this time, but he’ll keep on cooking!

Angie works in collaboration with her clients to bring the vision of their dream home to life.  She’s an expert at partnering with clients in the design/build process and transforming existing homes. You may contact her studio at 770-487-4455. www.palmerkaydesign.com 

“I only wish I would have utilized Angie more as a champion, as I have seen my other friends do in working with her on their custom homes.” 

- Janet Berridge

  • Angela Palmer, author and designer, is based in Peachtree City.