Text and Photography by Erika Ward

May 8th concluded the Atlanta Symphony Associates’ 41st Annual Decorators’ Show House and Gardens. Each year, the creme de la creme of the Atlanta design community create gorgeous spaces to inspire visitors and to raise funds for the Education and Community Engagement Initiatives of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This year was especially significant to me because it was the first time a Black interior designer was showcased as a lead designer. Before the final curtain call I was fortunate enough to interview the designer everyone was buzzing about, Janice Palmer of Y Design International.

Her assignment, The Young Lady’s Room, was one of the most talked about spaces on this year’s tour and for good reason. Palmer’s design cleverly encompassed multicultural influences mixed with the love of travel, fashion, and music.

Every design element in this space exudes luxury even down to the sumptuous fabrics [from Designer’s Guild and Osborne and Little] on the floor pillows.

“The inspiration behind this design is a a fictitious 20-year old renaissance woman named Malina. She is a music student at Juilliard,” as Palmer tells the story. “….And her love for fashion is a close second to her passion for the cello. If she [Malina] could have a dual career it would be as a top notch cellist who designs one-of-a-kind clothing with the flair of Marc Jacobs and Rachel Roy combined.”

Fashion-influences are distributed throughout the room both in subtle and more literal references. Such is evident in this signature piece–a mannequin draped in luxurious silk designed by Travis & Company.

As I toured the room, I noted the subtle Middle Eastern influence as seen in the shape of the custom headboard designed by Palmer’s assistant, Manisha Kulkarni, as well as the room’s color palette.

As opposed to referring to the rich shades as colors, Palmer thinks of them as spices. A warm blend of vibrant fabrics draw their hues from spices such as saffron, marigold, cinnamon, white pepper, lemon peel, lime peel, red wine and dark cacao. “I decided to build on a neutral foundation to allow the plush fabrics and spices to really pop,” Palmer explains. “Simultaneously, the backdrop [Benjamin Moore’s AF-155 Weimaraner] creates a soothing, airy atmosphere. Take a look around. In this room alone there are a total of 6 windows where we see the sky and treetops. It’s like a bedroom in a treehouse.”

Each pair of drapery panels boasts dressmaker details such as boxed pleats, crystal embellishments, and french [banding] fabric trim. Hardware with lucite finials complete this polished ensemble.

Murano glass fixtures, like this elegant waterfall
Sillicate Chandelier by Baker Furniture,were a common thread throughout the show house.

This wingchair upholstered in Casamance fine fabrics, headboard, pouf, and bench are all custom pieces available through Y Design International.

Here a half-moon shaped desk by Travis and Company and Organic Baroque Chair designed by Tony Duquette/Baker Furniture echo the soft feminine curves repeated throughout the bedroom.

The oversized octagonal mirror and handsome walnut Skate server by Baker Furniture balance out the femininity of the space and keeps it from feeling too girly.

My love affair with the Young Lady’s Bedroom continued into the en suite bathroom.


A touch of hot pink lends a playful, flirty feel, yet the palette is still very soothing.

I was excited to see a second Juju hat [a celebratory Cameroonian headdress] in the space. I found it to be symbol of celebration for what Janice Palmer has accomplished in this bedroom and as interior designer, and secondly as the first Black lead designer appearing in this magnificent show house. Thank you Janice for allowing me to share your inspiration and work with the world. I pray that you continue to receive the exposure and recognition you so very well deserve!
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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. Niki McNeill Says:

    What a gorgeous room!! I'm sad that I wasn't able to see it in person, but so proud to see a brown face in the group!!

    Hope you're having a good week Erika! Xoxo


  2. Kelly @ JAX does design Says:

    Wow, the bedroom and ensuite are beautiful! Love all the fabulous colours and textures. The orange chair with the nailhead trim is probably my favourite piece, and I love the bench at the foot of the bed too. And the fabrics used for the cushions are fabulous!

    The embellishments on the curtains are beautiful, especially the crystals.

    Thanks for the introduction to Janice Palmer – I'm definitely going to be checking out more of her work :-)


  3. Rae Says:

    The room is absolutely gorgeous! I will definitely be keeping my eye on Janice. She is such an inspiration to young black designers waiting for the chance to shine!


  4. Robyn @ Imperfect Nest Says:

    I adore this room and bathroom. One of the best I've seen in a while. You're pictures are beautiful as well.

    I did a post about the room and you today. I hope you can stop by and read it. Your post was very inspiring!


  5. Sing Says:

    How glam! I love the colors.


  6. Jessica Says:

    This space is GORGEOUS! I am in love with that headboard…and that bathroom…and that desk chair…and the chandelier…everything is perfect. What a beautiful room!


  7. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for showcasing Ms. Palmer. This is a beautiful space. Because of the variety of textures which keep your eyes moving from one surface to the next, there's so much to take in. I'd never get bored with this room. And that chandelier is something else. I haven't seen anything like it before – gorgeous!

    ~ Monique


  8. Pixie Says:

    Oh wow! I love those photos of the bedroom and bathroom. That rug in the bath is amazing! Thanks for sharing.


  9. Mr. Goodwill Hunting Says:

    Oh yea. I can certainly see why ATL is buzzing with her!

    I am off to get lost in her portfolio.
    Thanks so much for sharing her with us.

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting


  10. Talking with Tami Says:

    Thats a great looking room! Fab!


  11. LadySutton Says:

    The Young Lady’s room is a successful mix of color and patterns featuring an upbeat palette of yellow, green and grey furniture and accessories set off by a cool neutral wall color. Janice did a fantastic job by adding in fabrics of different textures (silk, linen, suede and cotton) and by pairing a mix of patterns with bold, playful Juju hats. Her advice for those who love color but find it hard to commit? "…build on a neutral foundation to allow the plush fabrics and spices to really pop”. That way, you can change the feel of your room without a huge financial commitment. Lastly, I love the elegant combination of fabrics used on the pillows. Outstanding job!


  12. Ishka Designs Says:

    Thanks for sharing her beautiful work and introducing me to yet another designer of colour!



  13. Anonymous Says:

    What is the colour on the walls?


  14. Erika Ward Says:

    Hello Anonymous: the color is Benjamin Moore's AF-155 Weimaraner. It's mentioned in the article.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  15. Anonymous Says:

    This is long overdue, she had done some amazing works over the past years!! BEAUTIFUL WORK!!


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