Heather Jowers has always loved bright, bold color. It’s a trait she came by honestly — spending her childhood surrounded by beautiful blooms and lush greenery at her aunt’s flower shop, The Flower Basket, in Darien.
“I would go there as a little girl after school and during summers. I always enjoyed watching her take individual things and combine them to create something extraordinary. Her creativity has always inspired me,” she recalls.
That experience lit a spark, leading her pursue her own artistic career in interior design. Through the years, Jowers helped dozens of friends and family members select items perfect for their homes, so moving into the professional realm seemed a natural fit. She further honed her skills as she worked at an area design center.
Jowers later founded her own business, Rae Lane Interiors, which has afforded her an opportunity to work with individuals and construction companies on a variety of projects — from simple refreshes to lining up all of the key elements in a new home.
“It is a very rewarding career. Interior design is beautiful and pleasing to the eye. I love to help clients bring their vision to life,” she says. “It warms my heart to see how excited they get to see the finished project. I have truly been blessed with the sweetest clients who have also become great friends.”
While many would find it stressful, Jowers feels that all aspects of the process are thrilling. That’s especially true of her recent speciality — new construction. She often teams up with builders to choose paint colors, lighting fixtures, flooring, countertops, and cabinet design.
“I love to do furniture installs, as well. I make sure all of these things flow and function with the whole house. The end results are always so gratifying. I love working from the outside to the inside,” she says. “My main goal is to make sure I meet the clients’ needs by taking into consideration the budget, preferences, internal and external factors, and of course, making them happy.”
One of Jowers’ recent designs certainly did just that. The project was a 1950s-era cottage situated near East Beach, on 14th Street on St. Simons Island. The home includes a small guest house, as well as the primary five bedroom, five bath property.
Jowers was tapped to tackle the design end of the project, while Island Floors and Remodeling took the reins of the primary renovation.
“It had not been remodeled or updated since it was originally built,” she notes.
Even so, the house had plenty of charming elements. Dubbed “Fabulous on Fourteenth,” the original owners were hopeful that the new buyer would consider keeping some of its unique architectural features.
“It belonged to the Adams family. Their sons still live on St. Simons, and when selling the property, they wanted to make sure the buyer was willing to keep some of the original characteristics of the home,” Jowers says.
As fate would have it, the buyer loved the vintage charm. However, some of the original pieces were quickly relegated to the “gotta go” list. The thick green carpet, for instance, was still in place when Jowers signed on. But rather than be deterred, she welcomed the challenge.
“There was some terrible shag carpet that we had to say goodbye to,” Jowers says with a laugh, pointing to the new hardwoods.
“There were beautiful heart pine floors that we, unfortunately, couldn’t save. But there’s a lot of the original beadboard and also some metal beams in the dining room. Other than that, I was basically starting from scratch, but I was thrilled to be the designer.”
Jowers started by selecting the color palette, keeping to bold, vibrant shades.
“My favorite thing is mixing textures and patterns, which I was able to do more of with this theme,” she says.
Today, the home primarily serves as a rental property via Georgia Beach Rentals. Stepping inside, vacationers find an upbeat retreat.
A screened-in porch leads into a brightly appointed area complete with a table for playing games and a funky accent lamp flanked by two retro-style chairs. Off this room, there’s an office with a palm patterned rug, that simply screams Coastal chic. Moving into the living room, visitors are immersed in pops of blues, pinks, and greens. Framed artwork on the walls portrays pastel-style photos of Palm Springs.
Jowers pulled in a mix of patterns, fibers, and colors that, to the untrained eye, seem to have no connection. But rather than a discombobulated feel, there is an overarching sense of eclectic harmony.
“I pull color swatches that are unique and fit the vision. Next, I select patterns and textures that bring the colors to life. It’s important to make sure these flow together while still maintaining contrast,” she says, standing in the home’s den.
It’s a concept that continues throughout the home. Downstairs, bedrooms located off of the living area boast the same multicolored hues in tropical artwork that dots the walls.
Walking to the kitchen, guests pass through the homes’ original doors, painted a soft shade of blue and affixed in the popular “barn door” style. In the galley kitchen, Jowers points to another of the home’s original doors, which was repurposed as a range hood.
“Dave and his crew at Island Floors and Remodeling made a beautiful hood vent out of an old antique door. Keeping the old charm was just what the home needed,” she says. “All of the doors are original, including the front door, which is very unique. The homeowner wanted as much of the original home saved as possible, so that’s what we did.”
That vintage vibe continues with details Jowers selected from websites and antique shops. One item is a 1957 Thunderbird grill that they turned into wall decor.
“The homeowner wanted to incorporate that,” Jowers says.
The dining table too, Jowers notes, was custom made to fit that 50s feel. She matched it with teal chairs from Taylor House Interiors. The dining room links to a back patio and pool spaces, which were recently added to the home but feel as though they’ve been a part of it all along.
“I love how design trends of the past come back around. The retro vibe has definitely made its way back, becoming more popular by the day,” she says.
A stairway in the corner of the room leads to an open floor on the second story. That space now serves as a second den, ideal for visiting youngsters. There’s also an adjoining a bedroom and bathroom.
Reflecting on the process, Jowers notes that there are a few techniques of design she employed that are most helpful when one’s approaching a redesign.
“Paint colors are vital; the wrong color can throw off the entire room. Lighting is the jewelry of the home, so take your time choosing. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” she says.