Dream Home: The Thrill of the Hunt


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Written by Madoline Markham
Photography by Edward Badham

Jama Ketcham loves the hunt. On Saturdays she likes to go to old chicken houses in rural areas and see what furnishings she can find. When she fell for the mixture of black and wood in two bar stools, she searched for more, one by one, until she had enough for her kitchen. “If I love it, I buy it and make it work,” she says.

The fruit of her labor is evident in every room of her eclectic Edgewood home. In her living room alone, you’ll see a sofa from the Salvation Army thrift store she reupholstered herself, a brass table she found at one of the chicken houses, an old work table she got from Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta for $20, and a curtain rod she made out of plumbing supplies from Lowe’s. Above the dining booth in the kitchen is a gallery wall of vintage paint-by-numbers pieces that were popular in the ’60s. Drawn to their colors, she collected them over the years from antique stores.

The house’s exterior looks the same as it did when it was built in 1936. The only difference is the vintage green that lines the trim of windows and doors, adding a subtle pop of color that hints at the style you’ll find inside. Likewise, Jama chose to paint the interior stair railing, doors, and inside of windows a similar hue. “I look at [turquoise] as a neutral,” she says. “That sounds crazy, but it pairs well with a lot of colors.”

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The house’s interior boasts a fresh set of whimsy, but everything structural is in keeping with its original era. The Ketchams kept most of the original windows, and salvaged old doors from junk yards and had them restored to look the age of the house. The new hardwoods, stairwell, and moldings have a 1930s look as well. “I try to keep to the history of a home to pay respect to it,” Jama says. “I love vintage and feel like it tells a story.”

The Ketcham family has lived in six homes in Edgewood in 10 years, but when they bought this one to flip, they fell in love with it. The house is wider than a typical Edgewood house and sits on a lot and a half with flat yards both in front and back of the house. “This one was special,” Jama recalls. “It felt like home. I’d lived in enough houses to know this was it.”

The renovation process started by taking one wall down, but soon they had gutted the home down to its studs. They wanted more living spaces than bedrooms, so they converted the second bedroom on the main floor into a family room that opens up to the kitchen and a bedroom on the second floor into a playroom. They originally had plans to add another story on top but decided to make it work as-is by converting attic space into a second bedroom for their three kids upstairs. “I’m all about function and keeping costs where they need to be,” Jama says. “That was our goal here.”

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The couple has flipped houses in Homewood since they moved to the area a decade ago for her husband, Geoffrey, to study at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. In May they joined together under Ketcham & Co., a design-build business that does a lot of work in Homewood on both new builds and renovations.

First a seamstress by trade, Jama is passionate about textiles—her favorite splurge items in her home (besides the French range with unlacquered brass knobs in her kitchen). Her rugs and fabrics are the inspiration for many of the other elements you see in the house. Although now she often uses a seamstress for the sake of time, Jama sewed a lot of the drapes in the house herself. “Textiles bring dimension to a space,” she says. “It’s its own piece of art.”

Geoffrey spent three summers in Africa and brought home art from there, so much of Jama’s color inspiration also comes from those pieces. In each room it’s evident that she doesn’t shy away from bold colors. “I have to hold myself back sometimes,” she says. “A lot of people are scared of paint and color, but it’s just paint.”

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An accent wall of navy triangles in the dining room came to be late on Saturday night. “I said, ‘I want a pattern in here,’ and I just did it,” Jama recalls. So she cut a sponge to the right size and started stamping. Today she still loves how the navy pairs with the citron ceiling in the space.

Jama’s favorite room in the house is the playroom upstairs because of how light shines in it. A turquoise couch she found for $25 from a Jimmy Hale Mission thrift store anchors the color from her kids’ artwork that covers the wall and gets changed out regularly. “Kids can come hang out here and make a mess, and I don’t care,” she says.

In both of the kids’ bedrooms on either side of the playroom, they built twin beds into the wall to make the best use of space—and, as her kids discovered, to transform them into trolley cars for play. In the boys’ room, Ikea bookshelves act as built-in dressers.

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The space where the family spends the most time is out back on the porch where they have a dining table and a sectional sofa from Ikea with slip covers Jama waterproofed. White curtains block off the space to both create privacy and give it more of a living room feel, just a few feet from their family soccer field.

When it came to her kitchen, Jama wanted it to be liveable, so she opted for a cabinet-paneled refrigerator and dishwasher in Amherst grey like her cabinets instead of stainless steel appliances so she didn’t have to worry about her kids’ fingerprints getting on them. Most of the storage is in drawers her kids can reach so they can help put dishes away, and she only places white dishes on her opening shelving because “it doesn’t necessarily have to be fixed.”

Here, Jama hunted the globe lights down from a flea market. The small ones above the windows and brackets that hold up the open shelving came from Etsy—because she loves to support people doing what they love, just as she gets to do both in her home and her business. 

Behind the Scenes

Construction: Ketcham & Co.- Geoffrey and Jama Ketcham

Interior Design: Jama Ketcham

Hardware: Brandino Brass

Kitchen Cabinets: Ketcham & Co.

Furnishings (partial): The Nest, Etsy, Hoover Antiques, Ikea, Lewis and Sheron, King Cotton, Homewood Antiques

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