The upside of downsizing: She changed everything but the garbage disposal
Photography by Danny Fulgencio
Like a lot of women her age, Jody Clarke found herself alone in a big house after a divorce. She moved from a 3,200-square-foot home near Midway and Merrill to a 1,907-square-foot home in Sparkman Club.
“I wanted something I could fix up,” says Clarke, owner of Jodell Clarke Designs. “I’m an eclectic person. I like quirky and old things, things that tell stories. I grew up with antiques. My family didn’t have a lot of money, but I inherited a lot of furniture. I’ve just added to it over the years.”
Clarke bought her home in 2018 and finished renovating it in February. There’s very little original left in the house. “I think the disposal in the sink, the backyard fence and the garage door survived,” she says. “Everything else is new.”
The home has three bedrooms, a family room, living room and dining room. Her favorite space is the family room, which boasts a skylight. The wall in the family room features a photo gallery of art, including two images of places she loves: Paris and Raveloos on the Amalfi coast of Italy. “After I was single, I had this dream of being in Paris on a romantic weekend with somebody handsome.”
The room highlights a piece called “The Atomic Ant Farm” that Clarke purchased from a Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) event. She served on the board and as president of that organization. The work of art is composed of an old microscope box, parts of a microscope and the original manual.
African mud cloth and baskets, American folk art, Italian tile from Deruta and art from Santa Fe and Mexico can be found throughout the house. Her dishes are a collection of antique English Ironstone. She is passionate about architectural prints. A sculpture in her hallway is a project she welded when she was in art school, collecting rusted car parts from the woods and manipulating them together.
Clarke wanted to be an interior designer when she was in high school, but a guidance counselor talked her out of it. She got her degree in art education, became an art teacher, worked in visual and store design, did product development and was a stylist and designer. At one point she worked at Fossil. Her 25-year-old daughter, K.C. Thompson, is a copywriter who graduated from Hockaday.
“I love working with what people have. Some designers strip a room and buy everything new,” she says. “But people have family things they’ve collected, and I like to work those in. I love helping people tell their stories.”
Her living room features expanded windows so that she can open the door to a front-yard verandah with table and chairs. She enjoys watching the neighbors while drinking coffee. “It’s private,” she says. “People walking their dogs don’t necessarily see me, but when they do, they wave and say ‘hi.’ It’s a friendly neighborhood. That’s one of the reasons I chose to live here.”
Clarke decorated the dining room as a library space. “This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to choose everything I wanted.”
Photography by Danny Fulgencio