We are, undoubtedly, James Farmer fans. Endearingly dubbed “unapologetically Southern,” the best-selling author and famed interior designer has it all — Southern flair and hospitality, charm in spades, and just the right amount of cozy elegance infused into every one of his designs. With that in mind, we wait with bated breath for the annual holiday decor he bestows upon his Georgia homestead, Farmdale. Wait until you catch a glimpse of this year’s gorgeous “Farmdale-meets-Williamsburg-classic Christmas” design!
Though the details and nuances may change year to year, Farmdale is no stranger to being dressed up for the holidays. Owner and lauded interior designer James Farmer has been imparting his distinctive and dazzling style on the residence since he purchased the family land in Perry, Georgia, in 2015. This year, the lifestyle expert teamed up with Marigold Designs for a timeless take on Christmas that perfectly melds Williamsburg style with elegant greenery and florals that wow.
“I’m a sucker for Williamsburg,” says James, with a nod to the vintage patterns and pieces to which he’s drawn. “I also love fresh fruit and flowers. They last just long enough to be beautiful for the holidays before returning to our regularly scheduled program! I am fortunate to count the incredibly talented Mary Cox Brown of Marigold Designs as a dear friend. She and her elves descended upon Farmdale, and voila! Farmdale-meets-Williamsburg-classic Christmas appeared.”
As it happens, James has quite a longstanding connection to Christmas that makes his affinity for the season and his infusion of family heirlooms even more evident. “My mother went into labor with me while she was antique shopping,” he explains. “One of her purchases that day was a set of knock-off Spode Christmas plates. Those plates are now mine, and I use them every year. They may not be fine, but they are meaningful!”
Additionally, his family’s traditions have stuck around for decades, and James is content to continue them. “One year, my Mimi decided she was fed up cooking a traditional Christmas Eve meal for our family,” he says. “Thus, our family Christmas Eve tradition of going to the China Palace in Warner Robins, Georgia, started. It remains my favorite tradition to date!”
When it comes to cozy, welcoming decor, James has indeed found his niche, and we’ll soak up as many interior design suggestions as he’s willing to extend. Thankfully, the recent release of his newest book, Arriving Home: A Gracious Southern Welcome, offers us another opportunity to fawn over his timeless Southern aesthetic — a mixture of antiques, art, pops of color, and oodles of rich pattern and texture.
So what elements does James recommend that we include in our own holiday design endeavors? He says the key is to incorporate whatever brings you comfort and joy. “I think a reflection of you is always what’s going to make you feel welcome in your home,” he tells us. “Personally, I love classic with a twist along with layers and textures. Fortunately, nature brought inside is the key to Christmas decorating, and nature’s gift is its beautiful layers and textures. While traditional red and green are classically beautiful, shades of yellows and oranges bring in natural warmth. Don’t be afraid to veer from what you’ve always done to create the feel you want.”
Now, go and channel that Christmas spirit!
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