A Place to Call Home: Timeless Southern Charm

Kirk Reed Forrester reviews James Farmer’s eighth book and finds it as inviting as the designer and lifestyle guru’s spaces
place to call home

“Clippings from the land and garden always make the best bouquets. Silver trumpet vases and serving trays add a dose of old-world glamour and mimic the finish on the stag and hunting dog lamps.”—James T. Farmer in A Place to Call Home. Photo by Emily J. Followill

If James T. Farmer were a place, he would be a front porch. Open and inviting, this Southern home and garden guru exudes a “y’all come on in” vibe. The latest book in Farmer’s prolific spree (it is his eighth) showcases the designer’s work in 11 homes throughout the South. Farmer is down-to-earth enough to realize that when it comes to our houses, we find devotion in the daily motion of living: piling armloads of groceries on the table, weeding the garden, cleaning the kitchen after a big family meal. “Acts of love and duty transform a place into more than just a house,” he writes. But Farmer’s work has loftier aims too. In his interiors, thoughtful choices matter. Paint is not merely a color “slapped onto sheetrock” but “a backdrop for cocktails with friends, Christmas mornings, prom pictures posed in front of the mantel.” Reading A Place to Call Home is like sitting on a front porch. You want to stay awhile.

place to call home

With a mix of patterns and textures, including antique Imari lamps, chintz and leopard pillows, and a beautiful chinoiserie screen, this inviting living room is one of 11 interiors featured in Farmer’s book, A Place to Call Home. Photo by Emily J. Followill

By Kirk Reed Forrester