A Place To Call Home by James Farmer–Proof That Classic Design Is Alive and Well!

Over the past five years, the little decorating/design library in my home office has grown. There’s still a little room left to add the occasional favorite book, but I have to be more selective now that space is becoming more limited.

Recently I learned about a delightful designer by the name of James T. Farmer. Have you heard of him? I don’t know how I missed him all these years, especially since he lives right here in my home state of Georgia.

After Becky told me about him (thanks Becky!) I checked out his books and got so excited! You know that feeling, when someone tells you about a designer you’ve never heard of and you start Googling and discover you absolutely love their style!


I immediately ordered two of his books: Porch Living available here: Porch Living, and Dinner on the Grounds available here: Dinner on the Grounds. If you’re looking for some wonderful recipes for entertaining, you’ll love Dinner on the Grounds!

While ordering those books, I saw he had a new book coming out titled, A Place To Call Home, and that it could be pre-ordered. I didn’t order it at first, but the more I looked at the preview pictures, the more I realized resistance was futile. It looked amazing…all the things I love in design!


A Place To Call Home arrived while I was away in Ireland. So, you know how sometimes the preview pics are the very best part of a book? Have you ever ordered a book that had an amazing cover photo, but when the book arrived you discovered that the cover was the only room you really liked in the entire book?

Well, A Place To Call Home is NOT one of those books! The previews did not lie, the entire book is just as fabulous as the cover and the previews! As soon as I sat down and started turning the pages, I knew immediately this was a book that I had to share with you.


I can go on and on telling you how wonderful this book is and how much I love James Farmer’s work, but the pictures speak for themselves. Most of the following photos are from those available in the previews, but I’ve included 3-4 of my favorites from the book, as well.

James has a love for old homes and he shares some truly beautiful ones in his book.


His design work is classic but definitely not outdated.


And he knows how to make a porch feel like a natural extension of the home. Love this porch!


I have this thing for brown and white. I love it in transferware and in fabrics.


One of these days I’m going to cover a couple of chairs in a brown and white buffalo plaid. Love this bedroom so much! What a peaceful cozy room to retire to each evening. I could totally turn my home over to James and let him work his magic, and I don’t say that about many designers.


I love how he styles a bookcase…lots of great inspiration and ideas for that throughout the book!


Another beautiful historical home!


Sorry about the slightly warped-looking photo…this was one I snapped from my copy of the book. Such an inviting entrance!

One thing I noticed about the rooms in this book is that though they are all beautiful, they are also very livable! A Place To Call Home is filled with spaces that feel real, like a family actually lives there.


I’ve always loved a cozy, paneled room and the ones in this book are gorgeous!


A Place To Call Home is one of those books that I know I will pull off the shelf again and again. It is proof that  classic design is alive and well. But then we knew that anyway, didn’t we? 🙂


A Place To Call Home is available here: A Place To Call Home.

You’ll find other favorite books from my decor-design library, here: BNOTP Decor Library.

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  1. Whoa, really like his style. I kept thinking, “I could live there,” and that’s the thing, like you said–the rooms are all still livable. Keep us up to date on your buffalo plaid. Once you get an idea, you usually follow through 😉

  2. Beautiful. I had Porch Living on my Amazon wishlist for a long time, but I think I like this one more. That’s the kind of styling I gravitate toward, too!

  3. I LOVE his style and cannot wait to get my copy!!! Let us know if he will do any book signings in the area…I would make that trip in a minute…well, actually it would take me over 6 hour or so! 🙂

  4. Susan, I love James Farmer, too! I have Porch Lving and a Place to Call Home right now on a chest table in my sunroom. They are there every summer and during those months I always look through the books again. His books speak to my style. So glad you have discovered him, too!

  5. I love this style too. I am so tired of homes that have no color. I lived that way in FL for about 8 years and then I couldn’t stand it any longer. I needed some color around me. I noticed the room with the fireplace mantle and the arched bookcases like you talked about the other day. Also love the paneled room like yours.

  6. I carry his books at my shop and am considering having him come for a book signing. He went to Auburn with a friend of mine. I absolutely love his classic Southern style! Sorry I didn’t tell you about him earlier!

  7. Cool book.
    There is a blogger “The Enchanted Home” that has used beige and white toile and buffalo plaid in some rooms. Exquisite stuff. She uses a LOT of blue and white ceramics and sells it. Wonderful decorating. On the much higher end and fancy-shmancy. Designed and fully decorated a very large home on Long Island and is completing one in the Southern state water area. Beautiful pics of her decorated homes. I think the Master Bedroom is in the beige toile/check. You might enjoy.

  8. The photo with the two white couches look remarkably like the post you just did, but it was not working out and you sent them to consignment. Hope you are going in that direction. Love buffalo print and I am thinking of a way to incorporate it into my house.

    • Joellen Wilcox says

      I noticed that too. Both the curved top bookcases and the mantle look remarkably like the ones Susan has taken out of her living room.

    • Yes, it would be something like that. I just decided it would be less hassle and less expensive to have the mantel and the cabinets (that would be on either side) built all together at the same time, rather than trying to work with the older cabinets that had so many layers of paint on them. I think it would have been pretty expensive to have all those years of paint stripped off. Plus, the shelves were really narrow and would hardly hold anything. The shelves I would have built would be deep enough to hold books. Not sure if would go with arched shelves though…may just go with regular style. But that was the general idea. I had seen it many, many years ago in a Colonial Homes magazine and loved how it looked.

  9. Susan, I do not know his work, but will order his books. I respect your recommendations. I find myself adding fewer books here too, but these look like my kind of reads. Thanks for the recommendations.

  10. rebecca dexter says

    Thank you Susan for spreading the word about James Farmer…Perry is a darling town and imagine my surprise when I stopped there on my way home from Florida and found him in his shop…of course I bought another book and had him sign it since the new one wasn’t out yet. Love all of them! Becky

    • Becky, can’t remember if I mentioned, but I grew up very close to Perry and my sister lived in Perry for several years, so I drove that way a lot. That was many years ago, though. Georgia has so many cute towns!

  11. Thank you for sharing. His style looks so effortless and beautiful.

    • Debra, that’s a good way to describe it. It doesn’t feel “decorated” just feels naturally beautiful and effortless. I love homes that feel that way, you can just walk right in and relax. 🙂

  12. Thank you for sharing this book. I will order a copy shortly.

  13. He reminds me of Charles Carothers.

  14. Oh Susan, I agree with you. The new book is wonderful and filled with classic design which never goes out of style!

    • Have always loved that about classic design, you never have to worry about being “out of style” and you can keep and use things in your home forever…just recover when needed.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing James Farmer’s books, Susan. The thing that jumps out at me is that he uses what I call “real” art on the walls! My husband is a professional artist, and a realist, traditionally trained in old world methods of painting, and he always groans when we are in hotel rooms or other public spaces and see the awful stuff that some “designers” call art!! James has some beautiful things that reflect the country settings, yet not dated, as you say. Thanks for sharing this! Jane xo

  16. I have been a fan of James Farmer for several years! This is classic and traditional style that is not trendy! I don’t have this book yet! But I will be ordering! Thanks for sharing, Susan!

  17. Bonnie Gutierrez says

    Susan, thank you for sharing James Farmer’s book. I am pretty much a traditionalist but like to use touches of whimsy and surprise here and there so this is definitely up my alley. In my opinion, traditional style always comes around as opposed to the sparse gray/beige minimal look among other fads that are prevalent now. Everyone has different taste and I respect that also.

    I love the paneled room in the book and would love to own that painting over the fireplace

  18. Love this man’s style………am ordering the book now!!!

    Love brown and white, goes so well with the classic blue and white…….

  19. I love James Farmer as well! It always so refreshing to see these homes done in classic traditional and what I think of as Southern style.

  20. Hi Susan, thank you so much for sharing your books. I used to collect coffee table books. Especially anything to do with country decor. Like you I love love love buffalo plaid. Navy blue and off white and red and off white or cream are my favorites . That being said I get excited with just about any color room decorated with buffalo plaid. The chair you showed the book in has been on my radar since the first time I saw it… if you ever reside you need a change keep me in mind. I don’t see a way to show you my room or I would. I think you would appreciate it.

  21. I’ve loved James’ work for a long time, plus he’s an Auburn grad (War Eagle!). I have Porch Living and A Time To Cook and pre-ordered A Place To Call Home. It came last week and I can’t stop looking at it! I first flipped thru to see the beautiful homes now I’m going back and reading all the stories associated with each home. I’m so happy James included his lovely home in this book.

    My son’s old room is based on one he did in a show house featuring buffalo checks and aqua….it’s one of my favorite rooms in our home.

  22. Those homes could be in Louisiana too. I love the slate floors and plate rack in that Foyer. I’ve never heard of him, but I love his style too!

  23. Very nice post, Susan. One of my Interior Design teachers used to say that as people get older they tend to gravitate toward more traditional design and these pictures show us that. I’m looking forward to acquiring the book.

  24. Again, thanks for sharing. I started drooling over the pictures. I ordered A Place to Call Home and also A Time to Plant. Can’t wait to get the books.

  25. I will place this book next to my Carolyne Roehm At Home book! I really like the den/study room and wish we had a little more space to have a room like that in our house. What I really want is a room like that for my husband so I can take back the sunroom and fill it again with chintz and ferns and African violets!

  26. Nan, Odessa, DE says

    There is an article about his design in the October issue of COUNTRY LIVING. Enjoy!

  27. This is a real designer, anyone could do some of these and still look good enough to mess up and live in. I like that too. Thanks Susan, now you have given me a great idea, for my Christmas present from my sons, a list of design books.

  28. Susan, no wonder you love this design book so much: many of the photos are reminiscent of your own home!! You are a natural designer and James Farmer’s books just confirm this! Thanks for sharing this find.

    • Awww, thanks Rosie! You are a sweetheart and I appreciate those kind words! XXX

    • @Rosie: Ditto!
      @Susan: Totally agree with Rosie, you are a natural and do have the eye of an Interior Designer. Also, thank you for the introduction to James as I’ve never heard of him before. Warm hugs -Brenda-

  29. Lorna Boustead says

    Hi Susan always enjoy your posts and thank you for sharing all your wonderful articles. I don’t think you need anyone to come and decorate for you as you do a great job. Everything is tastefully done and you come up with some great ideas that complement the style of your house. I particularly love your upstairs? Sitting room with the blue, white and yellow upholstery and of course the warm, mellow pine furniture. Will check out his book next time I go to the book store as that is the kind of look into love. (PS I now also shop at Talbots, love their classic styled clothes. We don’t have as many stores here in Canada but have an outlet as the closest to me.) Thanks

    • Thanks, Lorna! I really love what Talbots has been doing the last few years. I wonder if you can order online…and if they ship to Canada. Now that I’ve kinda figured out what size I wear, I sometimes order online, even though I do have a store near me.

      • Lorna Boustead says

        Hi Susan, yes I have ordered online as I am a plus petite and the stores here don’t carry them. They carry plus in only regular sizes. The duty and shipping was very expensive and the only consolation was I got a wonderful jacket on sale. I will be able to wear it for a long time as it is so classic.

  30. Love this young man and his timeless sense of style. If you ever get a chance to hear him talk do not miss it! He’s such a Souhern gentleman, so cute and very funny. It’s a real treat to meet him in person and spend a while listening to him speak.

  31. I have a question about your new garage storage for your dishes and other decor items. How often will you have to clean to keep outside elements such as dust, dirt, grim, and bugs/spiders and webs from covering the items stored on top of each unit? Will you cover them with anything? I assume you use your garage to park your car and raise and lower the door to go in and out daily.

    • My car doesn’t put our a lot of exhaust. It’s a hybrid (Lexus 400H) so when I start it, it’s in battery mode. The engine doesn’t normally kick in until I’m actually in the driveway. Even if it was a regular gas car, I don’t think it would be a big problem since the exhaust pipe is facing outward. I never leave my garage door up, that’s pretty rare. I have the perimeter of my home treated quarterly, so spiders aren’t that big of an issue. It keeps bugs and spiders away for the most part. I also have one of these in the garage: http://amzn.to/2vL71tl . I have those inside my home (one near the porch door and one near the front door. Since I added them, I rarely see any spiders or bugs inside. They work amazingly well. Since the cabinets have doors, I don’t think it will get super dusty inside, will have to see how it goes.

  32. I really like the pictures you shared – that is my style for sure. I live in a low country style house with a big front porch and gazebo. I am going to work on it this winter to create a space like the one you showed. Definitely going to order that book right now!

  33. I saw James Farmer do a presentation at the Memphis Master Gardener’s Spring Fling a few years back.
    He was really charming and cute.
    Not to mention he has fabulous taste in decorating as well as gardening.

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