In his book, Arriving Home: A Gracious Southern Welcome, James Farmer presents a variety of his projects that exude the type of charm that is a pure reflection of genteelness. In her foreword to the book, Deborah Roberts notes, “Home, for me, calls to mind that warm, cozy feeling of being loved, fed, and cherished.” Home, she added, is not a location: “It’s a feeling deep down in our souls. It’s that place you go to emotionally when you’re feeling low or going through a tough experience. If you’re lucky, you’ll realize in those moments that home is what makes us feel whole.”
She goes on to say that James’ book shows us exactly why that feeling of home is so important. “It’s not just about the beautiful spaces he creates,” she explains. “Instead, he shows us that a home, whether new or old, lived in or fresh, is about the feeling you have and hold onto when you’re there.” In his introduction, James asks, “Is there a better feeling than arriving home?” His answer is heartfelt: “Whether a long journey sets us homeward, or perhaps returning from a day’s work, an intangible feeling evokes and, in turn, engages our senses as the approach toward home becomes illuminated by the tangible.”
The beautiful homes that make graciousness tangible in the photographs in the book range from Oak Bowery, an antebellum-style mansion near Auburn, Alabama; a country home in Connecticut for a young New York City family; a retreat on Lake Oconee near Atlanta; a metro Atlanta home in a quiet neighborhood; Stately Oaks, an antebellum-style mansion in South Carolina that includes the dining room in the image above with our Elizabeth Gold Chandelier illuminating the space; a cottage in Cashiers, North Carolina; his own home in Cashiers; and his sister’s wedding at Farmdale, James’ main residence. Our Leagrave benches grace the lush setting there in the photo below.
In Arriving Home, James also notes how we southerners are “house proud people.” He explains, “We devote generations of time and dedicate inheritances and annual income to our homes and gardens, and we open them for weddings, parties, family gatherings, and community events. It is not a brash type of pride, but a wholesome sense of duty to share and include our friends and family for life’s events in an intimate setting—a true reflection of hospitality.” Thumbing through the book, James should definitely be feeling pride in the beauty he has created, brash or otherwise!
James Farmer on Arriving Home
To delve a little deeper into the aspects of Arriving Home that make it so special, we asked James a few questions so we could share his depth with our readers:
C&C: Your interiors have such warmth. Is bringing coziness and timelessness to interiors innate for you?
JF: My mother and grandmother made our homes places where we wanted to be—always warm and inviting. I hope I’ve inherited that gift from them, and further hope I can cross that threshold of house to home for my clients. A house is a structure; a home tugs at the heartstrings and invokes the senses.
C&C: Arriving Home reads to me like a gracious homage to family. Was this intentional?
JF: Yes—absolutely! Homes influence our lives on many levels. Our clients become families in these homes. It is an honor to pay homage to my family in my work.
C&C: Though your interiors are lush, your outdoor spaces are fresh. Tell our readers about this juxtaposition in your work.
JF: That juxtaposition is the hallmark of Southern style—a mix of generational style, seasonal influence, and comforting style. We are known for our hospitality: from the dinner table to the porch. We eat fried chicken with silver, wear ties and dresses to football games, and celebrate produce with festivals and fairs—that’s the hallmark of mention! That juxtaposition, like salt on a chocolate chip cookie, makes our homes and porches our calling cards.
C&C: What is your favorite thing about how Arriving Home turned out?
JF: The timing of this book has been truly delightful. We are home more these days, so we are hungry for inspiration, ideas and influence for our homes. My favorite thing is seeing the books shipped to nearly every state: I’m truly honored!
In presenting his personal retreat in Cashiers in Arriving Home, James wrote, “When the opportunity for a place of my own in Cashiers presented itself, I was thrilled! Cashiers, North Carolina, has been a happy place for my family for generations. Farmdale will always be my home, but this home away from home has proved to be an exciting new chapter in my life. From hosting friends for Thanksgiving or enjoying the seasons and a different climate, I find the pace and place to be a good balance to home and work.” You can purchase Arriving Home through Bookshop.org, which supports independent bookstores, or on Amazon.
We wish everyone in our Currey & Company community a Happy Thanksgiving and a good balance to home and work during these remarkable times we are navigating. To see our other favorite books from the new fall releases, click through to Expressive Interiors by Sandra Lucas and Sarah Eilers, and A Dose of Authentic Beauty by Matthew Patrick Smyth.