Thursday, March 20, 2014

ONWARD RESERVE Spring Wish List




I don’t know about y’all, but I have a crush on spring clothes. Fresh plaids, gorgeous ginghams and pastels aplenty get me revved up and ready for spring! This season is of no exception! I hope y’all have received your Onward Reserve catalogue in the mail (love the old school approach mind you), or if you haven’t, I hope you’ve at least perused their website.


I share this vernal fashion affinity with my buddy Jay. Jay’s blog, Red Clay Soul, hits home with nearly every Southerner, for we have all been stained by the red clay – body and soul. Jay and I have the good fortune of traveling with our mutual Onward Reserve pals TJ and Will, writing blogs on our Southern heritage and of course, our favorite finds in the men’s fashion world. We got to chatting about our 2K14 wish lists from Onward and put together our respective notions. Take a look at Jay’s wish list here, and be sure to check ‘em out at The Gazette.





Here are this Farmer’s must haves for spring and into summer – threads and classic pairings that every Southern gent needs!


  • If you don’t already have a Barbour Jacket, then make sure you invest in one this season – especially the navy waxed cotton. This is a piece that returns its investment hand over fist every year. The navy just makes it that much more classic, y’all.


  • OR Glen Plaid Button Down – this periwinkle and brown duo is fantastic for spring and will carry you right into summertime. Blue and brown – can’t beat that combo with a stick!


  • OR Shorts in sky and red – khaki shorts are fine but bump up your game with these two hues. They look great with just about anything!


  • Irish Linen Field Jacket by Martin Dingman – Bring some summery, sandy hues into your wardrobe with this ticking weave jacket. Pair it with white jeans or pants for a sharp combo all season long or keep it casual with blue jeans and loafers. You know you have some spring and summer soirees to attend so might as well be the best dressed stud there.


  • Martin Dingman Irish Linen Pant – if you do not own a pair of linen pants, these need to be your first! If you have some already, these will be your faves gents… Plaid detail inside and out make these even that much more awesome.




  • Martin Dingman Newport Belt – let your more casual spring and summer vibes loose with these preppy, fun colored belts.  And while you’re at it, grab a pair of MD driving shoes – the “pecan and lime” are just calling my name!


  • AFTCO Shorts – I don’t know about y’all, but I LIVE in my AFTCO shorts just about yearround, but now I can wear them legitimately for the season. Stock up on every color guys – they’re the best fishing, swimming, lounging and traveling shorts around!


  • Filson Luggage – hopefully you’ve been invited to the beach, river or lake this spring and summer. Make sure you pack in a classy fashion fellas!


  • Martin Dingman Solid Pocket Squares – add a pop to any blazer. Every guy will have a blazer on at the party, you need to up the ante and show off your skills with this detail.


  • Cotton Brothers Pique Polos – breathable and the perfect blend of cotton and elastine – trust me, these will be your favo polo all season!


  • Coast Shorts and Shirts – sun or rain, surf or turf… you’ll need a Coast shirt and pair of shorts sometime this season. Stock up on this sharp Southern brand’s good looking wares.


  • Southern Proper Plaid Shirt – ok y’all, this is THE shirt I’m jonesing for the most this season – I must have the navy and the pink pronto! Pair them with linen pants, jeans or shorts and you’re set with style for the season. Iron crisp for a party or tumble dry and wear to the beach – this is my go-to shirt for the spring and summer.


  • Southern Proper Seersucker Sort – elastic and seersucker – what more could a Southern gent need? Grab both colors and sports these awesome shorts with Southern pride. Pair them with a plaid, a solid or a great gingham and you’ll be the toast of the town in these shorts!


  • If you don’t have a Yeti, then what ARE you carrying your beer and iced libations in, guys? Get one ASAP!


  • Jack Black – I’m addicted to their shaving cream for a clean summer shave and their sun guard and deodorant are exactly what we all need all season long. No need in being a wooly, smelly, sun burnt lobster ya’ll… Jack Black to the rescue!


Have y’all made your list yet? The warm seasons are long for us Southern boys – might as well stock and be styling the whole season. We have reputations as gentleman to uphold y’all, and part of that rep is being well-mannered, well-groomed and of course, well-dressed.

From this Farmer to you, happy spring!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Philip and Thomas Jefferson – James Farmer and Maggie Griffin


A canonized evangelical and an American forefather aren’t often a likely pair, though the latter pair certainly is! I can always count on my dearest pal Maggie Griffin to be on board for fun! And I cannot thank her enough for all her planning and hard work too – she is always the best!!!


For this year’s Cathedral Antique Show, I was honored to be selected as a designer for ‘Inspiration Avenue’, which was a collection of fab folks and fellow designers who were all inspired by a historical character for which a room was designed. For this Farmer, ol’ TJ was top on the list – especially after my recent trip to Tuckahoe!

 

Maggie and I thought that Mr. Jefferson probably knew how to throw a great dinner party at Monticello. He would invite his friends such as George and Martha (Washington of course), John and Abigail (Adams of course) and James and Dolly (Madison mind you) to feast upon French fish plates he probably procured whilst serving as minster to France. TJ too probably sent back to his Virginia home some other trappings from France – maybe a tapestry, velvet mutton leg chairs and books too!

 


Other trapping may have been more aboriginal in nature or inspired there from. Lewis and Clark no doubt influenced the décor with renderings and artwork alike of the flora and fauna seen on their Jefferson commissioned journey across America. Too, I felt a nod to the recently succeeded from British Empire was still apropos, so an English oak and walnut dining table anchored the space.

 



Many eras influenced Jefferson’s lifetime including the ever en vogue dose of Chinoiserie as seen in the blue and white temple jars, lamps and décor on the Sheraton style sideboard. As Napoleon and the French empire grew across “the pond,” Jefferson and the world too were inspired and influenced by the empire style, which became quite popular in the American South. I loved that this inspiration point allowed me to use the “Napp Chest” that once belong to Napoleon Granade – my great, great, great grandfather. I am flattered to have it now as my dressing chest currently, but I am merely the keeper for a short time. Napp Yelton shall use it once he is ready! 



Taking cues from Jefferson’s life at Tuckahoe and Monticello, his ministering to France and his service as President and statesman too, I felt so inclined and inspired to create this space in his honor. Even the Palladian Blue wall color nodded to Jefferson’s delight in Palladio’s architecture and love for balance and symmetry. I hope y’all enjoy this little tour of TJ’s dining room – Maggie and I had a ball!


Feast your eyes on the rest of these photos and be sure to visit Bellissimo and Bella for more deets on TJ’s dining room!

















Monday, March 3, 2014

Tally Ho to Tuckahoe!


I love the opportunities that come my way for speaking engagements and book signings. Travelling to fun places, meeting new folks and eating – especially eating! Earlier this winter, I had the opportunity to speak to a fantastic group of ladies in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia’s history is so wonderfully preserved and truly old by American standards. For those of us in the Deep South who lost much of their antebellum history to Sherman’s fires and “the war” itself, getting to visit places throughout Virginia is such a treat!

Having been a Thomas Jefferson buff for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled when some dear friends invited me to their home for a luncheon. Their home, mind you, just happens to be Tuckahoe Plantation – Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home!

For ol’ Jimmy T here, the chance to visit Tommy J’s childhood home was a true treat; but, to be in the home with friends, having a farm to table lunch and learning more about this real American idol of a man was simply amazing! A lifetime chance for yours truly!


Tuckahoe is perhaps the oldest frame residence west of Richmond proper and has seen its share of noteworthy houseguests. When Jefferson moved their as a young boy, he began his studies in a schoolhouse near the main house – complete with domed ceiling. I couldn’t help but make the correlation between this epicenter and genesis of learning for Thomas Jefferson and his touches on American architecture. From the dome of the US Capitol to UVA’s library and his personal residence, Monticello, the young Thomas Jefferson kept with his elementary inspirations and saw them through into adulthood.

A working farm then and now, Tuckahoe proper was a community in and of itself. My friends are still growing greens, raising hens for poultry and eggs, free ranging pork and keeping a kitchen garden that could feed the thirteen colonies! For my luncheon, we feasted on a salad of winter greens, quiches of leeks and country ham (we were in Virginia of course!) and almond cake – all with a tie somehow to Tuckahoe!  Seeing the footprint of the landscape and gardens was akin to a 20/20 view into history and agrarian heritage.

The James River runs across the “rear” side of Tuckahoe, but during the heyday of river travel rather than road travel, the James would have been like an interstate of sorts, thus Tuckahoe’s, like so many river homes, front façade is now their rear elevation and vice versa. I adore outbuildings and garden follies, and Tuckahoe has it plethora of them. From kitchens to the schoolhouse to old slave cabins and garden ornaments, this plantation is truly a harkening reminder of antebellum life – all lined up and orientated with the river.



JT and TJ I feel would have been buddies. We love gardening, architecture, food, flora and fauna of our homeland and, well, land itself. This bond I feel with Thomas Jefferson inspired me to create a space in his liking for the St. Philip’s Antique Show this year. Their “Inspiration Avenue” gave this Farmer the opportunity to fashion a dining room I feel Mr. Jefferson would feel right as rain being a guest. Stay tuned for that post!

As I drove down the long cedar lined drive away from Tuckahoe and back to Richmond – back to the twenty-first century for that matter – I couldn’t help but feel the tugging of history, heritage, tradition and even the spirit of our American forefathers. I turned off my engine and silenced my iPhone, and I could almost hear the ballyhoo of a fox hunt whispering through the trees. Tallyho to Tuckahoe, y’all!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vichyssoise and Butter Crackers

“William and Kate had trees. Y’all will have trees.” Famous last words from this Farmer to his pals TJ and Catherine. 

When my friends asked me to be a part of their wedding, I was truly flattered. The Avett Brothers song “January Wedding” started playing in my mind when they set their date for this past January. The only design challenge was how to transform the Piedmont Driving Club into the winter wonderland of Catherine’s dreams.

(behind the scenes photos)


PDC is an institution in Atlanta. I can remember going to “the club” as a child with friends of my parents and tasting the famous vichyssoise and butter crackers – a favorite Atlanta lunch to this day! Over the years, PDC has seen a multitude of weddings and events, so thus my charge from the blushing bride was to make it somewhat unique from past nuptials and parties. Enter my famous last words again – “William and Kate had trees. Y’all will have trees.” 


I loved how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding was a floral fanfare but not overdone with flowers. Trees from the Royal Arboretum were used for their special day and thus inspired my design moxy for PDC. The Driving Club has gorgeous, classic Southern architecture and impeccable interiors set by legendary Atlanta designers such as Dan Carithers and Jackye Lanham. Embracing the main ballroom’s stately, yet simply elegant décor and architecture was thus completely apropos. 




Large planter boxes reminiscent of those I’ve seen in orangeries and conservatoires were anchored at each column and planted with ficus trees casually lit with twinkling lights and washed softly with spotlighting. A classic color scheme of green and white with nods to cream and chartreuse too filled the ballroom and Georgian Room buffets. Cymbidium and phaleonopsis orchids scented the air with their peppery floral notes. White amaryllis trumpeted the season from their lofty stalks as did limbs of agarista, budded willow and camellia greenery. 



White hydrangeas along with a myriad of white to cream to green roses in silver julep cups dotted the tables scattered around the ballroom. David Austen roses, tightly bound into a bouquet, were carried by the bride. I absolutely love how full these roses are as well as how fantastic they smell – they smell like a true rose! 


For the altar, tone on tone white linens set the scene under a clear tent in the main courtyard. Large, white temple jars billowed forth their contents of greenery, flowers and winter branches. White hydrangeas, lime green cymbidium orchids, roses, amaryllis Hurricanes and pillar candles and tea lights dotted across the altar and cast a romantic glow for the ceremony. The bridesmaids all carried bouquets of mixed roses and hydrangea in keeping with the floral scheme throughout. 

Dinner and dancing followed the ceremony and a fabulous time was had by all. Though the vichyssoise was not a part of the buffet, the famous PDC butter crackers were – classics never go out of style, y’all! My team and I were so honored to be a part of such a classic affair celebrating the marriage of two of my dearest friends, and will fondly remember the night each and every time I visit the club. I hope y’all enjoy these photos from a night we all will truly remember! Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Callaway!





























































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