Designer Q&A: James Farmer

SH: We consider you a Renaissance man—you decorate, garden, cook, entertain, and have written eight books, all while still only in your 30s. How did that come about?

JF: Well, I believe I was born loving design and our Southern lifestyle, and I wanted to pursue that as a career. I double-majored in art history and landscape design in college so that I could get the history of the aesthetics…the roots of design, if you will. My freshman year at Auburn, I’d fry chicken in the dorm kitchen. Let me tell you, that makes you a lot of friends! What hit me immediately was my generation needed a voice, someone to say here’s how you grow it, how to cook it, and where the fork and spoon go on the table. I started talking about writing my first book back then with a goal to publish before I was 30. I was fortunate to beat that benchmark by a year, and the ideas kept coming.


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