This Cottage is 2000 Square Feet of Holiday Cheer
For the home's architecture, I was inspired by the old post office near my grandfather's family farm in Leroy, Alabama. The Atlanta design firm Spitzmiller and Norris, Inc., helped me interpret the rural vernacular of that old pine- and cedar-clad structure and turn it into a home. (It's a Southern Living House Plan, so you can build it too!) This little cottage, in my hometown of Perry, Georgia, is a dream come true. For its inaugural Christmas season, a twist on the traditional was in order. Mixed in with the deep reds and classic greens of nandina and magnolia are festive jolts of citrusy orange, lime green, and—as my mama used to call it—"carl" (coral, to the rest of us).
Take A Peek Inside:
'Tis the season!
Decked Out For Christmas
There's nothing I love more than breaking out my favorite holiday decorations each year—arranging the wreaths, gussying up the garland, and neatly decking the halls with boughs of holly. But this year—my first in Farmdale Cottage—calls for something extra special.
So join me on a tour of my country home that's filled with tips and tricks for decking your own halls in true Southern style.
Cut from Your Yard
Gather greenery from your own landscape. Here, Farmer used an extra-thick garland of magnolia, cypress, and pinecones. He says, "Scale is key. Don't do dinky. Garlands and wreaths should reflect your home's scale." Glass votives line the walk to play up the facade's symmetry.
Bring on the Magnolia
While some would leave the garland all green, Farmer opted for a more natural palette of rich greens and browns. Voluminous twin magnolia and cypress garlands create drama on both sides of the staircase, while an arrangement of coral amaryllis and freshly cut agarista blooms serves up plenty of seasonal cheer.
Pick a Focal Point that is Out of the Way
Create holiday vignettes in your windows to keep counters clear for party prep. "I love how my aunt's antique silver Champagne buckets herald the season with farm-fresh greenery, amaryllis, and bright nandina berries," Farmer says. An evergreen wreath gives the look depth, and a bowl of citrus adds functionality (hello, snacking houseguests!) as well as a nod to one of the South's great winter crops.
The Dining Room
Pair Up Trees, and Pare Down Decor
Two cedars cut from Farmer's land serve as elegantly simple Christmas trees. "I placed them in front of my dining room's big picture windows so light comes through and shimmers off the glass ornaments," he says. "I love taking Christmas throughout the house rather than spending all of my energy on just one tree." For the table, monogrammed linens and an easy but impactful centerpiece of citrus and nandina get the job done with style.
The Living Room
Aim High, Not Heavy
"When it comes to mantels, go big," says Farmer. But big doesn't always mean decorating with an unwieldy garland. Layer bright colors, traditional accents, and tall clippings to draw attention to the fireplace. Farmer used orange tulips and roses in red pottery to bring out the terra-cotta hues of his reclaimed-brick fireplace. Mexican pottery urns filled with nandina boughs create height and shake up the symmetry of the board-and-batten doors, sofas, and light fixtures.
Don't Over-look Private Quarters
Excess greenery and flower trimmings get put to work as spirited accents in Farmer's baths and guest rooms. "I like to have fresh flowers and garden greens decorating the bedside tables," he says. Here, he used a small bunch of magnolia that's tied in the center with a simple burlap ribbon and then wired carefully to the footboard of his custom-made faux-bamboo bedframe.