James Farmer Inspired Corner

by | Oct 20, 2022 | 1970 home renovation, Decorating, Living Room, My House | 88 comments

There are times when a design I see in a book or online sticks with me.  I keep coming back to it again and again and I find myself imagining it in my own home.  Most of the time, it just remains an object of admiration.  I just don’t have the space or things to pull it off.  But, this design by James Farmer has stuck with me and it was something I could emulate.  I just needed the right place to do it.

James Farmer Design | antlers and antique transferware | miss mustard seed

James shared this picture in a 2019 Facebook post and this is what he said about it, “When I graduated from Auburn, I started helping some of my grandmother’s friends rearrange furniture, recover a chair and of course, hang a plate or two or three… or twenty. I guess some things never change! In an entry for a client’s hunting farm, the combo of brown transferware, European mounts, pottery lamps and an English “lowboy” all meld together in warm browns and sepia tones set crisply against painted horizontal paneling. Glimpses can be seen into the more colorful dining room and living beyond.”

So, I already had the European stag antlers (collected over the years) and transferware plates.  I wanted to use my pale blue antique transferware plates, though, instead of brown.  I wanted one large pair of antlers to act as a centerpiece and I found a pair of fallow deer antlers from Europe from one of my favorite antler suppliers on Etsy, MSTaxidermy.  They would be the perfect focal point.

I was originally thinking I would hang the arrangement in the foyer, but as I was looking around the living room, I felt like it belonged in the corner by the back door.  It seemed to work with the paneling, beams, and my vision for the room.  So, I gathered everything this morning and started to play.

Here is how my James Farmer-inspired corner turned out…

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

Let’s break this down.  The chest was $50, purchased off of craigslist years ago and the alabaster lamps were a Facebook marketplace find.  The antique transferware plates, birdseye maple writing slope, and small stag antlers were found at antique stores, and the antique watercolor box was an Etsy purchase.  I picked up the vintage German cuckoo clock a couple of weeks ago at a local antique shop.

Obviously, my ceilings are lower than the inspiration design, so everything is condensed a bit, but the arrangement is balanced by an antique wardrobe with a basket full of blue and white overshot coverlets on it, so it feels right.  It’s full and cozy without looking overly busy.

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

I love how German this room is looking!  I’ve always wanted to take my decorating a little bit more European and this corner definitely heads in that direction.

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

I bought the funky antique wooden stool on Monday at an antique store.  I knew it would be a perfect little accent with a pillow on top.  It was a great deal at around $20.

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

You can read about the blue and white checked chair I reupholstered a few years ago HERE.

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

The walls and trim in this room will eventually be painted, but for now, I love having a corner that looks finished.  I feel even more motivated to work on the rest of this room!

antique transferware and European stag antlers | living room | miss mustard seed

Which designers or decorating styles have inspired you lately?



  1. Monica from Littlestown

    Beautiful! This house already looks like you and I can’t wait to see how you update the kitchen. Does the cuckoo clock work?

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, it works! It has a lovely little cuckoo, too. It’s running a little slow, so I need to tweak it, but it works great!

    • Sharon

      The two plates on the dresser…is a bit…of an overkill..

      • Perri Williamson

        If too much is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

        So many things to love, including your whole decision making process. It only makes sense if something causes you to revisit it it’s got it’s hooks in you. Your instinct to not ignore that was key. I appreciate how you’ve compensated for scale differences and thrown the changeup with the blue and white.

        I ordinarily wouldn’t care for the stained crown but you made me love it with near perfect color and visual weight balance.

        You’ve located it in more of a contemplation space in the home flow rather than one that boldly says, Hi, Welcome. It’s a genteel invitation to style.

        I’m prejudiced. You had me at antlers anyway.

        • Frances K.

          I completely agree!

      • Linda Scoville

        Love it but the 2 plates on the chest distract. Too much clutter!

        • JC

          This is so lovely and SO you! I love the vertical batten. That is perfect with the lower ceilings to give visual height. What a joy for you to have such a cozy spot!

  2. Nora

    Looks great. It’s nice to know someone inspires you enough for you emulate their style like you inspire your readers. Would you consider adding dark blue or brown (?) tassels on the lamp bases? At least until you paint the walls. They are so pretty but I think they blend a bit too much into the walls.

    • Phyllis

      Perfection!!! ❤️

  3. Beckie

    I love this. I purchased two mounts this past weekend at the Luckett Fall Festival in hopes of one day being able to do the same display. It looks great!

    • Gabrielle

      It looks fabulous. I love that you have gathered the pieces, and put it altogether without it costing an arm and a leg!

  4. taria

    that looks great. we have always had a cuckoo clock in our home. My Czech g’ma
    had one she left to my mom. It had been a wedding gift almost a hundred years ago. It is in my sisters home now. Why you inspire me, but my house is kind of always in
    transition. We really live here.

    • Patricia

      One room down – the rest wait in anticipation !


    Love love love that look- that is more my style for sure. Not frilly or “girly” but looks collected over time and has a slight masculine touch. My Victorian house is actually “decorated” in that style inside, cozy and homey and feels historic without being a museum of fancy stuff. So excited to see what direction you take your new home- I love the simple joy of seeing your journey play out. Makes my heart happy in a simple way.

  6. Betsy

    I tried going more modern because I so dislike clutter. I’m a minimalist at heart. I have few decor items but I’ve learned that classic/traditional European design furniture is where my heart is.

  7. Codysue

    This is so so pretty!

  8. Rebecca Roberts

    I love this! It got my wheels turning… I think I could do something similar to this in my house!

  9. Dana

    Love yours and James Farmer’s decorating style. It’s absolute perfection.

  10. Kimberly Carnegie Bruhn

    I’ve never seen antlers like those on the big deer mount….they almost look like moose! I was just thinking about plates on the wall again…thanks (again) for the inspiration!

  11. Marilee

    There is much good to be said for symmetry in design, and there’s the proof. Lovely.

  12. Val

    Gorgeous! And I like your version better than the inspiration!

  13. Janet in Kansas City

    Im a million years I never expected antlers to be hanging in my home, until my dad passed away, and suddenly I needed to have a piece of him nearby. I have 3 sets of his antlers now, and couldn’t love them more. Your corner is beautiful, and you are one of my favorite inspirations. I’m always telling people about you. Thank you.

    • Tracy Harper

      Love the warmth of it all. It looks like it’s been there for a very long time. The quilt above armoire and chairs are so homey!!

  14. Patricia Smith

    So good! But…I kinda want to see what the 2 plates on stands would look like if they were slid to the back…behind the lamps, even.

    • katieonwhidbey

      Yes, this.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ooo…well, something to try!

  15. Marcie

    Love It! And I love James Farmer as well…like you, a lot of what he does is relatable and actually doable for ordinary folk! Thanks for showing us “how to”!

  16. Lynn Williams

    Oh my gosh — that space is lovely! I love the soft blue with the wood tones. Can’t wait to see more of your house!

  17. Kris

    Love it! I bet it feels so good to have some of your home decorated in your inimitable style.

  18. Kim

    I have no idea who James Farmer is (maybe I should find out!), but I have had a display like this in almost all of my homes over the years! Currently it is in my bedroom. I collect transferware plates and platters and find the brown displays most soothing. My grandma’s big brown Colonial Revival fold-down desk forms the “base” of the scene.

    The first thing I thought when I saw the cuckoo clock was “now that room seems German.” My German grandparents always had their cuckoo clock in the kitchen and it was such a favorite of us grandchildren, always waiting to see it go off and the dancers coming out to twirl.

  19. Judy

    I have the painted old paneling in a house built in 1971. However the top molding/trim is painted white. It just blends into the cream colored paint on paneling in my house. I love the natural, wide piece of wood trim in your house. It sets off the room. You may have inspired me to do this.

    • Donna

      I was so impressed to see the stained ceiling molding too. I have this look in my house but it is out of favor with all the white painted trim in style. I think it goes well with Marion’s style. Love it I thought it warmed the corner.

  20. Molly

    I love the Old World feel of this grouping, Marian! I also like how you put your own lighter brighter feel on it! I have been crushing big time on Markham Roberts recently!

    • Marian Parsons

      I will have to take a look at his designs!

  21. Babs

    How exciting! What a wonderful taste of things to come….I can’t wait!

    • Babs

      I forgot to mention a designer I love….Charles Faudree. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us but he had written several books which are delightful.

      • Marian Parsons

        Yes! I have at least one of his books!

  22. Jill

    Love it all! As I am a huge James Farmer fan, all of these elements here speak to me. I have collections of wood boxes, alabaster lamps (can you ever have too many?), Transferware and antlers. I have varied design tastes, but English Country is my fave. You are giving this home new life and style, and I’m loving it! Congrats on your move, it’s always so fun making a house feel like your home!

  23. SueA

    A big ick on the antlers–I just never could get the point, never mind the entire head–but everything else is perfection.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, I get it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is very traditional in Europe.

  24. RAinNC

    To borrow from your book title, it is already feeling like home, YOUR home. 😀

    • Connie

      So very pretty& cozy! And Southern, like James Farmer! So much of our style here in the South is very European & hunting inspired. Thanks for sharing even smallish corners that are filled with beauty & delight!

  25. Nina Kiser

    Stunning perfection on both accounts!

  26. Maureen

    The corner turned out beautiful. Very European.

  27. Lou E Gipson

    I am a longtime follower..
    Love your blog!
    one small request..
    Please STOP the spinning book!
    It drives me bonkers!
    I cannot continue reading!
    thanks in advance

  28. Valeri

    I love the corner! Excited to see the rest!

  29. Tracey Vito

    It looks GORGEOUS…and this is constructive criticism…I think the plates would look much better behind the lamps… (to me) they just don’t look right out in the front. They are competing with those beautiful alabaster lamps.

  30. Kristine

    This is truly beautiful, and to me, feels pretty gutsy!! As someone has already said, I like your version better. The blue plays off so beautifully from the wood tones. I also really like how it the whole display is balanced with the antique wardrobe on the right. Just gorgeous!

    • BD

      You nailed it!!!!!!

  31. Sally

    You are so inspirational to me. Beautiful! How do you hang your plates? Nails or 3m sticky hooks ?

    • Marian Parsons

      I hang them using the old-school wire hangers. They really are the most reliable.

  32. Lindy Powell

    Feels like home ~ So cozy and what great finds ~ You inspire us all ~ I’m now looking at my walls and thinking how I can display and hang my plates ~ Our thanks for sharing your journey ~

  33. Carolyn Dietrich

    I love it! I like your version even better than the inspiration! This makes me so excited for what comes next!

  34. Kat

    Love this! James Farmer will be at a book signing Saturday just a MILE from my house! Need to go!

  35. Linda

    Love it! So inspired by James Farmer AND you – love how the home already reflects your style and how you make it accessible for everyone to take a bit of inspiration and still make it your own.

  36. Laura

    Beautifully done! James Farmer is one of my favorite designers. The late Charles Faudree is another favorite. When I am unsure of design choices I look through Faudree’s books for direction and inspiration.

  37. M

    That looks like a Thebes stool. Very popular in the Victorian era through the 20s when Egypt was all the rage. Can be a pricey little bit of decor at high end shops.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you for telling me the name of it! I found it for a great price (I think around $20) and I just knew it was special and unique. Jeff wasn’t so sure, but I showed him one just like mine listed for $585! Thanks for educating me!

  38. Judy Karlson

    Lovely as everyone has mentioned above but even MORE wonderful that it all sits on new beautiful floors! They really set off the design you have created here and will continue to be such a lovely base for the rest of your creative endeavors!

  39. Diane M Wicks

    I love the way it turned out! I, too, love a more European look to our home. You just keep inspiring me!

  40. AnnaRae

    Beautiful. I love that you dance to your own drummer. I like the softness of the lamps. Lets the other color shine. Things can get too busy. I’d say it’s perfection.

  41. Shelley Humpal

    Great job as always Marian. It’s so satisfying to have even a corner done when you’ve first moved in. We are always on the same parallel! It’s so spooky. I just used my writing slope for our local Core of Discovery State Days in a table setting for the event. I too use all of the above. Using plates make such a statement and can be such beautiful artwork as well as huge problem solvers.

  42. Cheryl W

    Love love love it!

  43. Connie

    Love the arrangement! Hope your keep the warm wood cove molding while painting. I love it! Your house will look great!

  44. Olivia

    I like how your wall turned out. Nice balance of plates. The only thing I would worry about are the chains hanging from the clock. I have cats and I know they would be very interested in the chains. Hope your cats are more well behaved than mine.

  45. Mary

    James Farmer style is WONDERFUL! Love your beautiful little corner….looking forward to seeing more!

  46. Judy Button

    I love your new floors and your chest. I look forward to your decorating ideas as I live in a small ranch and love using blue.

  47. Gloria

    My Mother is Austrian & she’s 82.5 years young now, and when I saw your room, it brought tears to my eyes as it not only emulates JamesFarmer’s lovely vignette & display, but it transported me, immediately, to her beloved home country in Austria! So incredibly BEAUTIFUL, Marian! I’ve had James’ photo saved at the top of my list as well, and hoping to use the same idea when I move to the Woods.. I will definitely pay homage to my European parents! My year younger brother, who’s an architect, and I, who are both unmarried but miles apart, have decided to build a European style farmhouse together when we retire. I’m so looking forward to that time & you’ve completely hit the mark on attaining the start of a European aesthetic! Thank you so kindly for sharing your talents with us!

    • Irene Kelly

      Marian, I have always loved this chest of drawers. I think you had it in your MN bedroom at some point ? It’s beautiful ! Love that you are putting your stamp on your new abode !

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I just love this comment and that you and your brother are going to design and build a home together. I bet it will be perfection. I have always loved German things, but German antiques have been hard to find in the US until recent years. I love that I can order things through Etsy until I can get back to Germany to shop for myself. Austria is so beautiful, too. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

  48. Jen C

    Beautiful arrangement. So cozy. I love English country and of course your design inspiration. Thank you for giving me the spark to decorate and change things around again. I discovered your blog in January 2020 when I had what we thought was pneumonia but found out months later that it was Covid. My husband came down with it four days later. I read your blog and it truly gave me a ray of sunshine and when I felt better I put your ideas to work and started collecting ironstone! I already had a beautiful pitcher and bowl that was handed down to me that was in the family. I have your most recent book and thoroughly enjoy it. Looking forward to more glimpses of what you do with your new home.

  49. Janet Squire

    Love it, absolutely my style, I have something similar with antlers and ikat plates. Well done.

  50. Deb

    Beautiful! I do believe that James would approve! Your new house is going to be amazing!

  51. Louise

    I love your design sensibility, Marian, and this may sound nitpicky but i don’t love the arrangement next to grids on the door. It seems very busy to my eye. I absolutely love this arrangement and would love it on a wall where it doesn’t compete.

  52. Anna

    I love this look! I have a chest that is extremely similar but doesn’t have the same sheen. Will you share your wood cleaner/polish, please?

  53. Cynthia Johnson

    Your chest has been uncovered and found a new place to stand. I love it. The room looks very cozy and very European~
    Luckett’s sounded very meaningful to you in many ways.. and to be with your Mom so often~ how special.
    Be well, Cynthia

  54. Marianne

    I love the stained crown molding. I’m sure I would have painted them and that would have been wrong. Now I need to find a place for my moms old cuckoo clock that has been gathering dust in a closet for 2 decades.

  55. Ramona

    Oh…..Marian…it’s so you and I love your inspiration photo but I like yours better. I have no idea who James Farmer is but your design reminds me of Charles Faudree and he would definitely approve. I love both English Country and French Country. They inspire me but You inspire me the most because you decorate in attainable ways. I can’t wait to see you put your touch on your rancher. Blessings.

  56. Michele M.

    I will never be a true fan of antler decorating – probably my 32 years of being a vegetarian, but it isn’t my cuppa….
    but I am taking the time to comment because I want you to know that I think your design in his style is much better.
    It truly looks fabulous. You copied it but made it so much more with your beautiful choices.

    And there are no words to even begin to tell you how much I love that chest of drawers. Oh my goodness – $50.
    My word. Just wow. It’s one of my very favorite of all your pieces, and you have had many over the years.

    Well done, Marian.

  57. Dena

    I love this – it is just gorgeous! I am a huge fan of James Farmer, in fact I’m visiting Farmdale for his book launch of Celebrating Home next month. You and him have a very similar decorating style in that everything you do is warm, inviting, and cozy. I am not a fan of full animal heads on the wall, but I love the antlers. And, I am a fan of anything blue and white! I can’t wait to see what else you do in your new home.

  58. Anne Wilson

    Love the look and appreciate you explaining your thought process! I’m in agreement with the other comments about removing the two standing plates on the dresser—it would allow those two, beautiful lamps to shine!

  59. Renaee H

    You nailed it! I’ve loved the same James Farmer wall too, but I tend to pull out brown transferware only in the fall. It never occurred to me to switch out to blue, green, red or whatever your preference. Truly inspiring!

  60. IEL

    I love the new arrangement! It suits your pieces well. James Farmer’s style is refined yet very comfortable as is yours. I live in the South (GA) and I am a long time fan of James Farmer. His instagram pages are very upbeat and a great follow (@JamesFarmerInc and @JamesFarmer). His design books are worth reading too. His eye is so good. The way he uses fabrics is something I always admire about his projects or in his own home. I even follow the drapery sewing room that makes his drapes, blinds etc LOL because I love to see his pieces being made (@juliethomedraperiesinc). Loving how this new home is becoming yours:)

  61. Sandi from Wisconsin

    Funny, I was just reading an article about James Farmer III yesterday. and thinking about ordering one of his books!
    I love what you did in your living room using one of his designs as an inspiration. In fact, I like your idea and what you came up with even better than James Farmer’s! Yours is more applicable to most home owners. More realistic in scope and size.
    I am loving following you and what you are accomplishing in your new home!

  62. mary

    BTW…the plates are perfect!!!

  63. Di

    We just got back from a cruise thru Budapest to Germany and this space spoke to my heart. I have my dads antlers and have collected a few smaller sets. This encourages me to do it

  64. JenBC

    James Farmer is one of my favorites. I love his style as collected over time, coxed patterns and very cozy. You interpretation is perfect! I love that you added your own spin to it. It reads so you!

  65. Judy Johnson

    I love any and everything James Farmer does. The fact that he graduated from Auburn is also a plus (we live 50 miles south of Auburn and granddaughter is a freshman there this year) but in any event your take on the inspiration picture is gorgeous! In fact it inspired me to create my own “James Farmer” wall so I ordered some antlers this morning. Hoping my wall turns out half as good as yours!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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