Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Southern Christmas

This Sunday, we're looking at homes that have been decorated by Tobi Fairley, a Little Rock, Arkansas, interior designer. "Bright, bold, and tailored" are the cornerstones of her philosophy--with a timeless Southern flair. 

"Since establishing her design firm over 15 years ago, Tobi’s projects have spanned the nation, and her award-winning designs for high-profile and celebrity clients have been featured on television, and in top-shelf shelter publications around the globe, including House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Coastal Living, and more."

Shelter magazines seldom refer to "Southern" decor as a style (it's always "transitional," "traditional," "contemporary," "romantic," or "cottage"). Perhaps the Deep South way is a state of mind, drawn from family and regional traditions. It's so subtle, I'm not sure it can be defined in a few words. To complicate the situation, in some parts of the south, this style might be fading, as stores like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware (which I love, by the way) have influenced a new generation.
But Southern "decor" can be spotted during the holidays--magnolias, apples, oranges, nuts, and baked goods.
Decades ago, it may have been impractical and costly for Southern homemakers to buy "storebought" goodies. The local Piggly Wiggly probably didn't have huge magazine racks, either, but somehow Southern women have always celebrated Christmas in style. Colonial Williamsburg may have set the bar for the holidays. I like to imagine how DIY design ideas traveled by letters and word-of-mouth, inspiring generations to come with apple fans, herb wreaths, and pine swags.  Yet the South added its own stamp with jewel toned colors, family mementos, and regional food . . . especially food. Honey, we're talking about hospitality at its finest. Every little detail is straight from the heart, and it says, "Welcome to my home. I'm so glad you're here. I just made eggnog--would you like a glass?" (And it will be served in an heirloom glass, possibly dating back to the Depression.)

We'll begin in a black and white living room--nothing overtly Southern here--until you see the thick boughs of fresh fruit and greenery on the mantel. 

Almost any color will work in a black and white room. The colorful garland is lush and wonderfully long. Can you just imagine the fragrance?

A bejeweled tree sits in the corner of a den, a sparkling backdrop to the earth-toned plaid chairs.
(You'll see the cocoa tray in a moment.)

In the foyer, the banister is decorated with another extravagant garland. Guests will be greeted with a whiff of citrus, as the greenery is stuffed with fresh lemons and orange pomanders.

Here's a close up. 

A silver bowl overflows with beads and balls. The bowl is anchored on a tray, where colorful accessories are casually strewn.

A plush wreath adds a festive touch to a china cabinet.

I love how wreaths and paperwhites create an elegant, outdoorsy look in a mint-blue kitchen.

In case you were wondering, the paint color is Sherwin Williams Spearmint - SW 6465.

On the counter, gingerbread houses sit on jadeite cake pedestals.

A living room mantel is transformed by a colorful garland.

The "blues" continue on pillows, art, gift wrap, and a brass entertainment cart.

At first, I thought orange pomanders were mixed with the ornaments, but I was mistaken--instead of cloves, metal studs were used.

What a cute idea--animal print ribbons.

In another home, the breakfast room was decorated with cheery red and white fabrics.

Blue and green have never been merrier.
Napkin Ring Idea: a ribbon and an ornament. And don't forget the monogrammed napkin--it's a Southern preppy tradition.

Remember the den with the colorful tree? Here's a closer look at the cocoa tray.

Tobi is the "gift wrap" whisperer. Here, presents are personalized and color-coordinated.

Tobi is masterful at creating elegant vignettes, weaving in colors and candy.

Hope you enjoyed touring Tobi's rooms inspiring holiday spaces. 
See you next Sunday.

Tobi Fairley on Houzz
Tobi's Home Store
Tobi's blog

(Note for paint sleuths: in the top photo, the wall color is Sherwin Williams Believable Buff - SW6120. The minty-blue kitchen cabinet color is Sherwin Williams Spearmint - SW 6465.)

Shared at the following link parties:

Pin It


  1. Hei...wunderschönen bilder sind das.bussi.Schöne Advetzeit für euch.Luciene

    1. I agree--they are lovely. Happy holidays to you, too, Luciene, and thank you for visiting the farm today.

  2. Just gorgeous! I would love to do a thick and lush mantel garland with fruit. Perhaps I'll add it to my list.

    1. Merry Christmas, Pat! I hope to do something like this next year. Fingers crossed.

  3. Hi Michael Lee! OH, these are some beautiful decorations and I fell in love with the mint blue kitchen. It does look like the blue mints that were always served at bridal showers when I was young - mint, nuts and cake! :) Thank you so much for popping in to see me and I hope all is going well with your house! Merry Christmas to you and your family too! I love your new blog snap and your beautiful long hair!
    You're always a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    1. Oh, I remember those blue bridal mints! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  4. I don't know where to start. Its beyond stunning. And makes me want to go out and by some SW paint and paint my white cabs. :)

    1. I feel the same way! Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, Barb!

  5. It is hard to pick a favorite I love all of those "southern" touches of greenery, ribbons, etc. On a mantle, staircases, etc. I am kindof wishing that "southern" were a style. Family pieces, silver, great grandmothers China, etc. I think that maybe we should start a push for "southern" décor as a true style. I am on the train for that.
    I am anxious to see your house I loved your Georgian updates. When will you begin showing us your new house designs? Sheila@mykentuckyliving

  6. Yes! I certainly did enjoy Tobi's southern decorating style. My fav was the red white kitchen! Plus, I want to go sit in the room with the hot cocoa tray and enjoy a cup by the fire. Thanks for the inspiration, Michael Lee. Hope you and your family are well and the pups, too. xo

  7. Thanks for sharing Tobi's southern decor. Like her style! I especially like the red and white breakfast table. Wouldn't it be fun to wake up to all that cheer?
    Happy Holidays, Michael Lee.

  8. There is nothing more gracious than a southern home. I love what I see here, particularly those beautifully bedecked mantles. The one with the fresh oranges really spoke to me. In the last three or four years I have been opting for organics over things that I have to store, so big bowls of oranges and pomegranates as well as fresh greens make up a good bit of my holiday decor. Loved this post.

  9. Oh!! I LOVE all these ideas! The citrus garland is absolutely stunning!!! Going to pin it all :)

    1. We didn't decorate this year, so I'm saving ideas for 2015.Merry Christmas, Jenna!

  10. I agree...that Citrus garland is amazing! I would love to know how they made it.

  11. Michael Lee, I adore Southern style decor. Upscale, a little bit traditional and a lot of sass! I think I have a southern soul! Beautiful!

  12. Everyone one is stunning, but my favorites are the silver bowls filled with balls and beads and the wreath adoring the statue. Very clever. I've never added beads to my balls in silver bowls and I am really liking that idea.

  13. This is fabulous! I love it. Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for being a part of our party! I hope you stop by on Monday at 7 pm. We love to party with you. Merry Christmas! Lou Lou Girls

  14. Such beautiful style! Love all of the color and yes I can feel the sass too! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!