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!