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VIProfile: Jerome Farris

Interior Designer | The Peddler 

When Jerome Farris takes on your interior design project, you know you are in good hands. His work can be found in many of the fashionable homes in Murfreesboro, but many may not know that he has employed his design skills all over the country and internationally.

A native of Murfreesboro, he began his design career when he was 15, dressing the windows for D. Swain Clothiers when he worked for them while in high school. His work caught the eye of Jane Jones, one of the original owners of The Peddler, because
she was good friends with Farris’ mother. She asked him to come do windows for them, and that is exactly what he did.

Window dressing for The Peddler led to a degree in Interior design from Middle Tennessee State University, and a home for 33 years where he is constantly perfecting his skills. Except for seven years he spent at a Nashville design firm, The Peddler has been his base of operations.

“I appreciate Jane and Mary Ann [Richardson] so much for all that they taught me,” said Farris. “They showed me so much and gave me such an opportunity.”

He has taken the opportunity and run with it. A good percentage of the homes featured in the pages of VIP Magazine bear the touch of Farris. He knows how to create a show stopping room. The dramatic blend of modern and traditional found in Russ and Jennifer Connelly’s den features a two-story fireplace is his work, as is the blend of French and Raj period Indian that can be found in the stunning Patel home living room. He is comfortable working in any interior design style, however, his favorite is French.

Because of his ability to listen to both the home owners and the architecture of the home, many homebuyers bring him along when they view a potential new home.

“Realtors call me to walk with their clients through a home to make suggestions for updates and changes to give them the home they are looking for,” said Farris. “I also have a lot of clients who won’t buy a house unless I go with them.”

He can help his clients envision how all their furniture and accessories will work in their new home, as well as suggest updates, fill ins or design the home from top to bottom from scratch.

“I help them to create a game plan before they move in,” added Farris. “Or if I am doing the whole design, I am developing a game plan for myself with all the details of where everything will go and how it will be set up.”

When asked what was his favorite project, he says that he loves them all because each project extends his family. He sees all of his clients as just one big extended family because he loves to help them create a home they will love. However, there were two projects that were most memorable because he learned so much from them. One in Sedona and the other in Belize.

The home in Belize was on Ambergis Island. Farris had to learn all about international shipping for this project. Lots of hoops had to be orchestrated through.

“We had to have three people present to check off every item that we shipped to Belize,” explained Farris, “a customs officer, a wildlife inspector and a security agent. It was a four-bedroom home that we totally designed, so it was a lot of items to get approved one by one.”

Another total home design was the Sedona home. Here the owner wanted to blend their Southern roots with a touch of the Southwest.

“Michelle and I flew to Sedona in February 2020, spent the night and measured the entire house from top to bottom,” Farris explained. “Then we came back to Murfreesboro and started on the design. We sent all of our drawings and samples to the owner of the home to approve, then we had everything shipped from The Peddler to Sedona via Joe Kincaid at Honor Moving & Storage. We flew back out to set the whole place up. We did spend a day at a local art center where we found beautiful art and handcrafted items to incorporate local pieces into the design.”

Farris tells the story of the owner of the Sedona house seeing a Christmas tree he had just put up on Facebook just before they were to fly out of Murfreesboro. She so loved it, she called and told Farris to pack up the whole tree and bring it with him. Although it was August, the last thing they set up before returning to Murfreesboro was that Christmas tree.

One thing Farris loves about interior design, besides working with beautiful things, is that trends are always changing and he is always learning.

“Gray is gone and farmhouse is out,” said Farris. “We are beginning to see a return
to 1989. English hunt, what I call ‘Manor House,’ is coming back into style. I am
beginning to see a return to navy, cranberry and touches of green. People are wanting
warmer homes. For the neutral palette, I am seeing more tan than taupe and cream
versus stark white. Yellow is on the way to making a comeback.”

Accessories with touches of gold, natural stone and antique brass are taking the plac of farmhouse light woods and what Farris calls the “Joanna Gaines look.” The coldness of minimalism is fading and people are moving away from open concept and wanting walls back.

“In new custom construction open concept is not as prevalent as it was,” added Farris.

Some of the more modern, minimalistic homes he has worked on in the past are now getting a facelift. He has been asked to give them a warmer feel. He has been doing that with color, as color is coming back.

He is also seeing clients from his early days in the business coming back to have their homes freshened up. While these homes have been a time capsule of his work, he is enjoying giving his past creations an update. One thing he tells all of his clients to do is to take time and invest in good quality furniture pieces. And these older homes he designed still have the original, timeless furniture that he often just updates with fabric, painting and accessories, like pillows on a sofa.

Seeing the business grow and change over the years has been exciting for Farris. While The Peddler sold a few years ago to Kathy Jones and her daughter Alison Lightcap, Farris says it really sold to family because the Jones family has long had ties and friendships with the original owners.

The Jones family have been customers of The Peddler since it was in its first location at the back of Jackson Heights Shopping Center. It then moved to the shopping center where Big Lots is currently located, then on to the current location in the Northfield Shopping Center. The store has outgrown the current space, gobbling up adjacent spaces until there is no place else to go.

“We have been at this location for about 36 years,” said Farris, “but we will be moving to the old Moose Lodge. It will give us 5,000 more square feet of space. We hope to be open by August 2024, but you know how construction is.”

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