Tobi TV: Double Duty Rooms

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I always remind my clients that function is just as important as form when it comes to home design! Of course you want your home to be beautiful, but it has to really WORK for you, too, right? And sometimes you need a space to serve more than one purpose. Those double-duty spaces, as I call them, can be a challenge to decorate to fit both functions.

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Whether it’s a guest room that doubles as an office, or a teenager’s room that doubles as a guest room when he’s away at school, there are ways to help your room play both sides. In fact, I designed the new Sheridan daybed (above) for my CR Laine furniture collection to help transition a room from an office or den to a guest room in sophisticated style!

There are several ways you can use color and design to create a double duty room, too. Let’s take a look!

Those tips really have me seeing double…duty, that is! Let’s recap:

1. Greek key is a great design for rooms that have to play two roles. It isn’t too masculine or too feminine, so it’s perfect for any member of your family or for out-of-town guests.

2. Think INSIDE the box for double duty rooms. Boxy geometrics and cool fretwork motifs are great gender-neutral design patterns!

3. Simple furniture keeps your transition room from going too far in one design direction or another.

4. Take your color cues from nature for a multifunctional space. Blues, greens, and browns are perfect “mood setters” for a bedroom or a home office!

5. Use interesting light fixtures to make a double duty room pop! Everyone – family and friends – will enjoy seeing the light when it looks this good!

Consider these fabulous tips as you design your multifunctional rooms. Let me know in the comments below how you make your transition spaces work for everyone!







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The Perfect Accessory

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Lacquered Box with Agate Rectangle

The perfect accessory can really make or break your outfit – and it’s no different in a room design! This week, as High Point Market guests visit my new collection at CR Laine, we’re getting a lot of questions about the gorgeous accessories we used to complement my upholstery designs. They are from Times Two Design, a great Dallas-based company headed by the amazing Lauren Renfrow.

Glamazon Mineral Slab - Rose Quartz

As you can see, her lamps and accessories are all inspired by organic shapes and materials, like agate, quartz, wood, and malachite. I’m using the agate boxes and rose quartz lamp shown above in my CR Laine room designs, as well as the fabulous barnacle box and Selenite column lamp below.

Lacquered Box with Barnacles

Selenite Column Lamp (1)

If you’re here at High Point Market this week, be sure to stop by the Times Two Design space at Suites at Market Square, space M-4012, or you can see their pieces in the CR Laine showroom, 310 N. Hamilton, 2nd floor! They have some fabulous new designs, too, like the malachite box and Starburst lamp below. You can also view even more Times Two Designs on the website, just click here.


Stellar Starburst Lamp

I’ll be back from High Point Market later this week, and then I’ll hopefully be back on a more regular blog schedule. Until then, keep your eye out here and on my Instagram and Facebook pages for more sneak peeks from the market!










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Dreams Do Come True – With Hard Work and Great Partners!

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Setting up my area of the CR Laine showroom at High Point Market!

I can hardly believe that by the time you are reading this post, I am realizing a dream! Well actually two of them – I am launching my two new collections with my fabulous partners CR Laine and Soicher Marin at the High Point Market today. In some ways, it seems as if it happened overnight, but of course it has taken months (and years if we’re being totally honest) of hard work!

When I was a child, I was always doing something creative. It’s in my blood. And even in design school I somehow knew that in the future I would have product lines. I saw visions of furniture collections and fabric lines instead of sugarplums dancing in my head. I didn’t know when, and I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know who I would work with, but I just knew that these launches were in my future. I never doubted that for a moment.


Still “playing” with design after all these years!

So how did I get to today? I talk a lot about how we can often know the “WHAT” that we want in our lives, but not necessarily the “HOW” to make it happen. So although I saw that product line (the “what”) in my future when I was in school, I had no idea at that time how I would get to this point…how I would get to the how.

You see, when you have a goal or dream, it’s a waste of time and energy to try to figure out every step before you take action. You only need to know the first step. And thankfully along the way of my design career, I figured that first step out!

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Love these Alexander dining chairs – part of my new collection with CR Laine!

So today is the big day. And the secret to making my collections happen really isn’t a secret at all. Just like with many things in life, getting to these fabulous product launches is all about building meaningful relationships with good people.  You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but you do need to find the people who have the knowledge you need. And if you are like me, those people have to be kind and collaborative and share a vision with you that you are both willing to work hard to execute.


Supervising picture hanging is very tedious and hard work (ha!).

Some of the people who have helped me get to this place have worked with me for years, and some of my partners and collaborators I’ve only known for months. So it doesn’t always take a long time to create something spectacular. But I think it’s best to remember that you can’t rush a dream. When you meet the right people, and the timing is right, it can all fall seamlessly into place.

This has all been a collaborative effort – my very favorite way to work. Yes, I am having dreams come true for me this week, but I couldn’t do this by myself, and I am so thankful to the people who helped me get here. I am so lucky to have fantastic partners in CR Laine and Soicher Marin. And I am so very proud of what we have created together.


Love my Soicher Marin collection of art – also debuting at High Point Market!

I hope you enjoyed a bit of sneak peek here of the new collections – and I can’t wait to tell you about a few more things we have in the works. Meanwhile, keep plugging away at YOUR dreams! Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep your eye out for those people that can help you move to your goals! Remember, it’s about the WHAT, not the HOW.

Hooray for my big day. And if you’re a designer or retailer, I sure hope you will join me in High Point this week for a fabulous celebration with CR Laine and Soicher Marin, because celebrating is something that I definitely know “How” to do!







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Tobi TV: Rooms that Work Day to Night

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This week, I’m in High Point, N.C., unpacking the gorgeous furniture for my new collection with CR Laine! The High Point Market kicks off on Friday, and I can’t wait for everyone to see these designs! I’ll be working from day to night through Market, and I’ve already planned out the perfect outfits and changes that will take me from the day in the showroom, to the evening events and parties.

Planning that perfect room that will take you from day-to-day living into evening entertaining is equally important! It’s smart to think about the function of a room, and the furniture, as you plan your home design.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 1.24.07 PMThe living room in my Riverside Penthouse project, recently featured in Rue Magazine, is another great example of day-to-night design. It’s perfect for the family during the day, but makes a great statement for evening entertaining. Let’s take a look!

Don’t you just love that space? So fun and functional! Let’s recap those tips for a day-to-night room:

1. Choose a durable sofa that can withstand the kids during the day and adults (with wine!) at night. This velvet sofa in my client’s home withstood 50,000 double-rubs on the durability test!

2. Try a great cocktail table that can hold flowers and incidentals in the daytime but will turn into a bar for evening entertaining!

3. Choose art for your day-to-night space that will look bright and cheerful during the day, but will lean into moody hues when the sun sets!

4. A soft and durable rug that the kids can play on in the daytime, and is easy to clean after the party at night, is perfect for a transitional space.

5. Golden lamps will softly glow during the day and will bring the glam at night!

See? It’s just as easy to plan a room design that moves from daytime to night-time as it is to plan your day-to-evening outfits! Let me know how you use transition and function in YOUR home by leaving me a comment below!









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Mastermind Spotlight: Laura Lee

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portfolio picOne of the great things about my Mastermind Consulting Program is that the members are from many different backgrounds and careers – but they are all passionate about design! Laura Lee began her St. Louis-based design business, Laura Lee Home, in 2012 as a second career and never looked back! She joined my Mastermind Program in 2014 after attending Design A-to-Z and Designer MBA the previous year.

Laura’s niche is helping to direct her clients’ resources, both time and money, to help them get the very most for their investment. “Tobi really helped me see that my financial background is a unique benefit to my clients, and I love that I get to do what I love every day,” Laura says.

“Decorating and renovating are expensive and I help my clients achieve their goals without the stress of an open-ended cost structure,” Laura says. “We are vigilant about communicating every step of the way. When I approach design projects, we get very clear about budgets and timelines. I help direct clients on where to splurge and where to save.”

Laura also specializes in bringing fresh, classic, edited interiors to older homes. From the first 1920s bungalow Laura and her husband John painstakingly renovated, to the 1930s colonial and two 1920s Tudor homes she’s also worked on, Laura knew she loved historic architecture and design.

“My expertise helps to make the most of the wasted space found in many older homes and to support 21st century living,” she says.

DSC_8741Laura says that 2014 was a big year of transition for her business with the launch of her first website in June and evaluating everything about running her business.

“I worked to streamline my design process, documented my systems, renovated my office-to-house samples as well as paperwork, and addressed my financials,” Laura says. “Design is the fun part and getting really serious about the business side of running the design business took discipline.”

Elevating her business and her transition year was not without its challenges.

“The biggest challenge I have faced was realizing that not every client that calls our office is right for my firm,” Laura says. “We do a lot of work in Mastermind on identifying our ideal clients and what differentiates us as designers. Educating people on the design process and what I am able to do, as well as not able to do, sets the tone for a successful partnership.”

Laura’s goals for this year are to continue to grow her business and to hire an assistant to allow her to spend more time on the design work. She is also investigating options to work on a show house as well as developing a focused social media strategy.

“I am looking forward to some exciting new design projects, including a first-floor renovation and a mid-century modern home,” Laura says.

familyroom2 When Laura isn’t working, she loves to cook, spend time with her friends and family, read, walk and garden. “My favorite place to spend time away from home is the beach, especially Sanibel Island in Florida,” she says.

Laura says it has been a challenge to strike the right balance between work and personal commitments since starting her business, especially with two teens at home, Audrey and Jack, and their oldest son Eric in college.

“My husband and I start each morning having coffee together and playing with our dogs Charlie the Golden Retriever and Lucy the Shih-Tzu,” Laura says. “That time is sacred and keeps us connected. I have learned that exercise has to happen very early in the morning and that I have to be more structured about appointments, errands, and commitments. John and my kids have been so supportive – pitching in and taking on more responsibility, especially when I need to be out of town.”

Laura says her biggest takeaway from the Mastermind program is to be 100% authentic in everything she does. “Tobi really helped me lean in to my niche and the unique perspective that my financial background brings to my clients and business,” she says.

Laura is an amazing designer, and a fantastic businesswoman! She does have the discipline and drive to really succeed in this tough business – and I look forward to seeing what she achieves in 2015!








PS – If you are interested in seeing how my Mastermind Consulting Program can help you transform your business for success, just click here to learn more!  Or contact me at!

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