New House Diary: The Kitchen Floorplan

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New House Diary

Welcome to another week of New House Diary. We’re still having fun in the kitchen, one of my favorite rooms of any house. I am zoning in on the floor plan and I really appreciate all your input last week.  I have decided to go with the island. So here’s a look at how things will probably lay out.


I still have to confirm a few of these plan changes with my contractor because we are moving hvac work and return air vents when I move the south wall back 3 or 4 feet and take out the existing laundry room from the hallway and relocate it to the master closet with a second laundry upstairs. But at the moment, I think my ideas are all going to work.


(I love the look of this refrigerator featured in House Beautiful.)

In the next few weeks, we’ll talk specifically about my appliances, but for now note that I am planning for a 48″ range with double ovens below on the south wall, and I am removing the desk area across from the sink and that will become a 42″ french door refrigerator with a full-height pantry cabinet for food on either side.

(Drawers like this in the end of my island would be perfect for pots and pans!)

In the island, I will house my microwave drawer, wine cooler, and lots of storage. The island is about 9 feet long so there is plenty of room for all these things. And I am turning the space where the existing refrigerator lives into a display cabinet. When we get to the breakfast room I’ll also show you what I have in mind for more built-in storage there – a pseudo butler’s pantry – to hold more serving pieces and china. So I am going to be in good shape as far as storage goes thankfully since I am one of those “a place for everything” kind of gals.


(Storage similar to this in my breakfast area can hold glassware, china, serve ware and linens not to mention a TV in the center section.)

And I’m also taking the cabinetry to the ceiling removing the existing soffit which adds an additional foot of cabinetry height in the kitchen maximizing even more space for seasonal serve ware and dishes. There will not be a square inch of this remodeled kitchen that isn’t working for me.

So here are the key improvements I am making so far…

1. Taller cabinets for more storage

2. Creating more linear feet of cabinetry and added floorspace by moving the south wall back 3 feet

3. Long kitchen island to house appliances, pot and pan storage, garbage cans and more!

4. Large new built-in refrigerator and 2 full-height food pantries

5. Built-in china hutch where refrigerator used to be with drawers for linens below


(A cabinet like half of this one could be perfect where the existing refrigerator is now.)

And yes, I am making a conscious decision to interrupt the work triangle with the island. I realize this isn’t ideal for some people, but it is exactly what I created in my last home and it worked for me beautifully. Unfortunately in remodeling projects, sometimes it’s about priorities and for me, I would rather have the added counter space and appliance storage that the long kitchen island affords me, even if it adds a few extra steps to my fridge from the sink. I make this decision consciously and based on experience and I know it will work well for my family. Sometimes good design is about not creating something that works for everyone in theory but rather is customized to the way YOU live and work in your space.

So stay tuned for much more on the kitchen including cabinet elevations, color palettes, and material selections. Yes, the kitchen design continues. I’ve also made a decision on the entry color palette, floor plan, and more and will be revealing those decisions really soon too.

Now leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my new and improved kitchen layout. I can’t wait to add all this function into my daily life!



And be sure to join me back here tomorrow for another before and after reveal. I think you are going to be amazed at this one.

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Mastermind Spotlight: Kathleen DiPaolo

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Kathleen DiPaolo is a jack of all trades AND a master of many! She has succeeded in several distinct careers and like me, she brings an MBA to her creative endeavors. Here’s a bit more about this talented member of my Deluxe Mastermind Consulting group and some gorgeous images of her work!


After earning degrees in art history and Italian studies, she landed a job at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and later—after adding an MBA to her credentials—worked for Disney Store, managing its art and collectibles business. After marrying and buying her first home, she earned a real estate broker’s license. With that, she began buying, fixing up and selling houses (she’s flipped over 300 homes!)—and that led to interior design.


“About three years ago, I had my a-ha moment: Why not combine everything?” Kathleen says. “When I meet with clients, I want to know the value of the home in the area (with my real estate broker’s license) so I can design their interiors (interior design) to maximize their return on investment (MBA). It is the puzzle that I try to solve every time I meet with a new client.”

It’s no wonder Kathleen calls herself “the Property Solver.”


“My greatest triumph was niching my business,” says Kathleen, who’s enjoying her first year in my Tobi Fairley Deluxe Mastermind program. “Once I figured out who I was and why I was different from all of the other designers out there, I felt as though everything clicked!”


Kathleen’s business—Kathleen DiPaolo Designs in Costa Mesa, Calif.—is never static. Last year, she shifted her pricing structure from hourly to fee-based. “When I determined why it was a win-win for my clients and for me, it stopped me from being fearful of explaining my value. You can’t do anything when you are fearful.”


This year, Kathleen is launching fabric and finial lines. She is also expanding her website to better proclaim her unique selling proposition. And then there’s the trip to Morocco that she’s on as we speak. “I am dying to see the colors, textures, shops, people—everything!” she says. “Traveling inspires my core.”


Stay tuned for more amazing accomplishments from the Property Solver, Kathleen DiPaolo! She just may have the keys to maximizing the value of your home.

Thanks for joining me for this Mastermind Spotlight. I love highlighting talent, creativity and gorgeous design.


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To learn more about all my consulting services for designers and design enthusiasts including my Mastermind Consulting Group, visiting my website here.

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Tobi TV: Beautiful Banquettes

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Since we’re talking all things kitchen for my New House Diary this month, it’s the perfect time to consider including a beautiful banquette also known as a built-in seating area or booth.


So in today’s Tobi TV segment, I’m bringing you lots of options for creating a gorgeous and functional banquette in your kitchen or mine. Take a look…

Here are my Tobi’s top tips for beautiful banquettes:

1. Take advantage of a nook or curved window in your kitchen or breakfast room to recess your seating or connect it to the end of your bar or island. It will help you maximize your floor space.

2. Use leather, vinyl or vinyl-coated linens or cottons to cover your banquette so it can be easily wiped clean after meals and spills.

3. Use the space below the banquette as additional storage for linens, serving platters–anything that needs a home in your kitchen. It’s especially handy for things you only need to access occasionally.

So what do you think…do you see a banquette in your future? I love them and if you include one in your home, I think you will too! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about dining on a beautiful banquette.

Happy Dining! xo,


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Self-Care Saturday: Organize Your Way to a Happy Life!

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Yesterday was Spring Cleaning day at my house. I have been planning it for months and thankfully my mom and my aunt helped me pull it off.


Now both my new walk-in attics are perfectly organized – holiday decorations, luggage, keepsakes – you name it, it’s organized. All my daughter’s toys are finally out of boxes (yes, we moved exactly 7 months ago. Eek!) and placed in drawers and bins so she can enjoy them, her closet is in tip-top shape with only the things that really fit her remaining inside. Her bathroom and desk are purged and pristine. In fact, every inch of the upstairs of my home is ship-shape and I am planning round two for the downstairs and the garage in May. It’s on the calendar. It will happen.


Living with a place for everything and everything in its place is my sanity. It is one of my favorite forms of self-care. It isn’t optional for me if I am going to have quality of life.


In my last home, there was almost nothing that I couldn’t put my finger on within five minutes (usually five seconds) if I needed it. All the things I own were ready and available to actually use without too much trouble accessing them, including all my china, serving dishes, small kitchen appliances, crafts and more.


I am a person that believes if I’m not using something, then why have it? There is definitely someone who could be enjoying the things I don’t really love or really need, and just storing them and moving them from home to home isn’t my idea of fun. I am a person who organizes and purges my home of things that aren’t important to my family and me at least 3-4 times EVERY year.


Just before I moved into this home, I did a MAJOR organization of our last one and all our storage spaces like closets, cupboards and the attics. I did this BEFORE we moved so I only brought things to our new address that we actually would cherish or find useful and functional. It was my biggest organizational feat to date. It was VERY hard work on some hot days last August.  But it was SO worth it.  It’s what allowed me to completely organize my entire upstairs and attics in just 6 or 7 hours yesterday. We are living pretty lean and mean and boy does it feel GREAT around here. I feel at least 10 pounds lighter and so much happier today.


So what about you? Are you living with clutter or “things” that just weigh you and  your home down? Do you spend hours looking for things that you need, wishing they were organized and easy to access? Do you have a hard time getting rid of things, even things that you rarely or never use, because you are sentimental or you practice the “what if” mentality meaning “what if I need this later”? Well let me tell you, if you haven’t used it in a year or two (or ten) then chances are you aren’t suddenly going to start using it now.


Visual, mental and physical clutter can really take a toll on our stress levels and our ability to relax. And for me, nothing feels better than shedding myself of lots of things that I just don’t want or need and sending them along to someone who does. If you aren’t already organized and you are constantly feeling stressed out in your household – please, get it a try. Organize your way to a happy home and a happy life. It ‘s one of my favorite forms of self-care.

Happy Organizing, Y’all!


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