Archive for September, 2008

Just when I wanted to curl into Child’s pose…

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I have another confession to make. And again, I know this may come as a shock to many of you, especially my husband, but I am an intense person. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true! Ok, so maybe not that hard to believe.

I work hard, I play hard. I can’t do anything half-way.  I am a perfectionist in most areas of my life and I have tried many ways to combat the resulting stress for years.  Running, lifting weights, kick-boxing, meditation, deep breathing, reading, a healthier diet, wine, a cleaning lady, a nanny…and all of them worked some of the time but nothing worked all the time.  Nothing that is, until I tried private yoga lessons!

And WOW, am I ever a changed person! I recommend each and every one of you take up yoga today! Don’t wait another second. You are taking years off your life! And if you can afford private, do it! You learn so much and the chances of injury are greatly reduced since you have a one-on-one teaching relationship. I have become happier, healthier and my body no longer feels 40 years older than it should when I roll out of bed each morning. I owe it all to my yoga teacher Holly. She is amazing! She is calm. She never gets in a hurry.  Her calming voice is like Puccini to my stressed-out ears!  She is the respite in my sea of Chaos! Holly and her husband Matt are recognized as experts in their field and often teach workshops and teacher training across the US, in Mexico, and in Europe. You can check out Holly’s studio for private and group lessons at

So, I know you are thinking…what the heck does this have to do with interior design??  The answer…EVERYTHING! The same sense of serenity that Holly brings to my life is the emotional state that we strive to give our clients through their interiors. It is our goal to create rooms in every project that are relaxing, cozy, comfortable, and that relieve stress through their simple, edited state and serene color palette.

Our clients are busy people. They need all the help we can give them in taking advantage of the little bit of quiet time they get at home. It is our job to make sure that there is at least a place or two in client’s homes where they feel totally at ease. These spaces are often bedrooms or small cozy studies…Spaces that are more private than public.  We have even started creating rooms specifically for yoga or meditation or other activities that help clients relax like art studios or potting rooms. I am so excited to even be putting a yoga studio and exercise space in the new office that Tobi Fairley Interior Design is moving into in a few months. I spend so much time at the office and between work and my family, I have very little time to exercise or relax.  So like my clients, I need it to be convenient to get to the space that allows me to relax and take care of myself. And though the new office is going to be beautiful, and in some areas luxurious, I think the yoga studio is going to be my favorite spot.

Here are a few of my favorite relaxing rooms that I have designed! So take a deep breathe and imagine having a space like this of your own. It might just take your pulse down a beat or two. As for me, It’s Tuesday so I’m off to Yoga!












Laughter is the best medicine, but organizing ain’t bad either!

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My friend Katie is probably the funniest person I know.  After about 5 minutes of being with her, my face hurts from smiling so much! I spent Friday night and Saturday with her and I am still smiling 24 hours later!!

We met in college when I was getting my degree in interior design, she in fashion merchandising.  After 2 trips to Europe, my wedding, her almost wedding and many other amazing memories together, we are now grown-up girls with our own businesses…mine almost 10 years old, hers less than 10 weeks.

Here we are having tea at the Florian in Venice in 1998.

And at the Dom Perignon Winery in France in 1999. Cheers!

And getting down with Super T at my wedding in 2002! (Super T also played at Jeanna Bush’s wedding last year…cool, I know!)

So anyway, The amazing thing about our story is that her new business is a perfect compliment to mine.  I love Organizing! I crave order and simplicity! But in the hectic world of interior design it is a very difficult state to maintain.  Fabric samples, wallpapers, carpets, paints, not to mention the paperwork that goes along with keeping up with 40 clients at a time.  It is almost impossible! And on the home front even more difficult! It was just last Spring that I reorganized my entire house with the help of the container store and I am already losing control because of my busy schedule and my busy 3-year-old.

I design my projects with organization in mind and I incorporate beautiful storage pieces and containers to keep things neat, but it is the man power (or woman-power I should say) that I need to make things truly clutter-free.

Enter Katie and her new company, Little Rock Paper Scissors. She does everything from personal organizing to event planning to house and pet sitting.  She is your “go to girl” for all those tasks you just don’t have time to do but that make your quality of life so much better. Check out her blog at and find out about all her services while getting a hilarious dose of her personality.  I assure you once you read her blog you will be hooked! And if you hire her you definitely will be!

I have hired her to start with my closet in a couple of weeks. I will blog about the before and after when she is complete.  Next she is going to help me organize my wardrobe and make a list of any fashion needs I have for fall (not only does she have a fashion degree, she spent the last 8 years on the social scene in Dallas, this girl knows her stuff!!) and then we will tackle my office which will prove to be a challenge to say the least.  But the best part, for a reduced fee she comes back on a regular basis for maintenance and touch-up services so just when my busy schedule causes me to let everything go a bit, she’ll return to whip me back into shape.

As soon as I try her out, I will definitely be giving a personal testimony to my clients.  This is the very sort of person they need in their lives too.  So here’s to you Katie B! You’re about to make me the happiest girl in the world! Now, get to work!

It’s All Greek To Me!

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The Greek Key…It’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s named for the Greeks though its older than they are. The Romans loved it. It became highly popular in the late 18th Century and it has been experiencing a wonderful resurgence in the residential design industry of late.

But for me, the Greek Key happens to be my favorite design motif of all time! Like my beloved Spitzmiller’s, if I can help it, I put a little (or a lot) of Greek Key in every project. This classic fretwork has been thought to have many different meanings throughout history. It has been said to represent a wave with its continuous cresting and ebbing motion. Some think it symbolizes the bonds of love, friendship and devotion, which is a sweet sentiment I should share with many of our clients, who thanks to me, are the proud owners of design products showcasing the motif. Still other historical scholars think the Greek Key is the symbol of eternal life.

I prefer to fall into the group who believe the Greek key represents creative energy. For me the design is inspiring. Maybe as an article in House Beautiful noted, “the Greek Key represents some deep-rooted urge in us to create a satisfying, endlessly repeatable, doodle”. Whatever the reason, I feel a connection to this handsomely graphic, geometric design and I don’t see my obsession with it waning anytime soon.

Here are a few of my favorite rooms and products incorporating the Greek Key! I love them and I hope you will too! Enjoy!!

Lee Jofa’s Amazing Settee designed by Eric Cohler

The Rug I designed for the Build for the Cure Designer house is from New River Artisans.It incorporates the Greek key around the border. This Project was featured in the April 2008 issue of Traditional Home focusing on geometrics! Here’s the detail of the rug so you can get the full effect!

My family room sofa is bordered in Greek Key tape around the Hem. It adds just the perfect finishing touch to this simple piece of furniture!!

How do I love thee?? Let me count the wattage.

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I have to confess. I am having a love affair. I know it may not be right but I just cannot resist. I’ve tried to deny my dirty little secret but it just keeps rearing its beautiful head (or should I say shade). It’s an addiction and so I am just going to face the fact. I am in love…with a lamp!

I know it sounds odd. But when you see it, you will understand. The sexy curves, the rich color choices, the glamorous hand-leafed base, the handsome matte finish. The temptation to put one in every project, much less every room, is so great, I am seriously considering therapy.

I know that I should respect his anonymity. But I feel a responsibility to all you other lamp-loving fashionista’s . For those of you who crave dimmers but are not willing to sacrifice style, here’s your chance to have it all. His name…Hahn. And to be more specific, the Large Hahn. This amazing creation was conceived by New York designer Christopher Spitzmiller. And though I love all Christopher’s styles, and believe me I’ve had a fling or two with some of them, there is just something extra special about the Hahn. He’s my Mr. Big. He has an innate ability to make every room look spectacular! He’s got all the right physical attributes. He’s tall and he’s handsome and oh so sexy and the best part…he comes in about a million colors. So you can have him in any shade your heart desires. Or in my case, several shades!! In fact, I am waiting for my latest one to arrive any day in the most yummy shade of blue-grey. I’m thinking about calling him “Mc Dreamy”. He will be perched just to the side of my bed so I can gaze into him each night just before I drift off into a glorious, deep sleep.

So I know. You are just dying to see him, right? Well fine! Here’s a photo of us during one of our happiest moments.

See how he just commands attention. I somehow feel more confident when I am in his presence. And what a social butterfly he is. He’s so popular with all the “in crowd”. You’ve probably even seen him or his cousins hanging out in the latest design mags, like Elle Decor or Traditional Home. And you may have even read the fabulous quote by Mega-Designer Eric Cohler in the October issue of House Beautiful where he said “I know they are a bit overexposed, but I don’t care. I really don’t think that matters. You go home, you close the door, and you love your overexposed gourd lamp, you’re happy”. And you know what? Me and “McDreamy” are going to be VERY happy!

Not Your Average One-Trick Pony

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Today is an exciting day for me! We just received the latest copy of At Home in Arkansas Magazine with an amazing feature on one of my recent projects.  The fun part is that this project reveals something about me as a designer.  Something many people don’t realize about me and that may even frighten them a bit.  So here goes, the big secret exposed in a 6 page full-color spread…I CAN DO FRENCH COUNTRY!!!!  Yes, I said it! The cat’s out of the bag.

Like actors or artists, designers often become known for just one thing…One part, one medium, one style. For a long time I was known for amazing kids rooms, and then rooms with bold color.  And though I still love both of these types of projects, they just seemed to get the most exposure early in my career. So days like today are thrilling to me, because the public gets to see what my clients already know, I am well-versed and extremely knowledgeable in a variety of styles.  I love mid-century modern, I love 40’s-inspired Hollywood glam and yes, I even love French Country.  But the difference in my work is that though I may be inspired by a variety of styles and products, every space I create still incorporates the basic tenants of my design philosophy…simplicity, scale, and organization.  My interpretation of French Country is rooted in historically French elements like the cabriole leg and traditional French patterns like toiles, florals, and plaids but is executed in a fresh and uncluttered way.

I invite you to check out this feature entitled “Creative Collaboration” in the October 2008 issue of At Home in Arkansas.  And while I hope you enjoy my interpretation of French Country, photographed beautifully by my friend and the world’s best photographer, Nancy Nolan, I also encourage you to read the amazing article about the professional partnership I have developed with Little Rock Builder Richard Harp.  My most successful projects, and most favorite I might add, are those that incorporate other professionals in the field.  Whether they are builders, architects, landscape architects, lighting and AV consultants or a multitude of other amazing team members, collaborating with these knowledgeable colleagues elevates the result from great to over the top!!  And please revisit my new website in the coming weeks for the addition of my portfolio section.  The Harp project and many of my other favorites will be showcased there very soon!