Archive for May, 2009

High Point 2009

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May has been extremely busy for me and I am just now getting around to my review of the beautiful things I saw at High Point Spring Market in April.  I went to my usual locales and a few new ones and generally enjoyed what I saw.

As is always the case, I loved the look of Hickory Chair. The stunning black and white print fabric from Thomas Paul that graced the entry was SO my style!! This market they were introducing a new collection by Mariette Himes Gomez and there were many lovely pieces in the group. I was especially fond of the new daybed whose cushion is the size of a twin matress. It’s perfect for doing double duty as a sofa and a bed in a small space!  But one of my favorite finds at Hickory Chair was not totally new. Because of the amazing Hickory Chair made to measure program, they had designed Suzanne Kasler’s Peidmont Dining Table in bar height. It was fantastic and functional and I can’t wait to use this idea!

Laura Holland with Hickory Chair told me that they are on a mission to “NOT turn down any requests for custom pieces unless they simply cannot make it work”!! This is a designers dream company and Hickory Chair has been that for me for quite some time. Designers who are not using them should take a serious look!!

I was excited about Elite Leather this market and their new introductions to the Nathan Turner collection. Nathan has become a new friend of mine and his furniture pieces are comfortable and well-priced while at the same time stylish and handsome. There were a couple of particularly fun accent pieces that I was crazy about including a pink leather cocktail surface and a GORGEOUS brown velvet sectional!! I will have more on Nathan this week.

Lee Industries is typically one of my favorites and once again they did not disappoint.  I especially loved the extra long sofas they displayed in their entry in simple white duck! I am still enjoying their grosgrain pillow detailing from last market too! And I always buy several of their antique and one of a kind pieces at market. This year those selections included a petrified wood accent table that is fabulous!

Soicher Marin introduced many new pieces I loved including several things from Suzanne Kasler and Mariette Himes Gomez.  I visited the Soicher Marin Los Angeles showroom in February and got a sneak peek at a few of their pieces but it was exciting to see them framed and displayed at market.  I also loved some of their “spa” collection pieces…details of bathroom fixtures and soap dishes that look abstract and industrial.

Barclay Butera’s showroom was especially charming this year in one of my favorite color palettes, red and light blue! Here is a great shot of their space but I will have a more in-depth look at Barclay’s introductions in a day or two.

Visual Comfort always looks great at market and with several new introductions from all the Hickory Chair designers (Thomas O’Brien, Alexa Hampton, Suzanne Kasler) they did not disappoint.

I loved the selections at Bradley Hughes.  Their greek key Heidi Pierce fabric on parsons chairs were right in line with my style! And several of the other fabrics including an overscale damask, were delicious!

I recently discovered a new mirror line called Made Goods and I was excited to see their pieces in person!! The quality and scale look great! Here is a fun freeform piece I liked that is sort of coral-esque but could have many other applications!

All in all I felt like Highpoint was worth my trip this spring. I can’t wait to show you soon how I am incorporating some of these fabulous finds into my current projects!!

Design in New York

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I spent a glorious 3 days in New York City at the end of March with some new friends! I go to the City about 4-6 times a year but this trip was different and I absolutely adored it!! I had the pleasure of being invited on the fantastic tour of New York by Steven Nobel, industry consultant, via my friend and LA designer, Fernando Diaz. Thanks Fernando! The lovely Plaza Athenee was the home base for our talented group of designers but we were hardly there because our experience was jam-packed with art, culture, design and fun!

Design in New York began with a tour of Christie’s Auction House and a lecture in the Christie’s board room by author David Garrard Lowe on Beaux Arts and Art Deco Architecture in New York.  The charming lecture was full of David’s great sense of humor and anecdotes about the society folks of New York during that time period including the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. We then proceeded to a private showing of the collection that was going on the Christie’s block a few days later followed by a lovely lunch at Rockefeller Center across the street, one of the most notable examples of art deco architecture in New York.

Our group included Suzanne Furst, Fernando Diaz and Connie McCreight all of Los Angeles, Kelly Proxmire of Washington, D.C., Alicia Shearer of New Jersey,Fabric Designer Laury Barnes of Newport Beach, Kips Bay Alum Michael McKinnonof New York, and Louise Neyer of Palm Desert.

A guided tour by Steve Nobel of the MOMA was next on the agenda, and even though most of us have seen these amazing works of art many times,  it is amazing how you always see something new or get a fresh inspiration by visiting the MOMA again.

33 variations, the spectacular Moises Kaufman play staring Jane Fonda, capped off the evening.  This amazing performance about Beethoven’s 33 variations on Diabelli’s symphony was one of the best shows I have ever seen.  As is the trend on Broadway these days, 33 variations had a very limited run and I am sad that many, many more people were not able to see this extraordinary play!! I had the fun experience of sitting just a few rows behind the great fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg.

Day 2 of Design in New York began with a private tour of the Frick Museum, followed by browsing the gorgeous antique shops on the upper East Side and lunch at the Asia Society. Of course I squeezed in a little bit of shoe shopping at the Louboutin shop on Madison Avenue!!

An informative tour of the New York School of Interior Design followed lunch.  We were greeted by Robert Kaner an alumni of NYSID whose work was part of a stellar alumni exhibition on display at the school.  The impressive body of work includes many nationally published interior and furniture designers.

A private cocktail reception that evening at the Chanel Boutique on Madison was tres chic! We were greeted with champagne while the lovely staff gave us an interesting presentation on the design of the boutique and how it was inspired by Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment.  Next we were permitted to try on selections from the Chanel fine jewelry line.  I tried on a fantastic pearl star burst broach that sells for just under $200,000 and then fell in love with a camilia design pearl ring that was a mere $25,000.

Dining by Design was a fun highlight of Day 2.  We were hosted at the Event by Kravet Fabrics who had a gorgeous table full of bright and cheerful indoor and outdoor fabrics. I loved seeing several of my New York designer friends at the event and a few others from across the country like Barclay Butera from Los Angeles.

And on the agenda for Dinner, the superb David Burke Townhouse on 63rd street. I have eaten here many times and it is always still a treat.  Mary Kindel Libby from Christie’s joined us for dinner and was a joy to say the least. Her personality is infectious and I am just sad that I was not seated near her at dinner so I could have heard more about her amazing life experiences!!

The final day of design in New York culminated in a Business Forum at the Decoration and Design Building. The dozen or so participants in Design in New York came together to share ideas, business practices and goals! There is nothing like sharing ideas with a group of your peers for finding new inspiration.  A beautiful lunch was catered for us by Kravet from Balthazar, my favorite SoHo eatery, and we loved browsing the gorgeous Kravet showroom. Thanks to Kravet for being such a big part of our lovely few days in the city.

After lunch we were introduced to a few showrooms by New York Designer Michael McKinnon. Some of these  were not on my radar screen but now are some of my favorite new resources including Orley and Shabahang rug company.  Last but certainly not least was a lovely champagne and desert reception for us at the Bernardaud China Showroom.  Here we were able to hear about all the custom options for lighting, and accessories that are available from the French tabletop company.

To read more about Design in New York visit Steve Nobel’s blog for Kravet called Inspired Talk and if you are a designer and want to be part of similar experience in New York City contact Steve for more information. Design in New York was certainly an inspirational experience for me!! Thank you Steve Nobel, I look forward to exploring more of the World’s most interesting cities with you in the future!

More New Media

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I have spent this long weekend parked at my computer, emersed in learning more New Media techniques. 

 We will have several official links to these sites on the blog really soon but in the meantime you can find my profile on and my photostream on

Let me know what you think! Happy Memorial Day to you all and look for many new blog posts next week! xoxo Tobi

A Messy Desk

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I’ve heard a messy desk is the sign of being busy…well if you saw mine you would concur that I was swamped! And the truth is that with all my travels and happenings at my design firm, I have had very little time to get organized!

The messy desk above belonged to Albert Einstein at his office at Princeton.  These photos were published by Life Magazine in 1955 just before Einstein’s death. Now I am hardly in the league of Albert Einstein but as is evident in this photo, we do have at least one thing in common!

I am going to take a few days to get organized.  This means little time for blogging this week. But I will be back soon with more exciting posts and a clean desk to boot!

I hope you all have a GREAT week and maybe you can do a little spring cleaning yourself. xoxo Tobi

A Devine Garden

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In keeping with my theme following my post on Gardening Expert P. Allen Smith, I thought it would be a good time to brag on the beautiful spread in the May issue of Country Living that features the garden of my good friend Michael Devine.  Above is a photo of Michael and his wonderful partner, Interior Designer Thomas Burak, lounging in their gorgeous garden in Kinderhook, New York.

Michael was inspired by the grounds at the Rodin Museum in Paris. It took this fabric designer’s big ideas and creative thinking to successfully interpret his inspiration into this quaint 25 foot by 120 foot back yard. The result is tres magnifique!!

Michael has been enjoying experimenting with a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables, all organically grown, to find just the perfect mix.

And as further evidence to his creative genius, Michael transformed a basic outdoor building into a french garden room perfect for entertaining friends for dinner.  He added French doors, finials on the roof and architectural mirrors that mimic windows to take the building from simple to spectacular!

I am excited to be having drinks with Michael and Thomas tonight in their Manhattan Apartment. And although I do hope one day I get an invitation to dine in their amazing gardens, until then I will enjoy these gorgeous photos! And I hope you enjoy them too!