Traditional Home Magazine’s Top 20 Young Designers

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I am very excited to announce that I have been selected by Traditional Home Magazine as one of the Top 20 Young Designers in America!!  This is a huge honor and I am in great company with the likes of Jaime Rummerfield and Ron Woodson of Woodson and Rummerfield’s House of Design in Los Angeles and 18 other talented designers or design teams from around the country. Check out my profile in the two page fold-out feature in the April 2009 issue on newsstands now. 

Each of the 20 honorees will also be featured on the Traditional Home website this week.  The other designers and I were asked to select from a group of questions to help readers get to know us better.  So look for my official answers on their site.  But in the meantime, here are my answers to the profile questions I didn’t submit…

TH: How are you incorporating green design in your projects?

TF: As all residential designers know, we don’t have the large number of “green” options yet that the commercial segment has.  I do use low VOC paints whenever possible. And there are several companies that are doing some really great things with sustainable products. One of my favorite upholstery manufacturers, Lee Industries, now uses a green product as their standard foam for all their pieces.  They also offer a wide range of sustainable fabrics that can be used on their frames.  Another amazing designer of sustainable product is Given Campbell.  Her “green” wallcoverings combine fabulous colors and geometric patterns that are a perfect match with my design style! Here are a few of her patterns that I am crazy about!

TH: What was the defining moment in my career?

TF: This is hard to pin down and I am not sure I have even had it yet! But as far as “Highlights” of my career so far go…Being a Top 20 Young Designer from Traditional Home is certainly one of my big moments! Being published nationally for the first time a couple of years ago was also very exciting! Then there are the many design awards and business awards that I have received. Each is really important to me, especially my selection for the Arkansas Business 40 under 40 in 2005.

TH: Who are my design mentors? Whose work do I admire?

TF: Coming from a formal design education, I had the pleasure of studying the history of design and architecture in depth. I would even say that my history of interior design classes were among my favorites in my entire education. This is saying a lot since I went to college for 9 years and earned 3 degrees.  Many of my mentors probably came from these studies and include designers like Dorothy Draper for her wonderful furniture and lighting silhouettes and bold use of color and pattern and David Hicks for his extreme use of geometrics.  These same elements often show up my work, so I was obviously influenced by these talented designers.  Modern day designers that I admire include Jamie Drake and my great friend Amanda Nisbet who  both share my love of color.

TH: What did my childhood room look like?

TF: My affinity towards design started at a really young age when I used to create floorplans out of Arkansas pine needles in my big front yard. I would drive my big wheel up to the “front door” and unload all my baby dolls into my “house”.  When my mom allowed me to help re-design my bedroom at age 12, I thought I was already a pro! My new room design included a white iron day bed with a lime green quilted coverlet (sort of reminiscent of mermaid scales). There was a matching lime green lambrequin cornice on the window with a hot pink taffeta balloon shade underneath, and coordinating throw pillows in these 2 bold fabrics. Obviously my love of color was apparent even back then.  I threw in a little funky vibe (like it wasn’t already funky) with a white fluffy lambskin rug.  And I can tell you I certainly had the coolest room in my small town of Hampton, home to just 1600 people!!

TH:What is my favorite room in my house?

TF:This is a hard choice as I love many rooms in my house for a variety of reasons. My entry wall paper is one of my favorite elements in my whole house! And I am crazy about the black and white chest from Hickory Chair that compliments it so well.  Then there is my living room that is so fresh and glamourous with the fantastic green Barclay Butera chairs and the amazing hunter green Christopher Spitzmiller lamps! But if you want to know where I really spend all my time…it would either be in the wing chair in front of the flatscreen in the family room  or lying in my bed in front of the flatscreen in my bedroom. Both scenarios include my laptop and blogging!

TH: What is my favorite house from TV or the Movies?

TF: I love the beach house in Somethings Got to Give which happens to be one of my favorite movies.  The living room is so clean and relaxing! I wish that was my second home!! I am also partial to the AMAZING penthouse apartment that Mr. Big buys Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex in the City movie, also one my favorite flicks! And I would be happy if this was my third residence!


TH: Does Fashion Influence my Designs?

TF: I definitely take color cues from fashion! The bold yellows and kelly greens that have been popular in the past few years have been some of my favorites for interiors! And I am still loving the pinks and gray tones that have been popular in fashion and have been showing up in interior design in the past year or so.

TH: What was my worst design mistake?

TF: I am happy to say that there have not been many,  but a couple that stick out at the moment include not measuring the stairwell for a large armoire I shipped out to a project in Los Angeles a couple of years ago.  Needless to say it came back. And I remember remaking some roman shades 2 or 3 times for a one of my very first designer house projects before finally just giving up on them because they just weren’t right!

TH: What design trends am I seeing or do I anticipate?

TF: Because of the economy, I am seeing much more remodeling and redecorating as opposed to new construction.  I think in the luxury design market people are still spending money, but they are doing it on a more conservative scale and are spending a lot of their money on the “inside” to be more discreet and private about their purchases.

TH: What palettes am I drawn to?

TF: As I mentioned above I am still enjoying using gray tones and when I can get the client to agree, shades of pink.  I am also having fun mixing tones of red and blue at the moment…especially light blue with red.  And in reference to the fashion question above, I just saw a great Gucci add that is all bright red and french blue! It is so classic and so American!! I love it! So here is an instance when design may be influencing fashion.

TH: Is there anything happening in design that is specific to my region?

TF: Nothing that is really exciting from a design perspective is happening in the southern region right now, but I can say that Little Rock is in a pretty good place economically.  Since we did not experience the housing boom like some of the large cities, we also are not experiences that same lows as these areas. And according to Forbes Magazine via my friend Blake’s political blog, Blake’s Think Tank, Pulaski County Arkansas (Little Rock) is the second best place to live in the country with regard to the economy next to Huntsville, Alabama!

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16 Responses to Traditional Home Magazine’s Top 20 Young Designers

  1. Jennifer Holland says:

    I saw that same Gucci ad recently and loved it too!

    Congratulations on being named one of Traditional Home Magazine’s Top 20 Young Designers! You definitely deserve it! 🙂

  2. Congratulations on your most recent achievement! It must really be an honor to be chosen among so many. Good luck to your career and many more projects to come!

  3. Tobi,

    Congratulations! You are truly a talented designer and deserve to be on that list. I only hope that I can achieve half of what you have in your career! I think your style is fresh, current and trendsetting. Keep up the fantastic work and let me know if you need an assistant! LOL!

  4. Congratulations Tobi, you really deserve it!
    Great designs, full of style and passion.

  5. Congratulations, Tobi! This is very much deserved. You are a huge talent!

  6. LindsB says:

    Congrats on making the Top 20 Young Designers! You definitely deserve it, you work is amazing!!

  7. Rosie West says:

    Congratulations Tobi. A wise choice by Traditional Home. I am in awe of your use of colour and particularly the bold geometrics that are totally refreshing. Your blog is authoritative and stimulating and I always look forward to it arriving in my email box. Thanks.

  8. Casey Roy says:

    Congrats Tobi! That is a hug accolade! So proud of you!!

  9. Casey Roy says:

    oops, meant “huge” accolade, guess that is what I get for trying to type to fast!!

  10. So Haute says:

    Congratulations! Very well deserved!

  11. Rosie West says:

    Tobi, to see your latest favourite palette of light blue and red, please look at the Maikos on my blog Rose C’est La Vie You won’t be disappointed!
    And I have paid a tribute to you in the previous post. Thank you.

  12. all the best says:

    I am sooooo happy for you Tobi! Will you get a copy for me and put it away until I see you this summer?

    Lots of love,

  13. Congratulations, Tobi! Wishing you all the best and hope that things continue to go well for you! Traditional Home is one of my favorite magazines and I look forward to seeing more of your work featured!
    All the best,
    Ceil Petrucelli
    Ceil Petrucelli Interiors
    Bennington, VT 05201

  14. Donna Sather says:

    I’am interested in the blue bowl planters on page 90 I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you, Donna

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