Archive for June, 2011

Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace

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My latest article for Williams-Sonoma is live on their Designer Marketplace Blog.  Head on over to see my tips for “Creating a Compelling Portfolio” that will help you stand out to your ideal customers so you can land your dream jobs.

And if you missed my last article with Designer Marketplace, you can find it here. It’s my 5 rules for Working, Hiring and Virtual Staffing.  Some of these tips truly changed my life and I hope if you are a very busy Principal designer, they will change yours too!

KATV Design Time with Tobi Fairley

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Design Time with Tobi Fairley

This morning on Good Morning Arkansas, I talked about creating the perfect bath.  Here are a few of the things I featured:

 Tobi Fairley, Room Rescue Plan, KATV Good Morning Arkansas, Walker Zanger

Walker Zanger’s beveled Alhambra tile is my all-time favorite!  It comes in handsome colors and looks amazing!

Meet the Designer

I used the Alhambra tile in this kitchen from Southern Living’s April 2011 issue.

I talked about designing cabinetry with a furniture look.  And ladies, don’t forget to add a vanity area if you have the room!

Floor to ceiling subway tile along with glass-fronted cabinetry can help to create a wonderful apothecary look in the bath.

GMA and Tobi Fairley Interior Design want to help you “Decorate like the Pros”. 

One lucky winner will win a “Room Rescue Plan” for their bathroom to be revealed on the Tobi’s Blog and next month’s Design Time with Tobi Fairley on GMA. This do-it-yourself plan will include 5 easy steps that can make a big impact, giving your room an instant face lift. This winner can then take these tips from Tobi’s blog and use them as a guide for improving their space. 

The prize is a concept only and no product or labor is included. It’s like having one hour of Tobi’s time to get her top 5 suggestions for improving your room. Value $250.00

To enter to win a “Room Rescue Plan,” send a photo of your bathroom that you would most like to work on and why you think you should be selected to  Entries must be received by noon July 15th.  We’ll announce the winner in Tobi’s segment on July 27th. The winner must be in the Channel 7 viewing area.

KATV Design Time Tomorrow!

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Don’t forget that tomorrow is Design Time with Tobi Fairley on KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas.  For those of you in the viewing area, tune in during the 9 o’clock hour.  If you’re outside central Arkansas, you can watch the live feed HERE.


Tomorrow I’ll be giving you tips on designing the perfect bath.

Tobi Fairley, Room Rescue Plan

I’ll also be announcing the latest edition of the Room Rescue Plan contest!  This contest is open to viewers in the KATV viewing area.  Tune in for more details.

See you in the morning!




Kravet’s Blog Fest 2011

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Ok, so some of you got a sneak peek at this post when I accidentally posted a draft last night…oops! But, unless you have been on a desert island in the last month, you have probably already seen many of the posts on Kravet’s inaugural Blogfest event held in New York City last month. Just in case you haven’t, I want to bring you my version of this extraordinary event. And even if you were there, this event was so fantastic, it is worth revisiting!

Kravet/Lee Jofa put together an incredibly packed 3-day design event in New York City for Design Bloggers in May that was fantastic. It may have been pouring rain, but who cares when you are meeting with Top Magazine Editors, seeing some of the nation’s hottest designers, and getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kravet and Lee Jofa design facility. And these were just a few of the highlights of the week. Kravet is on the leading edge of social media in the fabric industry and you all know how much I love social media, so I wasn’t going to miss this special event.  In fact, I was one of the first 2 or 3 people to sign up to make sure I had a spot with my name on it!

So to recap the best parts of Blogfest 2011, I have put together a special edition of Tobi’s Top Ten.  Here goes… but not necessarily in order of my preference since it was all great!

10. ICFF and Kips Bay–I love that Kravet made an effort to ensure that all the Bloggers visiting the Big Apple got a taste of major design events happening in the city.  Kravet planned time in our schedule to take advantage of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a great furniture show at the Javits Center, and also the 2011 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, which featured the work of many of America’s top designers, including my friend Amanda Nisbet whose room is shown above. Thanks Kravet for making sure that we were “in the know” of the latest and greatest in design!

9.NYDC-A big part of Day 3 of Blogfest was a guided tour of the New York Design Center and a great lunch in Kravet’s NYDC showroom.  The NYDC is one of 2 design centers in New York, the other being the D & D. I love that Kravet gave equal billing to both design centers making sure that the bloggers and designers at Blogfest were introduced to all the best resources for great design. A fun surprise was the “Sweet Endings Party” with desserts and special Guest Tom Filicia, a Kravet fabric designer.

8. The Lilly Pulitzer Collection–Lee Jofa just launched the new Lilly Pulitzer Collection and Day 2 of Blogfest was a lovely introduction to this vibrant and colorful collection. With a delicious lunch at the Lee Jofa Showroom, we were able to get a first hand look at the Lilly Collection.

Being such a color-lover, the Lilly designs are certainly right up my alley!

The Kravet team even dressed in Lilly attire, which was a fun touch!

7. Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House–Getting a sneak peek of the Elle Decor Showhouse the night before the opening was awesome.  Spending time with Editor-in-Chief Michael Boodro was a highlight.  He is so personable and down-to-earth and I never see him without a smile on his face, which is so refreshing! It was also an opportunity to meet some of the designers who are part of Elle Decors “5 Designers to Watch” for 2010 & 2011. There were many gorgeous products and design ideas here.

Two of my favorite things were the hoards of Phillip Jeffries wallcoverings and these fabulous outdoor teak wing chairs from Restoration Hardware.

6. Barbara Barry–One of the most inspiring parts of Blogfest 2011, was a lecture by iconic designer Barbara Barry and an introduction to her new Tea (yes, I said Tea!).  I have always found Barbara’s work to be an inspiration, but to hear her talk about where she derives her inspiration for interiors and products is moving.  Many of the bloggers remarked how they felt as if they had a religious experience with Barbara’s words and insights, and I feel the same way. Her latest collection for Kravet was inspired by her travels to Asia, one of her favorite places in the world.

Her photography of her trips there were unreal and her latest introduction, a new Tea, was created in the method of the greatest teas of Japan.  You can order her tea here.

5. Hearst Editors Discussion Panel–A special treat was Day 1 spent at the Heart Building.

A tour followed by an afternoon of discussions from the Editors of House Beautiful, Veranda, and Town and Country gave amazing insight into what the magazines have in store and how they look for new work.  I was especially excited that they used my March 2010 cover in their Slide show, how nice!

4. Traditional Home Event–The evening of Day 2 was one of my very favorite parts of the week.  It was an event sponsored by Traditional Home Magazine in conjunction with Lee Jofa to reveal the new Heritage Collection.

With the Heritage Collection, noteworthy designers who have collections with Lee Jofa, selected their favorite archived print and recolored it for a new appeal.  David Easton, Suzanne Kasler, Eric Cohler, Suzanne Rheinstein, Thomas O’Brien, and my color idols, Diamond and Baratta were all on hand to celebrate with us.

3. Margaret Russell–Architectural Digest’s new leader, Margaret Russell was a gracious host to us at the Conde Nast Building.  Her presentation was so personal and charming with discussions of her photoshoot at Elizabeth Taylor’s home the day the famed actress died, and other exciting celebrity shoots.  I think Ms. Russell seems so happy and at home in her new position and it shows in her smiles and passion for her job.  Listening to this iconic Editor was a treat for sure.

2.Kravet Design Tour–Visiting Kravet’s design facility was a feast for the eyes.

Seeing all the gorgeous fabrics that are just released and even seeing many that were “top secret” that couldn’t be photographed was especially exciting.

Getting a first hand glimpse at artists custom hand rendering patterns in the design process was very interesting, as was a demo on the computer software used to design and create many of Kravets stunning textiles.  One of my favorite collections was the new outdoor line being released with Kravet by Windsor Smith.  The geometrics and bright colors were definitely my style and the solution-dyed acrylic felt so quality, I would swear it was designed for indoors.

1.Being treated like a Queen–Ultimately, the very best part of Blogfest was the kindness and geniune interest shown by the Kravet Family in each and every blogger that attended the event.  They rolled out the red carpet and treated us like Kings and Queens.  Serving on a platter to us the most impressive roster of designer stars, editors and vendors, not to mention the delicious food at every turn and transportation to and from events.  It was definitely the Rolls Royce of Design tours in New York!

And one more bonus …All the amazing friends I spent time with.  Some old friends like Scot and some new, the event brought together an amazing group of like-minded design lovers for 3 fabulous days.  I am grateful for the chance to meet in person so many people that I have only met online. Social Media has brought so many great friends into my life and thanks to Blogfest, now I have several more. Two of those special ladies were Elizabeth and Lisa shown here with me.

So there you have it, my favorite parts of Blogfest 2011.  A huge thank-you is in order for the Kravet Family, Beth, Ann, and Jennifer of the Kravet team, and all the Editors, Designers, and Vendors involved.  The 3 day event was unbelievable, the food and cocktails were exquisite and the attention to detail was off the charts! If you are a design blogger and you didn’t attend, I can’t stress enough how much you will want to make sure you are on the shortlist for Blogfest 2012.  I am not sure how Kravet will top this year’s event, but I have no doubt they will, so stay tuned…you won’t want to miss it!

Top 10 Dining Chairs

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It’s time for another Tobi’s Top Ten.  This time we’re talking dining chairs. Here are my favorites…



Louis XVI Dining Chair by Wisteria

It’s perfectly traditional but with a fresh appeal.


Chloe Armchair by Bungalow 5
Color, color, color!


Nailhead Upholstered Chair by Restoration Hardware

The new look of Restoration Hardware is charming and handsome.


Anna Chairs by Julian Chichester
The upholstered back on the fretwork detailing is a nice touch.



Dolly Side Chair by Oly

I love the sleek profile of the Dolly and it’s especially sharp in leather.


Louis Side Chair by Jonathan Adler

This new Jonathan Adler piece is simple from the front and stunning from the back.


Amsterdam Side Chair by Hickory Chair
My favorite element is the optional nailhead over ribbon trim!


Coco Dining Chairs by Jan Showers
Jan Showers proves her design genius once again with these beauties!


Thomas Pheasant Dining Chairs by Baker
Comfortable and timeless.  This classic baker peice is iconic!


 Always a fan of Mrs. Draper, I adore her Cafe Side Chair by Kindel, a Greenbrier staple.

So there’s my delicious Top Ten.   Which is your favorite?