Archive for July, 2011

Using Quilts in Modern Décor with Emily A. Clark

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 I am so excited to welcome the fabulous Emily A. Clark back to my blog today!  You can find her blog HERE.  Enjoy! – Tobi


When I think “Americana” in terms of design, quilts always come to mind.


image via Flickr

 Maybe this is because the small town where I’m from in Kentucky is just miles away from the National Quilt Museum where thousands of quilters flock to each year. Still, I have to admit that the idea of using a quilts in design hasn’t always appealed to me.

However, I’ve seen more and more examples, as of late, that have made me rethink the great-American quilt and how it can become a colorful, stylish centerpiece of a room, way beyond “shabby chic.”  Here are a few of my favorite examples:

Picture 26

House Beautiful


Paired with a neutral palette, they make a huge statement all by themselves. 


Camille Roskelley


A simple pattern can also be paired effortlessly with bright, modern fabrics.


Sarah Richardson


And, quilts don’t necessarily have to be draped over the end of a bed.  I love the idea of using them as a soft rug in a child’s room, as a dramatic backdrop behind a sofa, or folded over a rail to soften the lines of a staircase.



Country Living


Hopefully, you’re inspired to break out a family heirloom and add a punch of color to your space.  Not only are quilts a wonderful way to incorporate pattern and warmth, they often have  wonderful story to tell from generations past. 

For more ideas that inspire me and a look at my projects, hope you’ll take time to stop by my blog, Emily A. Clark Interiors.  Thanks to Tobi for asking me to be part of this all-American series!

KATV Good Morning Arkansas: Room Rescue Plan

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This morning on Good Morning Arkansas I presented my latest Room Rescue Plan. Viewers in the KATV viewing area are able to send in photos of their problem rooms and I select one for a “rescue.”

Congratulations to Elizabeth in Stuttgart who was selected as the Room Rescue Plan winner. Here’s what she had to say about her bathroom:

Dear Good Morning Arkansas,
I am in much need of professional help! Please pick our bathroom for Tobi’s expertise!

A little about us… We moved to Stuttgart two years ago for my husband’s job. We lived in a motel for two months during the home buying search with four children, then ages 5, 3, 2, and 8 months. In finally finding a home, I was disappointed that it was not more “move in ready”. Our home is a work in process that never seems to end. The projects have been fun, but one room that gives us the most trouble is our bathroom.

The problem… I cannot see how to redesign the master bathroom. The shower is tiny; I can barely bring my arms up to wash my hair. I really do not know how my 6’2″ husband does it! From the photos you may notice that a door to the laundry room is to the left of the shower. A window is to the right which limits trying to expand the shower. There is only one sink which is a lovely baby blue. The toilet and rusting tub match. The wallpaper and border is gross, and the lighting screams 80s!

After a long day, all I want is to destress and retreat to a relaxing place like my bathroom for a hot shower or long bath. Sadly, all I can do is try to get out of there as fast as I can…always wearing my flip flops of course. I may bleach it all day, but to me if it looks dirty still, it is.

Please help us make our home a place we can enjoy.

P.S. We love Channel 7 – thank you for providing this opportunity to our community!

Thanks for your consideration,

Thanks for the photos Elizabeth! I understand your complaints about your bathroom and I’m glad to help! Here’s what I came up with for you:

I selected products readily available either locally or online. Everything was selected with a family-friendly budget in mind.

Walls: Sherwin-Williams SW6113 Interactive Cream

Trim & Cabinetry: Sherwin-Williams SW6119 Antique White

Cabinet Hardware: Martha Stewart Polished Nickel Knob

Mirrors: Gatco Max Rectangular Mirror in Chrome

Lighting: Hampton Bay 2-Light Chrome Bath Light

Faucet: Glacier Bay Chrome Faucet

Bench: Oxford Vanity Bench

Bench Fabric: F. Schumacher Empire Poplin Stripe in Sky

Countertops: Zodiaq Cygnus Pearl

Flooring: Honed Travertine


Here’s a quick sketch of my after plan. Here are my top tips:

  • By moving the seated make-up area to the center of your cabinetry, you’d be able to have 2 sinks. A new vanity should be installed with the sink countertops at 36″ high. This keeps adults from having to bend over so much. The center area should remain at 30″ high. A painted finish provides a fresh clean look.
  • After removing the wallpaper border (yay!), install a good-sized crown moulding. You won’t believe the difference this will make.
  • I’m quite concerned about the location of your toilet. In the photos, it appears to be a road block in front of your laundry room door. You also complained about the smallness of your shower. I would recommend moving the toilet to the current location of your shower. In it’s place, you could install a floor-to-ceiling cabinet to store toiletries and linens. Replace your current freestanding tub with a built-in tub and shower unit. Although, I generally would prefer a seperate tub and shower in the master bathroom, it appears not to be the most logical option for your bathroom.
  • The mirror over the make-up area should be built-in and framed with trim painted to match the other mouldings in the room. Above the sinks, install pivot mirrors.
  • The bench at the make-up area is an affordable online find. You can paint the wood frame and reupholster the seat for a custom look on a budget.
  • Replacing the door to the laundry room with a 2-panel door adds more character to the space. Adding frosted glass in the upper panel adds an additional reflective surface and makes your room unique. Upgrading mouldings around the doors and windows makes a huge impact!

I hope these tips help you to create the bathroom retreat you desire. I’ll be sending all the details of your Room Rescue Plan in mail shortly.

Good luck!


All-American Ralph Lauren by Cristin of Simplified Bee

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I’m so happy to have Cristin from the Simplified Bee blog as a guest today!  I met her at at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA earlier this year.  She has always been such a supporter of my blog and I count her as a great friend!  Thanks Cristin!  -Tobi

I’ve been following Tobi’s Blog for a couple years, love her work and admire her impeccable design aesthetic. Last February, I had the pleasure of meeting Tobi in Los Angeles at the Design Blogger Conference where she was a presenter. She was friendly, full of Southern charm and had lots of terrific business advice. So when she asked me to be part of her All-American series, I was over-the-moon.

Tobi left the “All-American” topic broad, but the iconic Ralph Lauren came to mind instantly. For the past forty years, Ralph Lauren has not only created a $10 billion empire, but a brand that is synonymous with “American style.” As stated in a recent interview with Oprah, “Ralph Lauren sells much more than fashion: He sells the life you’d like to lead. To own a creation of Ralph Lauren’s, whether it’s his red patent-leather boots, his signature Polo shirt, or an ottoman from his furniture collection, is to savor a taste of the American dream—a dream he’s defined with cinematic ads that tell a story rather than tout a fashion trend.”

This American dream certainly resonated with my family while I was growing up. For as long as I can remember, my Mother’s wardrobe has been filled with dresses, jackets and slacks from his clothing line. Her home in Lake Tahoe is also layered in furnishings, pillows and linens from Ralph Lauren Home. She even changes the look seasonally. Jewel tones, plaids and velvets make up the look for winter, while the summer months are a fresh, nautical blue & white.

A couple years ago, my mom wanted to swap out her faded Ralph Lauren throw pillows for some new ones, but I wouldn’t let her. I convinced her that the faded look added charm and my instinct was supported by Ralph himself:
“I have always loved things that are worn, like an old plaid shirt that has been patched and mended or an old pickup truck that is a little dented and the paint a little faded. That patina is evidence of a history of work and a kind of honesty that to me is very American.”
– Ralph Lauren, from The Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Book.

{image of Ralph Lauren’s living room via}

Ralph’s Double RL ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado typifies his love of things worn and aged over time. The sprawling 17,000 acre estate sits just outside Telluride and includes a main lodge, five hand painted tepees and a 1960s silver Airstream trailer. As you can see, these spaces are filled with Native American textiles, the U.S. flag and of course furniture from Ralph Lauren Home. It screams, “Made in the USA!”

{Photos above by Gilles de Chabaneix for Architectural Digest 2002}

{images of Tepee via}

In addition to his many philanthropic initiatives, Ralph Lauren has been a key supporter of the ten year preservation effort of one of the most famous American symbols, The Star-Spangled Banner.

{The Star-Spangled Banner via The Smithsonian}

This worn and torn flag inspired the national anthem, dates back to the war of 1812. It just seems fitting to have an American icon like Ralph Lauren support this massive conservation project.
Thanks Tobi for letting me participate in your All-American series!

Cristin from Simplified Bee 

KATV Good Morning Arkansas: Design Time Tomorrow Morning!

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Wow!  What a busy day here on the blog.  (3 posts in one day!)

Don’t forget that Design Time with Tobi Fairley is tomorrow morning on KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas during the 9 o’ clock hour.

Tomorrow I’ll be presenting the Room Rescue Plan created for one lucky viewer.  Don’t miss it!

If you’re not in the KATV viewing area, you can use the link below to watch online.  See you in the morning!