Archive for August, 2014

New House Diary: Thermador Appliance Love

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New House Diary Ok, so I know I said I was moving to the Breakfast Room for New House Diary (and I sort of did last week) but as I mentioned in Sunday’s post about my love of cooking, I have to go back to the kitchen for a bit and talk about appliances. Tobi-Fairley-interior-design1 So my mom, who taught me everything I know about cooking, has a fabulous Thermador Range with a fantastic, large single oven below that she’s had for years in her beautiful mint green kitchen. Not only is it handsome to look at, it also makes great meals whether Mom’s cooking her delicious beef tenderloin, her homemade lasagna or her signature “Bebe Eggs”. Her oven has been responsible for many a happy holiday meal and lots of my family’s full and happy tummies.

So I finally had the time to go out and do some research on what appliances I want for my own home and I am happy to report that I too fell in LOVE with all things Thermador. Now I already knew I was fond of their new offerings from recently using them in 2 clients’ homes, but after learning more about what Thermador offers, I am totally convinced.

cook quote First, Thermador is an appliance line for cooks. Real cooks. And that’s exactly what I consider myself to be. But have you seen their Steam Oven? So I never really understood the tiny ovens that I often see under the left side ranges and certainly I didn’t realize that some these made by Thermador were steam ovens. therm blueSo though I would have never thought I’d want a steam oven, now that I know what all a steam version can do and I’ve seen one in use, I’ve had a change of heart. So if I get this range above that I have been eyeing, I will definitely have a steam oven included. range top But I am starting to lean towards a Thermador range top with deep “pots and pans” drawers below. I think I may opt for those gorgeous blue knobs still, but then I’d add Thermador wall ovens–1 regular and 1 steam. I just love the convenience of wall ovens. And like many of you said in response to this previous NHD post, since I’m used to wall ovens, I might miss them. I agree. steam Eek…just the thought of brand new wall ovens, one of them steam, makes me ready to cook Thanksgiving dinner right now! Or how about baking some yummy desserts with my daughter? I’m so excited.
grille and griddel And next, I never really wanted a grill or griddle in the house, but after seeing the clean-ability of Thermador’s grill with its ceramic briquettes and their griddle with the easily removable grease tray, I am ready for those too. No more pulling out a $30.00 griddle that I got at a local discount store for my Saturday morning family pancake ritual. No Ma’am, I’ll take my griddle built in thank you very much!  And yes, my hubby is great on the charcoal grill outdoors, but what about when I want to grill fish or steak for my daughter and me and he’s traveling. No more going out in the dark to fire up the portable kitchen, I will be grilling right inside without smoke filling up the room and easy clean up as a bonus. Aidan Then there is the piece de resistance (or a few of them)–the Thermador refrigeration columns. I mean SHUT UP already, right?!? I’ll take a fridge, a freezer and a couple of lovely wine columns please! I love the way the wine columns look in this recent feature in House Beautiful. Traditional but updated and OH SO CHIC! warm Then I plan to wrap it all up with a Thermador Microwave Drawer, Warming Drawer and Dishwasher. Thermador can now be my one-stop shop for a brand new kitchen. I just outfitted one of my favorite clients’ (who happens to be my contractor) home with everything Thermador and they are SO happy. And they’ve definitely had an influence on my new-found love of Thermador too thanks to their rave reviews. Because it’s word of mouth from people you trust that can have real influence on whether a product will work for you, right? star So there you have it, friends. The wait for deciding my kitchen appliances is over. And yes, I’m going “matchy-matchy” and I’m proud of it. Thermador has won my heart and with their patented star-shaped burner, I hope they can become the star in my kitchen soon. They’ve also won the attention of my pocketbook (and my husband) with their 1-2-Free promotion. Now if I can just get started on the demo  of my current circa 1990’s kitchen I can be cooking with Thermador before we know it.

So come on all you cooks out there. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about Thermador’s latest products. And I especially want to know what your favorite steam oven recipes are.

Happy Cooking! xo,
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Tobi TV: Expanding Your Space with a Room-Sized Rug

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Hello Friends! It’s Tobi TV Tuesday and today I am talking about one of my favorite topics: how to use room-sized rugs to really make the most of your space. So often we just feel forced to buy the standard size rugs that are available for sale out in the retail world.

room-sized rug

But what happens when a 8×10 or 9×12 rug just isn’t the right fit for your room? Well that’s when I use either custom rugs or have wall-to-wall carpet made into custom sizes to perfectly fit the space. Here’s the video I did for the P. Allen Smith show Garden Style talking about this very dilemma…

Here is a room where I took wall-to-wall carpet and made it into the perfect rug…

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 11.49.14 AM

And here are my tips for fulling your room with a rug to make the most of your space:

1. Make the rug so that it is 12″-18″ off the wall all the way around the space. This offers you comfort throughout the whole room and it gives you “permission” to use all the floorspace for arranging furniture.

2. Work with a designer to create a custom pattern and pick your custom yarn colors if your budget allows. Or work with your local carpet or home store to select a carpet you love (I am drawn to patterned versions, of course) and have it bound into a rug that perfectly fits your space.

3. Don’t forget all the exciting materials you can use for creating room sized rugs – you can have natural fibers like sisal and seagrass made into rugs and you can also take good ‘ole cut-pile comfy carpet and make it into a solid rug with a contrasting border around the edge or even have fun with it by creating your own pattern. I often have 24″ strips of carpet bound together in stripes for a bold graphic pattern on the floor.

4. And finally, I even use great ready-made rugs like the cabana stripes from Dash and Albert and sew them together to create room-sized rugs. Here’s an image where I did that very thing.


So good luck expanding your space and your comfort in your room by using a room-sized rug. Now leave me a message and let me know if you have tried this design tip in your home. And also be sure to share this great design idea and video with all your design loving friends!!

Happy Decorating!











All New Design A-to-Z!

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Are you thinking about redecorating or remodeling your home? Or more accurately, are you a design-lover who is constantly redecorating?

Or maybe you are a design professional that is looking for new inspiration or techniques after becoming tired of your old ones. Or possibly, you are new to this business, or just getting into the design business after having it as a hobby for years!


No matter which profile fits you the best, Design A-to-Z is my one signature event that appeals to professional designers and design enthusiasts alike! It is a great fit for anyone who really has a PASSION for great design and anyone who wants to learn my own system for designing magazine-worthy interiors that I use for each and every one of my projects. And this next A-to-Z course – held Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas – features ALL NEW content.


If you’ve never attended before, THIS session of Design A-to-Z is going to really rock your world! And if you HAVE been to this event in the past, come on back for an all-new creative refresher course – I promise you’ll find new ideas and concepts that will help you jump-start that creativity!


This course is so much more than just a how-to guide. We’re going to really dig into the idea of color and how to use it most effectively. We’re going to discuss what “style” really looks like in today’s interiors – and how to find your own PERSONAL style! And then we’re going to talk about function and how to ensure that your own home or your design projects really fit the lifestyle for the people living there.

I will empower you to design outside your comfort zone, and that is what is going to make designing exciting and fulfilling AND give you stunning results. Staying “safe” with all your interior design selections is no fun at all, right?!?


And speaking of fun, this is going to be a fun AND fantastic event – and I want to see you there! So come on – get registered here and join me for a creative event unlike any other!

I can’t wait to have a photo op with you soon. Besides, it’s going to be a hands-on, down and dirty Design-a-Palooza! Don’t miss it.

Join me!








Soulful Sunday: Cooking feeds my Soul!

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good food is good moodI love to cook and to bake. Both are relaxing and are creative expressions for me. I have been at home in the kitchen since I was about 10 years old or younger. And my own 9-year old daughter loves to cook and bake too! It’s an activity we love to do together.

thomas kelle

There is something about this time if year when Fall is approaching that really gets me in the mood to be in the kitchen. And I have been working hard to get my picky 9 year-old to try some new foods and some healthier foods lately. It seems to help her try new things when she is involved in the cooking.

There is one piece of this cooking puzzle that is a challenge for me at the moment. My much in need of renovation kitchen. And I am getting REALLY close to getting my mind around starting the BIG changes in my new home. And by that I mean more than painting the walls in here, or recovering the furniture in there. These baby steps are what I’ve been up to so far since moving around this time last year. And yes, it’s hard to believe it’s already been almost a year since we moved in. I thought I would already be in the thick of a major renovation by now, but thankfully, my husband and I have both been extremely busy this year with great things happening in both our businesses and we just haven’t been ready to pull the trigger on the demolition. Plus we haven’t forced ourselves to decide if we are living through the renovation or temporarily moving out. I guess we’ve been procrastinating.

But when I cook, especially in this less than functional space, it does help me know what I want my new kitchen to be. The silver lining to being too busy to complete my kitchen is that I have given myself extra time to make some important decisions on the design and layout of my home, particularly in the kitchen. Since we are not enlarging the home, at least right now, making the most of the footprint that exists is a must.

So I can finally tell you (later this week) what appliances I LOVE for my new kitchen. So meet me here Thursday for my New House Diary post to get those juicy appliance details! But today I am going to enjoy cooking with my daughter in my less than perfect kitchen. And here’s what’s on the menu to feed our tummies and our soul…

pumpkin spice

She’s baking pumpkin spice muffins. A great recipe for her because it’s only a spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin with a dash of water to get the consistency just right. Before baking these recently with a friend, she would never have eaten pumpkin. And since broccoli was the only vegetable on her list, I am going to count pumpkin in that category for her now!

damn delicious

I am feeling like cooking with quinoa, so I’m making this yummy vegetarian chili I found on Pinterest last year from the site Damn Delicious.

With the left over quinoa, I’ll be making some quinoa banana nut muffins perfect for my breakfast with the busy week I have coming up.

cooking provides food for the soul

So what about you…do you love cooking and baking like I do? Any new recipes getting you excited lately? And are there any things that you especially love to cook now that Fall is on it’s way. Leave me a comment and let me know. I am always looking for something new and healthy to cook!

Happy Sunday Y’all!








Self-care Saturday: Are You an Early Riser? The Day’s A Wasting!

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chase your dreams

My maternal grandfather, Fred May, was an early riser. If you slept in past 7:00 am even as a teenager (and 6:00 am is probably more accurate), he thought the “Day Was A Wasting!” And unfortunately  fortunately for me, Beverly Ann May Wells (aka my mom Bebe) inherited what I lovingly call the “Fred May Mentality”. It was all that she could stand to busy herself until my brother and I would get out of bed on weekends or in the summer. When we were in our most lazy slumber habits during our teen years, by 9:00am mom had had it and would huffily come into our rooms, throw open the curtains, pull back our covers and tell us to GET UP! Life was just too short to sleep in and we had stuff (aka work) to do! This speaks volumes to those of you who wonder why I absolutely love to work, right?!? It’s a habit almost 40 years in the making.

get up early

But I actually have this sort of mindset and thinking to thank for many of my accomplishments in life. And though at the time I may not have appreciated our Saturday morning rituals of getting up with the sun, cooking a delicious breakfast, having the whole house cleaned, closets organized and yard work done before most people got out of bed on the weekend–I now practice so many of these habits in my own life and they are a responsible for keeping my stress down (I live in a very organized way) and helping me be healthy and fulfilled.

embrace the day

Statistics show that people who get up early are more successful and that many of the world’s most successful people get up early. So what about you—Are you an early riser? Believe it or not, even if you think you’re a night owl, you can change your sleep patterns and adopt the habit of getting up early. I have been both a night owl and an early riser at various times in my life, but I prefer getting up early. It’s when I’m at my best!

jim rohn

Why? Well how many of us are constantly thinking “If only there were more hours in the day?” I know I am guilty of that. And it is true that getting up early literally adds hours to your days, weeks, months and years. Look at this quote from Steve Pavlina in his blog post about How to become an early riser and his follow-up Part 2 to that post ..

“Think about what you could do with that extra time. Even an extra 30 minutes per day is enough to exercise daily, read a book or two each month, maintain a blog, meditate daily, cook healthy food, learn a musical instrument, etc. A small amount of extra time each day adds up to significant amounts over the course of a year. 30 minutes a day is 182.5 hours in a year. That’s more than a month of working full-time (40 hours per week). Double it if you save 60 minutes a day, and triple it if you save 90 minutes a day. For me the savings was about 90 minutes/day. That’s like getting a free bonus year every decade. I’m using this time to do things that I previously didn’t have the time and energy to do. It’s wonderful.”


My most healthy, happy and productive days and even years are when I am in the routine of getting up early. What constitutes early you ask? Well my perfect rising time is 5:30. I can sit with my laptop and do some social media cheerleading for my friends on twitter at this hour. I can do my daily meditation and I can get my exercising in for the day. All of these things start me off on the right track mentally and physically. And at the end of the day I feel like I got double the time back because I have already exercised so I have some time freed up in the evening for my family or other activities that I want to do. And how often do you really have time to do what YOU want to do. Well if you are a mom like me, it’s pretty rare.

get up

So are you ready to commit to becoming an early riser? Need help with the transition? I actually find Steve’s tips really helpful. And if you’re telling yourself you’re not a morning person. That doesn’t matter. It’s not about being naturally a morning person. It’s about creating a habit of getting up early. And anyone can do this. Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book “Wishes Fulfilled” talks about how his son, the epitome of Night Owls, changed his late-sleeping ways and changed his life for the better forever!

exercise early

I believe you can’t afford NOT to start this life-changing habit? WHY? Because many of you who aren’t making the most of your time at work or with family are also not exercising or practicing self-care and you aren’t taking much needed vacations. You think you “don’t have time to”. But if you got back a full month (or two or three) in a single year, you would have time for all these things. You would have the time to dominate in your industry and in your health. And you could spend time with your family and time on sandy beaches or traveling Europe each year. And after all, isn’t that the kind of thing you dream of and what you think you’re working so hard for?

go to bed with satisfaction

So join me in being an early riser. People often ask me how I get everything done that I do in business and life. And one part of it is that I get up early. And I surround myself with other early risers including my husband, my 9-year old daughter (she’s naturally an early riser and always has been) and my team members at work. And if that many people in my life are getting extra weeks or even months in their lives compared to everyone else, it’s no wonder we are accomplishing so much!


So when you ask yourself this important questions—“Can a girl like me really have it all in life?” I think the answer is YES! But only if you get up early and take on your day (and your dreams) like the world’s most successful people do.

get coffee

Happy Self-care Saturday Y’all. And cheers to those of you who’ve already been up for hours drinking coffee and making life happen!


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