New House Diary: What We Want

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Welcome to another week of New House Diary.

Today as I am working on the list of what to add to my new house, I have been thinking about the things I hated to leave at my last house. The things that we don’t have in this house (yet) and ideas for how to get those details in the plan.

Here are my top 10 things I really miss…

1.The super-functional kitchen–

Kitchen 6506

I designed every inch of my last kitchen. Added a big island, ice maker, wine cooler, quartz countertops, and tons of storage.


My new kitchen is one of the least functional spaces I’ve tried to work in and I’m a cook so the kitchen is important. I’m dealing with small cabinets, shallow drawers and very little storage not to mention all the wasted floor space and we haven’t even talked about how dated it is. This baby is getting a total remodel at some point soon!

2.The Craft room/office–


I loved my office and craft room in the last house. Also something I designed to perfectly fit my storage needs, this space acted as a workspace, storage space and pseudo butler’s pantry plus was my workout room because it housed my treadmill. I can squeeze a ton of function into a small space and I definitely need to work my magic at our new home because it’s function that is lacking most at the moment.

3.The Garden–


I sure loved my backyard garden.


Even on cold and wet days like today, I could look out our french doors from the family room onto our gorgeous yard and admire the things I had planted myself, like my roses growing on the trellis, and anticipate their spring bloom.


And on warm days, the hammock was a great place to spend time and find inspiration. My new yard has tons of potential, I just need next Spring to roll around so I can start the plan and the planting.

4.The Master Shower and Tub–

TF Bath

I gutted our last Master bath and added a tub and shower that were light and bright and perfect for relaxing from our busy lives.

The new bathroom has a HUGE 1980’s garden tub that needs so much water that you can’t even get it filled before the water is cold. Trust me, my 8 year old has tried. And let’s not even get into the cultured marble, the columns and the mirrors—yowza!


And the shower…well if you are taller than 5′ 6″ you feel like you just might hit your head.


If you don’t stand in just the right spot, the one shower head doesn’t quite cover your whole body. Can you say chilly? Or maybe you’d rather say “Hello Saloon Doors”. Ha! I promise, underneath the existing decor, the bones are great and there really is so much potential.

5.The Entry WOW factor!–


So if you can imagine suntan-colored panty hose from the 1970’s or 80’s then you can imagine the paint color currently on our entry walls.


A girl can always dream back to my gorgeous black and white wallpaper, can’t I?

6. The way the rooms flowed together–I love the way the traffic flowed through my last house in a big circle. No bottlenecks when entertaining. This house will soon be as functional for entertaining too, I just need to move a couple of walls around to make it just right!

7. My closet and shoe storage–


This may be my biggest frustration at the moment. The master closet in the new house is the size of a shoe box and I kindly let my husband take it for now. I’m sure missing seeing my beautiful shoes behind lucite doors.


I have a great option for expanding our master closet taking  a bit of the breakfast room and a strange little mudroom/pantry that doesn’t really function well as either (shown here above). But for now I am living out of every other closet in the house, trekking upstairs every time I need clothing or a pair of shoes. Nothing like roughing it to make you really appreciate the luxury of function and beauty, right?

8.Our Guest Room–


So there are 2 guest rooms in our new house, but both are currently acting as my closets–I’m not kidding. It will be nice to get all the storage worked out so we can entertain overnight guests really soon.

9. The Play Room–


My daughter’s new room is huge, bigger than the master actually, but we no longer have a playroom.


So the storage for toys is slightly less than desirable and needs to be organized. We need built in cabinetry too. And probably just donating a lot of toys to charity would be a great start. I love being forced to purge and organize so I guess I gave myself an excuse, huh?

10. A Neutral Base–

Tobi Fairley

As I mentioned, our paint colors are less than desirable and thankfully I finally got in my design work room last week and started laying out the color palette so painting can commence. But in the meantime, I do sometimes daydream about how soft and relaxing the neutral background was in our old home. I am going to change to a different neutral in this house, but still I long for the serenity that a soft backdrop can bring.

So there you have it. A bit more insight into my process for designing my new home. And you’re probably wondering why I waited to do all this work after I moved in, right? Well we were so lucky and sold our last house the first day it was on the market, so I am living the reality that many of my clients live–remodeling a house while you are in it. Oh the lessons I will learn!

Hang with me because in just a week or two, we will get into the REAL decisions, my inspiration and much more. It’s going to be a fun journey and I hope you will take it with me. This may just be THE before and after of all before and afters! 🙂


Tobi Signature


p.s. If you have been dying to learn my design process in person, you should join me in Dallas this March for my Design from A to Z live event. After 2 exciting days with me you will be decorating and designing your home like never before! So check out the details for the exciting class on our new website. Hope to see you there!





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9 Responses to New House Diary: What We Want

  1. Maria Killam says:

    Loved this post! This will be so much fun to see the transformation! I loved how you showed your last house and then this one. Totally great. xo maria

  2. KATHYSUE says:

    Hi Tobi, love following along with you on your new journey. May I ask what quartz product and backsplash did you use in your other home. I am looking at marble look alikes in the white family, Lagoon silestone, Misty Carrera Caesarstone. I want light and bright like your kitchen,

  3. paige ward says:

    So exciting! Do I remember correctly… was your former LR wall color SW Relaxed Khaki???

  4. Great post and imagine how lucky the new occupants of your last house would be. I’m so excited to see all the transformations but I’m most thrilled about the kitchen updates since I have same issues with mine; less storage and unused floor space.

  5. Dave clark says:

    It does look gorgeous! Fresh and beautiful! I’m so itching to paint.
    It is adorable by the way. And my favorite view is from The Entry. I am so excited to have a home like you.


  6. Since I’m in the process of getting my house ready to list, and looking for a new one, this is SO relevant to me. There are lots of things I love about my house too, and it’s hard to leave, but we have good reasons to do so. It’s always bittersweet. But I’m looking forward to having a new house to decorate, and will have fun seeing what you’re going to do.

  7. Tobi, I forgot to ask, why did you move, and why did you choose this house?

  8. Victoria says:

    Oh wow! So much work ahead of you, but you can and will rock it! I would so be wanting to move back into the former house with all of your beautiful work done. But moving on and having a new vision and goals keeps us young!going forward. Excited about all of your new possibilities and cannot wait to see your vision for his house becoming a beautiful and graceful home for your sweet family.

    Now, going back to drool over the photos of your sofa in the playroom and your former entryway and continue to create a new vision for the house i’m in too!

  9. franki says:

    Guess it’s “all about” the challenges…. You will do it perfectly…in due time. We just “listed” our Tudor and I’m “feeling your pain” about the changes that lie ahead. I’ll be following your transformation!! franki