Archive for January, 2015

Self-Care Saturday: Home Sweet Home

Posted by


Last week I asked if you were living the Dream and gave you my tips to help you make that happen. Today I want to remind you that sometimes the dream is right in front of your face.

For years I was busy building a BIG business and that takes a lot of time, energy and people to keep it all going. Going after your dreams like I have is exciting and rewarding. But sometimes the MOST fulfilling thing in life is not what you think. Often the most satisfying things are found in the ordinary, day-to-day, simple moments at home. That is definitely true for me.


The older I get the more I enjoy Slow-living. I’ve always been a “Home Body” for the most part. I can travel the world during the week and then never leave my house (and sometimes not even my PJ’s) on the weekends.  I never get bored being at home. There is always something that I want to cook, or bake, or create, or a new design book to read or a blog to write, or a closet to organize. And a walk in my own beautiful neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air, is the pinnacle of a perfect Saturday.

My nine-year old is currently obsessed with the book the Wizard of Oz. She was even the cutest Dorothy you’ve ever seen for Halloween. And I have to agree with Dorothy that there is absolutely “No Place Like Home”.  My home may not be all renovated and gorgeous yet, but she serves my family and me just fine. She’s a workhorse, and she gives us what we need to meet the world at our best.

flowers at home

Thankfully this month I have been home a lot more than I was during most months last year. I am working hard to make being home a constant in my life…At least for a while. If you read my word of the year post, you’ll remember that my word is significance, and the most significant people and things in my life are right here at home.

cooking at home

And being a lover of cooking, nesting and reading by the fire, there’s not much else that equals self-care to me than time spent at home. So today I am grateful for many days this month that I’ve cooked 3 whole-food meals a day in my own kitchen. And I am thankful for waking many early mornings at 5am and holding my pup, drinking coffee by the fire and catching up on a bit of work. I am filled with joy over the simple things in my life–the ones right here in front of my face. At Home. They are what is most important.

Wishing you as much joy in your Home Sweet Home as I find in mine! I hope it’s the perfect place to fill your cup.


Tobi Signature





p.s. To see the fruits of all my nesting, organizing and cooking at home, be sure to follow me on Instagram.

Before and After: Soft and Relaxing Living Room

Posted by


It’s Before and After Friday and today we’re looking at a living room remodel that is soft and relaxing. This busy house is for a blended family of 6 kids, and with all the hustle and bustle that goes on under this roof, it’s nice to have at least one space that is toned-down and a bit more quiet.

Living Room Before (3)

This project included a large addition, but this formal living space is part of the original home. It’s the first space you enter from the front porch (which is now covered and wraps around the house) and there is really no entryway or foyer in this home. The client wanted “pretty and soft” for this room. I often say, “the entry sets the tone for the whole home” and for this home that means this space has to be up to that challenge.  Though this household will often be busy and chaotic, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some calm amongst the chaos. We even took inspiration from their love of the beach (which is their favorite place to relax and escape their busy life) when making fabric, color, and materials selections for this room.

So here is the blank slate before the remodel started.  The wall to the right has now opened up to a new hallway.

Living Room Before (2)

And here is the soft and subtle after. Soft doesn’t mean we can’t have color. The tones of blue here bring to mind sea and sky, accented with hints of pink for a bit of freshness. We kept the original front door for the charm and contrast it brings to the room.


Here is the view towards what is now the new dining room and a wraparound porch beyond…

Living Room Before (4)

I don’t have an official after of this corner of the space, but here’s an “installation shot” that will help you get perspective of how these rooms work together. Decisions on the accessories were being made at this point and the coral lamp didn’t make the final cut. This photo also shows us a glimpse of the Art Deco chandelier the client brought with her, befitting the age of the original part of this home.

crestwood before 1
And here is what the new dining room looks like that flows seamlessly from this soft living room design to something coordinated but a bit more dramatic.

crestwood dining

A look at the living room fireplace wall before. There is now a large opening on the left to access the addition.

Living Room Before

And a vignette of this pretty wall with fresh cut forsythia vines waiting to bloom for Spring, plus a better look at that fab antique chandelier!


And here is a tiny glimpse of what I did in the new hallway to transition my soft color palette to the newly remodeled upstairs kids’ zone.

crestwood stair

I hope you loved this sweet before and after. These colors have me wishing for Spring!

Happy Friday!


Tobi Signature

New House Diary: Dining Room Inspiration

Posted by

New House Diary
It’s Thursday so that means it’s time for New House Diary. We have covered the details of the living room from top to bottom and I am thrilled with where it’s heading. Let’s move on to one of my other favorite rooms in the house…the dining room.


If you recall, I am moving the dining room to what the previous owner had as a large office/study. It will seat more people and be more functional. But more on that in another post soon. Today let’s look at a few of my favorite dining rooms for inspiration.

inverness dining

First of all, I am planning on re-using my existing dining chairs from my last dining room. I just love them! And although I hate to get rid of the crewel, I am ready for a new look. So these will be recovered for the new space. I often use the same classic shapes, forms, patterns, and colors in my work but the combination, application, and architecture make these go-to items look completely different.

I don’t plan to abandon my favorite signature details in my own home so lets look at how I have used similar things in a variety of inspiring dining rooms with remarkably different results. A few of these favorite ideas will likely show up in my own home.

Penthouse dining

This dining room I did for a client’s penthouse is going viral on Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram at this very moment and it’s featured in the current Winter 2015 Rue Magazine color issue. The thing I love about it as inspiration for my new dining room is the wallpaper. I am interested in using a bold floral in my own home, but for all 4 walls instead of just one as I did here. I also love the pop of yellow in this chic space. And I am thinking about pairing yellow with PINK!

crestwood dining

Here’s another big floral dining room that I designed and there’s that yellow popping up again. This time it’s a little more golden. And mixed with chocolate brown, rich turquoise, and more traditional furnishings, it’s a far cry from the space above. Isn’t it interesting that I can use the same colors and some signature details like large floral prints over and over, but depending on the colors and the patterns they look nothing alike?

southern traditional dining

And here is another bold wallpaper in one of my dining room designs. This time it’s geometric. Recognize those chairs?  They are the same chairs that I have in my own home but looking TOTALLY different in the polka dot. I don’t use the same furniture pieces too often for clients, but when they are the perfect piece, then why not?!?! And these chartreuse drapes have a lot in common with the yellow ones above but certainly more of an acidic tone. Here’s a lavender ceiling that is akin to the pinky-lavender one in the penthouse above. But both are SO different.  One simple and traditional, the other glamorous and dramatic.

So don’t be surprised to see some yellow and pink in my new dining room. What I pair it with may surprise you, though! And a large floral wallpaper is a definite yes! Now to decide which one. I have a few in mind so stay tuned…




Big News and Which Would You Choose?

Posted by


Did you hear the exciting news? We announced yesterday that I have partnered with my favorite art company, Soicher Marin, to create a line of decorative framed art for the home. I am thrilled to be launching a 70-piece collection THIS April at High Point Market!

My collection with Soicher Marin will be shown in their showroom and featured in the CR Laine showroom with my brand new upholstery line for Spring. Things are definitely getting exciting around here, aren’t they?

So for today’s Which Would You Choose? I want to ask you this:

Do you prefer traditional-themed framed botanical artwork like this Soicher Marin grouping in my last dining room?

soicher marin art

Or something contemporary like this pink and green abstract Soicher Marin piece that I used in my New York showhouse space?

soicher abstract pink

Leave me a comment and let me know which you love and why. And the good news is that I am designing both traditional and more modern pieces for my Soicher Marin collection, so hopefully all of you will find something that you love!

Happy Hump Day!









Tobi TV: Kitchens That Cook

Posted by


Kitchens are at the heart of every home. No matter the party or occasion, friends and family always seem to gather in the kitchen. So it’s critical to have a kitchen that functions correctly, that’s beautiful, and that is welcoming! But if you love to cook, like I do, it’s even MORE important to get this hard-working room of your house planned perfectly!

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 7.18.14 AM

Being in the kitchen is natural for me and it’s so much fun to design these fabulous and functional spaces for my clients since the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I won’t be cooking tonight because it’s my birthday (!) so my family is treating me with a night out.  But we can still celebrate some of my favorite kitchens I’ve designed. Take a look:

Those are really sizzling, aren’t they? Here are some tips for creating a kitchen that really cooks:

1. Be sure your kitchen has plenty of space for storage to hide the clutter that always accumulates here.

2. Beautiful built-in cabinets keep kitchens organized and leave all the counter space for cooking and food prep.

3. A kitchen that opens to the breakfast or dining area makes it easy for the cook to stay in the loop while preparing meals. No cook likes to feel left out of the fun and conversation.

4. A smart banquette and fabulous barstools create all the sitting space you’ll need in the kitchen to enjoy meals and conversation!

How does your kitchen bring the heat? I hope these tips really get your ideas flowing to create a kitchen where everyone will want to gather, and a space that really cooks! Please let me know in the comments below how your kitchen functions for you!

If you would like to see some of my favorite recipes, click through here for my top picks on Pinterest! And you can see the finished results of my cooking here on Instagram!

Bon Appetit!