Archive for March, 2015

Tobi TV: Big City Style

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Modern design enthusiasts may think they will only find “big city” style in places like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. But you can get the chic and sleek look you crave, no matter where you live!

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Right here in Little Rock, Ark., I harnessed that city style for my Riverside Penthouse project, and I’m going to show you exactly how you can use these ideas to give your space a modern look and feel!

That entryway is metro marvelous! Here’s another look at a few tips that will give you a lot of big city style:

1. Think glam: A velvet and vinyl banquette will definitely add that sophisticated city look to your home. It’s perfect for entertaining or having a few friends over for cocktails.

2. A gorgeous marbelized wall covering in every shade of blue from cobalt to ink will make your space feel penthouse perfect! And it is ready-made art, as well!

3. Black-and-white striped marble floors would make a jailhouse rock – and the high-gloss makes them super-chic.

4. Blue suede doors would make Elvis proud – add some glass doorknobs and they are definitely fit for a King!


A great city view is a bonus, but even if you live in the suburbs, these tips will help you feel like you’re living large in the big city! Think YOU are a City Sophisticate? Take my fun color quiz to see if you fit that category – or to see if you’re a Blushing Beauty or a Drama Queen. Just click here, and you’ll also get a sneak peek at my new upholstery collection for CR Laine, debuting in just a little over 2 weeks at the High Point Market!

Stay colorful!







A Sneak Peek at My New Collections!

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High Point Market is almost here – so now it’s time to unveil a few of the pieces from my new collections of upholstery and art! These will be debuting April 17-23 at CR Laine’s showroom (310 N. Hamilton, 2nd floor) and Soicher Marin’s showroom (C&D 1B/1C).

My vision for the collections was to provide fashion-forward color and design that speaks to my aesthetic as an interior designer, which is Bright, Bold, and Tailored. I love every single piece and can’t wait to start putting them in my own home, and in my clients’ homes! I think the gorgeous Marguerite Armless Sofa above really makes the statement for my look – with its strapped bolsters, starburst nailhead pattern, and acrylic legs.

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It pairs perfectly with my Inkblot series of art from Soicher Marin, which was so fun to design. You can see all sorts of interesting patterns and shapes in the inkblots, but I promise not to psychoanalyze what you see!

My CR Laine color stories are defined by three “personalities,” from Drama Queen to City Sophisticate to Blushing Beauty. We even designed a fun quiz to help you decide which personality is YOURS! All you have to do is click here to take the quiz – I think I’m definitely a bit of all three.

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Of course you’ll see a lot of shape and pattern in my designs – that is another of my design signatures! In the sketch of the Helen dining chair above, you’ll see my favorite Greek key pattern in the wood of the chair, partnered with a fabulous hexagon fabric in peridot.

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There is a lot of geometry and shape in the Soicher Marin art I’ve designed, too, including a series that offers varying squares of saturated color inspired by the great Josef Albers.

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One of my very favorite pieces – I’m ready to place my order today! – would be the Elle chair in leather and brass, above. CR Laine translated my vision into the style, comfort, and quality that they put into everything they manufacture. It is gorgeous AND comfortable!

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And if you know my interior design at all, you know I love pairing modern art with traditional and transitional furnishings. So I’m thrilled to have several series of graphic designs from Soicher Marin, including the ones above that are formed on a blush background. You’ll definitely see blush as one of my color stories as I love to be on the front of color trends, and blush is the next big thing.

So what do you think? This is just a very small idea of what you could see at the High Point Market, or in a retail store near you later this summer! There are 17 items in my collection for CR Laine, and my series for Soicher Marin is the largest they’ve ever done with a designer, with over 100 pieces!

Come see me at market if you’re in the trade! Both collections will be on display at CR Laine’s showroom on the second floor of 310 N. Hamilton, and we’ll have a big color celebration there on Sunday, April 19 at 4pm. I’ll also be in Soicher Marin’s showroom at 1B/1C in the C&D building on Sunday at 11am, which will be a fun brunch event. Put those on your market schedule, and I’ll see you SOON!








Saturday Bliss: How Do I Do It All?

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How do I do it all? That is one of the most often asked questions I get. It is usually followed by “So you are still doing Design work even though you are a business consultant, teacher and speaker now?”

The answers are 1) I don’t do it all and 2) YES! I am STILL a designer. Not only an interior designer but now a product designer.

nate dbc

Last month at the Designer Bloggers Conference, It was interesting to hear Nate Berkus say that he is also inundated with the question “So, do you still do Design Work?” Yes everyone, Nate and I are both still designers.


But of course, neither Nate or I can do it all. No one can. Accomplishing all I do in life takes a lot of help. It’s no secret that I surround myself with an amazing team, I happen to have a crazy supportive family and a fabulous teen-aged young woman to help me with my daughter each week. It literally takes 6 stellar employees, an amazing accountant, my husband, my mom, my dad, my housekeeper, my teen-aged sitter, my aunt who helps me with my all important errands and laundry and anything else I need help with, my business consultant, several companies we outsource business tasks to, and I still don’t accomplish all I set out to each day.

girls at dbc

And then there are the top-notch companies I am partnering with to design products, and create online content who have amazing teams that are an extension of me and my team. And let me not forget a hand-full of dedicated and loving friends who pick up my child in a pinch, or let me drop her off on a snow day as I am jetting out of town, or let her spend the night when my plane is late and my husband is out of town too and those who let me bring her with me and stay for a night or a weekend. Which by the way my daughter thinks is the best thing since sliced bread. A trip with mom or a sleepover on a school night, are you kidding!?!?

soicher collection

But at the end of the day, I love my life. It is never boring. And though I don’t do it all, I do a LOT! You may have noticed that my blogging has been sporadic for a few weeks, well that’s because I was designing 2 product lines, and putting finishing touches on a third. I was designing the showroom at High Point Market where my new products will soon debut. I was designing many fabulous homes that I have the privilege to be working on at the moment. And I was spending important time with the people I love. So there is always some part of my lofty list of to do’s that doesn’t make the cut in my 24 hours each day and lately that was my blog.

girls at CR Laine

But in the midst of it all, there is always fun. There is always down-time. Or at least my version of down-time. There were the 3 snow days spent at home earlier this month, working from my bed in my Pj’s cuddled with my 10 year old and my lap top and her lap top and my pup Izzy. And maybe you’ve seen all those yummy meals posted on Instagram that I’ve cooked and treats I’ve baked for my family and my friends.

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Last week was a fun trip across North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia for Spring Break with my mom, daughter and niece.  We made a fun visit to see my furniture line prototypes and had a yummy Macaroon tasting for treats we are serving at market all color-coordinated to my designs for CR Laine. That was followed by 4 fabulously relaxing days hiking, and biking, and playing Corn Hole and Bocce Ball and roasting marshmallows by the fire and breathing in fresh mountain air (Aaaahhhhhh!) at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and the Barnsley Resort in Georgia .


I’m a “Creative” or probably more accurately a Creator. I create. It’s what I do. It’s not by choice. It’s innate. It’s genetic. I have a drive to “Do”. And I don’t know how not to. I can’t turn it off. It’s not optional. In the same way I need oxygen, I need to “Do”.  It is my lifeblood.

I recently saw this very interesting article about people just like me. You can read the  Creativity article here. But these are a few of my favorite excerpts…

“No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”

“Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time.”

Wow, it’s like I have finally found an understanding of who I am. The article even goes on to say that our saying “No” to other things in order to create makes other people think we are “aloof, boring, impolite, unfriendly, selfish, anti-social, uncaring, lonely and an arsenal of other insults. But “no” is the button that keeps us on.” Yes, often saying No to things that seem fun and frivolous to others in lieu of creating is what fills my deepest needs. 

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Many weeks of my life someone tells me “Don’t work your life away, slow down and enjoy your life and your family because it will all be gone before you know it.” But what I want to respond is this. I AM enjoying my life AND my family. Creating makes me enjoy my life and my family every day. In fact, I think I squeeze more life out of life WITH my family by my side than many people who think about “one day” what they will do with their life. My daughter is happy and well adjusted and a whole lot like her mom–a lover of travel and a girl who follows her heart!

Banana Bread

Why is it that keeping a busy schedule and working seem mutually exclusive from enjoying life and family? Why is it that enjoying family in peoples’ minds means being at home every moment and available just in case something my family needs may come up. I haven’t missed a single elementary school homeroom party 4 times a year for the last 7 years. I spend many a weekend cuddled with my daughter watching movies, or baking together or walking on a gorgeous day in our neighborhood with our pup and picking daffodils. I spend 6-8 weekends each fall going to College Football games with my family, my parents and my brother and his family. And those weekends are all about cooking and sitting fireside and laughing and telling stories about our childhood and lots and lots of football.

mom and me

I take a two-week beach vacation with family and friends each year and I take about 3-4 more vacations with family throughout the year. My mom and I go on about 8-10 fun trips together every year and yes they may be for work but for the 2 of us that is SO much fun. Designing Fabrics in New York and filling in the days with shopping and fabulous restaurants–seriously, what mom-daughter duo wouldn’t love that? And for me to be able to make so many special memories with my mom while she and I are both young and healthy is the best. So for me it’s not about just being with family, but the quality of the time we spend together and my family and I are making AMAZING memories every week of our lives!


So how do I do it all? I don’t. But I do squeeze the life out of my life. I make most every moment count, even if that means a conscious decision to lay on the beach and read a book or to open an expensive bottle of wine on a weekday with dinner and eat on the good china. I choose to go after my dreams. I do not have FOMO…Fear of missing out. I decide what’s important to me and I make that happen. I follow my heart. I show my daughter that being happy is our own responsibility. And that means different choices for every person. Some people are meant to be Stay at home Mom’s or Dad’s. And thank goodness for those people. Some people are meant to work and travel out of the home and thank goodness for them too. Some people are meant to be moms AND designers AND consultants at the same time.

morning coffee

But the most important thing is to live your life to your version of the fullest and I do that very thing every day. I am not missing out on the important stuff. I am grabbing the important stuff by the horns and riding them into the sunset every week of my life.

valentine's lunch

I am a mom, a creator, an interior designer, a writer, a cook, a baker, a coach, a consultant, a product designer, a teacher. And I am happy. I have joy.

Do you?

Happy Saturday Friends! xo,

Tobi Signature

Tobi TV: A Study In Purple

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I am SO close to launching my new collections of furniture and art at the High Point Market, and I am really getting excited! Next week I’ll give you some sneak peeks at the upholstery and Soicher Marin framed art, but I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that both collections are full of color. In fact, we are featuring that as the theme for my upholstery collection with CR Laine: Celebrate Color!

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I’m known for using color – so much so that my brand is Bright, Bold, and Tailored. So let’s look at a room this week that I saturated with a bright purple. Purple is such a great color to work with, and I love every hue from luxurious, rich purples like royal and plum to paler shades like lavender and periwinkle.

Color psychology says that purple stimulates the imagination and spirituality, which made it the ideal color for the study in my Riverside Penthouse project that was recently featured in Rue Magazine. I know that, for some, working with color can be intimidating, so here are my tips for pulling off purple:

Oh, I so love that color! Let’s recap those tips for purple:

1. Purple is great for the bold and daring decorator. It can create a dark, cozy place that is perfect for curling up with your favorite book or magazine.

2. Purple is an ideal color if you’re letting your fabrics lead the way. Pick the perfect purple textiles and go from there!

3. If you’re inspired by fashions from Europe, then purple is perfect for you! Moody hues like purple and blue create an amazing continental look.

4. Small spaces can use a rich hue like purple, too! It will create the jewel box effect and turn your space into a gem.

5. If you’re a movie buff, purple definitely brings the drama!

Talk about stimulating the imagination! These tips should have you ready to paint your world purple! Let me know in the comments below where you like to use purple.








One Month Till High Point Market!

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High Point Image

It’s only one month until The Greatest Show on Earth – well it is if you’re a designer or retailer in the home furnishings industry! It’s almost time for the High Point Market, an amazing (and HUGE) trade show where we will see all of the latest trends and designs in upholstery, tables, beds, lamps, art, rugs, pillows, and so much more! It runs April 17-23 in High Point, NC.

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I’ve loved going to the High Point Market for years, to shop for clients, to see the new design ideas and home fashions, and to network with other designers, press, retailers, and vendors. It’s like a ginormous party with 80,000 of my closest friends! If you haven’t been, and you’re a designer, get your ticket NOW – it is well worth it. You can see the full line of offerings from your existing vendors, find new and unique sources, network with peers and possible partners, and even earn CEUs for classes that are free to all attending designers! Just go to to learn more.

On top of all of that, there are amazing social events! I am hosting two myself – one at Soicher Marin on April 19 at 11am (bring on the Bloody Marys!) and one at CR Laine on April 19 at 4pm (with a few sweet surprises!). So come see me!


If you aren’t “in the biz,” you won’t be able to attend but you can follow along and get a sneak peek at all the gorgeous products coming your way. All you have to do is follow the #hpmkt hashtag on Twitter or look at the fabulous boards on Pinterest that will be created by the market’s official Style Spotters.

And in just a week or two, I’ll be giving you an inside look right here for my brand new product lines with CR Laine and Soicher Marin! I cannot wait to show you the designs I’ve created for sofas, chairs, screens, benches, and art – it will be a huge celebration of color!

Until then, I’m back to the workroom as we put the finishing touches on each piece and complete the planning for the showrooms and events! Watch the countdown clock at the very top of my website’s homepage as it counts down the days until the BIG SHOW!