Archive for October, 2015

What Is That Color? Neutral Territory

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A bedroom is the perfect place for a quiet, restful color. And there’s no better color family to work with than the deeper neutrals, like this Sherwin-Williams Temperate Taupe. It creates a serene feeling with its grey undertones, and it’s also a fabulous neutral.


Because of the hints of grey in this paint color, it mixes well with the silvery greys and charcoals that I used in the carpet and upholstery. But you know what a color lover I am, so I had to pop in something exciting like shades of orchid to give these neutral walls some punch!


This color truly is the perfect backdrop for the lovely purples in the draperies, chair, and pillows. Together, the palette offers a tranquil oasis for my clients. And the accents here are strikingly close to “radiant orchid” which was the Pantone color of 2014 that so many people didn’t think they loved. But I for one think it looks gorgeous and chic!

So what do you think of this neutral territory? What neutrals do you like to use in your home? Let me know in the comments section below!

Colorfully yours,







New House Diary: Getting Underfoot

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New House Diary

If you read my Tobi TV post – and watched the video – earlier this week, you know that the carpet-vs.-rug debate is a big one. And there are great points on both sides! So when I started to think about which one I wanted underfoot in my master bedroom, I had a hard time deciding.


I’m known for using room-sized rugs to pull a space together while also showcasing the floor beneath. But in a bedroom, the plushness and warmth that you get from carpet is a big draw, too!


Carpet helps make a bedroom cozy, which is really what you want when you’re creating a room that is your retreat from the world!


Either way, you know I love pattern, and a pattern on the floor is an added bonus, whether you get that look with a rug or with carpet. But ultimately, it came down to having the best of both worlds for me. With pets and children, the option for sending a rug out for cleaning or even replacing it without the expense and trouble of tearing out all the carpet is what helped make my final decision. So I’m going with a room-sized with hardwoods beneath. As you can see in my project below, it’s a winning combination!


Which do you prefer in your master bedroom, a rug or carpet? Let me know in the comments below, and tell me why you made the choice you did!








Perfect Partners: Black and White

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Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 3.21.35 PM

One trend that ruled the hottest fashion runways in September was the classic combo of black and white. You can’t even really call it a trend – it’s a timeless partnership between two perfect colors! You can see that in the Valentino window on Fifth Avenue – designed just for Fashion Week – that showcased the duo in bold graphic patterns, above.

Marissa Webb

Marissa Webb

Designers also played with other classic combos, like leather and lace, and hard and soft textiles, creating unique looks.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

You know I love a timeless motif, so you if you were at the High Point Market last week, you saw my use of the black-and-white pairing for my brand new collection for Woodbridge, and in my upholstered line with CR Laine. I used it in this sophisticated design I did for CR Laine – it’s my Olivia chair and it features my exclusive logo motif in black against the white upholstery.


These perfect partners work well with my design aesthetic of bright, bold, and tailored, especially when they also highlight my favorite details, like the Greek key pattern on my Denise table for Woodbridge – it’s stunning in sleek black with a detail outline in white.


So what do you think about black and white? Isn’t it great how it can be both timeless and daring at the same time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!



Tobi TV: Rugs vs. Carpet

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There is a design dilemma that I’m asked about ALL the time: Wall-to-wall carpet or rugs? I actually like both options, and there are a lot of great looks for carpet and rugs at all price points! I know there are some out there who feel strongly on both sides of the question, even in the same family, which can create a headache when you’re redesigning your home!

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 4.13.06 PM

So I thought I’d give you some ideas to consider to help you make a decision that suits your family’s lifestyle and your rooms. Let’s take a look:

Those tips really will help you figure out which one is right for you and the function of your home! Here’s a recap of what we saw:

1. Rugs help define a space for you, which is nice when you have a room that serves several purposes. And another great thing is that a rug also will let you see any gorgeous hardwood or tile floors beneath it.

2. I like to use room-sized rugs to really pull a room together. You get the best of both worlds that way!

3. For those of you with kids or pets (or both!), another great thing about rugs is that they can be easily picked up to be cleaned or to change them out when you tire of them.

4. On the other hand, carpets are often softer and more plush underfoot than a rug is. They are also warmer and add a different level of luxuriousness.

5. And carpet also really pulls a room together and creates a cohesive look, which can be important in an open-plan space.

I hope this has helped you with any carpet-vs.-rug dilemmas you may be having in your home! Let me know which one you prefer in the comments section below!








Thinking Like a CEO

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Whether you’re just starting out or have been in this business for years, we all know how stressful owning a design business can be. Not only are we the senior designers, but also we are the CEOs of the company. We have to handle the financials, the employees, our brands, our home life, and try to fit some designing in there somewhere.

Too many designers forget that this IS a business, not a hobby. You have to commit to that idea – even if you may have started your business as a side job to begin with. You are the CEO of a company – say that to yourself over and over. Take it very seriously, or you will not be successful.


It’s tough to be an entrepreneur and a small-business owner. Most of us get into this business by focusing on the parts we love – maybe for you it was a love of color, or the idea that you are transforming people’s homes with gorgeous interiors.

The part we don’t focus on, in most cases, is the enormous amount of hard work, of tough financial times, and of serious business management that it takes to be a CEO. So how can you act like a CEO? Here are a few things you must do:

  • You HAVE to have a business plan. Do you have one?
  • You HAVE to pay yourself – what business leader or CEO do you know that works basically for free?
  • You have to be CLEAR on the goals you’ve set for your company and how you will achieve them.
  • And you MUST set the financial benchmarks that your company has to hit to be profitable.

I can hear you saying: “Wait a minute, I just want to be creative and showcase my talents for the world. I don’t like all of the talk about working on financials or focusing on marketing. Where’s the fun in that?!” You’ll get to have fun in your business – but only if you aren’t constantly stressing about money or where your next client is coming from. And that takes hard work. It takes being a CEO!


The reality is that in ANY business, creative or otherwise, a good 80% of your time will be spent on things that are not necessarily at the heart of the reason you started your company in the first place. Instead, you’ll be managing your business, working to attract new clients and customers, researching new revenue streams, and taking a hard look at your financials. If that doesn’t sound like something you can do, then you might want to think about working for another person or at a larger company.

Because this is the REALITY of owning a business. It is not a hobby or something that you can do halfheartedly. And yes, you can hire people to do some of that work, but that never excuses you from knowing every detail of your company at any given moment. YOU are the CEO.


I’m giving you this reality check because we need to take ourselves, and our business goals seriously. Think of yourself and your company as a start-up that is every bit as important as a Fortune 500 business. The CEO’s vision and commitment are critical to the path that gets a company onto that list – and YOUR vision and commitment are critical to the success of your own company.

That is how you LEAD a company. That is how you act like a CEO.

If you’re a designer, tell me what you think about these ideas in the comments section below! How do YOU take charge and lead your company?







PS – If you want help getting into that CEO mindset, getting your financials in shape, or setting up systems for your company, I can help! I have a live-session event Nov. 10-11 in Dallas called Designer MBA that helps guide you through the process of transforming your company for success! Or if you prefer moving at your own pace and on your own schedule, try Tobi U! I want to help you get your company in shape for a successful 2016!