Archive for May, 2016

Tobi TV: Why I Love Banquettes

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I know I talk about function all the time, but I really do believe that if your home doesn’t work for you, then no amount of design is going to help it! So this week I want to talk about one of my favorite functional pieces for the home – banquettes.


Banquettes are such a great seating option, whether it’s in a kitchen, a breakfast area, or the dining room. they add a lot of flexibility and style. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites and why they work:

See what I mean? You get a lot of work out of one small seat when you use a banquette! Let’s review:

1. Take advantage of a nook or curved window in your kitchen or breakfast room to recess your seating or connect it to the end of your bar or island. It will help you maximize your floor space.

2. Use leather, vinyl, or vinyl-coated linens or cottons to cover your banquette so it can be easily wiped clean after meals and spills.

3. Use the space below the banquette as additional storage for linens, serving platters – anything that needs a home in your kitchen. It’s especially handy for things you only need to access occasionally.

So what do you think – do you see a banquette in your future? I love them and if you include one in your home, I think you will, too! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about dining on a beautiful banquette.

Happy dining!







For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!

Before and After: Bonus Room to Beautiful Bedroom

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A few weeks ago, I talked about transforming a basement, and how all that extra space can be turned into a gorgeous and functional space. Many of you also may have that extra space in an upper floor, like in a “bonus room” or a big room over the garage. Sometimes those can just be a catch-all for extra furniture, and storage for things we aren’t using at the moment. And that’s exactly what happened for a client of mine.

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They had a big space on an upper floor that was kind of a kids’ playroom, and kind of a storage area. And like a lot of my design clients, they had a turning point in their lives that was pushing them towards using this space for something else! Their daughter was getting older and was ready for her own “big girl” room – and I wanted to give her one that was fun and worked for her!

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Like I do with all of my clients’ children, I sat down with her and talked about what her favorite activities were, what colors she really liked, and what she wanted to have that was special in her room. That way, we could take this room that was full of odd angles and blank walls and really give her something amazing!

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She loves purple and pink – so I made sure I gave her plenty of both, along with playful florals that weren’t too “little girl.” I wanted this room to grow with her and I included a few more sophisticated things, like the stools at the end of the bed. And of course all that white fabric is treated so she didn’t have to worry about spills and stains.

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And for this fun nook on the other side of the room, I wanted to give her a little sitting area where she could sit and read, hang out with friends, or just play!

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There’s also a homework station, and lots of storage for all of her toys, books, and clothing! It’s organized and fun at the same time.

So what do you think of this transformation from bonus space to bright bedroom? Let me know in the comments section below!







New House Diary: Wonderful Wallpaper

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New House Diary

It’s getting more fun by the day around here. I can’t wait to show you all the progress. Things are happening everywhere including in my yoga room, which I’m dying to use any day now.

Yes, yoga would be perfect right about now. I definitely need a little zen since I’m so busy with other people’s projects that I don’t have time to work on my own. Isn’t that the story of a designer’s life? But it is fun to come home each night to surprises that happen while I am away at the office. And thankfully this week they are GORGEOUS surprises.

My recent days have been full of wallpaper progress. If you know me at all, you know I am crazy about it. Just last week in my Tobi TV episode, you got a dose of why I love wallpaper so much. And trust me, there is a LOT of paper going in my house. Definitely more than the average home, for sure.

To keep you from waiting for ALL the pretty stuff when I can officially do the big reveal, here is a peek at 3 of the fabulous papers that have made their debut on our walls this week:


I never regret a Fret!


Oh Fromental, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!


And a bit of Thibaut to make my daughters room sassy. I love how it looks with her frameless glass bathroom door – totally Turquoise.

Fun, right? Let me know what you think of all these pretty papers. And stay tuned because there will be much more in the way of wallpaper, upholstered walls, fabulous stair runners, gorgeous drapery and more happening at my house all summer long!



Giving Teens the Room of Their Dreams

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If you have a teenager in your house, you know how different their idea of a “cool space” can be from yours! It can be a fun challenge to give teens what they want in their rooms, but I have a few can’t-fail tips that I use for my clients’ teenagers to design spaces that they love. Let’s take a look:

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1. Let them express themselves! If they want a super-bright color on their walls that you might not choose, don’t fight it. Paint is inexpensive and it’s a small price to pay to give your teen a bit of that independence that they crave. They really want to make some of their own decisions, so let them go bright and bold!

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2. Gather up. If you have the space in your home, give them a gathering place for their friends! Kids this age love to have their own hang-out spots, so give them a fun zone that’s all their own.

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3. Try something different. A teen’s space can also be a fun place to experiment with design, so push your boundaries a bit. I put a cool denim finish on the paint in the game room above, and then outlined the ceiling in red and blue stripes. It gave the room a great vibe for the teens in the house!

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4. Make it multipurpose. Give them zones in their rooms that allow them to have a lot of activities in that one space. For example, be sure to add a homework station, a seating area, a music area – whatever fits their interests and the amount of space in the room. And use multipurpose storage too, like the ottomans I used above that can be converted to tables with storage inside.

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5. Go for function. Teens have a lot of stuff – especially a lot of electronic stuff – so be sure you have lots of plugs, USB ports, storage, and lighting. Maybe with all that storage the room can stay fairly clean most of the time. Fingers crossed!

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6. Add some fun! A hanging chair or some whimsical details can really take a teen room over the top – and give them some fun along with the function.

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7. Me time. But the best thing you can do for teens in their spaces is give them a bit of an escape from the world – a place where they can get away and feel comfortable. After all, isn’t that what we all want in our homes?

So what do you think about the teen rooms I created above? Tell me in the comments section below. And let me know what tips you have for creating a special space in your home for teenagers!







Want help creating the room of YOUR dreams? Try my online design service Inbox Interiors – together we’ll create the perfect design for you!


Tobi TV: Top 5 Tips for Picking Paint

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There are a lot of questions that people ask me about design, but right up there near the top is how they should selecting the paint colors for their homes. And I get it – you stand at the paint store with those walls of swatches staring at you and it seems almost impossible to narrow it all down!


With so many paint options, how in the world do you know which one is right for you? Well today I’m bringing you my Top 5 Tips for getting your paint color exactly right. Take a look:

See how much easier it is with those tips? Let’s review those one more time:

1. Pick your paint last. With so many paint colors to choose from, select your fabrics and other details first and then pick a paint that complements them perfectly.

2. Know the emotional goal or “mood” of the space. If you want an energizing result, try a warm shade like gold. And for a relaxing space, try something cool like a pale blue or green.

3. Softer is usually better. Typically going towards the lighter end of the color spectrum makes for the most sophisticated outcome. So for a successful result, think of a paler version of your favorite color.

4. Unless you want a WOW factor! In that case, I say “Go BOLD or Go Home!” For a really exciting look, pick a shade that is especially bold like a bright coral, deep navy, or rich chocolate. It will say “WOW” for sure!

5. And if you do nothing else – HAVE FUN! Use paint to create fun patterns like stripes or stenciled geometric patterns. And don’t forget about using paint to give old pieces of furniture a new look.

So what do you think about today’s video? Leave me a comment and let me know. And if you like this video or any of the Tobi TV segments, please share them with your design-loving friends.

Happy Tuesday!







For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!