Archive for July, 2016

Before and After: A Blend of Old and New

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Sometimes life throws you a curveball when you least expect it. And that’s exactly what happened to one of my projects right in the middle of our design process. My clients had inherited a lovely house from the husband’s grandmother, full of antiques and memories. There were a lot of things that he wanted to keep for sentimental reasons, but he and his family also wanted the house to feel modern and updated for their children — someplace they could live in for a long time.

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The original dining room, above, was one of those rooms that had some stunning pieces. A few of them just needed to be refinished or recovered, but they were beautiful. And here comes the curveball – a few weeks after we had removed the antiques that he and his family wanted to keep, the house caught fire due to some old electrical work in the sunroom.

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The good news is that we had removed so many precious things. But the bad news is that the gorgeous millwork and wallcoverings in the dining room above were completely destroyed.

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As you can see, what the fire didn’t damage, smoke and water definitely ruined. It was sad, but we were thrilled that we’d saved so many wonderful pieces that meant so much to my client’s family.

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I wanted to not only blend the old and new in a seamless way, but I also wanted to give them a bright and happy color palette for the room, making it a place of celebration and family once again. So I used a gorgeous Schumacher trellis wallpaper and painted the ceiling in Enchant from Sherwin-Williams.

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The result is a room that glows, and a great gathering place for friends and family! So what do you think about this transformation? And how do you blend your family heirlooms into your modern lifestyle? Let me know in the comments section below!







Summer Color Palettes

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When I ask new clients for their favorite colors, or for specific inspirations for their decor, one theme constantly comes up: sandy beaches and blue waters. It makes perfect sense! Where else do you feel that calm, that warm, that peaceful? It’s no wonder that the colors of summer can put us in a happy place, even on a dark and icy winter’s day. So here are some of my favorite palettes to make it summer in your home, all year round!


For the family room above, I went right to water colors, literally! From the Sherwin-Williams Tidewater paint color, to that creamy white, to a deep navy, these soothing blues will have you mentally checking into that beach cabana in no time.


Sandy beaches and sea glass were the inspiration for this living room’s palette, so I used a great sand color on the walls with Sherwin-Williams Kilim Beige. The gorgeous glass-based lamps, water-inspired art, and sea glass accessories bring the beach inside in a sophisticated way.


Summery yellow creates a special magic in darker rooms, like this Sherwin-Williams Alchemy color! Pair it with a creamy beige and a charcoal grey for a chic and warm palette.


And finally, there’s nothing that I love more than pairing summer whites with a deep citrus and a blue inspired by the sky! This palette is both calming and energizing, just like a seaside getaway.

So what do you think of my summertime palettes? Are there any colors that you love to use in your home to create an oasis? Let me know in the comments section below!

Colorfully yours,






Tobi TV: 4 Tips for Updating a Tired Kitchen

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As you know, I love to cook and bake, especially with my daughter. Having a functional and fun kitchen is key – especially because that room really is the heart of a home. So what can you do to update a kitchen that is dated and not longer functioning for you?


In this segment I show you how I worked added style to an older kitchen and spiced it up with paint, lucite and COLOR! Take a look:

That was a big transformation, right? Let’s review those tips again:

  1. Update your dated or tired kitchen with the latest paint. I chose gray for this kitchen. It matched the existing granite and gray is still a big color trend in design.
  2. Add some “WOW” to your space. I used lucite in the barstools, towel bars, and cabinet hardware. It’s one of my favorite materials and it makes this kitchen fun and glamorous, yet still functional. I even designed the custom corbels to support the existing countertop and the refrigerator handles.
  3. Update your backsplash. There are so many gorgeous tiles and stones that are perfect for updating your kitchen backsplash. In this room I used Carrara marble tiles and laid them in a herringbone or chevron pattern for a bit more fun. The backsplash is a perfect place to use marble if you are afraid of having it on your countertops because of possible spills and stains. This way you can embrace this timeless and trendy material in your home.
  4. And finally punch things up with COLOR! You know how I love color and in this kitchen all layered in gray, I wanted to make a splash with an accent color. I chose a bright sunny yellow and I think it does the trick.

So what do you think? Do you like the outcome of this remodeled kitchen? To see the before and after photos, visit this recent blog post. It’s pretty dramatic. And be sure to leave me a comment here to let me know why you love this space. Feel free to share this post with your design-loving friends, especially if they are dreaming of a kitchen renovation.







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

Not Everything Is an Emergency

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Have you ever had a client call you after hours in a panic to tell you something had gone horribly wrong with their project, only to find out that it was something minor or that could have waited till the next day? Of course you have; it happens all the time in business. But how did you respond?

Did you immediately answer? Did you promise to come up with a solution right then and there? Or, worse, did you then start calling others to get them involved in the drama? Because that’s the key – how you respond to those “emergencies” can make or break you and your business.

Yes, customer service is the keystone of any successful company – I talk about that all the time. But there’s customer service and then there’s enabling, and you have to understand the difference and know how to handle those non-emergency panic attacks.

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Business is just a series of calm and crazy, especially when you’re dealing with so many players. And sometimes you’re working with people who just seem to thrive on drama. We can find ourselves getting absolutely nothing done because we’re putting out wildfires that didn’t really need our immediate attention. And there are two particular reasons for why immediately responding to a non-emergency is not a good idea.

First, you get caught up in the crazy – especially if you’re responding to all of those “emergencies” after hours. And sometimes, if you get caught up in the crazy, you can help spin it even further without meaning to. It can escalate in the heat of the moment. So it’s good to have some space, and allow things to calm down to a more rational point before you deal with it.

One thing you can try is to let calls from your clients go to voicemail after 5pm or 6pm. If it’s truly something important, you can call them back immediately. But if it isn’t, you can call them back the next day, during working hours. It sends the subtle message that you have a life, too, and that there are boundaries that need to be observed.


The second reason for avoiding those panicked non-emergencies is that they will take your eye off the ball. You can end up spending most of your time doing someone else’s bidding, not the important (planned) things on your to-do list, or the projects that are on deadline, or even REAL emergencies. In other words, sometimes we let other people’s agendas, poor time management, poor planning, and procrastination, take priority and control over our workday goals. And that’s not good.

Yes, plans rarely go exactly as planned, especially on interior design projects. But save your energy, your time, and your stress for real emergencies. For your own health, don’t let those faux panics wind you up, too. And be sure that the actual priorities on your to-do list get the attention they deserve. Sometimes, the squeaky wheel shouldn’t get the grease.







A Peek Behind the Door

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen a couple of sneak peeks behind the door of my new house! I want to show you everything, but I have something cooking that will offer a grander reveal in a few months. It’s hard to keep all of it under wraps, though, because I love living in the new house – with gorgeous details like these stunning doors in my signature kelly green!

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And of course I’m using blue – another of my favorite colors. I love how it’s mixed with the green hues in this stunning wallpaper from Fromental.

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The wet bar, with an amazing counter from Cosentino and sink from Kohler, turned out even better than I thought it would! We’ve been mixing up some fun summer cocktails in here.

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And I may have surprised a few of you with the lovely combination of yellows and pinks in this room, with a Jan Showers lamp and Clark and Clark wallpaper. Can’t wait to give you the full reveal on this room. In fact, I can’t wait to give you a full tour of the whole home!

Meanwhile, keep checking my Instagram feed for a few more looks behind the door – I can’t help myself!