Archive for June, 2017

Before and After: Outdoor Oasis

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I’ve had an amazing response to my new pool and patio that’s featured in the June issue of Traditional Home! And since we’re starting a fabulous long holiday weekend today, I thought I’d show you the before shots of my home’s outdoor area and tell you a little about how I transformed it!

The existing pool and patio had an aggregate concrete surface and crumbling tile surround. It was way beyond time for a renovation, and I couldn’t wait to get rid of this old and battered concrete.

With the help of outdoor living expert David Munsey III of Better Lawns & Gardens, we resurfaced the patio with black-and-white Techo-Bloc Tux Pavers and the pool with black-and-white frost-proof tile from Daltile. The look speaks to my personal style and to the age of the house, which was built in 1968.

Here’s a shot I took of from the sunroom just as they were about to pull up all that concrete. I was so happy to see that old surface go!

As you can see in the before photo above, the sunroom of my house overlooks the outdoor area, so visual flow between indoors and out was especially important. I wanted to take colors and motifs from my interiors to the patio to make the decor look seamless and integrated.

For the outdoor decor, I wanted to have that 1960s glam vibe, like Palm Beach or the Beverly Hills Hotel. To enhance the cabana feel, I added a valance and draperies to the roof overhang.

And you know me, I have to have color! So I added energetic splashes of pink and green, as well as preppy stripes for extra kick. I furnished the patio with pieces from a line of Chinese Chippendale furniture that I designed for Woodbridge Furniture. And the Duralee fabric on the cushions feels like comfy terry cloth, which is great for a pool area!

To make gatherings even more memorable, there’s an outdoor music system, a pink flamingo float (named Frankie, after Frank Sinatra), and a giant chess set. I found chess pieces online that fit perfectly on the checkerboard tile. How fun is that? And I think Brooks Pools did an amazing job on our pool renovation.

Here’s the fabulous landscape designer David Munsey III enjoying my new patio with me – we may never go indoors!

So what do you think about this new outdoor space? Don’t you love being outside in the summer months? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Tobi TV: 5 Ideas to Take Your Rooms from Day to Night

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I love selecting the perfect outfit for events and when I travel, and a look that will take me from daytime meetings to evening parties is a real winner. Planning that perfect room that will take you from day-to-day living into evening entertaining is equally important! It’s smart to think about the function of a room, and the furniture, as you plan your home design.

The living room in my Riverside Penthouse project, featured in Rue Magazine, is another great example of day-to-night design. It’s perfect for the family during the day, but makes a great statement for evening entertaining. Let’s take a look!

Don’t you just love that space? So fun and functional! Let’s recap those tips for a day-to-night room:

  1. Choose a durable sofa that can withstand the kids during the day and adults (with wine!) at night. The velvet sofa in my client’s home withstood 50,000 double-rubs on the durability test, so I know it will work.
  2. Try a great cocktail table that can hold flowers and incidentals in the daytime but will turn into a bar for evening entertaining.
  3. Choose art for your day-to-night space that will look bright and cheerful during the day, but will lean into moody hues when the sun sets.
  4. A soft and durable rug that the kids can play on in the daytime, and is easy to clean after the party at night, is perfect for a transitional space.
  5. Golden lamps will softly glow during the day and will bring the glam at night!

See? It’s just as easy to plan a room design that moves from daytime to night as it is to plan your day-to-evening outfits! Let me know how you use transition and function in your home by leaving me a comment below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Say No, and 5 Ways to Do It

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I have talked a lot about how important it is to say no to the “good” in order to make room for the “best.” But I wanted to dive a little deeper into that concept so that you really understand how important this is. Because I want you to start saying NO, and often!

Too often in my consulting business, I talk with creatives who let their clients cross professional boundaries. They give in on their fees, they give in when pushed about their hours, they take clients that their gut says won’t be ideal, and they take on too many commitments and responsibilities. In each of those cases, they should have said no.

There’s often a fear factor at work, a fear that the client won’t work with us if we don’t say yes to right now, a fear that we won’t get any other clients than the one in front of us, and a fear of missing a great opportunity. And we even tell ourselves that we’ll just give in this once, that we won’t do it again later. But once you let that guard down, it becomes far too easy to let it down again and again. It becomes a habit.

You know there are so many other times in your life when you should say no, too. Like when someone asks you to take on something big “just as a favor.” Or when you get an invitation to the 15th event this month and you’re already stretched to the max.

Yes, I know how hard it is to say no. Especially when a friend is asking the question. So here are a few ways to start practicing how to say NO so you feel more comfortable saying it during those critical times. First, ask for time. If you feel yourself cracking, say something like “I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.” That gives you time to build up your confidence and to remind yourself of why you need to say no.

Second, make a mental post-it note that you can refer to over and over. It could say “You are the CEO of your life and you cannot give in.” Or it could say, “Is this the right decision for my business? For my family?” Whenever you feel cornered, picture that post-it in your mind. You can even make one for your desk so you can look at it when you’re on the phone or answering an email request.

Third, don’t make it personal. You’re saying no to the request, not to the person. It isn’t rude or “mean” to say no to something. You aren’t obligated to fulfill every request someone makes of you. You’re a busy professional with a jam-packed life, others should understand that sometimes you won’t be able to say yes.

Fourth, remember that there is strength in standing firm. People often test your limits to see how far they can get. And many times they don’t actually respect someone they see as a pushover. You can even say something like: “I know we’re both strong-willed people, and I wish I could give on this, but I really can’t.”

Finally, practice saying no. You can use a friend or family member as a sounding board, as someone to practice with before you meet with that pushy client or family member. Just like giving in can become a habit, so can saying no.

Let me know when you’ve faced a decision where you stood firm and said no, or where you wished you had, in the comments section below. Remember that you’re saying no to the so-so to give you the time and energy to say YES to the fabulous clients and opportunities that are out there waiting for you!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Dreamy Living Room

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I used bright and bold colors in so many rooms of my fun farmhouse project that I knew I wanted the more formal living room to be a little soft and dreamy. So I toned down the palette with gray, lavender, and of course the aqua that is used throughout the house. The velvets and patterns still pay homage to the farm theme, but it’s a bit more sophisticated with those amazing French doors and the coffered ceiling. And don’t you just love that chandelier made from vintage milk bottles? That’s a nostalgic touch for this family that I knew they would appreciate.

Since this was a new construction project, we were able to add those architectural elements right from the beginning, and they really make that more formal statement in the room.

Here’s another up-close view of that fab ceiling!

The art helped set the tone for the room, with a more subtle and quiet look than some of the other rooms in the home. I used traditional furnishings, too, with updated forms like the sleek cocktail table to keep it from being too formal.

But the surprise in this room is where I hid the television. You can see the inset panel in the wall above where the TV was going to be housed.

In the “after” photo above, the television is hidden behind panels of art that are hinged to swing open! That keeps the TV out of sight until the family is ready to watch it. And aren’t those chairs fun? I love a good wing chair and I spruced these up with new fabric and a kicky lavender color.

What do you think about this serene living room? And what about that hidden TV? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

Tobi TV: 5 Tips for Faux Bois

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I usually have a firm policy of “Just Say No to Faux” – there is nothing like the real thing in most cases. But just like with any design rule, there’s always an exception.

For example, I love a good faux bois! What is faux bois? It’s French for “fake wood” which is exactly what it is, a fake wood or woodgrain. In fact, I love this design motif so much that I used it in one of my fabric designs for my Duralee collection!

The faux bois I used in the Jack and Jill bathroom for my Riverside Penthouse project is actually hand painted on the walls, giving this room a gorgeous textured look. Here are a few tips that tell you why I think faux bois is a real design winner:

Isn’t that a fun room? Let’s recap the fabulous faux bois ideas:

  1.  Faux bois brings in an element of nature, which makes everyone and everything feel fresh and alive.
  2. Faux bois gives the impression of texture that can really amp up a space.
  3. The woodgrain look is also gender neutral, and here I used it in neutral tones. So it works well with any color, and in any room.
  4. Try getting a local artist to hand paint your faux bois to keep your space budget-friendly.
  5. You don’t have to worry about the trendiness of faux bois, it’s a classic finish that is always in style!

So what do YOU think about this wood-like look? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,