Author Archive

The Rise of the “Snore Room”

Posted by

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.31.43 AM

Couples who have been together for a certain amount of time will recognize this issue: One of them snores and the other can’t sleep. It is such a common problem that doctors say that 70% or more of couples spend at least one night a month sleeping in separate rooms. That’s probably been an issue since sleep was invented, but what’s new about this is that the banished half of the couple is getting tired of having to sleep in a guest room or on the sofa.

Today, architects and designers are being asked to create second masters – not for guests, but so each half of the couple has an equally lovely and personal room to sleep in. In fact, says requests for some form of a second “master sleeping room” in its house plans has gone up over 35%. Wow! It’s becoming much more acceptable as people realize the importance of sleep for health, and that sleeping alone doesn’t mean intimacy has to suffer.

Snoratorium 3

So what do these new home designs look like? They could be a sitting area off the master (above) that can also be used for reading and relaxing, or can include a daybed or another full bed. My friend Alex Papachristidis says he’s been asked for these rooms so often that he’s come up with his own term for them: The Snoratorium. I love that!

Snoratorium 2

Another design that I’m seeing a lot in architectural plans is a master suite that includes two bedrooms and a shared bathroom. This allows the couple to have a private space just for the two of them, and still be able to separate the snorer from the snoree when it’s time for sleep. The one above is great because it also has a sitting area where the couple can enjoy a quiet time together with wine or coffee.

Snoratorium 1

And then there’s the dual master suite, like in the home above. You can find thousands of house plans online with this set up, and a lot of people request it for guests and visiting family, or even for in-law spaces. But I suspect quite a few of these homes are also being used as “snore rooms,” don’t you?

So what do you think of the “snore room” trend? Do you have an issue with sleeping because of a snorer in your house? Let me know in the comments section below!







Tobi TV: 4 Ways to Update Traditional Design

Posted by


Each time I attend the design trade shows, where we get a sneak peek at all the new trends and products, something becomes clearer and clearer. Traditional design is coming on stronger each season! But it is a more current and fresh traditional look, with new colors and tweaked patterns.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.10.21 AM

In this week’s episode of Tobi TV, I’ll show you how you can introduce this new traditional style in your home, with everything from updated damasks to brighter colorways to new scales!

Now you can see how you get that classic look, but with a fresher spin! Let’s recap those ideas:

  1. Overscaled patterns. Nothing is more traditional than a damask pattern in a classic color like navy. But if you overscale that pattern, it gives the design a whole new life.
  2. Tradition with a twist. If you take a traditional look like a claw-foot chair, add a twist like lemon yellow leather to give you a fresh take on a classic design.
  3. Add a “wow” factor. If you live in an historic home, or a home that features traditional architecture and design, avoid a stuffy formal look by adding a “wow” factor like bold wallpaper or an unexpected color.
  4. Keep it classic. Floral patterns and traditional designs are timeless looks. But consider lighter colors and simpler patterns to give them a current update.

As you can see, if you love traditional style then you are in luck – it’s always IN style! Share this video and the tips with your friends and family who love traditional decor. And let me know how you are decorating with classic looks and patterns.

I’ll see you next time on Tobi TV!







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

Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert – Why It Matters

Posted by


I have a confession to make – I am not what I seem. Oh I’m definitely an open book for my business and life, but I just discovered something that should have been clear to me all along. I’m not actually an extrovert, I’m really an ambivert! There’s been so much in the news lately about who is an introvert and who is not, that experts are finally recognizing that there are people – like me – who may have some tendencies on both ends of the spectrum.

For example, I do get really energized by being around people, which is a classic sign of an extrovert. But after being at one of my events for a week, or at a market, or at social events for several days running, I need to be alone to recharge my batteries! Preferably in my jammies with a stack of books by my side. And that’s an introvert through-and-through. So when I read the definition of an ambivert, I felt like shouting out: “That’s me!”


There’s a serious side to all of this talk of introverts and extroverts, though. Knowing where and how you get your energy, what you need to help you recharge, and how to communicate effectively with others is critical to your life – and your business. Early in my career, I let the extrovert side of me dominate in business. I would often get so excited about presenting my ideas to clients, for example, that I might not actually have listened to them as closely as I should have. Especially if I was dealing with an introverted client. I’ve learned to tamp down that extrovert enthusiasm and be a great listener for my clients.


And an introverted designer – which is not the same as a shy person, by the way – needs to remember that silence is not always a good thing, either. They could be perceived by someone else as agreeing to something that they actually don’t even want just because they hold their thoughts to themselves. Sometimes introverts also forget to ask for feedback, which can also be a problem when working with clients.

Learning how to be a better communicator is so important for each of us, and it is critical in business where one wrong word can cause a potential deal to crumble. And we need to recognize what type of communication our clients need so we make them feel heard, too.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.21.05 AM

For example, if a client is quiet during or after a presentation, it may not mean that she hates it or that she thinks it’s all fab. It could be that she just needs time to process it on her own or to get feedback from others. And that’s ok! On the flip side, an extroverted client may throw ideas out there, but doesn’t necessarily want you to take action on all of them. She may just be working through her thoughts verbally, which I should know extroverts love to do!

Misunderstandings can lead us into all sorts of issues – so knowing what your style is, and knowing how to adjust, can help you be a master at talking (and listening) to others. Do you know if you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert like me? Let me know in the comments section below!







Instagram Inspiration: Style Spotted

Posted by

Lam Bespoke - Elle

I absolutely love designing furniture! I’ve always created custom looks for my clients, but having the chance to develop new pieces for great partners like CR Laine and Woodbridge, is like being a kid in a candy store! But the best part is when I see what other people do with my designs – what colors they use and what fabrics they choose. Like the great spotted leopard look on my Elle chair from CR Laine, above, that’s on the retail floor of Lam Bespoke in Houston!

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.53.37 PM

I was also so honored to see that designer Ashley Gilbreath used my Marguerite armless sofa from CR Laine for her room in the Southern Living 50th Anniversary Idea House. I salute that navy color, Ashley!

Once a Tree Furniture - Taylor

Check out the sophisticated modern vignette that Once a Tree in Canada created with my Taylor sectional from CR Laine, above! I’m ready to sit down and enjoy a cocktail in this chic setting!

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.56.08 PM

And I absolutely LOVE the fabric that Dana Merrill chose for my Alexander chair from CR Laine – it looks amazing in her client’s dining area!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and my partners by using our designs in your stores and projects! It really is a dream come true.







6 Ways to Create a Cool and Calm Oasis

Posted by

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.03.40 PM

There’s no two ways around it – it’s hot! They call these the “dog days of summer” for a reason – because once you step outside you’ll find yourself panting and flopping under the nearest shade! If you’re like me, you’re looking for a cool and calm place to hide from the sun. You can have that in your own home, by following these six simple decorating steps:

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.04.24 PM

1. Paint with water colors. Use paint colors that cool a room, ones that make you think of refreshing lakes and gorgeous beaches! I love colors like Sherwin-Williams Tidewater, Rainwashed, and Krypton.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.38.35 PM

2. Lighten up! Use lighter linens in the bed and bath, preferably in white. They provide a crisp and cool look to any room.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.15.35 PM

3. Add flower power. Floral fabrics give a hint of fresh air and breezes, so use them in light and soothing colorways. And don’t forget to bring some of those garden goodies inside with real bouquets, too!

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.19.29 PM

4. Add a coat – of paint! Paint dark brick or woodwork to lighten a room. It will make the mood airy and relaxing.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.34.57 PM

5. Bring the breeze. Designers usually aren’t part of the ceiling fan club, but they do cool a room quickly. So go for a stylish design like this luxe lucite look to create those soft breezes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.39.45 PM

6. Set the mood. Use accessories that will remind you of cool tropical escapes, like sophisticated prints from sea and shore.

Try these quick tips to turn your home into a cool and calm respite from the hot summer days! And let me know how you like to beat the heat in the comments section below!