New House Diary: Dining Room Inspiration

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New House Diary
It’s Thursday so that means it’s time for New House Diary. We have covered the details of the living room from top to bottom and I am thrilled with where it’s heading. Let’s move on to one of my other favorite rooms in the house…the dining room.


If you recall, I am moving the dining room to what the previous owner had as a large office/study. It will seat more people and be more functional. But more on that in another post soon. Today let’s look at a few of my favorite dining rooms for inspiration.

inverness dining

First of all, I am planning on re-using my existing dining chairs from my last dining room. I just love them! And although I hate to get rid of the crewel, I am ready for a new look. So these will be recovered for the new space. I often use the same classic shapes, forms, patterns, and colors in my work but the combination, application, and architecture make these go-to items look completely different.

I don’t plan to abandon my favorite signature details in my own home so lets look at how I have used similar things in a variety of inspiring dining rooms with remarkably different results. A few of these favorite ideas will likely show up in my own home.

Penthouse dining

This dining room I did for a client’s penthouse is going viral on Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram at this very moment and it’s featured in the current Winter 2015 Rue Magazine color issue. The thing I love about it as inspiration for my new dining room is the wallpaper. I am interested in using a bold floral in my own home, but for all 4 walls instead of just one as I did here. I also love the pop of yellow in this chic space. And I am thinking about pairing yellow with PINK!

crestwood dining

Here’s another big floral dining room that I designed and there’s that yellow popping up again. This time it’s a little more golden. And mixed with chocolate brown, rich turquoise, and more traditional furnishings, it’s a far cry from the space above. Isn’t it interesting that I can use the same colors and some signature details like large floral prints over and over, but depending on the colors and the patterns they look nothing alike?

southern traditional dining

And here is another bold wallpaper in one of my dining room designs. This time it’s geometric. Recognize those chairs?  They are the same chairs that I have in my own home but looking TOTALLY different in the polka dot. I don’t use the same furniture pieces too often for clients, but when they are the perfect piece, then why not?!?! And these chartreuse drapes have a lot in common with the yellow ones above but certainly more of an acidic tone. Here’s a lavender ceiling that is akin to the pinky-lavender one in the penthouse above. But both are SO different.  One simple and traditional, the other glamorous and dramatic.

So don’t be surprised to see some yellow and pink in my new dining room. What I pair it with may surprise you, though! And a large floral wallpaper is a definite yes! Now to decide which one. I have a few in mind so stay tuned…




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Big News and Which Would You Choose?

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Did you hear the exciting news? We announced yesterday that I have partnered with my favorite art company, Soicher Marin, to create a line of decorative framed art for the home. I am thrilled to be launching a 70-piece collection THIS April at High Point Market!

My collection with Soicher Marin will be shown in their showroom and featured in the CR Laine showroom with my brand new upholstery line for Spring. Things are definitely getting exciting around here, aren’t they?

So for today’s Which Would You Choose? I want to ask you this:

Do you prefer traditional-themed framed botanical artwork like this Soicher Marin grouping in my last dining room?

soicher marin art

Or something contemporary like this pink and green abstract Soicher Marin piece that I used in my New York showhouse space?

soicher abstract pink

Leave me a comment and let me know which you love and why. And the good news is that I am designing both traditional and more modern pieces for my Soicher Marin collection, so hopefully all of you will find something that you love!

Happy Hump Day!









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Tobi TV: Kitchens That Cook

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Kitchens are at the heart of every home. No matter the party or occasion, friends and family always seem to gather in the kitchen. So it’s critical to have a kitchen that functions correctly, that’s beautiful, and that is welcoming! But if you love to cook, like I do, it’s even MORE important to get this hard-working room of your house planned perfectly!

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Being in the kitchen is natural for me and it’s so much fun to design these fabulous and functional spaces for my clients since the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I won’t be cooking tonight because it’s my birthday (!) so my family is treating me with a night out.  But we can still celebrate some of my favorite kitchens I’ve designed. Take a look:

Those are really sizzling, aren’t they? Here are some tips for creating a kitchen that really cooks:

1. Be sure your kitchen has plenty of space for storage to hide the clutter that always accumulates here.

2. Beautiful built-in cabinets keep kitchens organized and leave all the counter space for cooking and food prep.

3. A kitchen that opens to the breakfast or dining area makes it easy for the cook to stay in the loop while preparing meals. No cook likes to feel left out of the fun and conversation.

4. A smart banquette and fabulous barstools create all the sitting space you’ll need in the kitchen to enjoy meals and conversation!

How does your kitchen bring the heat? I hope these tips really get your ideas flowing to create a kitchen where everyone will want to gather, and a space that really cooks! Please let me know in the comments below how your kitchen functions for you!

If you would like to see some of my favorite recipes, click through here for my top picks on Pinterest! And you can see the finished results of my cooking here on Instagram!

Bon Appetit!









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Motivational Monday: Change as a Way of Life

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Birthday cupcakesTomorrow is my 43rd birthday. I love birthdays! Getting older doesn’t bother me – I think it’s a privilege. I actually like myself and my life more each year. But time does fly, doesn’t it? Seems like yesterday that I was saying I was turning 40. And the day before that I was having my daughter, who will be 10 this summer.

Things change. In fact, they change every day. Or more like every second. Just yesterday at church I was reminded that every 7-10 years, our bodies and our cells completely regenerate themselves. Isn’t that interesting? Every 7 years we are a completely “new” person.

shadows with elle

Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite teachers, authors, and deep-thinkers puts it this way:

“This strange phenomenon of you being an I that continuously enters, discards, and reenters a new body has proceeded right up until this very moment.

I am currently in a 70-year-old body that’s nothing like the body I occupied 50 years ago. I remember well what that 20-year-old body I occupied looked like, what it could do, and what it knew and didn’t know, but I can’t find it anywhere – it’s simply an illusion. It is gone from this physical world, as is every body that both you and I have occupied in our lifetime. 

The physical body that you think of as you is rearranged in a pattern designed by a formless intelligence independent of your opinions. This I that you use to describe yourself isn’t the physical form that you occupy and take with you everywhere. Quantum physics states that the body you’re occupying, which is reading this paragraph right now, is completely different from the body you were in when you read the previous paragraph. Such is the nature of the physical world in which we all live.

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus put it this way several thousand years ago, and it is true today: “All things are in motion and nothing is at rest… You cannot go into the same [river] twice.” A river is a constantly changing phenomenon, as is a tree, a mountain, a goat, a human, and the physical universe including Earth. That which defines a thing, therefore, is not physical in nature; it is metaphysical. When asked “What is real?” an ancient spiritual avatar responded without hesitation, “That is real which never changes.” And since your body is in a continuous state of change, it is not real.

If you try to find that toddler body you once occupied, you realize that it is not real, since it no longer exists. Even while you were in it years ago, you couldn’t call it real, because the moment you pinpointed and defined it as real, it would be something else, something new. What you’re calling real would already have disappeared. Still, you know with all of this change taking place that there is a changeless component to who you are. The I in that toddler body hasn’t changed, it is in the body that you currently occupy. The I is your higher self, changeless and real. This higher self is who you are. When you make this discovery and consciously befriend the I you are, nothing is impossible.”


I had a big Ah Ha moment about this idea from Dr. Dyer a year or two ago watching him on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. And though I had never been bothered by age, probably because neither of my parents ever have been, this gave me a whole new understanding of myself and my life. It helped me realize even more what is important in life and why I like myself more with each passing day.

We are not our bodies. Change is inevitable. Things come and things go. But the whole point of life, I think, is living our purpose and finding joy. Both of these things I have. I am grateful for my life at 43. I am exactly where I am meant to be.

We can strive to have the perfect body only to find with time it will change – a little bigger here, a little smaller there – and not of our doing. But our bodies don’t define us, our actions do.


We can go through life striving to “reach success” but what we know and what we think success is, doesn’t exactly exist. It’s why people say “enjoy the journey” or “happiness is the journey, not the destination.” We can only base what we think success will be on what we have experienced in our past. And as the quote by Heraclitus reminds us, all the things we know are ever changing. “We can never go back to the same river twice.” Profound, isn’t it? Success likely won’t look like what we think it will.

elle and bebe california

All we have is right now. In the body we were given. All we can do is cherish each moment, because in a blink those moments will be only a memory. All we can do is find happiness and joy today. Tomorrow is a gift but not a given.


So on this eve of my 43rd year, I am cherishing moments including the moment that I am 43. Because before long, I won’t be any longer. I will age, my family will grow older, too. And it is most important to me that I imprint where we all are in this moment on my mind. I love and hold dear the moments that happen each year of my life in a special place in my heart and my mind, for I can never truly experience those exact moments again. They are special. They are unique. They are fleeting.

familyI hope you will cherish each and every moment too. They are ours alone. No one else experiences a moment or time exactly as we do. And it is ok to strive to be better, and healthier, and more accomplished each year. But only if you remember those are not the things that truly bring you joy. Joy is found in the present moment. If you cannot be content in your body, and your age, and your life…no amount of achievement will make that so.

hb TobiThanks for sharing my birthday with me friends. My birthday wish for myself and also for each of you this year is this…

I wish us enough sun to keep our attitudes bright

I wish us enough rain to appreciate the sun more

I wish us enough happiness to keep our spirits alive

I wish us enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger

I wish us enough gain to satisfy our wanting

I wish us enough loss to appreciate all that we possess

I wish us enough Hello’s to get us through our final good-bye’s.

And I wish us a life that is long and healthy, full of love and joy and a cake big enough to fit all our candles!


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P.S. Today’s photos are just a few of my most favorite experiences and moments with family and friends over the last 12 months captured on Instagram.

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Sunday Fun Day on Instagram!

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joy instagram

Did you know Sunday is the most active day on Instagram? Likely because people have more down time on Sunday to enjoy this beautiful and creative site. I sure do my fair share of posting on Instagram on Sunday and every other day of the week.


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If you are not following me on Instagram, you are missing out on a lot of gorgeous Interiors I am working on (like this fab pool and pool house), delicious food I am cooking, and my daily inspirations and motivations.

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So jump on the Instagram bandwagon and follow me there. You can find me on Instagram as @tobifairley. And be sure to leave me comments about your thoughts on my postings. I love the personal interactions I have in the comments on this FUN site!

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I can’t wait to hear from you each day. To me Instagram is like no other site because it’s spontaneous and often real time. So if you have always wished you could be my shadow as I live the life of a designer, blogger, world traveler, business coach (and even a cook and a mom)…Instagram is your chance!

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And be sure to say “Hi” if you are just starting to follow so I can say Hello to you too!

I’ll see you there! xo,

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