Which Would You Choose: Sisal, Soft Carpet, or Both?

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Todd Romano Patterned sisal

(Interior Design by Todd Romano)

Now that we’re in the living room, I have two issues to talk about – paneling and the floor. I can’t even think about the paneling yet (you’ll see what I’m talking about tomorrow in New House Diary), but trust me, it’s scary! So let’s talk about something much more pleasant and look at the floor.

The choice I have here is whether I should go with sisal or a soft carpet or rug – or maybe I should even use both. There are so many fabulous choices out there, and both materials offer great patterns and colors. With sisal or seagrass, you have an eco-friendly fiber that is great for people with allergies, and it’s naturally stain resistant.

AD - sisal

(Photo from Architectural Digest)

But sometimes sisal can feel a little scratchy on bare feet, and my daughter loves to dance in the living room without her shoes on, so that’s something to think about. Wool and nylon rugs are much softer underfoot, and if you have a thick enough pile, they are fabulously luxurious when you’re walking on them.

Shon Parker Design - Atl House and home

(Interior design by Shon Parker, from Atlanta House and Home)

There are even some rug makers who are now using combinations of wool and sisal to create a hybrid rug that holds up better to pets and heavy traffic. They are softer, but also give you a harder-wearing surface.

Another option is to use a large sisal room-sized rug or carpet, and then layer a gorgeous wool or wool-blend rug on top. My friend Suzanne Kasler is a genius at this and I really like how it looks. The sisal also “holds” onto the rug, keeping it from slipping as you walk on it.

AD- rug over - J Randall Powers

(Interior design by J. Randall Powers, in Architectural Digest)

So much to think about! So which would you choose? Would you go with the hard-working sisal, the softer rug/carpet, or would you layer the two? Let me know in the comments below which option you like best! And stay tuned, because tomorrow we’re going to take a look at that scary paneling…








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Tobi TV: Tips to Add Value to Your Home

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It’s time to get those houses ready for the holidays! But once the holidays are over, your house can look like a wreck – and that’s where this episode of Tobi TV comes in! This week, I’m bringing you another great set of tips from one of my Mastermind Consulting Group members! Each of the members has a terrific niche that gives them a unique viewpoint – and Kathleen DiPaolo of Kathleen DiPaolo Designs in Costa Mesa, Calif., is known as a “Property Solver.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 10.15.35 AM

Having flipped more than 300 houses (wow!), Kathleen knows just how to solve the problems of a “tired,” well-loved home and how to really work with the “bones” to create lovely interiors. So today on Tobi TV, Kathleen is going to share her top three tips for how YOU can add value to your home. Let’s take a look:

See what I mean? She has GREAT ideas for adding value to your home! Let’s recap those smart tips:

1. Get the clutter out! Clutter encloses a space. You add usable square footage when you clear out the junk. It can make your home look like you remodeled just by doing some editing!

2. Make repairs. Fix that leaky faucet. Paint the wall with the chipped paint in the kitchen. It gives your home a new look and keeps the questions like “What’s behind that chipped paint wall?” at bay.

3. Paint! A fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Everyone wants a fresh-looking house because a fresh-looking house looks like a NEW house, which gives a home value.

I really love these tips from Kathleen and I hope you do too! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of this video and be sure to share it with your friends who want to add value to their homes! Stay tuned for more tips from other talented members of my Mastermind Consulting Group, coming to Tobi TV soon!









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Perfect Hostess Gifts

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Bowl by Vietri

I love parties, especially during the holiday season! It’s so festive to dress up and go out to a friend’s house to celebrate and have fun. But I also know that it’s a LOT of hard work for those who host the parties, so I like to always arrive at the front door with a little token of my appreciation.


Wine tools by Kate Spade

Hostess gifts are a long-standing tradition in the South, and are usually thoughtful items for the home or small tokens specifically selected for the host. Among my favorite gifts are small accessories, like the gorgeous bowl from Vietri, or the fun wine tool set from Kate Spade. Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 4.07.01 PM

Molton Brown gift pack

And what hostess wouldn’t like to relax the next day with some fabulous products from Molton Brown? You can also consider chocolates, a yummy scented candle, or something that appeals to the host’s hobbies, like gardening tools or bakeware! Remember, it’s the thought you put into it that counts!

For more ideas on great hostess gifts, go to my pinboard by clicking here! You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest this holiday season!









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Designing a Magical Evening with CR Laine

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IMG_3742 There is nothing I love more than throwing a dinner party! Planning the event is half the fun for me – I like to create themes, design the flowers and the color palette, and plan a delicious menu! I want my guests to feel welcome and to really enjoy themselves, and a party’s success is all in the planning. It’s just like designing a room. In a few days, I will be bringing you my favorite finds from the recent High Point Furniture Market. I found some gorgeous things. But I also hosted a fun event in High Point to celebrate my partnership with CR Laine for my upcoming upholstery collection. So here are some of the after photos and my top tips for entertaining that I used at our great event! #1 Think of a theme. I’m not talking about having a theme based on a movie or a particular time period. Instead I mean that you should think of your event as being built around a central theme – whether that’s as simple as a color scheme or a season. For this event, I thought about the idea of the Perfect Pair, since C.R. Laine and I are embarking on a creative collaboration together. That lead me to the idea of using pears as a play on words, which really is perfect because they were in season! IMG_3720 #2 Set the mood. Will your event be casual or formal? Will it be buffet or a plated meal? Once you’ve determined that, set the mood of the evening with lighting and music. For example, at this event we went a bit more formal as you can see in the place settings and the lighting. We took the “house lights” down and created pools of light at each table, which gave the impression that each table was its own little island. IMG_3726 #3 Color Coordinate. You don’t have to be matchy-matchy, but do pick up a color or two from the room when you’re choosing your party decor. In the bistro here that I designed for C.R. Laine’s showroom, the colors were black, white, and kelly green. I added in a vibrant yellow for the linens and flowers to give the room a bright punch! And we included a fresh pear in each floral arrangement – it looks pretty and it brings all the evening’s elements together! We also kept the floral arrangements low so that people could see each other over them – that’s important for good dinner party conversation! IMG_3778 #4 Be Detail Oriented. The smallest details can take your event from good to great! How about a small gift for each guest – like the bottles of pear cider I put at each place setting. I also added a hangtag to the bottles that included a recipe on the back for using the cider in a spice cake. You can even consider a special themed drink, like my Peartini! It was sinfully good. Also, consider namecards at each place – they help you mix up the group so people get to know each other. IMG_3736 As we head into the holiday season, use these tips to create your own magical dinner parties and soires! It’s a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and family, so start thinking about how you can take your event to the next level with these ideas! Wishing you fun and laughter at your next event! Happy Fall Y’all.









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New House Diary: Inspiration for My Living Room

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New House Diary

With yesterday’s Which Would You Choose post, I finally moved into the all-important living room for my new house. So it’s the perfect time to show you my inspiration for that room.

One thing I love to do in my projects is to make sure that every person living in the space has a say in the design – after all, it’s their home, too! That’s no different in my own house, and I’m thinking carefully about my decisions so that my husband and my daughter will be as happy and comfortable in the rooms as I am!

In the living room, I’d like to use that idea of balance and showcase a mix of masculine and feminine details. I’ve been so inspired by runway looks, and what has been catching my eye recently is a classic herringbone pattern and the new big floral designs that are coming for spring. You know I love to mix patterns, so this is a great place to balance a menswear-inspired fabric with a gorgeous (and more feminine) floral.


(John Elliott & Co.)

I also still love grey as a neutral - it has such a calming quality and it’s the perfect background for pops of color. And the colors I’m thinking of are moodier hues, like dark blue and cobalt.


(Designer Ulyana Sergeenko)

I’ve seen these deeper and muddier colors becoming more and more popular in Europe – and I think they add a lot of interest and drama to a room. This little vignette from New England Home captures a bit of that inspiration for me.


Here are a few more fabulous rooms that are inspiring me and my living room design:

Phoebe Howard

(Phoebe Howard’s room in House Beautiful)

plum furniture

(Plum Furniture)

blue chair

(from An Afternoon With…)

So what do you think of my inspiration shots for my living room? Next week we’ll look at the floorplan – how it is right now, and what I plan to change. And coming up soon, we’ll also have to talk about the paneling that is currently in the living room – yikes!

Thanks for joining me on this journey!









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