New House Diary: The Kitchen Color Palette

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New House Diary

Let’s talk about 2 exciting things today…kitchens and color. It’s time to get serious about my kitchen color palette.

My friends who are editors of major national home magazines seem to be tired of white kitchens and yes, maybe I am a bit, too. But they are still so classic. So what’s a designer to do?

Well here are my top choices for my kitchen palette from lightest to darkest…

1. Classic White Kitchen with white subway tile and Calcutta marble countertops (heavy on the veining)


(designer and source unknown)

2. White kitchen, white subway tile with dark grout and quartz  or marble countertops


(kitchen by Steven Gambrel)

3. Pale Gray Cabinets with white subway tile and Carrara marble counters (I’m not tiling the hood area as shown here)


(designer and source unknown)

4. Warmer, medium-gray cabinets with Brass Hardware, white subway tile and marble countertops (I would want more veining than shown here)


(image via Martha Stewart, photography Eric Piasecki)

5. Smoky blue cabinets, quartz countertops and Carrara marble tile backsplash (I’m not planning on the butcher block top or backsplash tile shown here)


(design by Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat via House Beautiful)

6.Navy lacquer cabinets (either base only or all cabinets), white subway tile and quartz countertops


(design by Kelly Deck via Western Living Magazine)

Wow, so many gorgeous choices and only one kitchen to design. So I need your help. Please leave me a comment below and weigh in on your favorite kitchen color palette. I have a couple that really stand out but I’ll wait to hear your thoughts before I tell you which ones.


p.s. If you know the designer or source for the 2 photos above without photo credits, please tell me so I can add them and give praise for those lovely designs. Thanks!

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Which Would You Choose: Quartz or Marble?

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We’re back to the kitchen and today I have a question for you. When it comes to your countertops which would you choose?


marble countertops

(image from O’Brien Harris Fitted Furniture)

or Quartz?

quartz countertops

(image from Terracotta Properties)

I adore both marble and quartz. One is more durable and I’d probably go with a plain version of quartz with little or no veining like the photo above. But when it comes to marble, I’m a fan of Carerra and Calcutta – the lighter and whiter varieties with fabulous grey or gold veins.

So what do you think? Would you choose marble or quartz if it were your kitchen? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Happy Wednesday!


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Tobi TV: Mixing Fabrics like a Pro

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It’s Tuesday so you know what that means? It’s Tobi TV Time. Today I’m in Dallas teaching another round of my Designer MBA course with 30 amazing designers from across the country. So while we’re busy in Big D with the business of design, I thought I would bring you my top tips on the all-important business of mixing fabrics.




Fabric, particularly beautiful patterned and geometric fabrics full of color and style are my jumping off point for every project. But knowing which fabrics work together can be tricky. Here are my Tobi’s Top 3 Tips for mixing fabrics with success.


And as always, here’s a recap of today’s Tobi TV episode:

1. I find one “WOW” fabric for each space and let it lead the way. For me that usually means a large scale floral or geometric that I am crazy about, is my jumping off point every room.

2. It’s all about scale. I usually start my fabric scheme with the largest scale fabric…say that oversized floral. Next comes a slightly smaller scale–maybe a geometric print. And then I layer down from there to something smaller like a pin stripe. Layering scale may be the most important step for successful fabric mixing.

3. Don’t worry–I know it can be scary when you start mixing all those colors and patterns. But don’t be afraid that your room will be too busy. Remember that the largest pieces in the room like the sofa, are usually neutral and solid and it’s this solid base that holds all the patterns and colors together.

So what do you think, are you daring enough to mix color and pattern in your fabrics like a pro? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on my fabric mixing tips. And be sure to share this video with your decor-loving friends.

Happy Mixing!  xo,



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Motivational Monday: Get Lost

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Things move so fast. We all feel pulled in a million directions every single day, especially on Monday. Sometimes we just need a break from the news, from electronics, from life.  So why not find a beautiful place and get lost–if only for a little while? It’ll all be there when you get back.


I think this beautiful place will will do the trick. What do you think? If you could “get lost” today, where would you go?

Happy Monday! xo,

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Soulful Sunday: A Before and After Poolside Makeover

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On this sunny Sunday, I’m dreaming of our upcoming summer days around my new pool. And since you’ve been enjoying the before and after’s I’ve been posting so much, here’s another makeover before and after of a recent project that included a new Veranda and poolhouse update that just might inspire me to spruce up my own new outdoor spaces. Take a look…


The before was an arbor but it didn’t afford the clients an outdoor kitchen or any real shade. They wanted an outdoor entertaining space that reminded them of their favorite hotels and resorts.


And here’s a peek at the after looking across the lagoon style pool.


Another shot of the arbor before and a look inside the new veranda in all it’s black and white glory.



The property was previously secluded from the neighbor with a wall of bamboo. We removed the bamboo and were able to take in a bit more of the yard for a larger footprint for the new veranda.


Here’s the after looking East. You can still glimpse a bit of bamboo through the window.




The before with a corner of the pool house in view. And the after with the veranda and the poolhouse beyond.




So what do you think? Does this makeover make you want to spend your sunny Sunday poolside? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this before and after reveal. I for one could stand this resort-like get-away in my own back yard.

Happy Sunday! xo,

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