Tobi TV: Beautiful Banquettes

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Since we’re talking all things kitchen for my New House Diary this month, it’s the perfect time to consider including a beautiful banquette also known as a built-in seating area or booth.


So in today’s Tobi TV segment, I’m bringing you lots of options for creating a gorgeous and functional banquette in your kitchen or mine. Take a look…

Here are my Tobi’s top tips for beautiful banquettes:

1. Take advantage of a nook or curved window in your kitchen or breakfast room to recess your seating or connect it to the end of your bar or island. It will help you maximize your floor space.

2. Use leather, vinyl or vinyl-coated linens or cottons to cover your banquette so it can be easily wiped clean after meals and spills.

3. Use the space below the banquette as additional storage for linens, serving platters–anything that needs a home in your kitchen. It’s especially handy for things you only need to access occasionally.

So what do you think…do you see a banquette in your future? I love them and if you include one in your home, I think you will too! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about dining on a beautiful banquette.

Happy Dining! xo,


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Self-Care Saturday: Organize Your Way to a Happy Life!

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Yesterday was Spring Cleaning day at my house. I have been planning it for months and thankfully my mom and my aunt helped me pull it off.


Now both my new walk-in attics are perfectly organized – holiday decorations, luggage, keepsakes – you name it, it’s organized. All my daughter’s toys are finally out of boxes (yes, we moved exactly 7 months ago. Eek!) and placed in drawers and bins so she can enjoy them, her closet is in tip-top shape with only the things that really fit her remaining inside. Her bathroom and desk are purged and pristine. In fact, every inch of the upstairs of my home is ship-shape and I am planning round two for the downstairs and the garage in May. It’s on the calendar. It will happen.


Living with a place for everything and everything in its place is my sanity. It is one of my favorite forms of self-care. It isn’t optional for me if I am going to have quality of life.


In my last home, there was almost nothing that I couldn’t put my finger on within five minutes (usually five seconds) if I needed it. All the things I own were ready and available to actually use without too much trouble accessing them, including all my china, serving dishes, small kitchen appliances, crafts and more.


I am a person that believes if I’m not using something, then why have it? There is definitely someone who could be enjoying the things I don’t really love or really need, and just storing them and moving them from home to home isn’t my idea of fun. I am a person who organizes and purges my home of things that aren’t important to my family and me at least 3-4 times EVERY year.


Just before I moved into this home, I did a MAJOR organization of our last one and all our storage spaces like closets, cupboards and the attics. I did this BEFORE we moved so I only brought things to our new address that we actually would cherish or find useful and functional. It was my biggest organizational feat to date. It was VERY hard work on some hot days last August.  But it was SO worth it.  It’s what allowed me to completely organize my entire upstairs and attics in just 6 or 7 hours yesterday. We are living pretty lean and mean and boy does it feel GREAT around here. I feel at least 10 pounds lighter and so much happier today.


So what about you? Are you living with clutter or “things” that just weigh you and  your home down? Do you spend hours looking for things that you need, wishing they were organized and easy to access? Do you have a hard time getting rid of things, even things that you rarely or never use, because you are sentimental or you practice the “what if” mentality meaning “what if I need this later”? Well let me tell you, if you haven’t used it in a year or two (or ten) then chances are you aren’t suddenly going to start using it now.


Visual, mental and physical clutter can really take a toll on our stress levels and our ability to relax. And for me, nothing feels better than shedding myself of lots of things that I just don’t want or need and sending them along to someone who does. If you aren’t already organized and you are constantly feeling stressed out in your household – please, get it a try. Organize your way to a happy home and a happy life. It ‘s one of my favorite forms of self-care.

Happy Organizing, Y’all!


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Before and After: Dining Room

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Since it’s Easter weekend and many of us are getting our dining rooms looking their best, I thought it would be a good time to reveal a before and after of the dining room I designed that’s featured in this month’s Traditional Home.

Here’s the before. The bones of the room were already great and I love the natural light from the window. The traditional dining table was just perfect for the space, so I kept it in place. But I wanted to improve the scale of the chairs and lighting, warm up the room with a custom rug, and bring in a more edited option for drapery, wall decor and the tablescape. Plus, I think every rooms needs a bit of show-stopping color, a great pair of lamps, and a nice focal point!



And now for the after…



Now be sure to leave me a comment and tell me your favorite parts of this spruced-up dining room. I’m pretty partial to those blue Spitzmiller Lamps!

And here’s wishing you lots of joyous time with family and friends in your dining room this weekend!


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New House Diary: Kitchen Island or Peninsula

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New House Diary

Today in my New House Diary we are getting into the nitty gritty of my kitchen layout. (Warning…very dated kitchen photos to follow). I will be sharing with you the official drawings for my kitchen design in the coming weeks but before I get too far I have some decisions to make, and one of the most important questions I have is this…Island or Peninsula?


So my existing kitchen is a U-shape and this shape of kitchen is known to be one of the most functional layouts. I do have to admit that although it’s not too pretty right now, the layout is actually pretty darn functional.


But it just drives me crazy that I am not taking advantage of all the open floor space in the middle of the room and also, the existing peninsula really separates the kitchen from the breakfast area more than I like.


I prefer traffic to freely flow from the breakfast room through the kitchen, in particular to the kitchen sink because we access it so often and the layout currently requires me to walk around the peninsula to get to it. My husband on the other hand likes the open floor space and doesn’t want really want a large island like I designed and created for my last home, which by the way I really loved.

Kitchen 6506

Though the island in our previous home was over-scaled, it wasted zero floor space and I think it functioned perfectly for the prep work and entertaining I did in that kitchen. Plus it allowed for placement of additional appliances like a wine cooler, microwave drawer and storage for pots and pans, cookbooks and small appliances.

So ultimately, I am leaning towards removing the peninsula and adding an island instead. It won’t be quite as large as our last kitchen island because that layout was more square than the new one. The island would be longer and a bit more narrow.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Are you in my camp, voting for an island, or are you on my hubby’s side and would keep the peninsula. There really isn’t room for both because any tiny island or free standing piece of furniture we could put in the middle really wouldn’t have the scale or function we need and I think would only get in the way. So please vote either island OR peninsula. No pressure! :)

Here are a few more kitchens that I love in both styles. (note in the u-shaped option, although I love it, I can’t include a banquette backing up to my kitchen because of the entry to my sunroom)


ushaped kitchen

(Design by Moroso Construction via Houzz)


(same kitchen alternate view)

Open with Island…


(Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles)


(Design by Prestige Moldings and Construction)

So leave me a comment and let me know your vote–Island or Peninsula. And don’t worry, I won’t be mad at you if you take my husband’s side. ha! ha!


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And be sure not to miss our earlier blog post this morning about an AMAZING sweepstakes where you can win one of my Icons Collections Designs with Lamps Plus. See the post here and enter to win!



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