New House Diary: The Dining Room Floorplan

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New House Diary

For this week’s New House Diary, let’s take another look at my Dining Room floorplan.


The space I will now be dining in, was the previous owner’s office.  But it just makes more sense for a lover of entertaining like me to make this the dining room. It will hold a larger table, thus seating more people which is an important goal of my husband’s and mine.


Here’s a lovely view of the “new” Dining Room from the entry with the current Hunter Green paint color. Isn’t it interesting that the entry paint (that reminds me of Suntan-colored pantyhose from the 80’s) is akin to all the blush colors making their way back at the moment? And the Hunter paint is totally 80’s and making a comeback as well.  But neither are quite right for the fresh and updated look I am going for and they are nothing that a fab wallcovering or few coats of paint can’t cure.


Double doors from the entry either need a fantastic facelift (shall I go mirrored or upholstered) or they need to go away. I am not sure I will ever want to close them in fact I think they may just get in the way. I always err on the side of function first, so maybe that gives me my answer.


There’s a perfect place for a new doorway in the far left corner of the back wall above, through to the kitchen for ease of serving food.  And using both my buffet and china cabinet shouldn’t be a problem with the size of this room. There’s space for both.

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choate dining tableAnd I agree with your comments from yesterday’s blog post. The size of the room should always dictate the shape of the table. This room is a rectangle so the table will be an oval or a rectangle for me. One reason I lean oval is that the rounded corners make for less treacherous traffic flow around the table especially when entering from the kitchen. But I’ll let you know when I settle on the perfect table for this space. I’m still a fan of this one from Suzanne Kasler called the Choate Dining Table, so it’s definitely in the running.

This week there are no pretty pictures or inspiring spaces, just the reality of my current home–but seeing those before photos may just be the most inspiring thing to me. I have no problem envisioning the gorgeous space where I will soon be entertaining friends and loved ones. Can you envision it too? Think floral wallpaper and accents of yellow or pink or maybe both? I can hardly wait to be revealing the “after” of this space really soon that is vivid and real in my mind. And you better believe in my vision those tiny little baseboards get an upgrade!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the potential of this space. And tell me…are you a person who can see the “after” in your mind’s eye? Or is visualizing design selections, scale, and color challenging for you?




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Which Would You Choose: Round, Oval or Rectangular Dining Table

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I love to entertain in my home! Whether it’s a big family dinner, a small gathering of friends, or just the three of us, I love eating, talking, and laughing at our dining room table. In my new house, I want to have the perfect new setting for our future gatherings, so I’m trying to decide between a round, oval, or rectangular dining table.

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A round table, like I had in my previous house, is perfect for conversations. All of the guests can see each other, and it is a fabulous shape for small or large groups.

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But a rectangular table is long and lean – it’s great for big dinner parties because you can fit so many at the table. And people across from each other are close enough to talk to each other.

An oval table, like the one at the top of this post, is the best of both worlds. It gives you that longer profile, but still keeps the coziness of a round table. It’s also a flexible shape for dining rooms of all sizes.

So which would you choose? Would you select an oval, round, or rectangular dining table? Tell me in the comments below and be sure to tell me why you chose the table that you did! I’ll have more about my new dining room coming up soon!










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Tobi TV: Creating Serene Retreats

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I’m known for using bright palettes for my designs, but I also love to use soft colors to create serene rooms that are perfect for a relaxing retreat. These spaces are a great place to recharge, and to take a break from all the hustle and bustle of a busy family life.

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It could be a bedroom, a study, a library, or even your own yoga room – but we all need a place to get away from the stress of our days. So how can you create your own oasis at home?

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite soft and serene designs!

Don’t you feel calmer already? I know I do! Let’s review those tips for your relaxing room:

1. Try platinum, icy blues, and mirrored surfaces to create a serene bedroom you may never want to leave!

2. Pair relaxing colors with classics like black and white. This pairing is surprisingly calming and fabulously chic.

3. Soft pinks make a great palette for a serene energy like an office or yoga room!

I hope these tips for creating a serene retreat help you make your space spa-like and ready for relaxation! Get those ideas flowing and let me know about your calming rooms in the comments below.

Wishing you a stress-free day!








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Self-Care Saturday: Home Sweet Home

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Last week I asked if you were living the Dream and gave you my tips to help you make that happen. Today I want to remind you that sometimes the dream is right in front of your face.

For years I was busy building a BIG business and that takes a lot of time, energy and people to keep it all going. Going after your dreams like I have is exciting and rewarding. But sometimes the MOST fulfilling thing in life is not what you think. Often the most satisfying things are found in the ordinary, day-to-day, simple moments at home. That is definitely true for me.


The older I get the more I enjoy Slow-living. I’ve always been a “Home Body” for the most part. I can travel the world during the week and then never leave my house (and sometimes not even my PJ’s) on the weekends.  I never get bored being at home. There is always something that I want to cook, or bake, or create, or a new design book to read or a blog to write, or a closet to organize. And a walk in my own beautiful neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air, is the pinnacle of a perfect Saturday.

My nine-year old is currently obsessed with the book the Wizard of Oz. She was even the cutest Dorothy you’ve ever seen for Halloween. And I have to agree with Dorothy that there is absolutely “No Place Like Home”.  My home may not be all renovated and gorgeous yet, but she serves my family and me just fine. She’s a workhorse, and she gives us what we need to meet the world at our best.

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Thankfully this month I have been home a lot more than I was during most months last year. I am working hard to make being home a constant in my life…At least for a while. If you read my word of the year post, you’ll remember that my word is significance, and the most significant people and things in my life are right here at home.

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And being a lover of cooking, nesting and reading by the fire, there’s not much else that equals self-care to me than time spent at home. So today I am grateful for many days this month that I’ve cooked 3 whole-food meals a day in my own kitchen. And I am thankful for waking many early mornings at 5am and holding my pup, drinking coffee by the fire and catching up on a bit of work. I am filled with joy over the simple things in my life–the ones right here in front of my face. At Home. They are what is most important.

Wishing you as much joy in your Home Sweet Home as I find in mine! I hope it’s the perfect place to fill your cup.


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p.s. To see the fruits of all my nesting, organizing and cooking at home, be sure to follow me on Instagram.

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Before and After: Soft and Relaxing Living Room

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It’s Before and After Friday and today we’re looking at a living room remodel that is soft and relaxing. This busy house is for a blended family of 6 kids, and with all the hustle and bustle that goes on under this roof, it’s nice to have at least one space that is toned-down and a bit more quiet.

Living Room Before (3)

This project included a large addition, but this formal living space is part of the original home. It’s the first space you enter from the front porch (which is now covered and wraps around the house) and there is really no entryway or foyer in this home. The client wanted “pretty and soft” for this room. I often say, “the entry sets the tone for the whole home” and for this home that means this space has to be up to that challenge.  Though this household will often be busy and chaotic, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some calm amongst the chaos. We even took inspiration from their love of the beach (which is their favorite place to relax and escape their busy life) when making fabric, color, and materials selections for this room.

So here is the blank slate before the remodel started.  The wall to the right has now opened up to a new hallway.

Living Room Before (2)

And here is the soft and subtle after. Soft doesn’t mean we can’t have color. The tones of blue here bring to mind sea and sky, accented with hints of pink for a bit of freshness. We kept the original front door for the charm and contrast it brings to the room.


Here is the view towards what is now the new dining room and a wraparound porch beyond…

Living Room Before (4)

I don’t have an official after of this corner of the space, but here’s an “installation shot” that will help you get perspective of how these rooms work together. Decisions on the accessories were being made at this point and the coral lamp didn’t make the final cut. This photo also shows us a glimpse of the Art Deco chandelier the client brought with her, befitting the age of the original part of this home.

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And here is what the new dining room looks like that flows seamlessly from this soft living room design to something coordinated but a bit more dramatic.

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A look at the living room fireplace wall before. There is now a large opening on the left to access the addition.

Living Room Before

And a vignette of this pretty wall with fresh cut forsythia vines waiting to bloom for Spring, plus a better look at that fab antique chandelier!


And here is a tiny glimpse of what I did in the new hallway to transition my soft color palette to the newly remodeled upstairs kids’ zone.

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I hope you loved this sweet before and after. These colors have me wishing for Spring!

Happy Friday!


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