New House Diary: The Living Room Color Palette

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New House Diary

Well, it’s been a little while but we are back to my tour through the new house and back in the living room. But we haven’t quite finished the decisions in here.

Today let’s talk about the color palette in the living room. Here’s a hint.

color palette kuler

But first I have to tell you I am leaning towards keeping the walls intact in this room, not an open plan. Thanks for all your input on that. I see the pros and cons of both! And I will have things more open in my kitchen/breakfast/sunroom thanks to the passthrough - I am definitely leaving that or I wouldn’t have any natural light in my centrally-located kitchen. But in this space, like many of you, I am enjoying the cozy atmosphere with the fireplace and my built-ins. And since my room is so large – about 15 feet wide – and runs the full length of the south end of my house, I think it’s roomy enough to not to open it all up.

Sensible Hue SWI have also just about decided that the walls will be painted panels (not the ’60s paneling that currently exists – that baby’s coming down), but the traditional rail style of paneling painted in a lighter gray with gray beams on  the ceiling (the existing beams look great, so painting them is an option). I love this Sherwin Williams color: Sensible Hue. It’s in the running!

I am definitely covering the brick of the fireplace with paneling and putting a slab on the hearth. I love the brick but I want this room a bit more formal. For now I still have brick floors in the sunroom that we haven’t even talked about yet, so there is a chance that all the brick won’t go away.

living room floorplan

I am going with 2 sofas here instead of a sectional, but don’t worry, I do think a sectional will show up in another room. And I am keeping my existing swivels chairs with ottomans. My hubby isn’t getting a recliner but he gets a 65″ TV – let’s call it a compromise. Ha! I use the existing chairs (sitting in one now, actually), daily so I am not giving them up for a recliner that really isn’t my style.

I seem to be making decisions in this space left and right! Can you tell I am motivated to actually make this stuff start REALLY moving this year? It helps that I have been hanging out in fabulous penthouses and new construction projects for clients and then returning home to my dated abode.

blue doors

So what about the living room color palette, you ask? Well I am leaning towards my favorite color right now…cobalt! Yesterday I was shooting video for Tobi TV in the Riverside Penthouse, and I just never seem to tire of these suede doors.

donny osmond

And last week when I was a presenter in Dallas for the annual ARTS Awards, I wore this fabulous cobalt dress (and yes that’s Donny Osmond). It’s made from stretch jersey that feels like neoprene. You don’t even hem it, you just cut it off – so cool and high-tech! And it’s washable (seriously) and packable. I’m sure you could sleep in it and it wouldn’t even wrinkle. I love it so much, I’m thinking about just wearing this baby around the house. (kidding…sort of)


But no matter how many other colors I use in my home and my clients’ homes, I still always seem to come back to shades of blue. I’m sure there is a reason it’s the most popular color in the world. Seriously, studies show it is the favorite color in America and around the world. But you better believe that when I do cobalt, it won’t be the same ole cobalt I’ve done before. It won’t be crazy and modern like this space I did for the Penthouse that I absolutely adore. But the color will still be ELECTRIC! And I think I will love it just as much.

Pantone Universe

I LOVE this Pantone chip called Universe. But I’m thinking fabrics that are a little more “Tobi.” A tad bit more traditional, but not too much. I’m thinking something more like this floral. Oh how I love Designer’s Guild Fabrics!

designers guild

And paired with soft grays and menswear patterns, it could be fabulous! Don’t you think?

So now you can start to envision what the living room will look like. I’m ready. Let’s do this. But do leave me a comment and let me know what you would do. I’ve gotten accustomed to your feedback and ideas. It’s so much fun! Thanks for sharing.

See you soon!


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Which Would You Choose: Open Plan vs. Individual Rooms

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canada living 2

The open-plan room above in my Riverside Penthouse project is fabulous – it allows for great traffic flow, and fantastic areas for people to have conversations, whether in the kitchen or the living room area.

So that got me thinking about my own house project – should I remove a wall or two and have an open-plan area for my living room and kitchen, or should I keep them as individual rooms?


I do like separate rooms, though, like these from my Shadow Valley project. They give you a cleaner break between activity areas in the home, which is more organized and structured – two things I LOVE!

swope family room 2

You can still connect to those in the breakfast room and the kitchen is just on the other side of this wall, so not too far away. Oftentimes I find that taking down walls creates problems with noise level and also there is often no wall for anchoring a sofa or placing a beloved antique or even to hang the television. This separate family room is nice and large and so it accommodates 2 separate seating areas, the one above and then below the area around the fireplace and television.

swope family room

When I keep the family room and kitchen separate, I still like to tie the areas together with similar color palettes, like I did above with the yellows and greys.


This large open area in my Crestwood project is a great inspiration for going with an open-plan. There are just so many distinct zones for eating, cooking, talking, reading – it could make me decide that tearing down walls would be worth the trouble and expense!

So which would YOU choose? Would you go with separate rooms for your living area and kitchen, or do you like a large open space where everyone can congregate? Let me know your decision – and why you chose the one you did – in the comments area below!

Thanks for helping me decide the layout of my home!









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Tobi TV: Two Timeless Colors

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Which two colors have ALWAYS stood the test of time, no matter the decade or the design style? That’s right – it’s black and white!

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Together, they are really a dynamic duo. Black and white are two of my favorite colors – they are classic, traditional, and timeless. You can never go wrong with these two, whether it’s in your wardrobe or in your home!

So how can you use black and white in your interior? Let’s look at a few of my projects, and I’ll give you some ideas!

Wow! Are you ready to jump onto the black-and-white bandwagon? Here are things to consider:

1. Consider a large-scale wallpaper in black and white! It will really make an impression, and will add amazing visual interest to your room.

2. Black and white is perfect in a graphic or geometric pattern. Use it with bright splashes of another color, like coral or green. After all, black and white go with everything!

3. White and black furniture is also a classic look – put these colors on classic forms and your room will be completely timeless, and will have a bit of that Dorothy Draper look!

4. The dynamic black and white duo is perfect in the great outdoors. Consider large cabana stripes for a pattern on awnings, fabrics, or even a porch ceiling.

5. Black and white isn’t just for grown-ups. Pair it with pale pink, pale green, or even fire engine red for a kids’ room. Psychologists say graphic patterns in black and white are great for stimulating little minds, so you can even use these two classic colors in a nursery like I did for my daughter!

I hope these tips for using black and white have helped you! Do you have the two in any of YOUR rooms? If so, tell me in the comments below how you use them in your home!

If you’ve never used them, consider black and white in your next room makeover! The classic look will be perfect in your home for years to come!








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How Tobi U Works

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So as you may know, I launched my new online learning center last week. It’s called Tobi U and it’s an exciting place to find my best ever content from my 5 years of Business Consulting and over 15 years of being in the trenches of the interior design field.

I am THRILLED to welcome all of you who have already signed up. I am blown away by your response and I cannot wait to hear how the content changes your business and your life. This site has been a dream of mine for years. I have been creating valuable content that I know can help so many other designers and creatives and I didn’t have a way for you to access it in real time or an ability for you to work on it at your own pace or so you could continue to learn and grow when you return home from my signature live events including my most popular live course, Designer MBA. But now, Tobi U does just that!

If you haven’t made the leap to join me for the first semester of Tobi U at the very limited time Early Bird Pricing, now is the time! And if what is holding you back is that you don’t quite know what are you getting for your investment in Tobi U, let me dive a little deeper here and show you step-by-step what to expect.

First, in each semester of Tobi U you will get 8 modules of content. And if you’ve been to one of my classes or talked to someone who has, you know that I give real, honest and straight forward information on how to REALLY take your business and your life higher, no matter what level you are in your business right now. So there will be no shortage of REAL “meat and potatoes” in Tobi U. It isn’t fluff, it’s roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work content.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.56.52 AMIn each module I created a progression that would allow you to get motivated first with a video from me (that is about 10-15 minutes long, on average) and then to dig into the webinar, which is like going back to school except this is information you can only learn through my combination of an accounting and design education, my MBA and my experience being in the trenches of this industry for many years. It’s the stuff they DON’T teach you in school, like how to be profitable!

The webinars are made up of the best-of-the-best of the foundational business content from my classes and courses plus all new cutting-edge ideas on how to reach your goals in the state of our industry right now. They range from about 40 minutes to just over an hour depending on the topic. And whether you want to find the right clients, get published, reach financial freedom, or identify and leveraging your ideal niche strategy, you can find out how plus a whole lot more in Tobi U. My goal for the webinars is to have you operating in your sweet spot, doing your best work and getting paid what you are worth! Does that sound like something that you are looking for?


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Each module also has downloadable PDF worksheets for your HOMEWORK! Yep, that’s right! Tobi U brings you homework. But as I love to say…”This won’t work if you don’t do the work”. And my hope is that these worksheets will help you stay organized and prompt you to write down your wants, challenges and ultimately the solutions for the problems you are facing in reaching your business and personal goals.



And for those moments you feel overwhelmed with this work you are digging into, no matter if the overwhelm comes from deciding what you REALLY want, or is a result of you being pushed WAY out of your comfort zone, I have recorded a short podcast for each module. These podcasts are 3-5 minute bursts of inspiration coming straight from me to you to help you stay motivated and excited and most importantly moving closer to your goals and dreams.
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And though the videos, webinars, PDFs and podcasts would be what you need to take your business to the next level, I also wanted this to be fun. You know what they say about “all work and no play”, right? So Tobi U has some fun built right in with our badge system. You earn badges for completing modules, for completing semesters, for reaching certain benchmarks and even for fun things like interacting with me personally on social media or seeing me at market. You’ll have fun with these badges and if you are even a tiny bit competitive, you’ll find yourself wanting to collect them all! And the best part is if you do, then that means you’ve also done the hard work of Tobi U and your business will surely see the results!

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Here’s a great quote from Maria who has already purchased Tobi U and is digging into the material…

“I finished the first module video and webinar. Now working on my worksheets and can’t wait for the next module. An interesting tidbit; I have heard/read many of the things Tobi teaches in Module 1, but haven’t taken the time to really think through and journal my “Why,” USP, niche, etc.  Tobi has a way of inspiring me and I’m sure hundreds of others to take the time to do these important steps.  I’m so grateful Tobi has offered an easy-to-access, affordable way to “eat up” her knowledge and experience.  I’m hungry for more!!!”

So there you have it…the details of how Tobi U works. It’s fun, it’s informative, and it will change your business and your life. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the limited time early bird special for Semester 1 of $999 while you still can. And don’t wait too long to get Tobi U even at the regular price of $1299, which Tobi U is SO worth. This semester of Tobi U is only available through February and once Tobi U closes you will have to wait months to get access to it again. In those months you could already be on your path to Financial and Time Freedom. Don’t wait to change your life. Don’t wait to build your dream business. Sign up TODAY…6 months from now you will wish you had!

Welcome to Tobi U everyone! I can’t wait to work with you.


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P.S. If you think you want to work more closely with me this year, consider joining my Mastermind Consulting Program. I gave a very exciting call last week about Mastermind and if you missed it, email us at and ask to receive a copy of the recording. And just for the month of January, I am offering Mastermind at more than 25% off PLUS you get 2 special bonuses–a free semester of Tobi U AND my Build Your Dream Business 6-week telecourse. So for a year of full-emersion, no holds barred, head-down work on your business that will help you make higher profits than you ever dreamed, join me for Mastermind + Tobi U. It’s SO much content it’s mind-boggling and your results will be too!



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Rue Magazine Feature and a Before and After: Riverside Penthouse

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Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 5.32.56 AMI am thrilled to have one of my favorite projects that I’ve ever designed featured in this month’s Rue Magazine! It’s the magazine’s annual color issue and boy does this project bring the color! Cobalt, teal, lavender, yellow…the palette is scrumptious and edgy!


A penthouse in downtown Little Rock situated along the Arkansas River, this home starts with a WOW right off the elevator when you step into this cobalt, black and white lobby. One of my favorite spaces in the house, I can’t decide what I love most – the black-and-white marble floor, the custom-designed blue marble wallcovering, the white tufted vinyl and velvet banquette, or those blue suede doors with glass door knobs!

But this space wasn’t always so glam. Since it’s Before and After Friday, let me give you a glimpse into how this project started. It was an empty shell with nothing but the perimeter walls. We envisioned the floorplan and the design to make this space function. But it’s the color that I used that really made this home come to life.

Here’s how we took this simple blank wall from this…

living before

To this! A lovely living room in shades of teal, chartreuse, and lavender.


Here’s a view from the back wall of the home looking towards what is now the dining room and the study. It was a blank slate.

Dining Before

But not anymore. Now it’s the hub of the home. And what about that smoked mirror with the TV and modern fireplace set into it?

canada living 2

The spiral staircase was in place, but that’s about all that was.

Picture 017

We kept this area simple with some Barcelona chairs and a gorgeous view of the River.


The elevator lobby once looked like this.

Entry 2 before

And now, it’s one of the most stunning parts of the home!

canada entry 2

And looking from the elevator to the roof-top pool, there was nothing but metal doors before.

Picture 032

Now it’s a mecca of marble print from Black Crow Studios, in shades from cobalt to purple.


The dining room was only interesting because of the views of downtown Little Rock.

dining 2 before

But now the views take a back seat to the details! From the lavender paneled ceiling, that chandelier of floating glass bubbles, the gilded trimmed doors, to those yellow velvet chairs and the stunning chevron rug…every part of this dining room screams glamorous sophistication now.

canada dining 2

Here’s another view so you can see the custom-colored de Gournay wallpaper. A surprise treat for those dining on the South side of the table. Who needs artwork when you have custom Chinoiserie paper, right?


Here’s a view looking from the entry/elevator lobby to what is now the dining room, the study, and the kitchen.

dining before 3

And here are how those spaces look once the walls and decor were designed and built. Be sure to notice those teal butler’s cabinets in the kitchen with brass shelving and mirrors above. They are too die for!

canada dining

The study.



Another look at the kitchen wall before, and the windows where the breakfast area is now.

kitchen 3 before

Isn’t the final version of this kitchen amazing? The brass-trimmed hood, library ladder, brass pendants, and cabinet hardware are SO chic!

Canada kitchen

And again the kitchen wall looking East towards the Old Statehouse Museum with a glimpse of the Clinton Presidential Library through the windows on the left.

kitchen 2 before

Here’s how this wall looks now with a completed kitchen and drapery to frame the views. How about those lavender Kartell barstools? A bit cheeky and fun, I think.


And finally, here is the master suite before. It was filled with tons of insulation and drywall getting ready for the project to begin.

Master before 2

But not anymore! Now it’s wrapped in snakeskin wallpaper, a cobalt lacquered ceiling, and delicious navy drapery. Oh, and that Sputnik chandelier with blue-tipped bulbs is fantastic!


Here’s a before view towards the master bedroom wall with the master bath tucked in behind.

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And here’s how those spaces look today….snakeskin walls, fur bedding, shagreen lamps, chevron flooring and hexagon doors. What’s not to love?

Canada bedside

canada master bed


bath hex canada

vanity cananda

Canada Master

Thank you for taking this little home tour with me. I hope you love seeing this space. I often dream of living there myself! Leave me a comment and let me know which part you love the most!

And if you missed our announcement yesterday, Tobi U is LIVE! It’s my all new online learning center. So if you are an Interior Designer wanting to catapult your business to more profits and more success in 2015, join us for the first semester of Tobi U at the Early Bird Price while you still can! It will change your business and your life!

Happy Weekend, Friends!


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