6 Ways to Create a Cool and Calm Oasis

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There’s no two ways around it – it’s hot! They call these the “dog days of summer” for a reason – because once you step outside you’ll find yourself panting and flopping under the nearest shade! If you’re like me, you’re looking for a cool and calm place to hide from the sun. You can have that in your own home, by following these six simple decorating steps:

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1. Paint with water colors. Use paint colors that cool a room, ones that make you think of refreshing lakes and gorgeous beaches! I love colors like Sherwin-Williams Tidewater, Rainwashed, and Krypton.

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2. Lighten up! Use lighter linens in the bed and bath, preferably in white. They provide a crisp and cool look to any room.

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3. Add flower power. Floral fabrics give a hint of fresh air and breezes, so use them in light and soothing colorways. And don’t forget to bring some of those garden goodies inside with real bouquets, too!

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4. Add a coat – of paint! Paint dark brick or woodwork to lighten a room. It will make the mood airy and relaxing.

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5. Bring the breeze. Designers usually aren’t part of the ceiling fan club, but they do cool a room quickly. So go for a stylish design like this luxe lucite look to create those soft breezes.

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6. Set the mood. Use accessories that will remind you of cool tropical escapes, like sophisticated prints from sea and shore.

Try these quick tips to turn your home into a cool and calm respite from the hot summer days! And let me know how you like to beat the heat in the comments section below!







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Tobi TV: 5 Ways to Balance Masculine and Feminine Design

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I love to design rooms that are balanced, whether that’s balancing scale, proportion, or the details that can make a room too “girly” or too “manly.” Many of my clients want that balance of masculine and feminine in their master suite, so it feels like a room they will both love.

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If you can perfect that balance then, no matter which you prefer, you can find something to love in the room. Here are my top 5 tips for achieving that great balance:

What do you think? Do you see how the room is more cohesive because of those ideas? Let’s review them:

  1. Use the color palette to achieve both design ideas. Here, I wrapped the room in masculine shades of gray from the lighter linen color to the darker charcoal. And then I popped in a bit of a more feminine orange with the sherbet colored toile.
  2. Pattern and texture help mix the feminine and the masculine. In this room, the handsome textured solids and geometrics like the grasscloth wallcovering lean towards the masculine, and then the floral toile in a linen texture blends in a bit more feminine sensibility.
  3. Shape and form are a great way to bring in both the yin and yang of masculine and feminine energy in a space. The glamorous curves of the overscaled wing chairs and the shapely and tall headboard are more feminine, and the sleek and simple lines of the sofa, the ottoman, and other straight-lined pieces in the room bring the masculine in, too.
  4. Don’t forget art as a way to mix both ideas into your space. The abstract art in this room is decidedly more masculine, while the flowers and feminine figure in the photography certainly lean more feminine.
  5. And finally, use a statement piece or two to sway the emotion and feeling of a space one way or the other on the masculine-feminine scale. The smart and tailored orange chest definitely gives a masculine punch to the room.

I hope you loved these design ideas for making any master bedroom work for anyone and everyone who uses it! And I hope you’ll share this video with all your design-loving friends who may need help designing for more than one person in their space. Do leave me a comment and let me know what tips I’ve given here resonated with you, or if you have any other great ideas for making a master bedroom, or any room, fit the needs of all who use it.







For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!

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How Are You Unique?

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Clients and customers have a lot of choice today, whether they’re looking for an appliance, a new car, or a service provider. There is so much choice out there that many people become overwhelmed. That means any brand that can stand out in a crowd is going to really have an advantage. So if a client is shopping around for designers in your area, how do YOU stand out? Do you know?

All of us are unique, but most of us don’t know how to put it into words or how to turn that uniqueness into a selling tool. For example, I have an MBA. Am I the only designer in the world who has an MBA? Of course not – but there aren’t many of us out there. And it’s a selling point for me because I will be a great steward of my client’s investment in her home. I’ll watch those numbers like a hawk and make sure she’s getting the most for her money. See what I mean? Something that sets me apart can be the thing that makes a client choose me over another designer.


So I’ll ask it again – what sets you apart? It could be a special degree or a talent that no one in your area has – maybe you’re an amazing artist or you know a lot about construction. Or it could be that you have developed specific systems that help you complete a project faster than any other designer. Time is money for most people, so you can see how that could be a major selling point.

Or maybe you had a previous career in another field that gives you a unique perspective or different skill sets that you use now. You could even have a very specific design style that’s hard to imitate. Whatever it is, make a list right now of any talents, experience, or skills that you have. Again – I don’t expect you to the only person in the world who has that talent. But the sum total of your background and abilities is definitely going to set you apart.


Once you’ve written that list, start thinking about how each thing on the list could apply to your business. Write that down next to each item on the list. And then start to write out how you would explain that to a potential customer.

The more you can identify what makes you unique, and the more you can describe that to clients, the more you’re going to be able to sell your services with confidence! You’ll be able to shine among that field of competitors. So be sure you use your uniqueness to define your “About” page on your website, and your descriptions of your services. We are all individual – we just need to be able to stand out in a crowd!

Let me know what you think about your unique abilities in the comments section below. I love to hear your thoughts, too!







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Before and After: The Spa Life

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A master bathroom should really be an oasis, a place to wash away the cares of the day, or to get you ready for the day in a relaxing atmosphere. I love to create spa-like bathrooms for my clients to give them that calming space!

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One of my clients really needed that redo in their master bath. As you can see above, it was dark and dated, with a lot of brown tones in the cabinetry, the wallpaper, and the counters. It had a totally ’80s feel that made it seem dreary and out-of-date.

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We reworked the floorplan to take advantage of the windows in the room, and that really made a huge difference! Especially when I also made the color palette lighter and brighter, too.

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The original shower, above, was an awkward shape, and it had more of the heavy tile with those brown tones that weighed the room down.

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I added a touch of those beautiful spa colors in the new tiles, creating a fun stripe on the shower walls. And, as you can see below, we also made a bit of an outline around the floor with the same color.

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And of course every master needs dual sinks, and I also wanted to give them much more counter space and storage. The result, below, is a great counterpoint (pardon the pun!) to the lighter colors in the room.

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So what do you think of the spa-inspired bathroom I created for my clients? What is a must-have in your master bath? Let me know in the comments section below!







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Shopping Guide: Back to School Essentials

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Back to School

Can you believe it’s back-to-school time already?!? I swear summer just started and here we are almost at the end. I’m ready to start some MAJOR school shopping for my daughter in the next two weeks, and I have friends who are sending their kiddos off to new starts, too, from kindergarten to college.

So if you’re one of those who’s looking for that perfect backpack or pencil pouch, I’ve got the perfect shopping list for you! This has goodies that are functional and fashionable – which is so important for those back-to-school days!

Happy Shopping!







  1. North Face ‘Jester’ Backpack– Start this semester in style with a full-of-function slate backpack with lime green accents!
  2. Hardcover 17-Month Agenda– Stay organized this year with a chic agenda. Write down all your holidays, due dates, and test dates from the beginning to help you stay on track!
  3. Ampersand Paperweight– Hold down the fort and your papers with this fun acrylic paperweight!
  4. ‘That’s Bananas’ iPad Mini Case– Who says technology has to be boring? Show off your wild side with this fruit covered case!
  5. Bookshelf Pencil Pouch Set– Keep your pens organized with a cute collegiate pencil pouch – complete with a pencil, sharpener, eraser, and ruler to get you started!
  6. Fitbit ‘Alta’– Walking (or running!) across campus is a workout all on its own, so keep track of your steps with a new Fitbit!
  7. Amber Dunes Diffuser– That no-candle-rule in dorm rooms can be a bit of a drag for a relaxing study environment. Snag a diffuser to use in your room in place of a candle and set the right mood for your studies!
  8. CLIC Marble iPhone 6 Case– Give your phone a sophisticated look to start your classes off right with this marble case!
  9. Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headphones– Whether you’re working out or just walking to class, these wireless headphones can’t be beat! No messy cord to wrap up or get hung on anything!
  10. Ted Baker London Touchscreen Stylus & Case– I love having my notes all in one place, so writing them into a notebook app on my iPad means no papers to keep track of! This beautiful floral stylus and matching case can help you stay organized and chic.
  11. Zophia Towel Collection– Beautiful blue and mint patterned towels will brighten up your dorm room!
  12. Shadow Flora Laundry Bags & Case– So you moved away from home and have to do your own laundry? It doesn’t have to be all bad! These gorgeous laundry bags make that tedious task much more glamorous!
  13. ‘Hand Painted Textile Collection’ Water Bottle– Keep cool and hydrated on those long walks to class with this cute metal water bottle in Santorini blue!
  14. ‘Hidden Meaning’ File Folders– Keep all of your clubs, activities, and notes organized with these fun file folders!
  15. Nike Women’s Free Flyknit Lace Up Sneakers– Hit the pavement in style this school year with a new pair of tennis shoes in ultra-fashionable colors!
  16. SWITCH Bluetooth Speaker, Black Copper– This beautiful copper Bluetooth speaker is perfect for studying or hanging out with friends! Its fun metal finish will blend seamlessly into your decor!
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