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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Win One of My Icons Collection Designs from Lamps Plus!

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I’m thrilled to have my designs featured as part of the exclusive Icons Collections from Lamps Plus! The Icons Collection is comprised of designers who were asked to design a shade pattern that is unique and available exclusively at Lamps Plus for a limited time.

Here’s a look at my Bamboo Trellis design:

Tobi Fairley Design Image

I really like the classics when it comes to design motifs, but then giving them a more modern twist. For this shade design, I took inspiration from the trellis work on vintage bamboo furniture, and then made it a little bolder and more updated.

The pattern is also customizable in the Lamps Plus Design Your Own feature, which gives you the ability to select the pattern, color, and base. You can create any look to fit your room!

To make this even more fun, Lamps Plus is launching an exciting sweepstakes where you can win one of five Icons Collection table lamps. Enter to win here. After you’ve entered, you can earn extra entries by referring your friends and increase your chances of winning.

tobi_fairley contest image

See the entire Tobi Fairley collection and don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes! Good luck!







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Tobi TV: Picking the Perfect Paint

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In today’s Tobi TV segment I’m teaching you how to pick the perfect paint.

picking paint

With so many paint options out there, how in the world do you know which one is right for you? Well today I’m bringing you my Top 5 Tips for getting your paint color exactly right. Take a look…

And as always, here’s a recap of my Tobi’s Top Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint…

1. Pick Your Paint Last–with so many paint colors to choose from, select your fabrics and other details first and then pick a paint that complements it perfectly.

2. Know the emotional goal or “mood” of the space. If you want an energizing result, try a warm shade like gold and for a relaxing space, try something cool like a pale blue or green.

3. Softer is Usually Better–Typically going towards the lighter end of the color spectrum makes for the most sophisticated outcome. So for a successful result, think of a paler version of your favorite color.

4. That is unless you want a WOW factor and then I say “Go BOLD or Go Home!” Here’s what I mean. For a really exciting look, pick a shade that is especially bold like a bright coral, deep navy or rich chocolate. It will say “WOW” for sure!

5. And if you do nothing else, do this…HAVE FUN! Use paint to create fun patterns like stripes or stenciled geometric patterns. And don’t forget about using paint to give old pieces of furniture a new look.

So what do you think about today’s video? Leave me a comment and let me know. And if you like this video or any of the Tobi TV segments, please feel free to share with your design-loving friends.

Happy Tuesday!xo,

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Decorate Fearlessly

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Susanna book cover

I am very excited to share with you today a brand new Susanna Salk book called Decorate Fearlessly. The subtitle is “Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces”.

Susanna book Tobi

And I am thrilled to be featured in the book twice! Once for my bookcase in my family room in my last home.

Susanna book 2

And then a spread of my living room with those fabulous green chairs.

So rush over to get your copy of Decorate Fearlessly. It is 256 pages of gorgeous and daring interiors with Susanna’s how-to commentary and quotes from all the designers on how they decorate fearlessly.

Happy Monday! Be Fearless.


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Self-Care Saturday: Artistic Maintenance

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Not long ago I heard another person who works in a creative industry talk about taking a day for “creative maintenance”. And yes, we creatives need time more than some people to rest our minds and replenish our spirits. Maybe it’s because our minds never turn off so we are working our bodies and minds at full speed most of the time.


We need time for inspiration  and relaxation. And we often relax through travel and surrounding ourselves with beautiful and well-designed things. It’s how we fill up our cups when we’ve poured them out through our work or our art.


So today I’m in New York City, one of my favorite places in the world, practicing a bit of artistic maintenance. It’s a city full of inspiration for me from the store windows of the major fashion houses, to museums to lovely hotels to shoe shopping at Bergdorf Goodman to amazing culinary experiences to walking in central park or looking up at the amazing (and tall) architecture–a few days in New York is just the jolt I need to kick me back into my most creative place. And I always try to do or go somewhere new each time I visit this amazing city.Plus I have to admit lingering just a little longer this morning in a plush robe indulging in room service doesn’t hurt either.


So tell me…what do you do for “artistic maintenance”? And if you feel guilty about it, then stop that this minute. We all have to replenish so that we can give our best with our gifts and our talents.


Happy Saturday Y’all! xo,


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