Gift Guide: Summer Entertaining

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Summer Entertaining

It’s almost time. Time to get my place summer-ready that is. My daughter has one week of school left, our pool is open, Arkansas watermelons are ripe, and this weekend I’ll be planting flowers and getting out the backyard umbrellas. If you’re getting ready for summer too, here are some fun and colorful things that might help you prep for one of the most exciting seasons of the year!

Happy Summer Friends! It’s almost here.

xo,

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  1. Acapulco Beach Umbrella: Cozy up on the beach with a good book and plenty of shade with this fabulous striped beach umbrella in summer’s best colors!
  2. Multi Stripe Dinner Plate: I love hosting dinners with friends and family, especially when we can enjoy my pool and back yard! These fun colored striped plates are perfect for a casual bar-b-que or dressed up for a summer soiree!
  3. White Rim Lacquer Trays: Serve up some festive summer drinks on this beautiful aqua and white lacquer tray!
  4. Wine Cooler Sleeve: Summer is cool for everything but your wine! Keep your bottle perfectly chilled with this shiny pink sleeve!
  5. Maze Yellow Outdoor Pillow: Freshen up your outdoor décor for your next pool party with these yellow pillows with a maze pattern!
  6. Chroma Citronella Outdoor Candle Tin: Don’t let those pesky mosquitos ruin your summer fun! Light up this White Verbena and Pear scented citronella candle to keep the bugs at bay so everyone can play!
  7. Ice Cream Ice Pop Molds: Create your favorite flavor treats in the shape of a swirly ice cream cone!
  8. Raise A Glass Acrylic Pitcher: From fresh squeezed lemonade to fruity sangria, this acrylic pitcher with gold polka dots will serve your drinks in style!
  9. Melon Slice Salt & Pepper Shakers: This pair of bright colored salt and pepper shakers are great for picnics and outdoor entertaining!
  10. Kuba Napkins: What dinner party would be complete without the perfect table linens? And outdoor entertaining is no exception with these persimmon colored napkins in a fun geometric pattern!
  11. Symmetry Rug: Brighten up your patio or outdoor space with bold tangerine (one of my favorite colors!) in a delightful honeycomb pattern!
  12. Pineapple Ice Tray: Infuse your drinks with a touch of tropical paradise and pineapple shaped ice! What better way to celebrate summer?
  13. Hammered Copper Beverage Tub: Put your favorite drinks on display at your next bar-b-que in this gorgeous copper tub!
  14. Sunnylife Beach Paddles: Gear up for some fun in the sun with these bright colored beach paddles!
  15. Roatan Striped Outdoor Pouf & Carrying Bag: Hate lugging around those clunky beach chairs? Me too! This outdoor pouf comes with a carrying bag so you can lounge anywhere!
  16. Dot Stemless Wine Glasses: I love these festive stemless wine glasses in shades of blue and gold for any outdoor party!

 

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Tobi TV: The Wonder of Wallpaper

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I’m in love with wallpaper! It adds such drama and interest to your rooms, and I have some amazing wall coverings planned for my new home. Wallpaper is back with a vengeance and if you’re not using it in your home, you don’t know what you’re missing.

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Wallpapers have changed dramatically, too – they’re easier to apply and easier to remove. There are even some absolutely fabulous temporary wallpapers out there that give you an amazing look, but come down in a snap. Let’s look at some of my favorite spaces where I’ve used wallpaper to create WOW for clients and in my own home.

See how you can create a big statement with wallpaper? Let’s review those tips again:

1. Go big or go home! Wallpaper is fantastic in a over-scaled pattern. It adds tons of drama and impact and it is especially great in a two-story space. It becomes the art for tall walls.

2. Use wallpaper to add WOW to an otherwise uninspiring space. Think about making a splash in your entry or small spaces like bathrooms, especially the powder room, that would otherwise be plain and lackluster. Wallpaper can bring just the punch you need to make these spaces fabulous.

3. Bring in some texture. Using grasscloth or flocked paper can make your spaces much more interesting. And you don’t have to be plain just because you choose grasscloth. There are gorgeous patterns printed on grasscloth today. And yes, the flocked papers of the ’60s have been re-imagined and they are a chic and sophisticated way to bring depth and excitement to your space.

So don’t be afraid of wallpaper, even if you are still scarred by the old days of vinyl wallpaper and the pain of removing it for hours when you grew tired of it. The new wallpapers are beautiful and well made and will give you years of bang for your buck.

Now leave me a comment and tell me if you are on board with embracing the wallpaper revolution. And let me know your favorite wallpaper styles or brands and how you’ve used them with success in your home.

Happy Decorating!

xo,

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Get It In Writing!

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If you’re in a small business that works with clients – like mine with interior design – do you have contracts, or at least a letter of agreement? Many people don’t operate with them, seeing them as too much of a hassle. Sometimes they’re just too embarrassed or timid to ask their clients to sign a contract, or they don’t want to be held to an agreement themselves. And sometimes they think they just don’t have the time to sit down and iron out the details for a contract that the client will sign. But that’s just flirting with disaster!

Having a contract protects you and your business just as much as it holds you to specific standards. For example, you can cover return policies for products, you can specify that you have the write to promote a successful project, that you must be paid for out-of-town or out-of-state travel, and more.

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Even more critically, your contract can spell out your fees, payment schedule, and retainer policies. It can cover liabilities and warranties. The contract is the place to spell out all the parameters of the job and any issues that can come up later. They minimize risks – for you and for the client.

And this has to be created with a lawyer – period. Don’t think that you can just type something up and use it as an agreement. You want to button up any possible future issues, and that’s what a lawyer can do for you. It’s worth the money and the time that you put into it.

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I can hear a lot of your creatives out there saying: “Ugh, Tobi. I know I need one, but it’s intimidating to sit down with my clients and try to make them sign a contract.” I hear you, I know this isn’t fun. But you HAVE to do it. It’s non-negotiable. What I tell my clients is that this protects THEM, too. Because my company will also have to uphold everything that’s spelled out in the contract. It keeps the relationship running smoothly.

And I always sit down with my clients and go over the contract together, in person. That allows us to talk about all the details, like why I have to be able to photograph their homes for my business. And they actually appreciate that I want to protect them as much as I want to protect myself. It professionalizes our relationship – and it shows them that I really mean business. Too often, creatives bootstrap their businesses to the point where their own clients almost don’t consider them a “real business,” and this is one area where you can really change that.

So I hope I’ve convinced you how important contracts are for your business and your clients! Let me know in the comments below if you have a contract and how it’s working for you.

xo,

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Instagram Inspiration: Behind the Scenes with Duralee

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I love the national ad that Duralee produced for my new licensed fabric collection! It’s just hitting now and the fabrics have only been available for a few weeks, and it’s been amazing to see the reaction to them! But that one fabulous shot above takes an awful lot of work behind the scenes – so I thought I’d give you a look at what it took to get to that final photo.

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The amazing Meri and Allison from Duralee helped develop the direction and look of the ad, and we used my fabrics to create a ton of pillows, drapery, table linens, and more.

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We even found a fabulous antique settee to cover in my Rivers faux bois velvet, which you can see above. It worked perfectly at the historic Terry Mansion in downtown Little Rock.

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You can see above how we used my fabrics for everything from napkins to placemats to tablecloths to cushions for the wicker seat in this shot.

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I was able to include a series of my art from the Tobi Fairley for Soicher Marin collection in the perfect shades of pink!

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And I even had a gorgeous skirt created from the cobalt version of my Isabella fabric. You can see me wearing it above as my fabulous photographer Nancy Nolan sets up that final shot you see in the ad.

It was two crazy-busy days – including torrential downpours – but the results are amazing! I hope you’ve enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look. Let me know what you think about the fabrics in the comments section below!

xo,

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New House Diary: The Home Stretch

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New House Diary

As designers, we always try to have the best communication with our clients, especially when we’re close to move-in day. Because despite all the organization, lists, and hard work, there are always a million little details that have to be in place before a job is finished. And sometimes those details can make you crazy. I had to remember that last week as we hit the home stretch for my own new home’s remodel – because last week was move-in day for me, as you can see by the tower of boxes that was built in my dining room!

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This week, I’m absolutely thrilled to be in my house, even with a punch list to complete and kinks to be worked out! But last week, just as on any job like this, there were a million little things that had me running and had my phone pinging constantly with questions. That’s just the nature of a big job like this. Here are a few of the details that came up:

1. Should the master bathroom shower digital interface be just on the interior of the shower, or one on the interior and exterior? Yep…this important plumbing decision was delayed due to receiving the wrong interface to begin with but we had wired pulled in both areas, so two interfaces or one?

2. One of the master bathroom sinks went missing in the warehouse, so we had to track down a new one. Again, last minute plumbing issue that one would hope would have been done weeks ahead of move-in, but you know how things don’t always go as planned.

3. Finding all the mounting brackets and supply elbows for the plumbing. Who knew there could be so many bits and pieces?

4. One of the kitchen pendants was missing a glass diffuser for the last minute hanging of light fixtures and another diffuser was broken in shipping for my daughter’s closet.

5. Which rooms needed custom-colored outlets/switch plates, which ones needed regular white, and finally which ones needed acrylic when the walls have wallpaper. I had told electrician and contractor previously I would deal with this after move-in because I just couldn’t take one more decision a few weeks ago.

6. The wrong shower door hardware was shipped for the guest bath and a shower door pull color had been overlooked. Polished nickel was the answer but until mid-week, I didn’t know this was a question. Ha!

7. And then finding the specific outlets that I wanted in some rooms – the kind that include USB ports (these are so handy).

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And there were a lot more questions too! Sounds silly, but those things have to be decided, and sometimes on the fly! And as much as we would like all these things all complete and tidied up weeks before move-in, that is often not realistic. I had a whole new appreciation for my clients pushing me to get moved into their home because I was so ready to get out of my temporary condo living.

And I am traveling this week to teach my Designer MBA course in Atlanta, so last week was really the only time I could take a full week and get moved out of our condo and into the house and all unpacked and organized. So I moved in with the house “ready or not” which had me making more last minute construction decisions than I would have liked, but it all worked out.

Add to that trying to coordinate the movers, get my daughter to school and back, keep the dog from running out the door with all the subcontractors coming in, and getting the house all unpacked and livable. Whew! Many of you can imagine the sometimes-controlled chaos we went through last week.

BUT  the good news is – I’m in my new house!! I’ll be sharing a lot of sneak peeks on Instagram over the coming weeks, and I’ll keep sharing some of my selections here with you, too. I can’t wait to share the complete house with you, but that will have to wait for a special publication that will be out after Christmas. I know, it’s hard to wait. But as I learned last week, it is SO worth it!

xo,

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