New House Diary: Breakfast Room Color Palette

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New House Diary

We’re moving into the breakfast room for New House Diary, and while we’ve discussed the table and whether there will be a banquette or a TV in the room, we haven’t really talked about my favorite design element: Color!

Last fall, I taught a course on color for House Beautiful and creativeLIVE and we really dug deep into this topic. Color has a huge impact on your mood and emotions, it can even impact your metabolism! So this is a key room for a color discussion.

Yellow is a fun color for a breakfast room! It’s cheery and bright, and it has the added bonus of energizing you and giving you a better metabolism, which is perfect for a morning area, right? The only downside is that people tend to lose their temper more in a yellow room, and we don’t want that!

Margie Bromilow

(Design by Margie Bromilow)

Blue is one of my favorite colors, and it has a calming influence. Studies show it lowers blood pressure and relaxes you, which is a great way to start the day! Blue is also a social color, it makes people interact and it is the most-loved color for the majority of us. So blue is definitely in the running. It is certain to show up in some other places in this home, so maybe the Breakfast Room, too.

Virginia McDonald

(Design by Virginia McDonald)

Green would be an interesting choice! It’s the most restful color for the eye, which is perfect for those “just woke up” eyes. And it also promotes togetherness and serenity – both good qualities in a gathering room like this one. But I haven’t really been planning for any green in this home, even though it’s sort of my signature color.

Jen Langston Interiors

(Design by Jen Langston Interiors)

I could consider a little vitamin C with pops of bright orange in the breakfast room – it’s definitely an energizing color that stimulates excitement and fun! So there is another great color to consider.

Jay Jeffers

(Design by Jay Jeffers)

Or maybe I need to mix some of these great colors for another unique Tobi Fairley combination. With all of these great colors to choose from, I know can’t go wrong! Tell me your opinion below for what color best suits this Color Girl! I can’t wait to unveil the finished room for you!










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Which Would You Choose: Breakfast Area with TV, or No TV?

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I love my mornings at home! Getting ready for my day always includes a healthy breakfast, a cup of coffee, and catching up on current events with the morning news programs. So as I look at the design for the breakfast area in my home, I am trying to decide if I want to include a TV in the design, or if I should leave it out of this room.

breakfast TV

(Design by Lauren DeLoach, photo by Emily Jenkins Followill for Traditional Home)

Currently, I watch the morning programs in my bedroom as I get ready. And while that works, it can make for unexpected messes as I juggle coffee, a breakfast plate, my daughter, and our dogs! The breakfast room would be a much better – and less stressful – command center for my morning routine.


(Breakfast room designed by Lindsay Ellis Beatty)

On the other hand, do I really need another room with a TV in it? This is a constant struggle for modern living, and one my clients ask about all the time, too. Do we include TVs in each room where we would use them, or try to contain all electronics to just one or two rooms? I can really understand both sides – connected to technology, or connecting to each other? It’s all about having a home that really functions for YOU.

So which would you choose?

A breakfast room designed with a TV in it? Or one that doesn’t have that distraction?

Leave me a comment below and tell me which one you would choose, and why! I can’t wait to hear your choice and I am looking forward to showing you the final result!









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Tobi TV: To Trend or Not to Trend

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This week I’m traveling to North Carolina for the High Point Market, the largest trade show for home furnishings in the world! It’s a great place to find new ideas and trends for the home, and I always come away completely inspired by what I see there!

But there’s a difference between something that’s a classic trend and something that’s just “trendy.” Classic designs go in and out of fashion, but they are never really out of style. It’s like that perfect little black dress that you can wear for years and years! My favorite classic trends are faux bois, chevron, and trellis patterns. If you’re going to the High Point Market this week, you can see examples of these fabulous looks in the C.R. Laine showroom, 310 N. Hamilton. I’ll be there a lot over the weekend!

Tobi Fairley Tobi TV

Things that are trendy are like flash-in-the-pan styles – they’re fun to play with, but not something that’s going to stick around for a long time. I do like to use a few trendy pieces in my designs, but I’ll only use them in smaller and less expensive items, like a fur throw or a fringed pillow. That way they can be changed out easily when that look leaves the spotlight – and it will eventually.

So what are classic trends that have that longevity? Let’s take a look at this video that I made for my friend P. Allen Smith:

Now you can see why these classic looks are always in style. Let’s recap what they are:

1. Faux Bois – this woodgrain look is fabulous on pillows, wallcoverings, upholstery and draperies.

2. Chevron – I love this great zigzag pattern that’s lighthearted and fun.

3. Quatrefoil – this four-lobed pattern is inspired by architectural detailing, and it makes a terrific trellis pattern.

4. Chinese Gourd Lamp – you really can’t go wrong with this classic lamp style. It looks good with everything!

Aren’t these fabulous designs? So what are your favorite classic trends? Let me know in the comments below!









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Dwell With Dignity’s Thrift Studio

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(Spring 2014 Dwell with Dignity vignette by Designer

and DWD board member Jan Showers)

So many of us take our homes and our lifestyles for granted. But for many people, having a lovely place to live that will support their physical and mental well-being is the least thing on their mind. They are just trying to survive.

Thankfully, there is an amazing organization based in Dallas, Texas called Dwell with Dignity. It’s a non-profit that creates beautiful environments for families to not just survive but thrive. Their motto is to “Help families escape homelessness and poverty through design, one household at a time.” And I am thrilled that I have been asked to be the Honorary Chair of Dwell with Dignity’s signature fundraiser Thrift Studio.

But before we talk about that, I want you to know that Dwell with Dignity is starting to open chapters in other cities with their first expansion being Atlanta. The photos below are from their launch project there a few months ago with design help from Celebrity names like Brian Patrick Flynn and Kerry Howard.

brian patrick flynn

(Design by Brian Patrick Flynn)

kerry howard atlanta

(Design by Kerry Howard)

The exciting news is that Dwell with Dignity hopes to open more chapters across the country soon with help from supporters like you and me.


(Denise McGaha in her Thrift Studio Vignette for Fall 2014)

So how can we support this worthy cause? Well this is Dwell with Dignity’s Fifth Anniversary so it’s a BIG year for them. And I couldn’t be more honored to help bring awareness to the amazing cause by chairing their signature fundraising event, Thrift Studio. The event is this Thursday. And if you don’t know what Thrift Studio is, it’s a Design-Lovers Dream with vignettes (mock rooms) created by several talented Dallas-area Designers like my friend Denise McGaha. Designers partner with local showrooms and vendors including some of my favorites like David Sutherland, ID Collection and Peacock Alley for gorgeous and dramatic results. Plus all the fabulous interior furnishings and decorations in the vignettes are for sale at CRAZY good prices with proceeds supporting Dwell with Dignity Projects.


So I hope you will join me this Thursday night in Dallas at Thrift Studio. You can buy tickets here. Be sure to get there early because it’s literally a shopping frenzy and you won’t want to miss out on many gorgeous finds for your home!

See you there! xo,








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Self-care Saturday: When Quitting is a Good Thing

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It’s been a long time since I have gone a week and a half without blogging. And I promise that I have so much that I want to say to you all every day. But blogging takes time. And I always think I am going to “wait until I can really focus on it”. And then (uh hum) 10 days later, here we are.

Did any of you see this recent article in the New York Times called “When Blogging Becomes a Slog”? It’s a really interesting article on the first real generation of design bloggers 5-7 years after starting their blogs that were life changing to say the least, and how many are burning out or having trouble keeping up with blogging when it doesn’t especially pay the bills but takes a ton of time and energy.


And if you hop over to Young House Love, the popular renovation/DIY blog that resulted in a new book and a recent appearance on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, you can see John and Sherry’s recent post about taking a break from blogging for at least a month and so far there are over 5000 comments from readers. WOW…5000 comments! And most of them supportive and saying things like “Life is short, enjoy your break”!


So today I want to talk about Quitting. And don’t get me wrong, I am SO not quitting this blog. I love blogging, even when I can’t do it as often as I would like. It feeds my soul. It’s a GREAT business tool and it’s the way to fill you all in on all the exciting things I am working on like my new collection with CR Laine Upholstery.

But I have to be honest and say that when I am not blogging, I am feeling a bit guilty that I am letting you, my readers, down. I feel like I am not living up to my promises. And then I think “WHY?” Why can my blog make me feel so good one day and so guilty the next?

Well I think it is partly due to our societal memes and life lessons that have been ingrained in us since we were kids. You know the saying…”Winners never quit and Quitters never Win”. But sometimes I believe the winning strategy is to quit. Or at least to take a break. Because there are far more important things in life than blogging 7 days a week sometimes, including our health, time with family and focusing on key business endeavors and clients that are responsible for our livelihood.

the dip

I love Seth Godin’s book called The Dip. Its a tiny little read about when to quit and quit fast or when to hang in there and see something through. Here’s a bit of what the book is really about…

“Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all.

And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip-a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.

What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead”

Interesting, isn’t it? So how many of you need to take a break because you’ve hit a dip with something in your life. And how many of you are in the proverbial “cul-de-sac” and it’s time to say good-bye for good to your hobby or job or endeavor?


Well if you are at a cross-roads of any kind, a quick read of The Dip might do you some good. Remember that quitting might be the most important form of self-care that there is. And at the very least, give yourself permission to take a break from things that aren’t working for you. Even if it’s just a short break. A break can replenish the soul and help you get clarity on exactly what you want to do with your time and your life.

Thanks for letting me take a few days away from the blog so I could focus on teaching Design A to Z, meet with clients in Dallas and be a part of the Dwell with Dignity charity Thrift Studio (our main event is next Thursday). I had a great, albeit busy, week in Big D. But I am happy to be back here with you on this Self-care Saturday.

Good Luck differentiating between those Dips and Cul-de-sacs in your life right now.


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