Before and After: Making an Entrance

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I love a good entrance, especially one that makes a fabulous first impression! The entry to a home is like an appetizer for the gorgeous rooms you’re about to see. So in my farmhouse project, recently featured in Traditional Home, I wanted to set the tone here for the rest of the home. This is a farmhouse, but it’s a chic one that’s family friendly, too. That’s why I did a checkerboard pattern on the entry floor instead of a rug – it’s a gorgeous design, but it’s also easier with kids running in and out all day.

This house was a new build, so I was able to add a lot of the traditional elements you might see in a much-older Southern farmhouse, like the molding details, and the fun oval window on the stairs. I love the shape, and it adds so much light.

And here is also where I started using the lovely aqua that you see throughout this home. It not only envelopes the front door, but it’s also painted on the ceiling of the front porch. A blue color on the porch ceiling is a big tradition in the South!

You can see here how I also introduced subtle farmhouse details, like gingham on the chair and stair runner, a traditional balustrade, and a vintage wooden horse.

This corner right behind the door will give guests a view into the dining room, too, so I wanted to give it a bit of punch and also tie the entry into the adjoining room’s decor.

I did that by introducing the chocolate brown that’s another signature color in this home’s palette. And I used a fabulous painting of an old farmhouse with a tin roof as a nod to the history of this family and their own modern-day farm.

What do you think of this fun entrance? And what does your home’s entry say to visitors? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

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Tobi TV: 5 Tips for Family-Friendly Gathering Spaces

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I love creating spaces where people can gather and visit…it must be the Southern girl in me! And in my farmhouse project – featured on the April cover of Traditional Home – I wanted to give my clients several family-friendly rooms that would be perfect for their large family gatherings!

I have a few tricks for making sure everyone in the family feels comfortable and welcome, and I put them together in a fun Tip Clip for Traditional Home, so let’s take a look:

See how just a few thoughtful touches can make all the difference in a family-friendly space? Let’s review those ideas one more time:

1. The biggest key is to be sure you have lots of seating that can accommodate everyone, including some fabulous swivel chairs that will let people watch TV and still have conversations with others in the room.

2. When you have a lot of kids, you know that games and toys can accumulate, right? So I like to provide cabinetry where those things can be tucked away when guests are expected.

3. Multifunctional furniture is a great way to welcome everyone – like a coffee table that adjusts from a drinks height to a game-table height!

4. Even in formal spaces like a living room you can keep things welcoming for little ones, like using family-friendly fabrics that can stand up to spills and messes. There’s no need to keep anyone out of a room like this!

5. To let your spaces move between entertaining and family time, you can hide the TV away behind a screen like the one I created with wall art. That lets the little ones know when TV time is over!

Try these tips in your home to make every family member feel welcome! And let me know what your ideas are for family-friendly spaces in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy

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This quote by Franklin Roosevelt is SO true, and something that I think about a lot. I recently had a consulting client tell me that she felt like such a failure because so many other designers had clients and were hugely successful with their businesses and she felt like they were in a totally different league. It was really paralyzing her from taking action towards her goals.  But when I asked her how exactly she knew that the other designers had so many clients and were “hugely successful,” she pointed to their social media and the posts that she was seeing there.

I have heard from so many designers who think they are a failure, and that everyone else out there is doing fantastically. They are comparing themselves to the perception of fame and fortune, but what is the reality? The reality is that everyone suffers failure in their businesses. Everyone – from the top of the heap on down. What you perceive to be a “huge success” could be just a designer trying to drum up more business for themselves.

Too often we are comparing ourselves with others, particularly those that from the outside look like they are rich, famous, in-demand, and busy. And I hope for all of our sakes, they are! But in reality they are likely facing the same business problems we are – maybe even on a grander scale and with more “zeros” behind the numbers.

In some ways social media has made all of this worse. Those fabulous posts from exotic trips on Instagram, the tweets about having lunch with a celebrity in our industry, and the Facebook posts about how amazing someone is – those can mislead us into thinking it’s all better for other people than it is for each one of us. I just want you to remember that you never know what’s going on behind the curtain, and that’s why it’s so dangerous for us to compare ourselves to others and to use that as a yardstick for our own success.

I’ve told you my history with failure and the stumbling blocks I’ve hit in my own business. Without those challenges, I honestly would not be where I am today. I had to fall down and learn how to pick myself back up. And I still face issues every single day – that’s the price of being a business owner.

But one thing that I do – or I should say that I DON’T do – is that I never compare myself and my business to someone else’s. I’ve seen too many designers who have fabulous public personas, but are really and truly struggling behind the scenes. On the flip side, there are plenty of others out there who are quietly making a lot of money while keeping out of the social media and publicity fray.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love social media. It has been largely responsible for helping me to build my brand and my business nationally and internationally. I love being inspired by others inside and outside of the design industry who are doing remarkable work and building very successful businesses. Seeing others success can often make me dig deeper to see what next steps are right for me. But it is honestly a waste of time to watch what other people are doing if you are going to let it unravel your plans and goals and if it is going to cause self-doubt and frustration to seep in. Social media never gives you the whole picture of what’s really going on behind the scenes. And comparing to this “version” of our industry for many people can wreck havoc on their business and personal success.

The other grass often looks greener from the side you’re standing on – but that doesn’t mean that what’s going on over on the other side of the fence is better or worse. It’s just different.

We can all have successes, we can all have great clients, and there’s room for all of us out there. But only if we are true to what our own individual business needs, if we work in our own personal “sweet spot” and only if we keep our eyes on our own prize – whatever that may be. Comparing yourself or your business to other people will only distract you from that.

So be careful looking around to see who you think is gaining or losing ground – just keep climbing for yourself. That’s what really matters.

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

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Tobi TV: 6 Ways to Rev Up with Red

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I’m known for using a lot of bold colors in my interiors, and in my farmhouse project on the cover of April’s issue of Traditional Home, I didn’t hold back! One of the colors that I used, and so many people seem to be afraid of, is bold red. And with America’s memorial day holiday just wrapping up, I love a reason to use a festive shade of red (and white and blue)!

There’s no reason to be afraid of this fabulous revved up color! In this Tip Clip I did for Traditional Home, I’ll give you my six best ideas for where and how to pop this bold color into YOUR home. Let’s take a look:

See what I mean? You don’t have to be afraid of this fabulously bright shade! Let’s review those tips:

1. If you’re nervous about such a bold color, bring in touches of red here and there, like changing out the knobs on your range or in small appliances like a gorgeous stand mixer.

2. Red can add a lot of interest to wake things up, like on stunning chairs in a breakfast room.

3. A kids craft area or playroom is the perfect place to experiment with bright color because it will also stimulate your little ones’ imaginations!

4. I love chic Americana, and it’s a great way to add pops of red, like in the vintage flag I used in my project.

5. Want to make a fashionable va-va-voom statement? Red is the go-to color for that – so I used it in a teen’s room to give it a great personality!

6. You can also tone things down and use a more rustic red in a bedroom. It still makes an impact, but in a quieter way.

So what do you think about my ideas for using red in your home? Do you love this bold color as much as I do? Let me know in the comments section below!

Colorfully yours,

 

 

 

 

 

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Tobi TV: 4 Tips for Lighting Up Your Home

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If there’s one thing that’s critical to your home’s functionality, it’s lighting! There are so many different needs and tasks for light in a home, and you know how frustrating it can be if you don’t have enough light in a room, right?

I like to have a great lighting plan for every project I design, and this farmhouse that’s featured in the April issue of Traditional Home was no different! It has the perfect mix of decorative and task lighting, and I have four tips that will help you light up your rooms, too, so let’s take a look:

1. You always want to have overhead fixtures to flood a room with light when you need it, and there are gorgeous designs from vintage to modern that will help you do just that.

2. You can also use your lamps and light fixtures to add even more color to your spaces, while also providing the perfect amount of light.

3. Task lighting is critical in places where you work, like a kitchen, study, or playroom. And you can also use this type of light fixture to shine a spotlight on your gorgeous art!

4. Sconces give you a chic way to light up hallways and staircases, giving you a safe passage through darker areas.

Use these ideas to light up your home – and let me know what your favorite bright ideas are in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

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