Tobi TV: Creating an Entryway with Style

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The entry really sets the tone for your entire home! It welcomes your guests and gives them clues for what lies beyond in your home, which is especially important during Thanksgiving and the holidays! I love to create bright and bold entries like the one in my office. It features a gorgeous blue sofa from C.R. Laine and a colorful painting by one of my favorite artists, Jane Booth.

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And in my previous home, I used a daring and graphic wallpaper by F. Schumacher to create a real statement, and to showcase the color story that continued right into my family room.

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To help you create the perfect entry in your own home, here are some of my best tips for designing a welcoming space:

Let’s recap those tips for creating an entry with style:

1. If you do go bold with your wall color, tone everything else down by using neutral trims and furnishings. Don’t let too many bright colors compete in such a small space.

2. For two-story entries, consider an overscaled wallpaper. It gives a grand appearance, but brings the scale down to a more normal height. Add in an amazing light fixture and a stair runner, and you’ll have an entry that is full of style!

3. Using the same color in all of your entry’s furnishings and accessories, like navy with white, gives a coordinated look that is classic and timeless.

4. If you want to create drama, use a bold and graphic wallcovering. That will definitely set the tone for your stylish home!

Use these tips to design an entry that has a “wow” factor and sets the mood for your guests over the holidays! Please share this video with your friends, and let me know what you’ve done to create an amazing entry to your home!

Until next time!









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Gifts for Home Bodies

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Surya pillow in raspberry and orange

Not only is the home my business as an interior designer, but MY home is my favorite place to be! I love to be there with my daughter and husband - we have so much fun at our new house, and though it’s not quite finished and ready for cooking big dinners for family or entertaining our friends, it will be soon. For now just having a quiet night on our own together is one of our favorite ways to settle in. This weekend when we’re full of Thanksgiving Turkey, we’ll be enjoying a warm fire and admiring our freshly decorated Christmas Tree at home. I might even have a few gifts wrapped and tucked underneath the tree.

Speaking of gifts, some of the best gifts for me – and the ones that I love to give – are for the home, like this bright and bold Surya pillow above! Oh how I love a graphic trellis pattern. Here are more of my favorite things for the home this holiday season that just might be perfect for people on your list:


Bright blue ramekins from Rachel Ray

There are about a million things I can think to cook in these beauties. Let’s see…individual Sweet Potato Casseroles sound delish! Yes, the recipe with the brown sugar praline topping. And cobalt is still my favorite color this year so it would be delicious on the inside and gorgeous on the outside.


Greek key patterned vase from Three Hands

Bet you’re surprised I would select something embellished with Greek key…NOT! And this piece is especially great because it’s Greek Key AND blue! A pair of them might look handsome on my new mantle.


Moscow Mule mug from Mikasa

When my friends come to Little Rock and stay out our fabulous Capital Hotel, they love drinking Moscow Mule’s in traditional copper mugs. Why not have some of these cooper beauties at home so you can have your favorite drink and not even leave the house? We might just have to ask the Capital to share their recipe.


Juliska dessert plates from Saks

I love all things Juliska. We eat from their whiteware each day at the office. And when Juliska meets a Toile or Transferware look I want to be the first person in line. And if these charming dessert plates are good enough for Saks Fifth Avenue…enough said! 
food52cake_612My favorite Jadeite, in a cake stand from Food52

I have this VERY Jadeite cake plate in 3 sizes and I have given one like it to lots of people in my life who love to bake. But even if you hate baking and are using this pretty stand to make your favorite bakery cake look impressive, who can resist it’s minty green color. It’s the perfect piece to take your favorite cakes to a new height!

As you can see, I LOVE to select gifts for the home! I have even more ideas on my pinboard – just click here to view it! What are your favorite gifts for home bodies? Tell me in the comments below.

Happy shopping, ya’ll!



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Mastermind Spotlight: Michelle Lynne

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Today, I want to introduce you to one of my newest Mastermind members, Michelle Lynne! Michelle started her design business, Michelle Lynne Interiors Group, in Dallas in 2008 and has really revved things up in the past year! She has a terrific niche – creating glamorously functional interiors for the busy professional – that comes from her nearly two decades of corporate management experience before she made the leap into full-time interior design.

“I can really relate to the necessity of having a retreat to come home to after hours and hours in an office every day,” she says. “Plus, if the house isn’t well thought out and diligently organized, what good is it? When you’re working such long hours, you don’t want to work at home trying to find your keys or anything else – everything has to have a place.”

Michelle Lynne

Michelle says that her greatest triumph in 2014 has been re-branding and re-defining the business. “2013 was challenging, to say the least. So in 2014, I really dug in to the identity of the firm, analyzed the financials – and focused on streamlining the areas that result in the highest profitability,” Michelle says. Her biggest challenge, she says, has been recovering and re-inventing her business instead of being able to dive head first into her design work.

“I am so incredibly grateful that my staff is wickedly smart and talented and hard working and trustworthy – and just overall lovely people I enjoy being around,” Michelle says. “From the business standpoint, I couldn’t have made it through the difficult 2013 and recovery in 2014 without them. In fact, we’re looking at a record-setting 2014, so I think we are onto something!”

She says her biggest “a-ha” moment in Mastermind was realizing what her assets are, and appreciating them. “My experience in corporate america IS a huge benefit to my clients,” she says. “I was insecure about my lack of classical interior design education. I really got the ‘a-ha’ from Tobi that my business experience, management skills, and financial savvy are all a value to my clients who would otherwise be dealing with a solely ‘creative’ designer. So now I brag about my business brilliance.”

Michelle’s business goals for 2015 are to continue up-leveling her business’s service so it can continue to increase the value to her clients – and her profitability. “Providing a step-by-step defined process while giving our clients an experience is what I’m most excited about,” she says. “The foundation should be solid in 2015 so I can start implementing some of the genius takeaways I’ve received via Mastermind.”3824PalloVerdasDrive-Dallas-TX

Her favorite things to do offline these days include catching up on sleep and running, and she says she has her work-life balance down to a science. “I work before The Handsome Hubs wakes up, go into the office after I’ve seen him off, and then when I come home, I leave my work at the office,” she says.  “There are exceptions, but when I tell the Hubs that I’m working on a $100K presentation and need to stay up late, take a call, etc., he gets it. I think he just has flashbacks of 2013 and doesn’t bat an eye. Additionally, I took up running this year – completed a couple of half marathons this spring – and have enjoyed the time that I’m thinking about dying of exhaustion on the side of the road instead of anything related to work.”

Michelle is really a go-getter, right? I need to take cues from her to get my work-life balance back in check! If you’re in that corporate rat race and need someone to create a sanctuary to come home to, she’s the person to call! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know her!

Happy Weekend Y’all! xo,








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New House Diary: The Living Room Floorplan

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New House Diary It’s time to tackle the floorplan and furniture layout for my living room. Take a look at the space as-is below. The living room is on the far left side of the floorplan. floorplan And here are my ideas for laying out the furniture in this large family gathering space… living room floorplan I will make a couple of architectural changes including closing the door from the dining room and opening up a double door from the dining into the hallway. That will allow me to design new cabinets on either side of the front window deep enough to hold our AV equipment. IMG_8662 There is also an opening from the bar to the living and I will be closing that space to allow for a sofa with a great piece of art to go above. And I will have an arched opening to the bar in the hallway. (There’s that lovely paneling again!) IMG_8660 My husband’s large TV (65 inches) will be over the mantle. Eek!  But I have a few ideas on how to disguise it when I don’t want my Living Room to look like a movie theater. I’ll give you a look at that in the next New House Diary. And in case you are wondering, I will be covering up the brick. I like brick, but it’s more casual than the look I’m going for. So as you can see in my sketch above, I plan for a lot of furniture in this space. The great thing about living in a home before you remodel it is that I have already arranged many of my existing pieces in the layout above and they work perfectly. Even the chair that looks like it’s blocking the double door to the sunroom, actually fits great with plenty of room to travel around it and use the door. cityapt1_01_large

(Mariette Himes Gomez)

I love having multiple furniture groupings for ample seating for holidays and entertaining. I am inspired by designers like Mariette Himes Gomez who are skilled at creating similar furniture layouts with multiple seating areas like the room above. Here is another of my favorite of Mariette’s Spaces for Inspiration. 8193b7c5a4c9e3b8544de58bf30d4186

(Mariette Himes Gomez via Architectural Digest)

So what do you think? I have an advantage because I can already see the furniture layout in person. Trust me, it’s perfect! Please do leave me a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear your input. See you next time on New House Diary!










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Which Would You Choose: Exposed Beams or Applied Molding?

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(Design by Ashley Whittaker via House Beautiful)

Things are looking up this week in my living room – well, at least we’re looking up for our next decision! That’s right, it’s time to talk about those beams in the ceiling of my living room. I LOVE the look of these painted beams. Very little contrast with the ceiling but they add dimension and interest.

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(Room designed by Anna Lattimore)

I could leave the beams as they are, which is dark like these but not quite as rustic. Or maybe by adding a little paint, or refinishing them with a different stain they could look unique and charming. Either way (painted or stained), exposed beams can add a nice touch of architectural detailing to a living room!


(Jean-Louis Deniot)

Or should I try a different ceiling treatment that’s a bit more elegant, like applied molding? Adding molding in gorgeous patterns adds a tone-on-tone depth and interest to that “fifth wall.” And the beams in my ceiling are decorative, so they are not necessary from a structural standpoint. The painted fretwork option above is SO gorgeous!


(Design by Thomas Pheasant)

And oh how I love this more simple geometric ceiling pattern by design great, Thomas Pheasant! Timeless simplicity at its best.


(Richard Hallberg Interiors)

But I also love the more natural coffered ceiling above, too. The grayish tone could be perfect with the color palette I am leaning towards in this space. So which would you choose – exposed beams or applied molding? Painted or stained? Tell me in the comments section below! As you can see, I have a LOT of decisions to make in this new living room! And pretty soon I will reveal some of my selections for the spaces we have talked about so far!









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