Posts Tagged ‘books’

6 Things That Add Personality To Your Home

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The one thing that I want for all of my clients is to design a space that really fits their personalities – that is a showcase for who they are. We can do that with the colors, patterns, and styles that they love, but nothing adds a uniqueness to a room more than things that really are personal to the people living there! So here are my top 6 tips to help you add that personality to your home!


1. Original art. Art is a very subjective thing – one person viewing it can feel completely different about than another person who’s also looking at it. That’s what makes it personal! If you love a piece of original art – no matter who did it or how much it costs – then you should use it in your decor. Sometimes that piece of art can be the jumping-off point for the color palette of the room, too, like in the space I designed above. And remember, you can also use other forms of art, like sculptures, textile art, and more.


2. Things that you collect. I absolutely love my collections of jadeite and glass grapes – they mean a lot to me. If you collect something that you love, then show it off. Grouping those items together can make a style statement all their own, so think about clever ways to display those collections you love.


3. Books and more books. I read a lot – and I have a lot of books to prove it! I display my books on tables and shelves, and they really add color and a uniqueness to a space. But don’t just buy a bunch of books to put out in your home. Only choose titles that you really want to read – that’s the only way to show who YOU are and what you love!


4. Things from your travels. There’s nothing that will take you right back to that fabulous getaway than a memento or something that you purchased from a local artisan! Showcase that piece of Venetian glass, or the woven baskets from that small village – they are so much better than some mass-produced knick knack for adding your stamp to a room.


5. Custom creations. I create custom looks all the time for my clients, like bespoke sofas or a one-of-a-kind finish on the walls. There won’t be another one like it in their neighborhood, that’s for sure! So consider how you can create something that’s all yours – like the silhouettes I designed above of my client’s children.


6. A dash of fun. Consider this your permission to go a little crazy! Try something new and experiment with the fun factor. A little whimsy goes a long way in adding personality, that’s why I created a simple black border and a fun wall pattern in this little girl’s nursery. It’s fun, and it’s different!

Adding personality to your spaces not only makes them unique, but it’s magical to live in rooms that are filled with things that make you happy, or that remind you of a trip or someone you love! What do you think? What would you add to your home to make it your own? Let me know in the comments section below!







7 Ways to Design Wonderful Window Seats

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As designers, we’re sometimes confronted with architectural details of a home that either can’t be changed, or that the owner doesn’t want to change. So we learn how to make the most of what we have. One of those architectural issues is what to do with a dormer window – they look awesome on the outside, but give you a sliver of a space on the inside. Here are my tips for making the most of these small nooks with functional window seats:


1. Create a desk area. Flip the idea of a window seat on its head and put a desk into the nook like I did in the girl’s room I designed above! It creates a great space for homework, and with a great view to boot.


2. Design a reading nook. I love how my friend and fellow designer Jenny Tamplin used a lot of pattern and pillows to make a comfy and stylish seat on her landing, perfect for curling up with a good book.


3. Give it a hidden talent. It’s great to have an extra place to sit, but storage is even better, especially in a bedroom. I love to add drawers to that extra space under a window!


4. Work it. By adding a small table in front of this window seat, I created a little work space for a preteen girl. She’s also got storage and plugs, perfect for working on her iPad or listening to music on her phone.


5. Check out. If you have a larger window space, considering adding shelves, lighting, and a lot of comfort for your own personal home library, like I did in the photo above!


6. Sleep on it. Or if you have the space, tuck a bed into the window area, like I did in this boy’s room! The bonus for this space was it opened up a lot of room for a desk and other furnishings when I didn’t have to try to fit a bed in the room, too.


7. Add even MORE seating. In the nursery above, I tucked storage ottomans under the window seat, perfect for storing toys, and for giving visiting family members even more places to park.

So what do you think of these window seat ideas? Do you have a great idea for that space? Let me know in the comments section below!







Must Read Business Books

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I love to read! I have my Kindle out on every trip and at just about every free moment. And my go-to books are almost always selections that are empowering and about business, or about personal growth. I’m asked so often about my favorite business books and there are so many that it’s hard to name just a few. Plus each year as I read new books, I add more and more to my list of favorites.

But just in case you’ve missed reading any of these, I thought I’d give you a list of a few of my “must reads”. Let’s take a look.

Start with Why,
by Simon Sinek. This is a book that I refer to constantly in my courses and live events. It gets right to the core of each one of us by asking a simple question: Why? Why do you want to go to work? Why do you want to own your own business? Why do you get out of bed every day? The answer can’t just be money – it has to be deeper than that. There has to be a passion, a deep reason that we each decided to do what we’re doing. If you recognize what your “why” is, and you keep that constantly as your focus, you will succeed!

weWorth Every Penny, by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck. This isn’t a book that you just go through once and then put on a shelf – it’s the type that you’ll refer to over and over again. It lays out exactly how you can (and should!) charge what you’re worth. And it focuses on the idea that you should never compete on price, but instead should offer something unique and make your customer service completely over-the-top and consistent. A must-read for any small business owner.


Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. There’s a reason why this book by Facebook’s COO got so much attention – it’s a game changer for women in business. Sandberg reminds women that we need to lean in instead of pulling back in business, that we need to stop thinking it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, as powerful (or more) than men. And she says that women must raise our expectations of what we can achieve! This is an honest and straightforward book that redefines what and who women can be in the business world.


Rising Strong, by Brene Brown. You may not think of this as a traditional business book, but for me, it really is. Brown writes about failure in a different way than most books and blogs have. She not only recognizes that each one of us has failed, but that we will fail again soon. But it’s how we react AFTER failing that’s the key, she believes. She points out that we all have to be brave to fail – that we have to have the courage to try something new before we can fail at all.  Once we see that, it takes the fear out of failure and shows us we can “rise strong.”


The 10x Rule, by Grant Cardone. I’ve used Cardone’s “massive action” approach to really propel my own business, so I know it works. The idea is that you should apply 10 times the effort to whatever your goal is. You have to move beyond normal action to separate yourself and your company from everyone else! You must set big goals – 10 times bigger – and then increase your amount of action and effort to get there. Most people settle for less, and that’s why they don’t achieve their dreams.


The Confidence Code, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. I’ve talked a lot on this blog about confidence – I really believe that it’s a problem for so many in business, and it’s really holding people back from getting what they want–particularly women. This is a practical guide that tells women how we can up our confidence quotient through less people pleasing and perfectionism and by taking more action and risks, and by failing. Because through all of that, you learn that you can survive, and thrive!

What are your favorite business books? What do you read that inspires and empowers you? Let me know in the comments section below – I’m always looking for something to read!







Tobi TV: Top 3 Tips for Using Books as Decor

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It’s Tobi TV and today we are talking about books – one of my favorite topics!


I get a lot of questions about my design and architecture book collections and all my novels covered in paper, and why I have both in my home. The collection is classic and useful and the covered books are trendy but the truth is that I still love them both even though many people think the covered book trend has run its course.

And as I always say when talking trends, if you love it, then do it…even if other people think it’s passé. Be confident! So I’m holding on to both versions of books in my home, at least for now.

Take a look at today’s Tobi TV episode. In it, I talk about where and why I incorporate both types in my living room and how to make this work for you.

Let’s review those top 3 tips on decorating with books:

1. Any collection makes your home uniquely YOU. When using a collection of books that you truly love to decorate your home, you create a win-win because they are both beautiful and functional.

2. If you are going for a warm, eclectic, traditional, or cozy space, surrounding yourself with all sorts of books and their handsome jackets or covers adds to the comfort and interest in the space.

3. If your books are random, hodge-podge, or a compilation of paperback and hardback that really cheapen or distract from your interior design, consider covering them. It creates a restful, soft, and modern presentation of your beloved tomes.


In my previous house I used both. What do you think? Do you love books as decor in your home? Are you really a reader or are they just an accessory? And are you a traditionalist who wants all your books in their purest form or do you still love covered books for a cleaner and more edited look?

Do tell! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this episode of Tobi TV and how you prefer your books.


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For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!

10 Steps to the Perfect Guest Room

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I love to entertain overnight guests – and I’ve enjoyed planning the guest bedroom in my new house during my renovation! By summer my guest room will be ready for visitors. And there are so many ways to really make your guests feel comfortable and cared for, so today I’m going to give you my 10 best tips for a hotel-worthy guest room.

1. The absolutely most important thing in a guest bedroom is the bed, of course. Too many people just plop their oldest mattress in this room like an afterthought. But it’s important to have a really good mattress for your guests, too, so give them a fabulous night’s sleep when they’re staying with you! If you can’t buy a brand new fancy mattress for this space, try adding padded or down-covered mattress pads, foam mattress covers, or even feather beds to make your guests extra comfortable when staying the night.

2. Linens are also critical. You don’t have to have Egyptian cotton, or some particular thread count, but you should buy the best you can get for your budget. There are several high thread count (and very soft) sheet sets at Target. My favorite sheets are actually by SDH and made of Italian Wood Fiber (called Cellulose). It’s softer than silk, but isn’t slippery.

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3. Pillows are very important, especially to me. The pillows definitely make or break a hotel or sleeping experience in my opinion. So you want to have a selection on the bed and maybe some options on a shelf in the closet. I am a down pillow gal myself, but some people are allergic to down or even down blends, so have several types on hand. And it’s good to offer soft and firm options, like the best boutique hotels! You don’t want your guests having neck and back pain all weekend long.

4. Having a bench at the end of the bed, or a stool in the room, is a great touch. It works like a luggage rack, giving guests a place to set their bags, and it’s great when they need to sit down when putting on their shoes.

5. I also like to have a chair in the guest bedroom, if space allows. Guests may want to read or just relax before bed without getting in the bed – so give them a great upholstered chair for their room.

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6. A cozy blanket or throw is a great addition for your guest room – they can use it on the bed if they need extra warmth, or they can wrap up in it while reading in the chair. Make them feel cozy and at home! If you want to go the extra mile, you might consider a down comforter, too. Some people prefer the weight of a duvet when getting cozy.

7. A guest room also needs great light control. First I love natural light in a bedroom, so if your home has great windows that’s a big bonus! But you’ll want window treatments with blackout lining so the natural light doesn’t keep guests awake or wake them too early. And be sure there is a working overhead lighting fixture (preferably on a dimmer) for when guests need brighter light – like to tell if their socks are black or blue. But also layer in several lamps in the space for ambient lighting in the evening. I like to have bedside lamps or swing-arm lamps for those who want to read in bed, and also a lamp beside the chair or on a chest is a great and functional addition. Oh, and don’t forget a nightlight so guests can see if they get up during the night.

8. A stack of magazines and books is a nice touch for a guest room. Give your guests great reading material for the evenings, or for down time during their visit.

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9. Fresh flowers are one of the nicest ways to say “welcome” to your guests! This is really essential to a guest room in my house because they are pretty and they smell great.

10. A final perfect touch if you have the space is a coffee station and plenty of water – either in bottles or a carafe. Some guests may rise much earlier than you do, so this is a great way to let them start their day whenever they like without having to head down to the kitchen in their PJs! And I always include a few snacks in case they get hungry. You know a good Southern hostess never lets a guest go hungry.

So try these ideas to make your guest room work like a fabulous boutique hotel. And you can even take it further like providing the code to your wi-fi, adding a fabulous smelling candle and matches, including a basket of essentials like fluffy towels or a robe, and you might include a few necessities in case they forgot them like an extra toothbrush, deodorant, or a disposable razor. I love going the extra mile to make those staying in my home feel loved!

So what do you do in your home to welcome guests? Let me know in the comments section below!







Love these ideas? Shop my picks for making your guest room extra special…