Posts Tagged ‘interior designer’

Why You Should Say No, and 5 Ways to Do It

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I have talked a lot about how important it is to say no to the “good” in order to make room for the “best.” But I wanted to dive a little deeper into that concept so that you really understand how important this is. Because I want you to start saying NO, and often!

Too often in my consulting business, I talk with creatives who let their clients cross professional boundaries. They give in on their fees, they give in when pushed about their hours, they take clients that their gut says won’t be ideal, and they take on too many commitments and responsibilities. In each of those cases, they should have said no.

There’s often a fear factor at work, a fear that the client won’t work with us if we don’t say yes to right now, a fear that we won’t get any other clients than the one in front of us, and a fear of missing a great opportunity. And we even tell ourselves that we’ll just give in this once, that we won’t do it again later. But once you let that guard down, it becomes far too easy to let it down again and again. It becomes a habit.

You know there are so many other times in your life when you should say no, too. Like when someone asks you to take on something big “just as a favor.” Or when you get an invitation to the 15th event this month and you’re already stretched to the max.

Yes, I know how hard it is to say no. Especially when a friend is asking the question. So here are a few ways to start practicing how to say NO so you feel more comfortable saying it during those critical times. First, ask for time. If you feel yourself cracking, say something like “I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.” That gives you time to build up your confidence and to remind yourself of why you need to say no.

Second, make a mental post-it note that you can refer to over and over. It could say “You are the CEO of your life and you cannot give in.” Or it could say, “Is this the right decision for my business? For my family?” Whenever you feel cornered, picture that post-it in your mind. You can even make one for your desk so you can look at it when you’re on the phone or answering an email request.

Third, don’t make it personal. You’re saying no to the request, not to the person. It isn’t rude or “mean” to say no to something. You aren’t obligated to fulfill every request someone makes of you. You’re a busy professional with a jam-packed life, others should understand that sometimes you won’t be able to say yes.

Fourth, remember that there is strength in standing firm. People often test your limits to see how far they can get. And many times they don’t actually respect someone they see as a pushover. You can even say something like: “I know we’re both strong-willed people, and I wish I could give on this, but I really can’t.”

Finally, practice saying no. You can use a friend or family member as a sounding board, as someone to practice with before you meet with that pushy client or family member. Just like giving in can become a habit, so can saying no.

Let me know when you’ve faced a decision where you stood firm and said no, or where you wished you had, in the comments section below. Remember that you’re saying no to the so-so to give you the time and energy to say YES to the fabulous clients and opportunities that are out there waiting for you!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Dreamy Living Room

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I used bright and bold colors in so many rooms of my fun farmhouse project that I knew I wanted the more formal living room to be a little soft and dreamy. So I toned down the palette with gray, lavender, and of course the aqua that is used throughout the house. The velvets and patterns still pay homage to the farm theme, but it’s a bit more sophisticated with those amazing French doors and the coffered ceiling. And don’t you just love that chandelier made from vintage milk bottles? That’s a nostalgic touch for this family that I knew they would appreciate.

Since this was a new construction project, we were able to add those architectural elements right from the beginning, and they really make that more formal statement in the room.

Here’s another up-close view of that fab ceiling!

The art helped set the tone for the room, with a more subtle and quiet look than some of the other rooms in the home. I used traditional furnishings, too, with updated forms like the sleek cocktail table to keep it from being too formal.

But the surprise in this room is where I hid the television. You can see the inset panel in the wall above where the TV was going to be housed.

In the “after” photo above, the television is hidden behind panels of art that are hinged to swing open! That keeps the TV out of sight until the family is ready to watch it. And aren’t those chairs fun? I love a good wing chair and I spruced these up with new fabric and a kicky lavender color.

What do you think about this serene living room? And what about that hidden TV? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

Tobi TV: 5 Tips for Faux Bois

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I usually have a firm policy of “Just Say No to Faux” – there is nothing like the real thing in most cases. But just like with any design rule, there’s always an exception.

For example, I love a good faux bois! What is faux bois? It’s French for “fake wood” which is exactly what it is, a fake wood or woodgrain. In fact, I love this design motif so much that I used it in one of my fabric designs for my Duralee collection!

The faux bois I used in the Jack and Jill bathroom for my Riverside Penthouse project is actually hand painted on the walls, giving this room a gorgeous textured look. Here are a few tips that tell you why I think faux bois is a real design winner:

Isn’t that a fun room? Let’s recap the fabulous faux bois ideas:

  1.  Faux bois brings in an element of nature, which makes everyone and everything feel fresh and alive.
  2. Faux bois gives the impression of texture that can really amp up a space.
  3. The woodgrain look is also gender neutral, and here I used it in neutral tones. So it works well with any color, and in any room.
  4. Try getting a local artist to hand paint your faux bois to keep your space budget-friendly.
  5. You don’t have to worry about the trendiness of faux bois, it’s a classic finish that is always in style!

So what do YOU think about this wood-like look? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

The CEO Mindset

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Whether you’re just starting out or have been in this business for years, we all know how stressful owning a design business can be. Not only are we the senior designers, but we’re the CEOs of the company. We have to handle the financials, the employees, our brands, our home life, and try to fit some designing in there somewhere.

Too many designers forget that this is a business, not a hobby. You have to commit to that idea – even if you may have started your business as a side job to begin with. You are the CEO of a company – say that to yourself over and over. Take it very seriously, or you won’t be successful.

It’s tough to be an entrepreneur and a small-business owner. Most of us get into this business by focusing on the parts we love – maybe for you it was a love of color, or the idea that you are transforming people’s homes with gorgeous interiors.

The part we don’t focus on, in most cases, is the enormous amount of hard work, of tough financial times, and of serious business management that it takes to be a CEO. So how can you act like a CEO? Here are a few things you must do:

  • You have to have a business plan. Do you have one?
  • You have to pay yourself – what business leader or CEO do you know that works basically for free?
  • You have to be clear on the goals you’ve set for your company and how you will achieve them.
  • And you must set financial benchmarks that your company has to hit to be profitable.

I can hear you saying: “Wait a minute, I just want to be creative and showcase my talents for the world. I don’t like all of the talk about working on financials or focusing on marketing. Where’s the fun in that?!” You’ll get to have fun in your business – but only if you aren’t constantly stressing about money or where your next client is coming from. And that takes hard work. It takes being a CEO.

In any business, creative or otherwise, a good 80% of your time will be spent on things that are not necessarily at the heart of the reason you started your company in the first place. Instead, you’ll be managing your business, working to attract new clients and customers, researching new revenue streams, and taking a hard look at your financials. If that doesn’t sound like something you can do, then you might want to think about working for another person or at a larger company.

Because these are the facts of owning a business. It is not a hobby or something that you can do halfheartedly. And yes, you can hire people to do some of that work, but that never excuses you from knowing every detail of your company at any given moment. YOU are the CEO.

I’m giving you this reality check because we need to take ourselves, and our business goals seriously. Think of yourself and your company as a start-up that is every bit as important as a Fortune 500 business. The CEO’s vision and commitment are critical to the path that gets a company onto that list – and your vision and commitment are critical to the success of your own company.

That is how you lead a company. That is how you act like a CEO.

Tell me what you think about these ideas in the comments section below! How do YOU take charge and lead your company?

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Cooking Up a Farmhouse Look

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My farmhouse project that was featured in April’s issue of Traditional Home sits on 1,000 acres of gorgeous land. And my clients come from a long line of farmers, too. So they wanted a look that fit the farm setting and would hold up to their kids, but would also be chic and colorful.

This was a completely new build from the ground up, so we were able to add all the function this big family needed, including lots of seating and hardworking materials.

I also wanted to create continuity with the rest of the house, particularly with the aqua color that can be found from the front door all the way through the rest of the home. And I included farmhouse touches that were fun and unique, like the little cow over the stove.

If you look past the workman here, you’ll see that lovely aqua shade in the dining room that I pulled through into the kitchen.

I used red and navy as complementary colors in the kitchen and breakfast nook, which tied in nicely to the adjoining family room you can see above.

And with such a big family, I wanted to be sure there was enough seating for everyone in the kitchen. You can see the beginnings of the bar in the cabinetry above, where I added some great stools once the kitchen was complete.

In the breakfast area, a collection of transferware and a braided rug add country touches, while the chinoiserie chairs and gorgeous chandelier keep the style quotient high.

What do you think of this country-chic kitchen? How do you honor your heritage or family in your home’s decor? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,