Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Tobi TV: Fab 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 might just be using it as the inspiration for one of my upcoming fabrics for Duralee!

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The faux bois I used in the Jack and Jill bathroom in 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 below!







Behind the Design – Home & Garden Extra

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Lake Ouachita in Arkansas is absolutely gorgeous!  I was so thrilled when I got the chance to design a vacation home overlooking this natural gem.  You’ve seen the house in this month’s Home & Garden feature and you saw the Before and After post.  Now I take you a little deeper.  I thought I’d share some of the surrounding scenery and also share some of my sources that made this project a gem itself.

1  Custom Cabinetry with Lightsmith wood grilles    2  Turned White Table Lamp by Barbara Cosgrove    3 Exposed Wood Wing Chair by Hickory Chair, River in Chocolate Fabric by Lulu DK    4  Broadacre Bound Carpet by Masland

Guest Room

1  Walls in SW6114 Bagel by Sherwin-Williams    2  Landscape Plan by Soicher-Marin    3  Lichfield Chest by Somerset Bay    4  Catalina Poster Bed by Somerset Bay

1  Newfoundland in Foilage by Fabricut    2  Tulah Shams by Lulu DK for Matouk    3 Hepburn Duvet by Lulu DK for Matouk    4  Upholstered Bed by Stanley

Natural Inspirations with Alaina of Rue Magazine

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Today we have our third of four posts from the lovely ladies of Rue Magazine.  From the woods to the beach, we’ve been talking all things camping and outdoors in honor of my Design Summer Camp and today is a fun take on nature-themed entertaining.  This post comes from Alaina ( pictured above with Crystal and me), who I had the pleasure of meeting recently in her home town of Chicago.  Alaina writes the great blog Live Creating Yourself so be sure to check it out. But for now, enjoy her lovely post on entertaining with the outdoors in mind.

Thank you so much, Tobi, for including the Rue team on your blog this week! I wanted to share my sister’s bridal shower with your readers, a small event that was heavily inspired by nature. My sister, Andrea, is getting married on the beach in Michigan this Sunday. So for her shower, my mom, sister-in-law, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of natural elements, unfussy flower arrangements, and the beach motif, all while keeping it elegant at the same time.

We held the shower at my mom’s house, rented the tables and chairs, borrowed a few serving dishes (green depression ware), and kept the gathering short, simple, and sweet.

For the centerpieces, we went to my mom’s neighbor who happens to do this for a living. We asked her to use these garden-inspired urns, and all of the flowers you see were pulled from her own garden!
We served cocktails and hors d’œuvres on the oversized screened-in porch, which has always been my family’s favorite room in the house. Over the years, my mom avoided adding living room type furniture to this space in an attempt to keep it outdoorsy. No rug. No lounge furniture. No couch. No coffee table. No overhead lighting, even. We only ever sit out here with candle light come nightfall. The porch is elevated about 4-5 feet above the back yard, so my mom affectionately refers to this as her “adult tree house.”
Guests enjoyed a view of the yard and the garden while sipping on wine. We used seven tall drinking glasses as vases and placed individual stems of white ranunculus in each.
More flowers were brought in and placed on the mantel, and many of the gifts were wrapped in decorative green paper.
We used green depression glass to serve the white dragées and croissants on the tables.
To bring in more color and natural elements, butter pads were placed on oversized leaves, which were then placed on simple white dishes.
Even the meal was colorful and inspired by nature! We served salads complete with an array of fresh, natural ingredients: avocados, grape tomatoes, roasted almonds, grilled corn, goat cheese, and grilled organic chicken.
A local bakery, Toni’s, created the simple white chocolate mousse cake. They placed an arrangement of fondant shells and starfish on top and a green ribbon (also made of fondant) around the bottom.
Guests departed with shell-shaped sugar cookies, also from Toni’s, complete with an A&P for Andrea and Paul.
That’s all folks! One elegant, nature-inspired soirée!

Virtual Design Summer Camp Counselor: Julia Buckingham Edelmann

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I’m happy to introduce you to a wonderful designer friend for this week’s virtual camp counselor.  Julia Buckingham Edelmann is the owner of Buckingham Interiors + Design on Chicago’s hip west side as well as the Chicago contributor for the fabulous Material Girls blog.  You should check out the post on Plush Palate about her amazing new design studio.

TF: Thanks for being a camp counselor at Design Summer Camp!  We here are at Camp Tobi are geared up about this adventure!

JBE:  Thank you for inviting me along for the adventure!

TF:  I thought we could start out with a few camp inspired questions.  Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

JBE:  Yes, not only did I attend a summer camp all of my own, but I even attended my brother’s Boy Scout camp in Northern Wisconsin during “Family Weekend.”  After attending Girl Scout camp, this was a bit more fun. 

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

TF:  Is there anything you remember about summer camp that inspires you today?

JBE:  I recall a weekly ritual that occurred at day-break called “Frigid Friday.”  As the steam was rising off the camp lake, when the cold water met the warmer air, we would run to the lake and plunge under the icy water.  It’s this same sensation of going for it unabashedly that has allowed me to challenge myself and fill each of my client project’s with a sense of whimsy in every space.  Sometimes risk can carry an unbelievably beautiful outcome!

TF:  What types of inspiration do you draw from the outdoors in the course of your interior design work?

JBE:  When I started collecting antique objects and artifacts for my Cincinnati antiques store, the Botanic Garden and the NYC Armory Antiques Fairs (and now my showroom) people used to kid me about stocking up on so many wooden and organic pieces!  I just found so much beauty in each piece of naturally worn wood and a sense of awe in the beauty of each piece of nature, whether it is a cactus spine, a worn wooden bowl or even a framed herbarium.  When infusing a space with one of these elements, it seems to add a sense of calm.  I do this often, using repurposed elements as pieces of modern art.

Photo from re-nest

Photo from re-nest

 Repurposed Pallet Adirondack Chair by re-nest

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

TF:  Do you have a favorite iconic rustic interior?

JBE:  Axel Vervoordt’s Kanaal

Photo from

TF:  What are your favorite nature-inspired trends and/or products?

JBE:  I adore mixing an unusually colored hide with a highly textured neutral fabric, perhaps even a pop of metallic leather, next to the hide on upholstered pieces.  I may also add into the mix a natural leather piping in an unexpected bright color for a final dose of surprise.

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

TF:  What’s a favorite paint color inspired by the natural world?

I am wild about Benjamin Moore’s Shale.  It is oh-so-lovely and perfect for a painted piece of furniture or bookshelves, and of course on the wall.

Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee

TF:  What’s your take on animal mounts?  How do you feel about the current faux mounts in wood, gilding, etc.?

I much prefer anything faux when it comes to animal mounts.  I have a large tortoise shell hanging in my family room that gets a lot of attention – and not good attention – until I ask people to touch it, and they find out that it is made of fiberglass!

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

Photo courtesy of Buckingham I+D

TF:  What current designer who relates their designs to nature inspires you?

JBE:  Vicente Wolf, Tucker Robbins, Kelly Hoppen

 TF:  How do you like to rough it?  Tent or cabin?  Or can you not live without 5-star room service?

JBE:  Oh, no surprises here… How about a tent or cabin within a 5-star resort?

Photo from

Knai Bang Chatt Resort, Cambodia

Natural Inspiration: Crystal from Rue Magazine

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I am so lucky to have the talented Crystal Gentilello from the Plush Palate blog and founder of the forthcoming rue magazine joining us for a Design Camp Post today. So without further adieu, here’s Crystal…

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been spoiled when it comes to the beautiful outdoors. Peaks of snow-capped mountains, patches of pine trees, and big glistening lakes line the valley of my childhood memories. But in truth, my fascination has always been for the indoors, not the sprawling lands of open space. So today I’m sharing a few favorite interiors inspired by nature and devoted to its praise.

Seating, such an important element in any home, cradles our tired bodies and provides opportunities for rest. With its relaxed recline and pretty triangular lines, why not envelop yourself in this quintessential camping chair: the butterfly. It’s the perfect touch of casual for any home.

Or step away from the campground inspired chair in favor of one that hangs from the sky. Reminiscent of a treehouse swing, these add whimsy and fun to your day.

Thank goodness we don’t actually have to be in a hot, mosquito infested jungle to use a mosquito net. They’re perfectly pretty and completely charming wherever you live. Hang one over your bed and be transported to places more exotic than your own at night.

Or, when the temperatures drop and the nights get breezy, cozy up under a big stack of campfire worthy blankets. They’re rugged and warm, outdoorsy and durable — in short, all you’d ever need to combat the nighttime chills.

Of course, what home inspired by the outdoors would be complete without wood…lots and lots of wood. Introducing this natural element into your space brings instant warmth and a down to earth sensibility hard to resist.

We can’t forget about the all important, ever essential art story in your home — be it figuratively with an abstract photograph of greenery or literally by hanging cactus leaves on your wall. Either way, motifs of nature never looked lovelier.

And finally, let’s not forget that the lines between inside and out should blend seamlessly at all time. What better way to do this than by opening up a wall to create easy flow between the two. After all, the best home, in my opinion, is one that takes hints from the beautiful outdoors and embraces its abundant and wonderful charms.