Archive for the ‘Entertaining Ideas’ Category

A Toast to the Cocktail Hour

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There is an appreciation for fine spirits and creative cocktails today like never before, and that joie de vivre is finding its way into the home with requests for built-in bars, bar cabinets, and more! The bar cart has been a craze now for several years but people are moving beyond the portable cart or even the single wine cabinet or beer fridge to everything from racks for perfectly storing liqueurs to great storage for all sizes and shapes of cocktail glasses.


In my client’s home above, I built a bar into the media room that would not only serve snacks to the younger members of the home, but would also provide a gathering spot for adults in the evening for cocktail hour.

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And in this master bedroom suite I designed for the Hamptons Showhouse, I added a bar cabinet with a sink and hidden refrigerator. I love that the homeowners could use this as a coffee bar in the morning, and a great place to get a glass of wine and unwind at the end of the day.


And just this morning in my own home remodel when I stopped by to check the demolition progress, they were ripping out the old, dated 1970’s bar with a pass through shown above and that area will soon become a fabulous and beautiful full-service wet bar with all the modern conveniences of the best in-home bar you can imagine. Here’s a look at one of the elevations…

bar elevation

And of course it’s the finishes, colors and details I have selected that will make this wet bar really something to drink to! I’ll give you a hint…there’s wallpaper and lacquer paint going in this chic space.



But you don’t have to make a “built in” commitment to create a stocked bar in your home. There are many amazing cabinets and carts on the market that can be gorgeous additions to your decor, like the Lotus Cabinet from Century Furniture in my favorite signature green color.


For a cart that wheels into any room or even outdoors and is a bit more subtle for any decor, this is a fun design from Global Views. Add your best glassware and some fabulous hors d’oeuvres and you have a party ready to happen!

So how about you? Have you gained a new appreciation for the cocktail in recent years? And if so, I want to know what’s your favorite drink and is a built-in or portable bar part of your home’s wish list?









It’s My Birthday…Let’s Celebrate!

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It’s my birthday. Yippee! A day for celebrating all the many blessings in my life. 42 years worth of blessings to be exact.


Today I get to celebrate with my 2 favorite girls in the world – my daughter and my mom. We have a lunch date. What a treat! Yes, time with these lovely ladies will be good for me. A day filled with love, laughter, and fun. What more could this birthday girl ask for?!?!


The older I get, the more I love my life and the more I appreciate it. I say this every year, but I am happier today than at any other time in my life. With age comes confidence and calm – two things we can all use more of.


Yes, age is just a number and life is privilege. A privilege worth celebrating!


So this afternoon I will be celebrating AND keeping calm while relaxing at the spa. I happen to think massages are better than cake!

See you all tomorrow. You’ll recognized me as the girl who is older, wiser, and very relaxed. 😉


Tobi Signature

Summertime and the Living is Easy

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Well it is officially Summer at my house. My daughter finished the second grade today so Summer vacation begins.


I am particularly excited about Summer this year. Last Summer, I worked incessantly and promised myself and my daughter that wouldn’t happen again. So this year I am practicing what I preach and using the next 3 months to REALLY slow down, care for myself and for her, and I’m finally kicking my addiction to speed. Easy Living, here I come!


I think I have told you all how much I love The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. But that hasn’t always been the case. When I first heard of the book I was at the height of my “workaholism” and found the thought of a 4 hour work week both ridiculous and absurd. But thanks to some epiphanies about self care, slowing down, and getting my priorities straight, I now really value the concept of making work happen in as few hours as possible so I can get on to the things that really fill my cup.


One idea in particular that I am striving for in my life thanks to Tim is the idea of  separation of work time and free time, specifically with regard to time with friends. I essentially worked myself out of many of my friendships in my thirties and now I am excited to rekindle some old relationships and make some new ones during these summer months.

Pure Vegan

I will be taking Tim’s 4 Hour Work Week advice and bringing some “Slow Meals” into my life. Meaning meals or cocktails with friends that last for 2-3 hours and often include five or more people so that you really connect and relax on a different level. It’s an experience that speed just doesn’t allow for. I can’t remember when I made this a priority in my life (if ever) and the bonus is that I will get brownie points with both my hubby and my daughter because they are social butterflies. They get so much energy and pleasure from connecting with friends and that is a gift I can’t wait to give them.


So even though my post today is a bit more about life than design, I hope you see I am designing a life of balance that helps me be my best during these summer months and that I intend to bottle and take with me through the rest of the year.  And hopefully you are as inspired as I am by these “Slow Living” photos to relax, connect with those you love, and live a little easier this Summer. Because as we all know, life is short and it’s time to stop and smell the roses hydrangeas.


I think I’ll even cut a few and make a centerpiece to enjoy with friends.

Happy Summer!


Tobi Signature


Fortunata means “luck”: Fab Ceramics and a Giveaway!

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You already know how much I love sharing the scoop on my favorite vendors with you and hosting GREAT giveaways that allow YOU to enjoy their fabulous products!



Well, today I’m thrilled to feature Fortunata. They are a very unique company that specializes in creating lovely, hand-made Italian ceramics.


It is the versatility of their many different product lines that really amazes me. And to show you the variety of ways Fortunata’s great-looking dinnerware can work just gorgeously as part of your decor, I’ve teamed up with one of my friends, Kathryn Greeley (who is widely known for her exquisite table settings), and we have both created very different looks with Fortunata dinnerware. To see what Kathryn has done with her tabletop, visit her blog today!

To create my Fortunata table, I started with table settings and serving pieces from Fortunata’s Festa line, in colors Blanco and Azzure (the white and aqua).


I displayed the table settings against a rich brown table cloth to add some warmth, and I used my Faux Bois fabric in chocolate brown for the napkins to add a fun and funky design detail! It went perfectly with the look.

We used a great floral centerpiece and added some pretty, green lanterns to give the table a touch more color.

Do you like the result?

Now for the giveaway item!! Fortunata is giving one “lucky” reader a Blanco pasta bowl (will be white, though the photo is in Honey) and an Azzure square baker (will be aqua through the photo is in Ivory)!!


How can you not love these?! They would look great in any kitchen. Comment on this post and on Kathy’s post, and you will have a chance to win these beauties!

Comments entered by noon on Friday, December 21 at noon will be entered to win!

Holiday Inspiration from DIFFA Dining By Design at Masin’s in Bellevue, Washington

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So yesterday I gave you a peek into my lobby re-design for Masin’s Furniture and Design for the Fall DIFFA Dining by Design Northeast Event.

Today I am bringing you a look at my table design for the DIFFA Event. Though this decor would work anytime of year, I think all the red could be great inspiration for your Holiday Tabletop.

Being that DIFFA stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, I thought it would be fun to incorporate the red ribbon that is symbolic of the fight against AIDS into my design.

With that in mind, I created centerpieces by filling clear cylinders with bolts of red ribbon and then filled an inner cylinder with white tulips.

Since there would not be actual guests dining at my table, I created a more symbolic concept that was meant to have a deeper meaning and reference to the fight against AIDS. Because AIDS affects everyone, my place cards were for “Mom”, “Dad”, “Brother”, “Sister”, “Me”, and “You” with a red grosgrain detail through each.

And instead of real menu cards since there was no real menu, I decided to include “Recipes for Life” with quotes on giving back and loving one another like “the purpose of life is a life of purpose” and “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something” and “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.

And inside my favor boxes at each place, guess what I included? Nothing…that’s right, each box was empty but it represented an intangible–Life. This was to represent the “Gift of Life” and that by giving to DIFFA, lives can be saved and specifically in the Seattle area the lives of children affected by AIDS are being saved.  With the money raised at this and previous DIFFA Northeast events, children of AIDS victims who have very ill parents or no parents to give them food, clothing, and shelter have been cared for and their lives have truly been saved. So the gift of life is not just for those suffering from the disease, but the many children of those suffering that are the innocent victims of this horrible disease.  As a mom, that was probably the best part of this whole event for me.  I felt so happy knowing that through my work, children were being cared for and their lives being improved.

The event was such a success this year thanks to the many designers who created tablescapes and to Masin’s who hosted this event for the 8th year in a row.

And the gala party was fabulously fun and glamorous, probably why it was called “DIFFA Glam”.  Here’s a pic from the DIFFA Glam red carpet with Dave Masin (far left), and other supporters of this great even that include Kathryn Greeley, Mindy Lockard and John Stevens.

If you haven’t been to Masin’s Furniture and Design and you live in or near or will be visiting the Seattle/Bellevue areas, please stop in and say  “Hello” to the generous Masin family.  You might even find a great Christmas gift for yourself or a family member and supporting this third generation family-owned furniture and design business will help the Masin’s continue to support great causes like DIFFA for another year.

And if you are moved by this post, maybe you want to give a donation to DIFFA as a Christmas gift in honor of those in your life that you love that already have everything they could possibly need. They might just prefer you use your money to help others instead. It’s a great cause!

Happy Giving!! xo,