Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

A Significant Review

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Can you believe that we are already halfway through 2015? The time is flying by, as it always does, but it just seems to move faster the older I get. I think it’s so important to slow down our “busyness” every now and then and review or look back to see how far we’ve come.

At the beginning of the year, I decided on a word for 2015, and that also set an intention for my year. My word, as you can see above, is Significance. My intention was, and is, to go for Significance as in Intention, Meaning, Essence, Magnitude, Heart, Soul, and Spirit. All the things I choose for 2015 must be “significant” or important – really important to ME. They should touch my heart and fill my spirit. That has meant being VERY honest with myself about what I want and, more importantly, what I don’t want. And it means having the guts to say no to things.


This is such a HARD thing for us, particularly for those of us who are women, to do in our lives. We’re either saying “yes” to every single thing at work because we think it will make us more successful, or we’re saying “yes” to insignificant things out of guilt or a false sense of obligation. In business and in life, we think there will be some judgement held against us if we say NO. So instead we find ourselves saying yes and as a result, we’re frazzled, burned out, and crazy!

And the problem with saying YES to everything, is that we cannot be SIGNIFICANT – we can’t really make a difference if we’re stretching ourselves so thin that we’re about to snap. You may remember that one of my favorite quotes is “You have to say no to the good, so you can say yes to the GREAT!”


Now – how am I doing with my intention so far this year? Well, I have definitely started saying “no” more often. And I have found great joy in reaching MAJOR goals that I’ve wanted to achieve for years…Significant goals! I launched my first product lines with CR Laine and Soicher Marin, and I also unveiled Tobi U, my online learning center for designers and creatives. It is incredible to see those dreams come true.

I’ve also been able to take my mom and my daughter on my business trips, which makes that travel much more fun. My top priority is family, and the only way I can be really happy is to make sure I am there for all the important things at home and then take them along every chance I get. I know I will look back on the significance of having the people I love with me for many highlights of my career and hopefully they will, too.

But yes, I could do better in some of the other areas, like finding time to relax and spending more downtime with friends. And I just happen to be taking care of those two things this month with a fun trip to the beach in Florida with friends and family! And I know my work will be more significant when I get back because I will be rested and refreshed.


The best thing about doing this mid-year review, though, is that it refocuses our attention on those goals that we’ve set for ourselves. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the daily challenges and responsibilities of life, that we forget what we really wanted this year to be. And we find ourselves falling into old habits that are not aligned with our intentions at all. We can often find ourselves missing out on the fabulous forest we desire because we can’t see past those pesky old trees!

So far on the BIG things this year, I am doing really well. Knocking them out of the park to be exact. And now that I have given myself a little check up, I can re-adjust some of the details in my life so at the end of 2015 I can have all those little things whipped into shape, too. Because it’s the little things that can often have the biggest impact, isn’t it?

I just need a few tweaks and then I can truly say that I lived with SIGNIFICANCE this year. So how are you doing with your 2015 goals? Let me know in the comments below! Meanwhile, I hear the beach calling my name!








Monday Inspiration

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I spent the weekend in the most fabulous way – I was at the CR Laine factory in Hickory, NC, to look over the samples of my new furniture line that debuts in April at the High Point Market! It was so exciting, and SO inspiring!

I cannot wait to show you the new upholstery pieces – they look fantastic, and they didn’t even have the fabrics on them yet!


I wish I could show you everything, including the amazing floorplan with all of the fabrics and furnishings laid out in the CR Laine showroom – but I can tell you that this collection will be all about COLOR! That shouldn’t surprise you, right?!

In just a few months, I can show it all to you! Until then, look for a few more sneak peeks on my Instagram feed in the weeks leading up to the April Market!

Happy Monday!








Sunday Fun Day on Instagram!

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joy instagram

Did you know Sunday is the most active day on Instagram? Likely because people have more down time on Sunday to enjoy this beautiful and creative site. I sure do my fair share of posting on Instagram on Sunday and every other day of the week.


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If you are not following me on Instagram, you are missing out on a lot of gorgeous Interiors I am working on (like this fab pool and pool house), delicious food I am cooking, and my daily inspirations and motivations.

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So jump on the Instagram bandwagon and follow me there. You can find me on Instagram as @tobifairley. And be sure to leave me comments about your thoughts on my postings. I love the personal interactions I have in the comments on this FUN site!

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I can’t wait to hear from you each day. To me Instagram is like no other site because it’s spontaneous and often real time. So if you have always wished you could be my shadow as I live the life of a designer, blogger, world traveler, business coach (and even a cook and a mom)…Instagram is your chance!

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And be sure to say “Hi” if you are just starting to follow so I can say Hello to you too!

I’ll see you there! xo,

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2014 Year in Review

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2015 coming soonGosh, I can hardly believe that today is the day to take a look back at all I’ve accomplished this year. Since 2008, having a “Year in Review” has become my tradition here on the blog. That is SEVEN YEARS of celebrating my life, my accomplishments, and the joy my family and my job bring to me! I am a lucky woman because it seems like life gets better every year!

new year 2015 written in sand

And each year goes faster than ever. I’ve always heard that, but it’s really true, isn’t it? It’s like we just started January and before we know it, we are washing away that year and moving to the next. But I find it important to at least stop, if only for a day, to celebrate the memories and the blessings we experience with each passing year. And it’s great to be able to go back to these old blog posts of years past and see what joys they brought.

Today I have enjoyed my morning in my PJ’s, drinking coffee and looking back at 2013, which seems like a lifetime ago. And this afternoon preparing my list of accomplishments and highlights from 2014 definitely helped me go to a place of gratitude because of the many joys I’ve had in the last 12 months.

So first, let me say THANK YOU to all of you who have been a part of my extraordinary 2014. I had a goal of making 2014 Awesome and thanks to so many of you, it was more than that!

cb28ba73e3badcbec5a481f36a840201I have loved meeting many of you this year and bringing design into your homes and to your inboxes all year long.  And yes, I know this is the longest blog post ever, but it also gives me a chance to thank all the magazines, friends, designers, clients, and others who made my year spectacular! So if you can spare a few minutes (or an hour), I invite you to join me as I look back at the BIG moments from 2014 that are too good not to mention and remember today.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 9.40.10 AM (2)January 1, 2014, marked the launch of my new website on What a labor of love that was!

ActionAnd January also brought with it another tradition…deciding on my word of the year, which was Action. And boy did I take some major action in 2014!

FFF Invite Postcard Moov_Front_psI led an antiquing tour in Atlanta in sub-freezing weather (not your typical January in Atlanta). But I always welcome a reason to find new (and old) treasures for my clients and for me, even if it is literally 6 degrees and we are outside…in a tent…with no heat. Oh the glamorous life of a designer! Thanks Antique & Design Center of High Point for this opportunity.


I launched my my first-ever telecourse that many of you joined me for to kick your New Year in gear. I hope it made a difference.

creativelive fashion photo

And I headed back to creativeLIVE with House Beautiful to bring design to the world at an accessible price.


I even made it a mother-daughter trip with my mom in tow, and we celebrated my birthday a week early while we were there.

New House Diary

This year, I brought some exciting new series to the blog, including New House Diary – the journey of designing and remodeling my own home. Trust me, there is much more to do, so you will be seeing more of this in 2015 and hopefully (finally) some “reveals” of the place.

Tobi TV logo

tobitv1I also started Tobi TV. Video Blogging has been a goal of mine for a long time and so in 2014 I brought you dozens of new Tobi TV videos, with many more in the works for next year.


The highlight of February was definitely my impromptu trip to Parma, Italy, thanks to the Antiques Diva. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Toma!) A few days in Italy with my designer friends, Denise McGaha, Jon Call, and Mark Cutler and the fabulous Toma Clark Haines aka “the Antiques Diva” was inspirational and fabulous!

april publicity

And then March was a HUGE month for publicity…


A lovely outdoor spread in At Home in Arkansas.


bhgspreadA favorite project showed up in Better Homes and Gardens.

House Beautiful April color column

The color column in House Beautiful...

small space decorating

and I was still on Newsstands with the cover of the Spring Small Room Decorating Magazine.


And the BIGGIE…my April cover of Traditional Home Magazine and a 12-page spread hit newsstands and the internet. This was definitely one of the most exciting events of the year!


I also headed to my third creativeLIVE course with my family in tow in March. Thanks creativeLIVE and House Beautiful! These courses were a crazy amount of work but SO much fun!

road trip

wine country

You better believe we did a little Spring Break road trip to Wine Country (one of our favorite places in the world) for some convertible driving, Gott’s Hamburger eating, and Frank Family Wine buying fun!


And the publicity fun continued in April with international exposure of my own home on the cover of a Polish magazine.

decorate fearlessly

And in Susanna Salk’s latest design bible, Decorate Fearlessly. Thank you, Susanna. It is always a treat to be featured in your fabulous books!

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Plus great little features in the April issue of Southern Living, talking about my favorite porch…


and HGTV Magazine’s May issue with designer’s favorite value-priced fabric choices showed up this month.


More family travel was on the schedule in April when I took my mom and daughter to New York for a business trip and of course some fun. Wicked was on my daughter’s bucket list and she absolutely LOVED the show.

fun in nyc

And we got into a bit of other fun while in the Big Apple including a silly visit to Dylan’s Candy Store.

Lexington Home Brands

And April also brought the Spring High Point Market, where I gave a presentation with Krissa Rossbund (pictured above on the left), Sr. Design Editor at Traditional Home, on tips for getting published. It was the perfect complement to my April cover of their magazine.  This great event attended by dozens was all hosted by Lexington Home Brands in their stunning showroom. Lexington even generously gave away an all expenses paid trip to my Design A to Z course in Dallas to the lucky Laura Jens Sisino, shown with us here.  Thank you Lexington Home Brands for the fabulous breakfast and the opportunity!

master class

In May I was part of Traditional Home’s Master Class decorating series with 12 weeks of great design tips from Design “Masters.” It was an honor to be in this group!


The summer was a blur this year with lots of ACTION that has resulted in several VERY exciting partnerships that we will be announcing in just a few weeks. But I did reserve a bit of time for hanging by my pool at my new home.

And I escaped to the beach for 2 WEEKS. Ahhhh!! The beach is my happy place, even when the storms roll in. It’s the only place I truly relax and in the midst of all my ACTION taking, I needed a break. Besides, it’s been a “bucket list” item of mine for years to take a two-week vacation with my family and I made it happen this year.


We were also joined at the beach the second week by great friends. And I have already booked 2 weeks at the beach in 2015. Thanks to all these peeps for hanging with me when I don’t have much time to give them throughout the year!

chinese press

More international press came in June with a wonderful feature in a Chinese magazine.


And July brought a great trip to the lake for the 4th of July.  A lot of family time was in order this summer for a mid year pick-me-up and it worked like a charm.

hamptons showhouse

Part of my busy summer included designing a room in the Traditional Home Hamptons Designer Showhouse with Duralee Fabrics.

Hampton's showhouse

Four trips to the Hamptons in two months is a rough life, right? But someone has to do it! :) A BIG Thank you to Duralee for being such a fabulous partner. Showhouses are expensive and labor-intensive and Duralee and its team was so fantastic to work with.

hampton showhouse friends

I have to say, it’s rough hanging out with my celebrity designer friends like Alexa, Phoebe, Jamie, and Libby in the Hamptons. Just kidding! It’s a dream and I am grateful for all these talented people in my life, too.


And what fun visiting with the fabulous and very entertaining Mario Buatta who loved my room design with Duralee. What a compliment from a design icon.

At Home Cover

Then August rolled in with the cover of At Home in Arkansas, featuring one of my favorite client projects for a family with six kids.


And I made my way to California with my daughter for business meetings, a fabulous tour of Thermador’s headquarters (Thanks Thermador!) and a whirlwind day in Disneyland. My nine-year-old and I walked 23,000 steps and enjoyed Big Thunder Mountain 8 times. My favorite parts of each year are when I can blend my work life with my personal one.


In September I announced my exciting partnership and upcoming furniture collection with CR Laine. This is my first of 3 licensing deals that I agreed to this year and we will be announcing the others in just a few weeks with a few more in the works for 2015. This is where much of my action was focused for 2014 – negotiations and meetings. It was VERY exciting!

asid award

I was thrilled to win Gold (twice) at the South Central ASID awards in September and I was awarded a Silver, too.

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Traditional Home also graciously included me in their 25th Anniversary issue which was a surprise!



In October I had the honor of being the honorary chairperson of the Dwell with Dignity Charity event, Thrift Studio, in Dallas. DWD is an AMAZING cause that helps impoverished and homeless families create beautiful and supportive environments that can help them get ahead in life or at least back on their feet.  I loved being able to bring awareness to this worthy cause. Thank you, Dwell With Dignity, for asking me.

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Next I headed to the Fall High Point Market and kicked off my partnership with CR Laine by revealing the new Bistro Cafe in their showroom that I designed, with gorgeous CR Laine furnishings and the help of Soicher Marin and their new removable wallpaper called Wall Couture. I couldn’t resist bringing my signature Kelly Green into the space.

We even had a fun party in the newly designed Bistro for CR Laine’s top retailers to celebrate our impending launch! Thank you to CR Laine, Soicher Marin and the AMAZING CR Laine customers who were so kind and excited about my collection.

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I was honored to be a part of a fun talk with Southern Living and Coastal Living as they announced their new Designer Network. Thanks to both magazines for including me.


polish magazine 2

Even more international features came in October with another spread in Poland…



and also a gorgeous Russian feature.

mastermind events

October and November were also filled with my signature design courses – Design A-to-Z, Designer MBA, and also my Mastermind Fall Session. It was thrilling to have all my classes and my 3 Mastermind events this year filled with visits from design greats who are friends of mine like Alexa Hampton, Barry Dixon, Libby Langdon, Michelle Workman, Danielle Colding, Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield, blogger extraordinaire Cassandra LaValle, Arteriors owner Mark Moussa, and many others, including my personal business advisors and attorney. A HUGE thank you to each and every one of these talents who joined me in making my Tobi Fairley courses better than ever this year! And a GIANT thank you also to our event sponsors Currey & Company, CR Laine, Studio Webware, Duralee, and Bernhardt Furniture.

real simple

I kicked off the holiday season by being included in Real Simple’s Holiday issue with my favorite paint colors.

In Master BedroomWe said goodbye to our sweet pup Harley this year, but had the joy of all her lovely memories and photos from the 14 years she was a part of our lives. What a precious member of our family she was.


And then I rounded out the year with more design projects than ever. I’ve been doing presentation after presentation this December and even making chilly trips to Lake Michigan for a fun new-construction project in the works.  I can definitely say this is the busiest December of design work I have had in all my 15 years in business! So a HUGE thank you to my wonderful clients for the opportunity to create or transform their homes this year. It has been a joy working with you all.

Cr laine

Throw in all the fun I had selecting fabrics at the December Showtime Fabric Show in High Point for all my new CR Laine introductions that you will be seeing in the Spring, and December was jam-packed with design goodness.

So 2014 was truly all about ACTION. And lots of it. I haven’t even been able to announce or share it all with you yet. It was a “nose to the grindstone” sort of year for me. And you will continue to see many of the fruits of those labors revealed next year.  But I know it will have all been worth the work. I think there are those “head down” sort of years and then there are the years where you get to sit back and bask in all that you have done. I’m looking forward to the “basking” coming soon or better yet, the “sitting back”!

in one year

So here’s to 2014! It was a year of digging in my heels to take things to the next level. It was a year of hellos and good byes. It was full of blessings, too many to count.

Thank you

I want to say an enormous thank you to the countless editors and members of the media who have been so very kind to me this year including Traditional Home, Southern Living, House Beautiful, At Home in Arkansas, Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV Magazine, Real Simple, Small Rooms Magazine and the many international publications who included me this year. I don’t remember a year when I had any more press than this one and I owe a big debt of gratitude to all those who found my work and my ideas worthy of inclusion in their gorgeous publications.

Thank you to my Mastermind members, our consulting clients, and all those that attended our classes, courses and talks in 2014. It was a privilege to help you with your projects and your businesses!

And most importantly, I want to say thank you to my team at Tobi Fairley & Associates. I could never do any of this without your help and support. And THANK YOU to my family – especially my husband, my daughter, my mom, and my aunt who support me week-in and week-out to do all that I do on a daily basis. I have said it a million times, but it takes a whole lot of people to keep this one girl doing all that I do!

And though it seems impossible with this novel I have written, I am sure that I have forgotten someone who was part of my 2014. So to all of you that were a part of my year, thank you!!

Wow! What a year. So what was 2014 like for you? Please leave me a comment so I can celebrate your successes with you, too!

cheers to the new year

I wish you a VERY Happy New Year ahead, full of prosperity and joy. And I will see you back very soon as the new year is my favorite time each year. Oh, how I love intentions and resolutions and a fresh start and the all-exciting job of selecting my word for 2015!

the best

Join me here in 2015 for more design, travel, and inspiration. Cheers!


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Italian Inspiration

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We interrupt this regularly scheduled Motivational Monday to bring you a post about inspiration.

As a designer, I need to regularly fill up my creative well and there is no better way than through travel. A change of surroundings not only gives me a different perspective, it gives me a chance to discover new ideas and inspiration for my designs, whether it’s through color, architecture, flavors, or awe-inspiring sights!


After back-to-back photo shoots and a non-stop work schedule, I need a break to recharge my creative batteries. And I am SO excited that tomorrow I’m heading to bella Italia to go to Mercanteinfiera, Italy’s largest antique fair! I’m attending this amazing show in Parma with The Antiques Diva for a special whirlwind tour, filled with gorgeous vintage finds.


And I’ll be on this fab trip with a few other talented designers that you may know–Los Angeles designer Mark Cutler, Dallas designer Denise McGaha, and Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs in New York City. If you would like to see what is inspiring me and my designer friends, be sure to follow my Instagram feed with @tobifairley!


I plan to soak in the colors, patterns, and stunning art on display (and I’m sure I’ll sample a bit of the pasta, parmesan, and prosciutto, too!). I know I’ll come back refreshed, renewed, and recharged – ready to take on new creative challenges!


To see these photos including this Parmesan factory, visit my Pinterest board called Destinations.

I’ve got to get my suitcase packed so ciao for now!


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