Archive for the ‘tobi fairley’ Category

Bye Bye Beige: Tips for Color and Pattern with Tobi Fairley

January 22, 2009


Welcome to the second installment of our three part series featuring decorating advice from the uber-talented interior designer Tobi Fairley. Tobi has been recognized for her masterful use of color and pattern by such institutions as ASID and Traditional Home Magazine. For all of us looking to break beyond our comfort zone of neutrals (guilty as charged!) Tobi has some excellent advice!


My own greatest fear about bringing vibrant elements into my home is that I'll overwhelm the space. Tobi suggests taking it one step at a time: "I start every project with fabrics first. I spend some time in my workroom pulling fabrics that I think represent the client and compliment the architecture before I do anything else. I then go back to the beginning and start analyzing the architectural elements to be sure they are scaled properly and detailed in an interesting way. When I feel like the “bones” of a space are perfect, then I start layering in the furniture. This approach allows me to put just the perfect amount of interior elements in the space without over-decorating!"


But what if I do my best to mix and match, and it still looks off? Tobi recommends a no-brainer approach: "A word for the timid with regard to pattern: I suggest selecting one pattern that you REALLY love and using it liberally. Put it on the sofa pillows, the drapery, the accent chairs. The more the better! The good news is that if you keep it simple by using one fabric, it won’t be busy; it will be beautiful! But one caveat: make sure the scale is substantial to get the most impact!"

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What about injecting color into the space? I'm a total commitment-phobe and I'm terrified that I'll get sick of any color I choose. Tobi says not to worry: "As far as color goes, I always encourage people to bite the bullet and select a bold element as a focal point. You will tire much less quickly of a fantastic red sofa than an ordinary beige one. If committing to a major purchase is just too much, use some of the less expensive items to add a great deal of impact. Paint is relatively inexpensive and pretty easy to change, so select a bold paint color and pair it with your neutral furnishings. Or take one bold accent color and repeat it on several elements: the drapery, the pillows. I would even go as far as painting some of the furniture a bold color, like some wooden side chairs, a vintage coffee table or as in my recent post, an antique secretary!"


Tobi makes it sound so easy! Though she does have a final word for those who want to go all out: "I do admit, it takes a lot of experience or a special knack to be able to combine much color and pattern with confidence! So one no-fail bit of advice….hire a professional!" But armed with Tobi's great tips, I'm a lot closer to taking the leap and spicing up my space on my own—I have a blah wooden desk that could use some serious color TLC!

Oh, and be sure to stay tuned for the final installment of our series: Tobi's save/splurge secrets and more visuals of her inspiring work! In the meantime be sure to check out the our first post with Tobi as well as her fabulous blog.

All images courtesy of Tobi Fairley.

Introducing Tobi Fairley, Designer Extraordinaire!

January 19, 2009

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I am SO thrilled to bring you the first in a series of posts with the incredibly talented interior designer Tobi Fairley. Tobi is a one woman powerhouse; not only did she start her own interiors firm straight out of grad school, she also has an MBA and runs an art gallery that complements her design business—plus she writes a terrific blog! Tobi's style is at once polished and playful, riotous and refined. And lucky for us, she's also one of the nicest human beings on the planet—when I asked her to give us a sneak peek into her process, she generously complied!

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Tobi first described her design philosophy for me: "A little term I love to use is 'logical luxury living'. Believe me, I am all about the luxury lifestyle and the bigger the budget the better! But I have a very logical approach to every room I design. And no matter how many rooms you have, I really like them all to have a legitimate purpose and function. I am not a huge fan of the 'bigger is better' idea. I am more a 'form follows function' girl—I will take a 10 foot ceiling over a 20 foot one every day of the week!"


So how does Tobi bring her ethos of 'logical luxury living' to life? "I believe in a fresh take on traditional elements. I rarely tire of things I truly love. So I never feel like the elements I use are faddish, even if they are experiencing a great deal of popularity at the time…for example, greek key, starburst mirrors, Brunschwig and Fils leopard velvet…all classics in my opinion."


Tobi's approach to combining logic and luxury is a great starting point for all of us at home: "Just find something that inspires you and let it lead the way. Whether it is a beautiful fabric, a great rug, an unbelievable antique buffet or an amazing pair of lamps…take your cues from one piece and layer in from there. If the inspiration piece is full of color, then find neutral elements to compliment it that don’t compete for attention. A great pair of vintage green glass lamps may call for a clean lined white sofa for example. And if you are on a budget, or even if you are not for that matter, don’t be in a hurry! It takes time to find the perfect pieces of the puzzle."


I cannot wait to share more of Tobi's great advice and gorgeous interiors with you, so stay tuned this week for her secrets in using color and pattern with confidence, as well as her save/splurge decorating ideas. In the meantime be sure to visit her blog for more tips, tricks and design resources!

All images courtesy of Tobi Fairley.