COTE DE TEXAS: Tobi Fairley on The Skirted Roundtable

Tobi Fairley on The Skirted Roundtable


Tobi Fairley’s project on the cover of the March House Beautiful.


This week Interior Designer and blogger Tobi Fairley from Arkansas stops by The Skirted Roundtable to chat it up with Linda, Megan and me.  Tobi was recently honored with the cover of the March issue of House Beautiful and we couldn’t wait to ask her how that came about!  Yes, we admit it – we are JEALOUS that Tobi, a fellow blogger friend, was on the cover!!!   Or should that be envious????    All kidding aside,  we were thrilled for her and she told us all about itf. 




Tobi, at home.

As it seems to be with most everyone we interview, Tobi is a workaholic powerhorse.  Armed with a MBA, she started her stint in interior design with an eye on the business side, a real rarity.  Tobi talks all about her company and what drives her.   She’s been very successful running her own design business:  even in this terrible economy she hasn’t suffered at all.   I can’t speak for Linda or Megan, but hearing Tobi talk about her firm really motivated me to get more serious about my own business, which Ben likes to call my “hobby.”  Listening to Tobi, he may have a valid point.   Hmmmm.   I hate it when he’s right!!!



imageTobi is known for her vivid use of color.  Her interiors are always bright and packed with interesting prints and patterns.  


During her visit, Tobi discussed how she approaches each project, how she comes up with a design and how she then presents it to the client.    She has a 12 person team which allows her to work on many jobs at one time.   It is so interesting listening to other designers talk about their work ethic and business model and Tobi doesn’t disappoint.  She is open and honest with us, sharing many stories about her rise to the top.    



In the House Beautiful spread, this velvet tufted bench is found in the dining room.


 image The dining room in Tobi’s own home.


In this breakfast room, Tobi used the fabulous turquoise chandelier that the design blogosphere went crazy for.  I love the painted striped floor.



imageI adore this pink and cream damask Tobi used in a guest bedroom.  Her web site  HERE is filled with pictures from all her projects.  


To listen to Tobi Fairley on The Skirted Roundtable, please go HERE.   Coming next, the three of us dish on Stephen Drucker’s lament on the nastiness in blogging commenting in this month’s House Beautiful.   Uh-oh.    I doubt any of us are going to ever be on the cover of House Beautiful now!!!!


  1. Always have admired her work! Can't wait to tune in!

  2. Off to have a listen. Maybe some smartness will rub off. I do love the pops of color and the splash of whimsy in Tobi's work. Thanks --

  3. Can't wait to listen. I am a frustrated designer who needs to breath some life into her business.
    Don't feel too bad Joni, my husband calls everything I do (except dinner) a hobby.
    The photos are lovely. I want the round dining table for me!

  4. Loved this piece on her work in many details that come together so well! So glad you shared this...inspiring!


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  6. I must be living under a rock because I have never heard of her but must admit I like her style... a kind of casual elegance with soothing backdrops, formal balance and the unexpected pop of color. A perfect combo.
    Pam @ Becolorful

  7. I absolutely LOVED this interview. I discovered Tobi's work initially through the blog world and it was her blog, along with Cote de Texas and The Skirted Roundtable which inspired me to finally get up and do something with my own blog. So many thanks to all 4 of you as blogging has been such a rewarding experience for me, and a very different one from what I initially imagined...or I would have engaged far sooner. Back to Ms Tobi, she is such an inspiration and it is quite obvious that she has an incredibly sharp business head on her charming,pearl adorned shoulders. If I had it to do again, I would have followed a similar path in schooling. Too often as creative minds we are apologetic for fees and pricing. While Tobi is obviously incredibly creative and talented, I think the business training created a pragmatic baseline (confidence in her words) for how a business must function in order to succeed...and that would be that it needs to be profitable above all else, otherwise who cares how creative you are as you will soon be closing your doors and no one will have the opportunity to enjoy the spaces you create. Again, thanks for the great and incredibly informative interview, always a treat!


  8. Love Tobi's use of colour and her originality. Can't wait to hear what she has to say about how she works - always find that enlightening and inspiring.

  9. Tobi sure is talented. I love color as well, so this was refreshing to see. I listed to the skirted round table interview....excellent, and thank you so much for all the insight I am new to blogging, and have had several of these experiences you talk about. It helped me and I felt I took away something solid from it.

  10. I loved hearing from Tobi. It's inspiring to see a designer in another medium-sized southern city working on projects with similar budgets to ours show that national recognition can be achieved without having to move to New York or LA. I always look forward to the next SRT, love what yall do!

  11. I can't wait! Tobi's some is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, especially her dining room. woo-hoo!

  12. Joni, this was definitely one of my SRT favorites. I really enjoyed Tobi's honesty and down-to-earth personality...all while being so professional and business oriented. She is definitely a designer I'll keep in mind as an inspiration for my future (hopefully) career. Thanks for getting her on the SRT. And thanks for asking about the lamps - it was killing me! :)

  13. I really enjoy how approachable tobi is. She is very open and helpful. I love how down to earth she is even after all the success! Can't wait to hear her on the skirted round table!

  14. she has such a fun hip place.
    love it.


  15. I've been a "hobby" girl forever (successful hobbies though) and it's always taken quite a bit of effort to do the business side of things...I'm very right brained!
    So I'm off to have a listen while I work on tax stuff, hopefully it will keep me motivated as I look at all those numbers. ;)

  16. Adore those striped chairs and Chinese stools. Amazing images!!

    Art by Karena

  17. Great photos thanks for sharing.
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  18. Just got done listening...and was very productive in the accounting department, it helped...I feel sharp as a tack now!
    She's one talented, smart & successful young lady!

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