What distinguishes your work from other young designers'?
The bold use of color and pattern that I incorporate in my designs is the hallmark of my signature style. My design work is not for the faint of heart when it comes color! It is definitely full of drama.
What can you not live without?
There is not much I cannot live without, but in reference to design, I would be really really sad if I could not use Christopher Spitzmiller lamps! I know they have been often used and photographed, but I never grow tired of them. And I especially love the personal service from Christopher's company. Just last week, Christopher called my office himself to make sure that everything was perfect with an order. You just don't get that sort of hands-on customer care anymore and it is the sort of Southern charm that I am used to but Christopher is a New Yorker so it is even more of a treat!
What makes you traditional?
There are lots of things that make me traditional. My designs are rooted in classic forms. I love Traditional sihouettes in both interiors and in fashion. My style icons are Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Coco Channel, Dorothy Draper. And I especially am traditional when it comes to scale. I love furniture lines like Hickory Chair who have a timeless quality about them because the scale is ultra traditional and refined!
What are three things that make a room fabulous?
Well, fabulous happens to be my favorite word so I think many things are fabulous! But three must-haves for a successful design . . . 1) Several conversation areas in a room to maximize seating! I especially love multi-purpose furniture peices like benches and ottomans that make entertaining groups easy! 2) Dimmers!!! I am a huge fan of layered lighting. Though I rarely use overhead lighting it is sometimes necessary and I love dimmers on everything, especially lamps! 3) Room-sized rugs. The most popular part of my designs are often the rugs. I create many custom room-sized carpets with companies like New River Artisans that make even large spaces warm and cozy!
How do you weave luxury into your designs in this economy?
I use accent pieces to accomplish luxury when clients are trying to be conservative. By splurging on smaller pieces like lamps to add impact you can minimize expense. And I try to use smaller amounts of signature fabrics as accents like on pillow fronts or side chairs as opposed to the entire drapery as I might do with larger budgets. I also encourage clients to always splurge on fine art. Original does not necessarily have to mean expensive but it certainly means unique. I suggest clients buy the most expensive art that they can afford. Investing in a piece of art that you really love is never a bad idea because unlike furniture and fabric, original artwork never goes out of style.
Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Little Rock, Arkansas