Monday, March 1, 2010

Kate's Key West Style: Jackie VonTobel

I was going to follow up my fabric post from last week with a few more designers I've recently discovered online. But I'm just so fascinated by one that I'm going to have to put the others off until another day.

Jackie VonTobel isn't just fabric designer, she's an interior designer, author/illustrator and software developer as well. I just caught a podcast interview with her on The Skirted Roundtable (it's long but so worth the listen).

I was immediately impressed by the epic nature of her career. She has pretty much done it all from fashion design to mural painting to faux finishes. That last one caught my attention since it reminded me so much of my own mother. Jackie says that this is how she made a name for herself in the 80s when faux finishing became a huge design trend. And furniture design with architectural salvage and faux finishes was the means of Mom's re-entry into the design world after a multi-year hiatus.

Once Jackie had established her successful interior design business, she saw the need for a technical manual for window treatments (apparently the trade-wide resource used at the time was sub-par). Soon enough, The Design Directory of Window Treatments was published and well on its way to becoming the new industry standard.

A second book quickly followed, The Design Directory of Bedding.

The fabric patterns she developed for her book illustrations were so charming that she was approached about starting her own eco-friendly fabric line.

You can view and purchase the full line (including pillow covers) at, but here are my favorites:

Moonflower Trellis

Birds and Branches

Moroccan Tile

Circle Trellis

Another huge undertaking was her recently designed software for Minutes Matter that lets a designer customize the client's window treatments using her templates.

But before any of this happened, Jackie was writing her popular design blog, Jackie VonTobel Home ( It was because of this supportive community, that she felt confident enough to take those leaps of faith and accomplish so much in an astoundingly short amount of time. With an Internet full of people who had faith in her, she couldn't help but believe in herself. And that is what makes her story more than just another entrepreneur who succeeded. She's an inspiration to all of us, and I'm tucking this one away for rainy day when I need a little courage. How about you?

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