Ocean City Today

Jacobs helps with recent projects

By Kara Hallissey | Aug 03, 2017
Photo by: Kara Hallissey

(Aug. 4, 2017) Nick’s House of Ribs, Sunset Grille, Sello’s and Rare & Rye are a few of the local projects design consultant Tobie Jacobs has helped create or renovate in the last three years.

Crafting spaces and layouts of commercial and residential properties is her expertise. There are times when clients have a question about a room, call her in to restructure a key portion of the space or she will design the entire property.

“I can be as involved or not as the client would like me to be,” Jacobs said. “What is their goal?”

As a design consultant, Jacobs works with everyone involved in the project including the client, general contractors and managers, architects and vendors.

Clients no longer have to sit through time consuming meetings with general managers or contractors because Jacobs takes over managing the entire project.

Many commercial projects are completed in phases over a period of time due to finances. It’s her job to transition the renovation into a natural progression.

“I could be working with one person, the decision maker, or 10 people who have a voice,” Jacobs said. “My goal is to bring everyone together and make sure they are all on the same page. I bring them selections or direct them but ultimately, they have the final say. I am carrying out their vision.”

After establishing the desire or vision of the client, Jacobs coordinates everyone involved to help make it come to life.

“I become the voice of the client,” Jacobs said. “Sometimes they already have a feel or vibe. I will throw out ideas and watch body language to see if I am on the right path. Other times they ask me to design the entire house.”

From kitchens, bathrooms and décor to the front door, Jacobs can help with the entire property or give suggestions for owners to build on their own. She can assist in the beginning or get a call later in the project’s development.

Jacobs meets with the client to identify the goal before pricing out costs for a room or the entire property. She charges by the hour and does not markup discounted supply costs.

“There is a total consultation for the whole wish list,” Jacobs said. “Is the goal one room or the whole house? If you don’t know how to get to your goal, it will be pushed back.”

As an independent design consultant, Jacobs can design spaces with full crews who do all the work, on time and in budget. They will also work at night to make sure there are no disruptions in the normal business day.

Building relationships is the core of her business and extremely important to her mission.

“I’ve had clients for more than 20 years because I am about building relationships,” Jacobs said. “Many times commercial projects turn into designing spaces in the private homes of clients.”

In addition, working on projects can lead to new business opportunities, which is exactly what happened this winter after Jacobs helped design Rare & Rye at the La Quinta Hotel and Suites on 33rd Street. She met Ralph DeAngelus and Matthew Ortt, founders of Matt Ortt Companies, and shortly after became their design consultant.

For the last eight years, Jacobs has commuted across the bridge to Baltimore for a majority of projects. She didn’t break into the resort scene until the winter of 2013, when she was asked for her expertise on a tile selection for Sunset Grille in West Ocean City.

“Scott LeClaire was redoing the bathrooms at Sunset Grille and he wanted to use a particular tile,” Jacobs said. “They had a dilemma. He asked if I would stop by and assist with the tile selection. I helped him with the selection and the men’s and ladies’ bathrooms. Buddy Trala [owner of Sunset Grille] loved it.”

Later, LeClaire introduced Jacobs to Trala before seven months of renovations to Sunset Grille commenced.

“Buddy gave me the first commercial project in Ocean City,” Jacobs said. “A hallway going to the bathrooms. I was below budget by half and he gave me an idea for the bar. Every project I was working on, he added another area before it was completed.”

By the time Sunset Grille was finished with downstairs renovations in July 2014, Jacobs had designed and recreated the hallway, bathrooms, bar, foyer, dining room, ceiling, walls and booths.

“She does a great job and brings selections for me to choose,” Trala said. “It’s kind of neat how we are always on the same page with designs, colors and materials.”

In Aug. 2014, Jacobs had met Pino and Karen Tomasello, who were in the process of designing their new restaurant, Sello’s Italian Brick Oven and Bar in West Ocean City.

“I find something that is my inspiration for the whole project,” Jacobs said. “What is staying and won’t change? I can sometimes branch out and direct the change or design the room around the object.”

Karen Tomasello was impressed with Jacobs concept of money, color scheme abilities and her talents in transforming a room, in addition to repurposing items.

“I felt like Tobie saw our vision,” Tomasello said. “She helped us improve on it with her expertise and it was a great collaboration. After seeing the finished product, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. We love it and are so proud of Sello’s. She has helped out with our home too. We’ve become good friends and it’s been great working with her.”

In February of 2015, it was time for Jacobs to help redesign the upstairs of Sunset Grille, which was completed in 30 days and included the walls, booths, floor, wallpaper and décor.

Trala said Jacobs gave Sunset Grille “a much-needed facelift” and her distinguished work led to upgrades at his house.

“All work at Sunset Grille was done at night and from there people in town started to hear of me by word-of-mouth,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs has had a hand in the design of hundreds of commercial and residential properties including restaurants in Baltimore, two area Maxim salons, Coastal Pharmacy and Royal Café and Creamery in Ocean Pines, Mio Fratello’s in Selbyville, Delaware, and the 28th Street Shugar Shack.

Design consulting is rooted in her soul and upbringing.

Growing up, Jacobs’s father was a builder and she accompanied him to job sites. By eight years old, she was learning how to lay tile, finish dry wall and paint. A few years later, she taught herself how to wallpaper.

“My dad was a builder and had his own company,” Jacobs said. “I majored in art design [in college], but it was always there. My mother was a talented artist.”

Jacobs, who is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, purchased a property in Ocean City as an investment 23 years ago before designing and finishing her home in 2004. She has resided in the resort for the last eight years.

“I capture the owners dream and help it come to life,” Jacobs said. “Or, I can help them manifest a vision.”

Anyone interested in enlisting the expertise of Jacobs for their next commercial or residential endeavor, should email her at tobie.jacobs@gmail.com or call 443-474-3626.

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