The Dizzy Designer

Ok….I admit it…..  I have a huge problem.  INDECISIVENESS!!  I think that most designers find themselves in this same situation from time to time in that it seems nearly impossible to to feel as if you have truly finished a project – be it your room, your event, or in my current case – MY WEBSITE!!  I know my website designer would probably like to wring my neck right about now due to my indecision, but I can’t help it!  Maybe I have adult onset ADD, or perhaps it’s just a serious case of wanting to make sure that every little detail is perfect before launch.  But ever since I was little, when it came to my own space, I’ve been notorious for design indecision.  My favorite past time when I was younger was changing the color of a room – and then re-changing it.  My childhood bedroom went from pale green, to hot pink, to pale yellow, to peanut butter – all in the course of one year.  I know my Daddy wanted to wring my neck due to my indecision back then too, especially since he was the one that had to foot the bill for the paint, move all of my furniture, and then paint my bedroom!  But being the Daddy that he is, he allowed me to creatively express myself through my color choices – or more appropriately, my color indecision.

Today, my husband will find me moving heavy furniture around, or unloading heavy bags and goods from my car by myself that I bought on an unexpected (by him, anyway) trip to the “Red Dot Boutique” (aka “Target”) or Home Goods to redesign a room in our home.  “Why didn’t you ask me to help you?” or “why didn’t you wait for me to get home so that I could move the heavy chest instead of you pushing it across the floor with your legs?” he always asks.  My answer is always the same, well, because – sigh – 1) I needed the workout (you’d be amazed at how effective moving furniture around a few times can be as an upper and lower body workout) and 2) because I truly didn’t want to have to simultaneously explain to you WHY I’m changing the room……AGAIN.  Although my hubby is a sport, I know it can be quite frustrating at times living with a dizzy designer that never feels any room in our home is totally finished.  Not limited to just our home, even our wedding fell victim to it.  When I planned our wedding, the morning before the event I was still thinking of and looking for additional elements that could be added to our simple October garden wedding until my husband said “enough Babe.  Everything is perfect the way you have it.”  And you know, it was :o) 

It’s funny how those feelings arise.  You work hard as a designer to pull a space or an event together and on the surface it looks great.  You stand back and mull over each detail and fuss with each throw pillow.  Everyone says that your project is wonderful, the client is pleased, and you feel that your work is done.  But be that as it may, it never completely erases the feeling that just one more decor item for an event, or just one more accessory for a room was all that was needed to fill the void – regardless of if there was truly a void there or not.  Hence the cycle of the dizzy designer begins again…..  Anyone else out there suffering from the same problem?? 

Beach House Bridgehampton modern living room
modern living room design by new york interior designer Amy Lau Design

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your imagination!

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Adding Color to Walls when Painting is Not an Option!

For all apartment dwellers who may be prohibited from painting - who says you have to live with bare white walls?  Why not consider your white walls as a blank canvas and create something beautiful out of them! Paint some picture frames in colors that are represented in your space and hang them on the wall in a huge collage such as in this photo by interior designer Marcelo Brito.  It will instantly bring color to your walls and break up the starkness of the white.  What do you think??

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your imagination!

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Beautiful New Wedding Color Combos!

As spring is nearing a close and summer quickly approaches – if you are contemplating a color scheme for your wedding, consider these options.  All photos courtesy of The Knot.

1) Aqua and Chartreuse – the mix of these two colors is so fun and vibrant, perfect for an outdoor event.

2)  Blush and Mauve – simple and understated! 

4) Garnet and Tangerine – a crisp color combination – seems perfect for September when Autumn is in the air.

4) Lavendar + Cream + Chocolate – another gorgeous combination that would be great for a formal September wedding!!!

5) Fuchsia and Navy - perfect for those who love bold colors!

6) Lemon and Celadon - another beautiful combination that would be perfect for an outdoor summer wedding.

7) Blush + Ebony + Pewter – a very romantic color scheme!

8) Cloud + Cream + Platinum – this combination would be a perfect choice for a more formal celebration.

Which one would be your choice??

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination

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Define your style!

Blending homes as a newlywed couple can be a monumental task at times.  Sometimes you are trying to combine households and blend two different syles and the majority of the time – it just doesn’t seem to “click” as much as you would like it to.  Most couples that I know that have been married for years are still going through the same thing and their stories are the same.  At first, they were blending two homes and their design styles didn’t mesh, but they figured that once they got a larger home, everything would fit appropriately and magically things would start to fall into place.  When they got the larger home, they were faced with having a lot more space and all of a sudden the urgency to fill that space – with anything – crept in.  Now they have large spaces filled with odds and ends that although are gorgeous to look at, do not truly reflect their design styles.  Although I can help you determine your design style once you find yourself in this place, it’s a lot easier to do so at the very beginning!!

Are you a newlywed or a first time homebuyer with empty space to fill in your home?  Steer clear of the discount section and resist the urge to spend impulsively on trendy items!!  Embrace the empty space, and take time to define your design style before you make any purchases.  Consider making timeless purchases such as these that will be with you forever and will always be in style.

Avalon Black Extension Dining Table
www.crateandbarrel.com
A traditional table with a modern finish – this table can grow with your family – extending to 65″

Cole Chair
www.RoomandBoard.com
This classic design can blend in with a myriad of other styles – from traditional to eclectic.  So even if your style changes down the road, this comfy chair will still fit right in.

Midas/by Autumn Rose
www.UGallery.com
Selecting original artwork is the easiest way to create your own unique style.  Visit some galleries and support your local artists.  You never know – you might end up purchasing the work of a great artist in their early years!

Sarouk
www.ABCCarpet.com
Purchasing a Persian, Turkish, or Oriental rug may require a hefty upfront investment, but it is money well spent and so worth it!  Even after years of wear and tear, you just can not beat the handcraftsmanship of these pieces.  They actually look BETTER the more they age!

Nailhead Upholstered Headboard
www.WestElm.com
A staple such as this will give your bedroom a polished look in an instant!

Tesana Lamp
www.mottega.com
Whether it is placed on a console table, a nightstand, or in a reading nook, this classic and versatile lamp is a keeper!

Before you make your next design purchase – consider whether the piece truly lives within your design style.  If it does – great!!!  If it doesn’t – step away from the cash register.  Purchasing pieces that fall within your design style and that you truly love are the best way to pull your home together.  Regardless of how long you have to “embrace the empty space” :o)

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination!

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Custom Window Treatments……from the store?????

Window treatments are a lot like shoes – they can make or break a room.  Sometimes all that is needed to turn a room around are nice window treatments.  Believe it or not, there are still great window treatments available for purchase that can be made fabulous with a little bit of additional creativity. 
I always start with a panel that has a lining on the back.  This will keep your room insulated while simultaneously creating a uniform look from the outside of your home.  Please try to keep the colors on the inside – you don’t want everyone in the neighborhood to know that you have red window treatments in your living room :o)  To embellish your store bought panel, look for trim such as a braid or a tassel, and then you can start to very easily customize your window treatment.
For this project, you will need:
A panel window treatment – from your favorite store
Fabric glue – can be found at Jo-Ann or any fabric store (or a sewing machine)
Window Hardware – Lowes or Home Depot
Pinking Shears (or Scissors that will cut through the trim)    
Instructions:
  1. Make sure to measure your window from top to bottom to determine the appropriate size of the drapery.  Most windows can use the standard 84” panel.
  2. Purchase the draperies and then decide on an appropriate and a coordinating trim.
  3. Determine where you want your trim to be placed.  Do you want to line your trim along the bottom of your panel – or do you want to go for the WOW! factor and trim the panel along the leading edge of the panel (the inside edge of the drapery where you handle the drapery to pull them open and then back closed).
  4. Lay the drapery flat and measure the trim corresponding to where you want the trim to be placed (bottom edge or leading edge).
  5. Cut the trim, ensuring that you leave some extra on both sides.
  6. Bottom edge or leading edge, glue the trim, in sections, to the stitch on the draperies making sure to press the trim firmly to the drapery as you go.  If you opt to use a sewing machine, which I personally do and recommend, omit the glue and stitch the trim in place.
  7. Tuck the extra trim remaining on each side of the draperies to the back of the panel and glue to secure.  With the sewing machine, omit the glue and stitch the trim in place to secure it in place.
  8. Let the glue dry for 24 hours and then hang the panel.  If you have used a sewing machine, the panel can be hung immediately.
 

 

A brown velvet Pottey Barn panel very simply embellished with a bottom edge tassel trim. 



Easy enough, right?? 
La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination! 

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The Art of the Floating Shelf

One of my signature design suggestions for just about any room in a home is the floating shelf.  First, because floating shelves are simple and classic and can serve as an artistic focal point in a room; and second, because floating shelves enable you to change what you have on display at any point in time creating an entirely different look in your room with minimal effort.  But not only can floating shelves serve as pieces to display artwork, books, etc., they can also serve to give you additional “functional” shelving pieces in a tight space, i.e., the bathroom. 
Photos courtesy of HGTV.com

The floating shelves in this dining room and the living room below make great use of the wall space to create an additional focal point in the room.  Notice the different sizes and shapes of the shelving used here and also notice the leaning picture on the shelves in the dining room and the living room below – that’s another design trick that I typically use.  The leaning photo as opposed to the hanging photo is unexpected and can be very quickly changed out when you want to display something new.  

A lot of new homes and apartments do have medicine cabinets anymore, but rather flush mirrors with great lighting.   If you have wall room, as shown here, floating shelves in the bathroom can give you additional space to place all of your jams, jellies, and towels that you may not have the cabinet space for.

You have the wall space, why not use it?

The niches above this fireplace were made for display.  Why not add glass floating shelves?



Floating shelving can also be used as functional shelving as shown in this kitchen.



If you are in need of additional shelving and have some wall space to spare, give floating shelving a try.  They come in a multitude of colors and sizes, and even corner units to make use of the all forgotten corner.  They can be found just about anywhere, but my favorites can be found at Ikea, Pottery Barn, and Target. 
La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination

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D.C.s Annual Running of the Brides

If you are planning a wedding and still looking for the perfect gown, on Friday, April 29, 2011 Filene’s Basement will hold it’s annual Running of the Brides sale where brides can find their dream dress at a dream price!  Bring your team and get ready for a day of wedding gown shopping at Filene’s Basement!  Doors open at 8:00 am.

Location:

Filene’s Basement
Mazza Gallery
5300 Wisconsin Avenue
Washington, D.C.
202-966-0208

For additional information, please visit:  http://www.filenesbasement.com/running-of-the-brides/

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination

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Budget Conscious Easter Party Décor

With Easter just a few days away, I have had some questions on how to dress up a table for the quickly approaching festivities.  Although it may seem that time is running short, you still have time to pull together a fabulous celebration.  Party décor does NOT have to break the bank to be gorgeous or memorable.  Take a look at these table centerpieces created with jars, glass cylinders, and of all things – wrapping paper and gift wrapping embellishments!  If you are having a casual Easter celebration and want a quick, fun, and (not to mention) adorable way to dress up your table – why not give these fun centerpieces a try!
All photos courtesy of Hostess with the Mostess   



Who would have thought that jars and glass cylinders from Michaels along wrapping paper from your favorite store could also be used to dress up a table?!



The cute polka dot tea cups and saucers were given to each guest as party favors.



Add a bright table runner and this table is ready for the Easter celebration!  This theme can also be used anytime during the spring to give your table a colorful lift!

 *Sidenote – Glass cylinders and jars of all sizes can be found at Michaels and ironically, the gift wrap used for these centerpieces came from my favorite store “The Red Dot Boutique” (Target).  They have a gorgeous selection of wrapping paper, some of the papers are heavy stock – seemingly made just for this type of DIY project.*  So the next time you are browsing the giftwrap section – try to envision dressing up your next party table with the leftover wrapping paper.  Now that’s really budget conscious – two for the price of one!!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination! 

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A Baby Shower Inspired by the “City of Light”

I am currently planning a baby shower for a good friend of mine taking place next month, and I ran across this Paris inspired baby shower on one of my favorite blogs that I just had to share.  Baby showers have been moving away from the traditional “baby themed” showers to an all out celebration for mom to be, just like this shower.  I love the soft pink and gray color palette and the feel of this shower ~ it is both modern AND vintage ~ definitely très chic!!  Please visit Hostess with the Mostess at http://www.hostessblog.com/2011/04/a-paris-inspired-baby-shower-tres-chic/,  for more pictures and additional information on this beautiful baby shower!! 



I love the usage of the stacked vintage books and little suitcases used in this design!  They are repeating elements in the design layout.  We are beginning to see a lot of stacked elements in event design these days……

  



A closer look at the the details, details, and more details :o)

 





The little pink baby shoes are just too adorable!!



La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination~ 

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The Royal Wedding ~ What’s all the Hype Really About?

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding is a little less than 2 weeks away – and as a wedding planner I couldn’t be more excited.  My husband, on the other hand (as well as a lot of other people I know) could care less.  “Why is this wedding such a big deal?” he asked me.  Well, from an economic point of view – this wedding is bound to bring an increase in sales of all things wedding.  It will also play at least a small influence in weddings for at least the next twenty years.  Don’t believe me?  Take these two examples: 
1)  The Dress – Princess Diana’s wedding gown sparked wedding gown inspiration for about ten years following her July 29, 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.  As soon as Diana’s gown came into view, designers struggled to keep up with the demand for replicas of her gown, or wedding gowns inspired by her taffeta and lace creation with large sleeves, hand-stitched embroidery, sequins, pearls, and 25 foot train.
All images courtesy of The Internet and Getty Images.

Whatever Kate Middleton decides to wear – trust and believe the fashion world will be watching and waiting to turn out replicas of her gown as fast as they can.  Her wedding gown will definitely turn the heads of many new brides.

2)  The Ring – Princess Diana’s choice of an engagement ring is still popular to this day – even before Prince William offered it to Kate Middleton in November of 2010.  The ring – an 18 carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds and set in white gold is a gorgeous piece of jewelry that was truly unique to Princess Diana.  She single-handedly started the trend to look toward other stones for an engagement ring instead of a diamond – but none more so than the sapphire.  If it was good enough for a Princess – then it definitely deserved a second look, right?!  Even I fell victim to that!  I always loved Princess Diana, and as a little girl I remember watching her wedding and just like every little girl wanting to be a princess.  So of course, I wanted a sapphire engagement ring just like Princess Diana’s.  Now, 18 carats was a little over the top for me, but I love that my engagement ring is close to it in shape and that when everyone saw it last year, Princess Diana was the first memory verbalized back to me, seconded by how unique my engagement ring is.
All images courtesy of The Internet and Getty Images.

Some people may question why this ring was given to Kate, but regardless of how you feel about the ring – no one can question its popularity.  After Prince William and Kate’s November 2010 engagement announcement – the production and selection of sapphire engagement rings increased dramatically after renewed attention and significance was given to this particular iconic ring.
Now, that was just two quick examples of the effects of the upcoming Royal Wedding on wedding trends.  We haven’t even started the discussion on its potential effect on wedding etiquette, fashion, décor, travel….. the list can go on.  But let’s be real ~ we have a lot going on in our world right now.  With that being the case, a Royal Wedding could be looked at as a guilty pleasure or at least an escape from all of the seriousness going on around us.  And if it inspires a wedding trend or two as a result ~ so much the better!
La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!

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