Designing Baby’s Nursery

Over the past few months, I have noticed that I currently have many friends that are expecting little bundles of joy in the near future.  After speaking with a few of them – I thought “why not write a post dedicated to nurseries?”  If you, like my friends, are trying to come up with a comfortable and soothing nursery for your baby (as well as for yourself), please keep these tips in mind – especially if you are a new parent. 
Here is a list of essentials that every new parent should have in a baby nursery:
·        Comfortable Chair with an Ottoman or Foot Stool – Forget what you thought, this item should be the first thing that you purchase!  Keep in mind that this chair is more for you since you will be getting up sometimes several times during the night for feedings and nursing.  Try to invest in a comfortable chair that has rocking capabilities.  The rocking motion will help soothe baby and may also serve as a comfortable place for you to catch a nap as well.
·        CD Player – For playing classical music or a white noise CD, some say that white noise CDs such as those including the sounds of a vacuum cleaner or running tap water can soothe a newborn because it simulates the noises of a mother’s womb.
·        Crib – This obvious choice of the most essential item will also most likely be your most expensive piece of furniture in the room (unless you also purchase a dresser for storage of baby’s clothing and other items).  If you have a crib that has been passed down to you, just make sure it is in safe condition (i.e., not too old and with no lead based paint).  However, if you are planning to purchase a new crib, to save some cash, try and invest in a crib that can be converted to a twin bed as baby gets older.
·        Mobile – A staple form of entertainment for the baby while he/she is in his/her crib. 
·        Changing Table – Another staple of baby nurseries, try to invest in a change table that provides storage space for baby wipes, powder, diapers, and anything else that may come in handy while changing baby.  This extra storage will also come in handy during late night baby changes when sleepy parents lack the energy to hunt for these essentials.
·        Diaper Genie – A truly convenient depository for smelly diapers – although no odors will escape from it!  Empty it as you would empty the trash.  Simple.  Convenient.  Must.  Have.
·        Baby Monitor – Eventually, baby will begin sleeping in her/his own room and you will want to be able to check in on him/her.  There are many audio as well as video monitors available to serve this task and some are even so high quality that they can be used from quite a distance away!
Enough talk!  Let’s see some photos :o)
All photos courtesy of The Bump.com



Clearly a traditional little girls nursery – of course, I absolutely love the usage of pink and green in this room!  I also really love the mini-chandelier. 



Another pink and green nursery, although this time with a fresher and more whimsical feel.



A traditional boys nursery – I love the play of the neutrals with the blue in this room.  Taken together, they both have an immediate calming effect.



The other side of the room above.  If you don’t have storage space within your changing table – you can turn a dresser top into a storage area for changing essentials!



Another usage of blue, but a bit more modern this time.  The use of white freshens the nursery up a bit!

  

Blue is the perfect color for bedrooms and nurseries because it is calming, soothing, and can help lull baby to sleep.  Often thought of as a boys nursery color, blue can also be used in a girls nursery and can also be quite feminine if applied correctly!



Pink, green, butterflies, trees, and a crystal chandelier to boot, this nursery is definitely fit for a little princess!  If you have the space in your nursery, it’s never too early to buy a good bed for when your baby gets older – if the baby gets fussy on a particular night, the bed may be a welcome addition for you as well.

Red is a very powerful color that can promote energy due to its brightness.  Since red has the ability to over stimulate the senses, if you must use it in your nursery – only use it on one wall as shown in this example.

As a brief side note, when it comes to color theory for baby nurseries:

  • It is best to choose two main colors and no more than two accent colors - you can choose more, but be careful that you don’t overstimulate baby with too many colors. 
  • If you do choose two colors for the nursery - try and keep those colors within the same family.  For instance, keep bright colors with bright colors and pastels with pastels, don’t intermix them. 
  • Add interest by adding splashes of color to the nursery with the usage of accents such as cushions, bedding, or lamp shades.

Decorating baby’s nursery can be just like decorating any other room in the home, but the most important consideration when designing a nursery is that you want to make sure that the nursery is functional for both you and baby.  The key word being functional.  In addition to the list above, just about all parents have items that they considered essential to them when they had nurseries – you will need to determine which of those items is most important to you and if they are – by all means add them!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination!~

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Vera Wang ~ 2012 Collection

It seems like Spring just sprung, but as we all know in the world of fashion, it’s always on to the next season.  Vera Wang’s 2012 Bridal Collection has been unveiled, and as always….it is haute, Haute, HAUTE!

{Photos courtesy of WWD.com}

Something about these gowns just scream VINTAGE ROMANCE to me…..

It’s clear from this collection that next years bridal trends will continue the trend of color and the trends of the full skirts, lots of tulle, bows, ruffles, and lace - put quite simply next year’s bridal collections will exude romance. 
Also, don’t forget that David’s Bridal also carries WHITE by Vera Wang.  If you love Vera like me but want a more cost efficient gown, take a look at David’s selection.  Here are a few of my favorites! 
{Photos courtesy of David’s Bridal}

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

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New Addition ~ Certified Sandals Specialist!!

In March, I attended an ABC seminar and training course – the topic was destination weddings.  I am proud to announce that I am now a Certified Sandals Specialist!  This means that I am now able to inform, recommend, and reserve your destination wedding, honeymoon, anniversary, and other special event or family getaway at any of the luxurious Sandals® resorts in the Caribbean including Sandals®, Beaches®, Royal Plantation Collection® and Grand Pineapple Beach ResortsTM. 

A leading Caribbean hotel brand for the past 16 years, and the 2011 Brides Magazine award winner for the Top All-Inclusive Brand, you will not regret your stay at any of the Sandals® resorts!  

Head on over to http://www.sandals.com/ and be wowed!!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination~ 

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Becoming a Professional

When I began to seriously think about becoming a wedding planner, the first thing I did was to join the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC).  ABC has been the “PLATINUM STANDARD” organization for wedding professionals since 1955, boasting over 4,000 members in 26 countries.  In addition to being the top wedding professional’s organization, ABC also has the most comprehensive and thorough training course on the market today.  After completing their rigorous course, of which I was a Distinguished Graduate, I am even more confident that I will be able to plan your wedding or next event ensuring that things go as smoothly as possible!  ABC has different designations for their members based on the members’ experience as it relates to ABC’s point system.  It took me a mere two months to level up from a Novice to a Consultant member, and now I am hot on the heels of my next goal – Profession Bridal Consultant member.  I’m happy to say that – even with the inclusion of a lot of time off for my own wedding and the Holidays – I’m  close to reaching this goal after only a little more than a year in the organization! 
To ensure that you get the best services possible, always look for this logo from your wedding or event vendors.  If you see it, then rest assured that you are working with a trained professional.

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

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Out of the Dark

Lighting is often the most forgotten about element in interior design, especially when a homeowner is creating their own interiors.  Lighting is important to any interior design project because – in a nutshell, you NEED light to be able to SEE the sofa that it took you months to decide on!  Take a look at some of these fabulous lights.
Photos courtesy of Architectural Digest.com
A dramatic overhead pendant light can serve as a focal point in addition to being the main light source of a room.  Take a look at these beauties!  

In addition to the sparkling chandelier – the gentle glow of cove lighting also gives this room a striking appearance.

In the kitchen, not only is it important to have the direct light of an overhead pendant, but task lighting is also necessary – such as the cabinet lights shown here.

When one overhead light source is not enough – add another layer of light.  The chandelier as well as the perimeter recessed lighting provide the lighting in this dining room.

This small bathroom was designed to make use of the natural light coming in from the window and reflecting back into the room with the mirror.  At night, the recessed lighting provides the general light with the glow from the cabinetry providing accent lighting – what designers call the final layer of a light design.
 

This kitchen shows three lighting sources working together - direct lighting from the pendants; general lighting from the perimeter recessed lighting and task lighting from the under cabinet lights – a perfectly designed lighting solution.

As you are thinking about what furniture or even accessories to purchase to put into your space, don’t forget to think about the lighting aspet of your design.  Even the most gorgeous of pieces can’t be seen in the dark and will look awful in poor lighting.
La Toya Michelle
You are only limited by your own imagination! 

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Happy Spring

It’s been a crazy year of organization at Panache!  When I first started this blog back in October 2010, I had just come back from my honeymoon and then before I knew it the Holiday Season was upon us, and well, I decided to spend some well needed time with family and friends.  But at the beginning of 2011 – I decided to put Panache first – and I haven’t looked back!
Let me back up a bit and introduce myself.  I am La Toya M. Jackson-Wilson and I am the Owner and Creative Director of Panache Interiors & Events.  I have been designing both interiors and events for years – just not on the “formal” side (smile).  Typically, it used to start off with a friend calling to ask me a design question about something that they were thinking about doing in their home or for my opinion of a wedding theme – or of a theme they came up with for a party that they were going to have and somehow during the course of these conversations, it would end up turning into a La Toya Michelle production.  These events planted a seed in my mind and for a long time I contemplated going into business to combine the two things that I am most passionate about – interior design and wedding and event design and planning. I completed an advanced degree in interior design thinking that would help calm my nerves, and although that experience gave me a wonderful foundation and skills that I can definitely use for both disciplines, the bottom line for me was that after being in the legal field for the past 13 years, I was scared to take that leap of faith.  Creative fields can be so challenging – you have to have a thick skin because rejection (or complete silence from no return call at all) is common, and you have to be able to pick your self up and move on.  This can be so difficult though when, as a designer, you are already your worse critic anyway.  But to succeed in this business you have to be able to put it behind you.
Now – after a lot of soul searching, prayer, and with the support of my family, friends, and especially my hubby who is my biggest fan and cheerleader, I was ready to take that step on faith this year and follow my passion.  My design philosophy is simple – you don’t have to be rich to have a beautifully designed home or a fabulous wedding or event.  You want an Architectural Digest home?? How about a Platinum Wedding??  Trust me, a little imagination and creativity can get you pretty close!  I’m here to help my clients achieve what they can dream when it comes to their home or event.  I am so excited to finally launch my own business and I am hoping that you will support me, too!  I still can’t leave my day job just yet, but it is so gratifying to be able to clock out of one job and clock into another that I am so truly passionate about.  I can’t begin to describe how happy that makes me, and I can’t wait to see where this journey that I am on takes me :o)
And now with that said – let’s take a look at some Architectural Digest homes and get inspired…..
All photos courtesy of Architectural Digest.com
Neutral palettes will always defy trends!  Regardless of when you put your rooms together a neutral palette seldom appears dated.
In this case – having a fantastic view doesn’t hurt either :o)

More neutrals!!

If you can, try adding an outdoor space to your home – it helps to increase the value of your home and will give you an extension room as well!

This bedroom is all about STORAGE!!!

You can’t get more simple than these rooms!

I can’t even begin to imagine the budgets for these rooms….  But again, remember, you don’t have to be rich to create a room in your home that can rival these interiors.  With a paintbrush, a little creativity, and a keen eye for shopping you can have your very own Architectual Digest home…..
La Toya Michelle
You are only limited by your own imagination! 

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Happy Spring!

It’s been a crazy year of organization at Panache!  When I first started this blog back in October 2010, I had just come back from my honeymoon and then before I knew it the Holiday Season was upon us, and well, I decided to spend some well needed time with family and friends.  But at the beginning of 2011 – I decided to put Panache first – and I haven’t looked back!
Let me back up a bit and introduce myself.  I am La Toya M. Jackson-Wilson and I am the Owner and Creative Director of Panache Interiors & Events.  I have been designing both interiors and events for years – just not on the “formal” side (smile).  Typically, it used to start off with a friend calling to ask me a design question about something that they were thinking about doing in their home or for my opinion of a wedding theme – or of a theme they came up with for a party that they were going to have and somehow during the course of these conversations, it would end up turning into a La Toya Michelle production.  These events planted a seed in my mind and for a long time I contemplated going into business to combine the two things that I am most passionate about – interior design and wedding and event design and planning. I completed an advanced degree in interior design thinking that would help calm my nerves, and although that experience gave me a wonderful foundation and skills that I can definitely use for both disciplines, the bottom line for me was that after being in the legal field for the past 13 years, I was scared to take that leap of faith.  Creative fields can be so challenging – you have to have a thick skin because rejection (or complete silence from no return call at all) is common, and you have to be able to pick your self up and move on.  This can be so difficult though when, as a designer, you are already your worse critic anyway.  But to succeed in this business you have to be able to put it behind you.
Now – after a lot of soul searching, prayer, and with the support of my family, friends, and especially my hubby who is my biggest fan and cheerleader, I was ready to take that step on faith this year and follow my passion.  My design philosophy is simple – you don’t have to be rich to have a beautifully designed home or a fabulous wedding or event.  You want an Architectural Digest home?? How about a Platinum Wedding??  Trust me, a little imagination and creativity can get you pretty close!  I’m here to help my clients achieve what they can dream when it comes to their home or event.  I am so excited to finally launch my own business and I am hoping that you will support me, too!  I still can’t leave my day job just yet, but it is so gratifying to be able to clock out of one job and clock into another that I am so truly passionate about.  I can’t begin to describe how happy that makes me, and I can’t wait to see where this journey that I am on takes me :o)
And now with that said – let’s take a look at some Platinum Weddings and get inspired…..
{All photos courtesy of WEtv Platinum Weddings}
I love the use of crystal and white flowers!  Remember, using no more than 3 different blooms can make any event seem lush!

If you have the ceiling height for it – the use of tall centerpieces are appropriate.  The key is to make sure that you alternate them instead of having tall centerpieces at each table.  It makes the room feel more balanced.

Also keep the base tall enough so that communication between your guests is not disturbed, such as in the photos below.

Sometimes overlooked – the wedding venue should make it’s own statement, and flowers used as a secondary focal point (second to the bride and groom, of course!) are a good way to do this!

Although these weddings were Platinum Weddings and the budget for these weddings start at $500,000 –  you really don’t need a large budget to create an event that will rival these.  Remember that with creativity you can have your own Platinum Event …..
La Toya Michelle
You are only limited by your own imagination! 

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Concept Boards

I love creating concept boards!  Even before I knew what an interior designer or an event planner was, I was always ripping pages out of magazines and creating – what I called at that time - “picture collages” for those photos for a room.  After I got into design school, I loved creating them, by their correct name, even more.  I think it had something to do with being able to see everyone elses interpretation of a concept - especially if you somehow ended up with the same concept.  No two interpretations are ever the same.  I also liked the critiques, although some of them could be rather brutal.  But in this business, you have to have a tough skin and difficult critiques were all the better to help me get to the point that I wanted to be as a designer.  Not to mention that that was the whole point of the critique in the first place. 

Now that I am out of design school, I always start off a project with a concept board – a lot of times the board goes through 2 to 5 changes before I consider it ready to show a client.  If you are stuck on a particular look for a room in your home, try pulling out a magazine page of a pattern, piece of furniture, or even something as simple as a flower or a piece of artwork and use that as your guide to create a space.  For instance take a look at these really quick concept boards that I created for clients and see if you can tell where the inspiration photo was drawn into the suggested design elements:

I created this concept board for a client that wanted a Parisian inspired bedroom.  The photo of the Eiffel tower was what my client gave me to guide my inspiration.  The furniture, lighting, and fabrics repeated the night theme of Paris – but even though it may be night anything Parisian calls for light and reflection – which I brought in by incorporating shimmering lights and mirrors.

I created this concept board for a client that wanted a living room inspired by the peacock.  The teal of the sofa, the lime of the Pantone chair, and even the lighting were selected to evoke the beautiful peacock theme into the furnishings of the living room.   
These following photos are courtesy of jsinteriordes.onsugar.com, see if you can figure out where the inspiration came from in these beautiful examples!

Next up, the photos below are courtesy of roomdesignonline.com, again, can you can figure out where the inspiration came from here? 

Concept boards help you to see your vision and even allow you to dream a little bit.  For instance, do you think that you can live like a multi-millionaire?  Well, maybe not on some levels – smile - but when it comes to your home - with a little creativity, trust me, you can get pretty close.  Try creating a concept board – it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as these.  All you need is one photo to start you off and then - see where inspiration takes you …..

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Beautiful Boudoirs

The bedroom is sometimes viewed as one of the most overlooked rooms in a home when it comes to interior design.  Don’t let your bedroom be uninspiring!  Check out some of these beautifully designed bedrooms. 
{Photos courtesy of The Nest.com}

I absolutely love the neutral palettes in these bedrooms – serene and calming!

Traditional blue and minty green are starting to make a strong statement in interiors as well, especially in bedrooms!!

Hotel chic anyone??  These bedrooms automatically make me think of a resort or a boutique hotel instead of a home!

Or is black and white more your thing??

When it comes to interior design, bedrooms don’t have to be boring or uninspired.  Sometimes all it takes is a good can of paint and a few decorative pillows to brighten up a room, and give your mood a lift at the same time!!

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Time for Spring Cleaning!

Happy Spring everyone!  As great as it is to finally get out of the chill of winter and to feel the warm sunshine, these events also mean that ….. yep, it’s that time of year again.  Time to take a look at every room in your home for …… yes, Spring Cleaning!
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be looked at with disdain.  I actually prefer to look at it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to clear out cabinets and closets and gain more storage space in your home by donating items you no longer use or trashing items that can no longer be used.   I just started spring cleaning this weekend, and my husband will be the first to tell you that, even as an interior designer, I have a lot of stuff that clearly falls into the former category – things that can be donated.  I agree I do have A LOT of donation runs to make.  But honestly, it’s ok.  Not only does it make me feel better to donate items that I don’t use and may not have thought about in years – it also makes me feel good to know that I will be able to devote an upcoming weekend to shopping as a reward to myself for clearing out space and clutter in our home.  It’s a little trick I play on myself when faced with the question of “should I or shouldn’t I get rid of this item?”.  The possibility of a shopping trip ALWAYS makes the decision so much easier :o)
When it comes to spring cleaning, some highly organized people merely have to reach for the vacuum and the duster, take a few minutes to clean each room, and it’s done.  For others of us – we actually need to make a plan to declutter our homes of the things we have accumulated over the past year that may no longer serve their purpose.  If you fall into that category and are either a novice at home organization or have tried several times to organize your home and failed, please understand that you are not alone and that it does take time.  Very rarely will you be successful if you try to organize a disorganized home in one day or one weekend.  You have to be methodical and create an organization plan.  Although there are many different ways to go about decluttering a home, every year I follow the same organization plan to organize and declutter my home.  There are three basic steps to my organization plan:
1)      I literally schedule on a calendar what day I want to tackle a particular room.
2)      I ask myself what I want the room to look like, feel like, and what purpose I want the room to serve – I then write it down on a piece of paper creating a list of guidelines, so to speak, and I post the guidelines on the wall (sometimes with a drawing of how I want the finished room to look) in the room.
3)      I then go through the room, and using my written guidelines, I evaluate each item in the room and determine whether it fits into the room within the guidelines I have set.  If it does – I keep the item, if it does not – I donate the item or trash it out.  (Remember to use the “shopping trick” if that will help you.)
The thing about my organization plan is that it can work year round.  If you prefer to de-clutter seasonally, or even daily, you can still use the same plan.  Just keep in mind that this process will not be a fast one – it might take several weekends to clear out clutter and become more organized – and trust me, it truly is ok.  But the end result will be a more efficient home, not to mention that an organized home will make you feel better and more efficient as well. 

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