Hello love! Yep, I am talking to you. I know we may not have met before. But that’s about to change, my friend. The way I see it is, (a) if I’m going to be dropping into your inbox or (b) you’ll be dropping into mine – i.e. this little ole blog here – then we’re going to get to know each other pretty well. So let’s start with an introduction. First, you may have landed here after reading my “about” page on my brand new website. So I won’t perseverate on what you may have already read. But to summarize, I am LaToya Bonita Roux Montgomery. Long name, I know. But when faced with whether or not to drop my maiden name after getting married, I simply couldn’t do it. It’s such a part of me and my heritage, so a long name was the only option for me. I’m an Atlanta based Interior Designer. But my path was far from linear.
I was born in Germany as both of my parents were stationed there. When we returned we lived for a short time in the city of Baltimore, where my father is from. By the time I was 1 year old, we’d moved back to New Orleans, where my mother’s family has been for generations. Needlesstosay, New Orleans is a huge part of my identity.
I also spent part of my life in the West Indies. And though that was a long time ago, Jamaica is as etched in my soul as a tattoo. New Orleans runs through my veins, but in many ways, Jamaica “grew” me. I moved there at the age where some of us believe we are invincible – the tender age of 18. I “withdrew” from Loyola University after my freshman year, where I was studying Biology/Premed on scholarship. I’d become so disillusioned with the expectations of society that I sought to distance myself from all that was familiar. This was my exodus to find my truth. And in that truth, I learned about a life much harder, yet much simpler than the life I left behind.
While there I lived amongst a Rasta community, which is where my love of nature, quiet mornings, home cooked meals, natural medicine, and a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself really blossomed. Don’t get me wrong, those seeds were planted in my hometown, among those I grew up living with, loving on, and being loved by. But it took these experiences to help me realize what lies beneath.
I returned home a few years later with plans to enter the healthcare field as a midwife and naturopath. Life would take many turns, ultimately yielding a marriage in 2007, a divorce in 2009, a long period of self-reflection, a 10-year step-wise path toward a career as a cardiology nurse practitioner, and a new marriage in 2015. For all of the above, I am truly grateful. And would be willing to share details on any of these stages if you’re curious. Each little fragment is its own music note in the symphony of ME. In fact, it was in the aftermath of that divorce – and in my quest to heal and cultivate a love of self again – that I discovered my love of design.
Again, the makings of this existed already, seeds sown by a mother who is a masterful seamstress, who decorated our home each Christmas with handmade, coordinating drapery, pillows, and ceramics. But oddly enough, it was my divorce that cultivated the very real need for me to create, to live and not just exist, and to see in my surroundings the reflection of a woman who could.
Could what, you ask? Well, in a nutshell, a woman who could mend what was broken within her, a woman who could find the beauty in the ugly, a woman who could acknowledge her role in this godawful mess and then find a way to release the shame and bitterness she felt. You see when he left, he took everything in the house with him save for my bedroom set and dining room table. I had a roof over my head, but little else. As an aside, that doesn’t make him a terrible person. He was hurting, not hating. And I know this now.
I had this blank canvas – empty home, white walls, enervated heart, exhausted spirit. Truth be told, that canvas had been blank for a long time. You see, my ex’s job was such that he could be made to move at any time. So we never put down roots. The house we lived in was just that, a roof over my head. I didn’t feel connected to it. And when I reflect, I realize that sentiment spilt over into many areas of my life. Home was a place I felt frustrated, powerless even…
In that dreary state, I saw an opportunity. A favorable circumstance to create an environment from which to heal. A sanctum of sorts, an outward manifestation of the inner work that was ongoing within me. I bathed the walls with colors that soothed me. And over time, I purchased the furniture and decor items that I really wanted, because I’d resolved that this woman would no longer settle in any area of her life.
Before I truly realized it, my house became my home. It offered me security, strength, rest, peace, and I felt nurtured there. I felt empowered there. So empowered in fact that I made some pretty gutsy decisions about where my life path was leading. I was ready to make these decisions in large part because of how I had cared for myself both inwardly and how I chose to reflect that in my environment. Soon, to my delight, others around me were asking for my advice and assistance with their homes. And in 2016 Maison LaRoux was created.
In summary, while New Orleans & Jamaica will always have my heart and is still home in many ways, I have lived in Atlanta for 15 years. I bought my first home here. Earned three degrees here. Met my husband here. And I’ve learned a lot about myself and life here. I have nearly 18 years of nursing experience in my background. I believe that has provided me with skills that continue to serve me daily in this season of my life as a designer.
In my opinion, this prior experience uniquely qualifies me to be an advocate for my clients, to keep their overall well being a top priority, and to anticipate their needs and desires perhaps even before they do. In this stage of my life and career, I aim to minister to the health and wellness of people on another level, one that focuses less on sick care and more on our day-to-day well being. So whether we are redesigning your home or workspace, decluttering your closet or pantry, or you simply drop by to read the blog for inspiration, I want you to feel you have been offered that which will feed your soul and ultimately be inspired to live your best life.