Archive for the ‘Reality’ Category

We are thrilled to share some exciting news with you…..  

Dana Wolter Interiors has been named a Finalist in the Southeast Residential Designer Of The Year Award. This accolade is sponsored by ADAC and Veranda magazine.

This is the second year in a row we have been nominated for this amazing award, and I am grateful to my hardworking team and the judges Clint Smith, Victoria Hagan, and Tom Kligerman for noticing our work.

Needless to day, we are over the moon.

Stay tuned as we will keep you posted on social media. The awards ceremony is April 26th at the Southeastern Showhouse, which we leave today to install our space. Wish us luck with the install – with three cars full and a carrier making a delivery, we look like we are moving in to stay.

Have a great day, everyone!

Dana

 

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With two of my girls off at college and my last one with a little over a year before she leaves,  I find my house starting to feel a little too big.    

I love my location in Mountain Brook, AL, and my home that I put so much of myself into,  but I hate the idea of unused space.  I realize this is probably not my last house.

And like my empty nest clients, my next home will be one that will need to carry us through the final stage of life, and I realize my needs as an empty nester will be different than those of someone with children living at home.  

So if you find yourself thinking like me, here are five tips every empty nester should know when building a house:

1. Not all of your furniture will fit in a scaled down home.  This is a great time to think about the pieces your truly love and have meaning to you.   Practice living well in this new home by simplifying, downsizing and surrounding yourself only with things you love and use.

2. Your children may not want your discards.  Newsflash….When you are cleaning out, chances are that if you don’t want Aunt Susie’s favorite chair, your children may not either.  Give them the gift of deciding what they would like to bring into their home without the pressure of keeping a family piece.  When it is time, savor the memories and let go.

3. Customize this home to you.   Life is short and life is meant for living well.   If you have always wanted a large storage closet for your china and silver, build it.  Surround yourself and customize your home to what brings you joy.

And while your space may be smaller, this is a great time to upgrade your finishes and details. Thought out touches add value to your home and to your life.

For instance, the home below was for my empty nest clients. They did not want a breakfast room because they like to eat everyday meals around an island.    I wanted them to really enjoy their kitchen and especially their island, so we focused on making the space unique and extra special for them. 

Island customized for everyday meals. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Custom island with reeded doors. Dana Wolter Interiors

 

4. Create dual purpose rooms.  While you may not have children and grandchildren visit every day, you want them to feel welcome when they do.  If your new home doesn’t allow for enough extra bedrooms, think dual rooms, such as an office or sitting room with a bed or pullout sofa in it.  

For instance, we turned this garage into a playroom because my clients needed extra space for watching tv when all of their grown children are home.   We added an extra long sofa that has a pullout sofa for family visits.

 

Just because you give up square footage when downsizing does not mean you should ever give up entertaining or hosting overnight guests.

5. Think Long Term. While you may be healthy now and still running marathons every few months,  your forever home may need to transition one day to the later stages of life.  

What will that mean for you?  It may mean a master on the main or an elevator for upstairs’ access, limited stairs where possible, and a shower and tub that are easy to get in and out.

So here’s to living well in your home and making it unique to you.  Life is about surrounding yourself with people and memories you love and enjoy.

If we can help you create the home of your dreams, email us here.  I’d love to discuss with you.

Dana

 

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 I’ve always been proud of how our designs change how people live- because they do.  I’ve seen time and time again how a beautiful, well-functioning home can add to the quality of a family’s life and save them from costly mistakes.

While the reason we do what we do hasn’t changed, we gave it a name in early 2017.   We added to our Vision Statement “To change people’s lives through the art of Living Well in their home.”

So, in keeping with Living Well in my own life, I thought it would be fun to look back at what 2017 held for me.   Here is a recap- the good and the bad- that took place.   

We began the year opening my new office in Mountain Brook, AL.   I kept my office in my home for several years to stay close to my children, but now that they are older and my team has grown, it was time to move out.  We are now in the heart of Mountain Brook Village, so still close to my own home which I love.

 

BEFORE of the space

 

AFTER:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

January also included installing our #DiamondsOfDesign vignette for the AmericasMart market in Atlanta, GA.   It was their 60th anniversary and to celebrate, they had 10 designers from across the country create spaces based upon a style icon from the past 60 years.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, photo courtesy of AmericasMart

 

In March, we installed our spaces in the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle’s  Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta, GA.

 

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Designers from across the Southeast were asked to participate in this showhouse, and we loved being included.  The house is a James Means’ creation where his designs were based upon Classicism and craftsmanship.  The renovation/addition was by Yong Pak of Pak Hyde & Associates.

Here are a few pictures from our Mudroom photographed by Emily Followill:

 

 

March came with a family trip to The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas for spring break.   It was a much needed break, and the fresh air and scenery were exactly what I needed.

 

We were thrilled to learn in early April that we were a Finalist for the 2017  ADAC and Veranda Southeast Residential Designer Of The Year award.

 

Though we didn’t win, it was a fun few days celebrating and catching up with design friends. 

 

Talking with my friend, Arianne Nardo, of The Editor At Large

 

 

Rebecca and me heading to the awards’ ceremony

 

2017 also included publications of our work.   We loved this feature here in Charlotte’s Peachy Magazine featuring one of our designs from years’ past.   It’s an example that good design doesn’t go out of style….

Mountain Brook Magazine featured one of my favorite renovations. The backstory to this project is a feel good story for all, so be sure to read here .

 

 

StyleBlueprint did a wonderful feature on our work.  You can see the article here.

I also visited New York a few times for work and for fun.  I love the city and find inspiration from new sources so easily there.   When I was there in July, I drove over with my friend Vicki to see the Traditional Home Hamptons’ Showhouse in July.  It was filled with amazing talent and every space was gorgeous.

Vicki and I enjoying the Hampton Showhouse with Jill Waage, Traditional Home’s Editor In Chief

 

I can’t leave out moving TWO of my girls to college.   While it is always time for them to go back to school when the time comes (and this is Lucy’s junior year), it is still emotional for me.  Not sure why- because they are doing amazingly well, but I just miss them.  

Mother/Daughter senior trip to the Grand Velas in May

 

 

We took over Traditional Home’s Instagram feed here in October and it was a ton of fun.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I enjoyed showing their followers around Birmingham, AL.  People are always pleasantly surprised to see how urbanized our city is and all that it offers in the Deep South.   

 

Graham Yelton photography

 

We had several installations this year, and for our amazing clients, we are always grateful.  Here are some pictures of a few of the homes(photography by Graham Yelton):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are still reading following me here on Instagram, you know I recently had hip surgery.  It was a big decision for me to go through with it as I have had hip pain for over three years. Quite frankly, I just became tired of being in pain and not being able to walk long distances.   It has been a rough few weeks, but every day I seem to be a little stronger.   I just pray 2018 will be pain free and that I will be able to walk as far as I would like without thinking twice.  I’ve learned it’s the simple things that I take for granted, like bending over to tie my shoes (I can’t do this for six weeks post op).   If you see me walking into my office barefoot, you will know why.:)

 

And while 2017 has been a pretty good year for business and accolades, what I am most grateful for is my family.  Living Well for me is enjoying my family and creating memories with them whenever I can.    I recently turned an extra room in our house into a tv room, and I have loved watching all of the many movies we did over the holidays.

So here’s to Living Well in 2018, whatever your definition may be.   If it includes transforming your home into one that works hard to live up to your definition, give us a shout here.   We’d love to hear from you.

 

Happy New Year-

 

Dana

 

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Do you ever wonder how we use so many beautiful, neutral fabrics in our projects and question how they look after a busy family lives in the space?  
 
Many times when we are in the furniture and fabric phase of a project, clients immediately want to steer clear of anything that remotely looks too ‘light’ in color because of children, dogs, and just life.
 
They have valid reasoning for being concerned; I’ve raised three daughters and know how that goes. But like everything else, technology with fabrics and their durability have come leaps and bounds from where they used to be.  
 
Here are four ways to make neutral upholstery more durable in your home:
1. Treat the neutral fabric with a stain resistant
In this Living Room, we had all of the upholstery treated with a stain resistant formula before being upholstered. It’s important to look at each fabric’s durability when creating a room so it can work hard for your family if needed.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
2. Include commercial grade fabrics in strategic places
Another trick we use is to find contract-grade fabrics that do not look or feel commercial. We have found fabulous looking velvets and linens that go through rigorous testing to guarantee they are stain resistant, durable, and have a high rub count.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
3. Add a blanket or quilt as an extra layer of protection
Often times, we have quilted throws made to perfectly fit a piece of upholstery. This allows the throw take the brunt of the activity and it can easily be removed or dry cleaned.
 
This Schumacher velvet and Jerry Pair leather add to the durability in this room. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
4.  Incorporate a leather or faux leather into the room
This buttery faux leather that resembles some of the attributes of leather can look stunning and function perfectly in a kitchen or breakfast room.
The technology makes it easy to wipe down without stains or harsh chemicals, so no worries about fingerprints or stains on this custom banquette we designed, either.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
Next time you are faced with the fear of choosing new fabrics for your home, don’t immediately shy away from light upholstery. Remember, the key is to look at its makeup so it can stand up to everyday life.
 
Here’s to living well with neutral upholstery,
Dana
 
 

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Not to show my age, but who remembers the bulky televisions with the rabbit ears? There was no hiding those big ‘ole things.  
 
 Thankfully, tvs have become a little more discreet over the years.
 
On many projects, I have clients ask where should they place the tv in a room and how it should be treated within it.
 
 I try to tuck them away when possible or make sure they are not a big focal point.  If they are placed on a main wall, it usually calls for me to try and soften around it.
 

TV is placed on a side wall, Dana Wolter Interiors

 
 
The picture below is from a client’s living room.  Yes, I said living room, and that is a tv near the piano.   This large room with incredible light was – get this-  pretty much a walk-through room.   They have a large family with a revolving door to family and friends, so it made sense that when we redesigned this room to incorporate a tv in here.   We tucked it into a side wall where it can be pulled out if needed.
 
We reworked the furniture layout to add more seating.  The room is casual enough to feel comfortable lounging on the sofa with your feet propped up with a bowl of popcorn, or it can be a little more formal when having a dinner party.  Either way, it works, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, the space is used by their family.
 
hidden tvs

Dana Wolter Interiors

 
Make no doubt about it, sometimes a tv needs to stand proudly in a room, ready to serve its purpose, but a little softness never hurts.
 
hidden tv2

Dana Wolter Interiors

 
What are your thoughts concerning the tv?   Are you a “let it hang on out there” and serve its purpose or do you like to tuck it away? Let me know what you think-
 
Have a great day,
 
Dana
 
 
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 *Photography is by Graham Yelton

Pets Are Family, Too- Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

Pets are part of the family, and #LivingWell with a pet means creating durable, pretty interiors that can withstand the wear and tear that comes from them.  Interiors you can enjoy with your pets, family and friends.

Ask my dog, Bitsy, as she is sure to show you how she has free rein in my home.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen on my Instagram stories how I refer to her as Waldo- you never know where she may appear- but it’s always in a comfortable spot.

Bitsy always finds a comfy chair

Pets need to be taken in consideration when designing your home. Yes, you can have a gorgeous, jaw dropping home the entire family can actually live in, including them.

Here are a few tips for worry-free living with your best friend: 

     1. God-made materials, such as natural stone, only become prettier with a little wear and tear.   Scratches, etching- it’s called patina.   

2. When selecting fabrics, choose ones that have a high durability rating.   If it doesn’t have one, have the fabric treated.

I use this trick- a lot.    Let me show you a few examples…

Chaises with a treated fabric, Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

3.  Incorporate antique and semi-antique rugs.  Needless to say, if it has lasted a hundred years or close to it, it can stand the wear from a pup.

Maggie was quite the model when shooting this home.  She loved to be where the action was (and on the rugs).

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

What can I say?  Some can easily claim a favorite spot of their very own. Isn’t he the sweetest?

 

Where’s your pet’s favorite spot to perch, or is he even allowed on the furniture?

 

Here’s to #LivingWell with pets.   After all, they are part of the family, and a home should be enjoyed by all.

 

 

Have a great day-

dana

 

 

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Fly My College Girl and A Few Other Summer Highlights

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I’ve been little sporadic blogging this summer, but that doesn’t mean lots of exciting things- personally and professionally- haven’t been going on.   I don”t know where to start, so I thought I would give a few highlights. 

 

I have been super focused right now on packing up my middle daughter, Ellie, and moving her into college TOMORROW.  Lots of mixed emotions as I don’t think a move with my second child will be any easier than it was with my first.  

 

We are doing a mix of custom and store bought finds for her dorm room.  I’ve tried to spend a little more on the items that can be reused and go more for “look” on the basic items.

 

The girls want to be surprised, so they haven’t seen anything yet.  I am a little nervous about not having feedback from them but I’ve had a hip, college intern this summer who approved.  Hopefully, they will feel the love that has gone into creating their room by this old, not so cool (at least in my daughter’s eyes)  mom.

 

I will try to share some picture on social media so you can see how it turned out.   Be sure to follow along here on Instagram……

 

Our office closed the week of the Fourth of July and I headed to the beach.  My oldest, Lucy,  is working in New York this summer and Ellie was at the lake, so Danny and I took Ann and friends to Watercolor  in Santa Rosa, FL, for the week.  

 

I loved having some time (well, as much as they would give us) with these girls, and the rest was good for all.  The one on one time with my hubby was icing on the cake.

 

Girls celebrating the Fourth

 

 

 

 

Am I not like an old person? Sitting in the sun all covered up :). How times have changed…..

 

 

It’s a good thing we rested as my team and I came back to a huge install.  This is a new construction we have been working on for over two years, and the cute couple, who built their forever home, were moving in that week. 

 

 

The scope of the project covered all of the finishes/ details in the house, and the beginning of the summer included lots of attention to making sure all went seamlessly.   We selected all of the upholstery, furnishing, accessories, window treatments, etc…, for the entire downstairs and a few things in the media room.  The home is stunning with custom touches throughout.

 

 

It’s these custom touches that make a house go from pretty to pretty incredible.  Lots of fabric cuttings going back and forth, creating a “catch your eye” focal point in each room, blending of finishes, making sure everything works with the piece next to it without being too perfectly matched…..   You get the point.  It’s custom what we do and attention to detail is our specialty.

 

 

 

 

Window treatment coming next week……

 

 

 

 

 

Upholstered doors against the slab of Calcutta Gold marble turned out beautifully in the bar, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

Custom banquette fits JUST right in the breakfast area, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

It’s been a fun project as we’ve blogged about it here if you’d like to read more.

 

 

 

I headed to the Hamptons at the end of July to celebrate the opening of the Traditional Home Showhouse in Southampton.  It was a lot of fun and the two homes are gorgeous.  Lots of stunning details shown on Traditional Home’s Instagram here.   Be sure to look for more pictures of the homes in next summer’s issue.

 

 

Pictured here with Jill Waage, Editor In Chief, and Vicki Carra of Traditional Home

 

 

We’ve also been diligently working on a few new rooms that have been added to the scope of a current project.  It is a stately house with great bones with a cute, active family that lives in it.   Lots of beautiful stone throughout- but it needed some softness and layers and unique details added into the mix.   We’ve brought in an architect to make the rooms flow better.   It doesn’t matter how pretty a space is if it doesn’t function well for your family.  Right??!

 

 

Curating a few fabrics for the foyer, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

Stay tuned as we are sharing some exciting news soon.  In the meantime, wish me luck moving in my girl.  

 

 

I am going to miss her infectious laugh and the relaxed feel she adds to the house. Wondering if crying when dropping off college kids is embarrassing to them.   I am only asking for a friend ūüôā

 

 

 

Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Fly high, my sweet girl…… Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

Have a great day and thanks for reading,

 

Dana

 

 

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Dana Wolter Interiors. Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

I posted this picture Here on Instagram a few months ago, and I had someone comment they couldn’t believe this beautiful, functional room once served as a Garage.  Me neither…..

 

I realized that I should share some progress pictures so you can see the transformation.  Who knew a garage could look so good……

 

Before:

 

 

 

What do you see? I see a future family room. Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

After:

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography 

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

I love how this family took their home and made this room work for them.  The home functions for a large family, and they needed extra space to spread out and watch television.  

 

The Garage made the most sense, and with its doors turned into French doors and a back entrance reworked, the room quietly transformed.   

 

We added an extra-long sleeper sofa, so it is perfect for the times they need an extra bed, too.

 

So here’s to making the most of your home, one room at a time.

 

Dana

 

 

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In case you are wondering where I have been……

 

I fell off the blog post train the past few weeks, as I have been living on the road and out of a suitcase.  

 

We have been pretty busy with current projects, and with being out of town, my blog writing, the dog grooming appointments, and the cleanliness of my own house have fallen by the wayside.

 

Here is a glimpse into what has been going on with us…….

 

As I wrote here a few weeks ago, I was asked to participate in the Atlanta Home’s and Lifestyle’s Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta, GA.  

 

We spent two days in Atlanta installing the Mudroom, Mudroom Powder, and the Butler’s Pantry.  Though it poured as we moved in, we had a blast.  

 

 

Abbey at odds with the umbrella, and I think the umbrella may have won….

 

 

Monica and Abbey taking inventory

 

 

My goal was to make these small, but important rooms, feel true to the home.  The house is beautiful and  extremely traditional. Our rooms needed to blend into the architecture, but not at the cost of being boring.

 

 I wanted to create spaces that are functional- a place to catch your keys, use the desk behind the cabinet doors, etc.    

 

Layered, collected, timeless.

 

Here are a few pictures of our spaces for you to see.

 

Gorgeous console and lamp are from Parc Monceau. The Louis Philippe mirror is from Huff Harrington and the sculptural hands are from Travis and Co

 

 

 

Drapery panel covering a nondescript closet door. It also adds softness to the room while balancing the opposite wall.

 

I love the Tantalus and oil painting below from Parc Monceau.   If you haven’t been to their shop in Buckhead, you need to stop by.  

 

The Plateau is an architectural fragment I found at an antique store, and I had my marble guy cut a piece of Alabama White for the top.   It’s one of my favorite serving pieces in my own home.

 

 

 

 

Royal Standard china and Baccarat crystal

 

The Showhouse closes May 14th so be sure to catch it. 

 

After we installed our rooms, I vacationed in Miami for a few days with two of my girls.   It was Lucy’s Spring Break, so we took a few days to get away.    Feeling the sun on your back, and your toes in the sand, does a person good.

 

We loved DIRT in Miami- a fresh and healthy take on food

 

 

I came back Tuesday from Miami and left Wednesday for the opening of the show.  Abbey went with me and we had a blast.

 

 

It was back to work for a day while I was back in Birmingham, AL.  We had a site visit to select hardwood floor color, and we also began working on a living room design for a new client.

 

 

 

 

I then headed back to Atlanta for Design ADAC and for the Southeastern Designer & Architect Awards.

 

 

The Design ADAC panels were awesome as expected.  I especially loved the one with the Editors of Veranda  moderated by Carolyn Englefield.   I think I could have listened to Lisa Newsom’s stories from the past all day long.

 

  

As I wrote here, I was thrilled to learn we were a finalist for the ADAC & Veranda 2017 Southeast Designers & Architect Of The Year awards.

 

 

2017 Southeast Designers & Architect Of The Year Award

 

Rebecca and I before the party

 

 

 The Editor At Large interviewing me at the party

 

Phoebe Howard took home the Residential Designer Of The Year award, and my Birmingham, AL, friend, Jeff Dungan, took home the Architect Of The Year Award.

  

I have to give my team a huge shoutout.  They held down the fort while I was in and out of town, and I truly could not do all of this without them.  They are the BEST, and I am grateful for each of their gifts that they bring to our firm.

 

I loved being in Atlanta this past month, and always said that if I didn’t live in Birmingham, Atlanta is where I would hang my hat.  Not sure my husband would comply, but I can work on him…..

 

And while I have worked on projects in Atlanta in the past, I would love to do more work there.  If you have a project and you like our style, reach out to us.

 

I am back in Birmingham for a few weeks before I head out of town again.  I plan on catching up on work and cleaning my house :).  If I am lucky, my hands will end up in the dirt planting a few things this weekend.

 

 Stay tuned as we keep you filled in on some more exciting news….

 

Have a great day-

 

Dana

 

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Five Design Ideas To Create A Healthy Home, Happy Life

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I sense¬†a change is taking place… ¬† People are tired, ¬†tired of feeling exhausted¬†and stressed.

 

It is time to slow down and enjoy life more.  Find a balance.

 

Because life is short,  embracing the good and surrounding yourself with positive, healthy ways of living are more important than ever.

 

Don’t get me wrong. ¬† I am the first to get caught up in everyday life. ¬†Little things, that in the big scheme, don’t mean much.

 

But if we can make healthy changes in our home that have a positive impact on our quality of life, isnt this a good thing?

 

 

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Here are five, easy, design ideas to create a healthy home, and therefore, a happy life.   Here goes:

 

1. If you don’t love something in your home or aren’t using it, get rid of it. ¬†Clean out, pair down, ¬†and keep only what speaks to you and brings you joy.

 

End of sentence.   Period.

 

 

 

 

 

2. ¬†Assign a purpose for every room in your home. ¬†Every single room, even the little “catch-all” closet. ¬† ¬† What exactly is the closet going to store?

 

 

3. ¬† LIVE in your home and ENJOY. ¬† No more off-limit rooms or ¬†saving your china just for special occasions… ¬† Use¬†the dishes one night for dinner, just because…..

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4.  Make your home a reflection of you.  Do you like a little edge but your home doesnt quite capture who you are or how you want to reflect your style?  Reach out to a designer and hire someone who can turn your vision into reality.   Ask around and check with their references to make sure their style, type of budget they work with,  and their personality are a good fit for you.

 

5. ¬†Create a space somewhere in your home that makes you feel calm and relaxed. ¬†It doesn’t have to be big space- maybe it is a corner in a room with a chair, a blanket, and a table to place your morning coffee. ¬†Do a little self care and create¬†a spot¬†to call your own.

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photo by Jean Allsopp

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photo by Jean Allsopp

 

 

Hope these five design ideas help you create a healthy home, and therefore bring a little happiness into your life.  Let me know what you think-

 

dana

 

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