Posts Tagged ‘decorating’

A few recent projects have been for families downsizing to smaller homes. And while moving to a home you are excited about can be a blessing, it can sometimes be difficult to lose square footage.

 

It’s amazing all of the stuff we accumulate over the years. I feel like I am constantly cleaning out my house and I try to watch what comes in.

 

How to make the most of small spaces can sometimes be overwhelming , so I thought I would give six helpful tips to #LivingWell in a smaller home.

 

1. Clean Out and Keep Only What You Love Or Will Use.   Simple enough- Do you love it or use it? If not, get rid of it.  No more storing things you “might” need in the future or because you feel guilty getting rid of them.

 

2. Are There Pieces That Can Be Repurposed? If there is a piece you LOVE but don’t have a place for it, can it be reworked for extra storage? 

 

3. Look Above And Below. Look for ways to hide storage, such as using ottomans that open up, raising a bed a few inches to create more space underneath, or  adding built-in seating with drawers underneath.  I also love adding ottomans under an open console or coffee table- not only to work as a layering piece but as an extra seat that can be pulled out if needed.

 

 

An ottoman slides under a coffee table in a client’s Family Room- Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

Drawers pull out for extra storage in this window seat, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

4. Simplify- When Looking At Your Stuff, Give Away The Extras Of The Same Items.  After all, you might need a few extra sets of sheets, but do you need five sets for the same bed? No- so give away to someone who can use them.

 

5. Think Long And Hard How Your Home Needs To Work For You and Delegate A Function For Every Room Or Unused Corner.  There is something refreshing about simplifying your life and surroundings. But with smaller homes, you need to think long and hard ahead of time to make sure the new home functions like it needs to for you.  If you see an extra corner, could you add a chair and floor lamp for an extra place to sit?

Or a custom banquette to create more seating around a breakfast table?

 

Photography by Jean Allsopp, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

If working on a new build or renovation, hire a designer before the plans are drawn.  An extra set of eyes for how your family will live in the house is invaluable. Every square inch needs to work hard so you can have the pretty with a purpose.

 

6. Let Go Of The Guilt. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is hard to get your money out of furniture and rugs (and even some antiques) when selling.  Just know this is the case and let go of the pieces…. Do not hold onto stuff for any reason other than you love it.

 

#LivingWell isn’t necessarily about having the best of everything- It’s about surrounding yourself with a home that brings you joy.  A place you love to make memories with family and friends.  

 

Downsizing can be a blessing if you allow it, as it is a way to lighten your connection to material “stuff” and create spaces that are customized and truly special to you.

 

Hope you find these six tips helpful to #LivingWell in a smaller home. Let me know what you think-

Dana

 

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#BootcampTransformation: Ways To Make Your House A Home- Part Two

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I kicked off  #BootcampTransformation last week with ways to make your house the home you wish, and today I want to pick up where we left off.   If you are just now reading, you can catch up here.

 

Now that you have chosen a room to tackle, you came up with five words to describe how you want this room to feel, and you’ve cleaned out everything you do not want to keep, it time to move on to the harder steps.   This is where it sometimes becomes too much for someone to do on their own.   Try these steps first, knowing you can always turn it over to a professional if needed.

 

 

Assess the room’s features

Decide what needs to be accentuated and what needs to be hidden.

For instance, if I have a client with a not so pretty stained, wood fireplace surround that cannot be changed- and it’s a feature that doesn’t need to stand out- I would have it painted the wall color to make it disappear.

 

 

Based upon how the room needs to work for you, layout a general floor plan.

Begin by measuring out the room, wall by wall, allowing for casing, doors, openings, etc…   Assess the location of the doors, how the room needs to work, and decide where you may be able to add some sort of seating.

While some rooms may only have room for a chair (foyer), others may be large enough for a couple of seating areas.  Add in where a seating area makes most sense and keep a 34″-36″ walkway throughout.   Include in this plan any pieces that need to be placed in here or need to be reworked (such as a console that needs to be painted, etc….).

 

 

Choose your color palette

Do you want your home to be a retreat from the crazy world we live in…

 

so serene from Mary McDonald

 

 

 

…or do you want it to reflect your bold personality?

 

show the world your personality! by Jan Showers

 

 

 

Whichever you decide, make sure each room flows from one to the next.  A retreat space will have more muted colors and softer furnishings, while one that is more bold may have pops of color.

Figure out what you need when you are at home.  Perhaps you need quiet time, but your home feels loud and busy.  Perhaps you need a little more energy in your life, but all your furnishings are heavy and dark-colored.  All of these things make a difference!

 

 

lighten up and keep it simple… by Thomas Filicia

 

 

 

Accessorize

Add personal items that you LOVE  and want to see each day.    I have a plaster hand my youngest made several years ago that sits on top of some coffee table books on an ottoman.    It doesn’t have to be a fine piece if it speaks to you.

If you have lots of little things, group them together to make them more cohesive.   This post here from a few weeks ago gives some good tips on placing these finishing touches.

 

 

Your home can make you feel inspired and at peace, or it could possibly be draining you.  Stop waiting and start today by applying the above tips and let’s see if you can make a change for the better.

I bet you will  be amazed at how cleaning out and determining how a room needs to work for you can make all the difference in your home.   As always, feel free to call or email us if you would like for us to turn your house into a home you love.

 

Here’s to a more peaceful home for all,

dana

 

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Give Away What You Don’t Love Or Use, But If We MUST Keep, How To Display Your Clutter

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Summer is here and I find myself cleaning.  Cleaning out drawers, wiping down drawers, etc…   Makes me happy!

And while I preach to throw away or give away things that you don’t love or are not using, I know there are times when you want to keep certain things just to keep.

I thought I would rerun this post from a few years ago on how to display your clutter  stuff …….      Here goes….

 

Dana

 

The holidays are over, and who isn’t looking for a few ways to declutter their home?   It’s easy to discard the items you don’t use, but what about the knick knacks you love and want to display?

Do your “special” items look like a pile of mess to others?   If so, what should you do?

Create a few vignettes in your home.

Start with your big items, such as the painting, sconces, lamps, and urn in this picture.   Next, stagger your accessories throughout, making sure you balance out each side.  Notice how they did not forget the space under the console.

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What a great job they did of taking family keepsakes, which, after all, make a house a home, and displaying them in a beautiful way.

How about adding in a few of your personal items when entertaining? At this client’s home, instead of just setting out her china and everyday, we decided to mix it up a bit.

Speaking of entertaining……

What do you do for all of the silver and crystal you have crammed into your cabinets?

Display it as we did in this client’s home.   Here, we mixed in some of her silver pieces with her crystal and pottery.  Everything has its place, and it is beautiful!

photo courtesy of jean allsopp

When creating a focal point, whether it is a vignette or glass cabinet, don’t forget to layer and add different textures.

from dana wolter interiors

So, the key is to make the space your own by displaying your items in a neat, organized way.

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Even when there is a family pet involved- such as the frog for this family- can you display it in a clever way.

I don’t know about you, but I find the summer heat and going from one activity to the next exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to be busy and am excited to share with you very soon some things that are happening.   With work, on top of family and other commitments, I stay out of trouble on my toes.

While some people only know me because of my design work,  there are others who only know me through my children.   I always smile when someone, who has known me for a few months, realizes I have another side to me that works and creates and changes the way people live in their homes.

I love that because while I am grateful and proud of all that has come my way professionally, in the end, I want to put my aside my pride and be known for my character versus my accomplishments.

 

 

So….. Having said that, I thought it would be fun to let you “spend a day with me” to see how the two mix and are intertwined.

I  love what I do, but I’m thrilled to spend more time this summer with my over scheduled girls. Their schedule is more lax when school is out, and with one headed to college in a few months, I am savoring every moment of family time.

Here goes …..Get ready to juggle as I have a lot of balls in the air…..

 

 

My day started Wednesday around 6:15 when I woke up, showered and reviewed my notes before filming a segment from ABC 33/40’s “Talk of Alabama”.

I arrived at ABC 33/40 at 8:30 for a live segment on “Five Ways To Update A Room (Without Breaking The Bank)”. I blogged about this last week, so be sure to check it out here if you haven’t seen it.

 

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Image from Dana Wolter Interiors

 

After I finished, I ran to the office around 10:45 to meet with the rep for Cotton and Quill to look at the new fabrics.  They have lots of great patterns, and I particularly loved the soft colors in these for a bedroom we are beginning.

 

cotton and quill

Image from Dana Wolter Interiors

I hurried to the physical therapist for a lunchtime appointment.   I have been battling pain in my hip, and after having about five months of pain, I am grateful to have it finally under control.  Thank you, Jesus!!

 

On the way back, I picked up my youngest who had eaten lunch with a friend.

I came back to the office and met with the homeowner of #projectexpansion. We discussed a few details with the construction of her project such as flooring, doors, hardware and cabinetry.

 

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Next, the homeowner and I were off to Triton to look at slabs that were brought in for her project. We selected a couple of beautiful ones.  Holy moly- can’t wait to share.

 

After we finished, I also met with a producer to film a video on selecting countertops. Stay tuned for more on this.
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We finished up around 4:45- 5:00.   I headed home and intended to workout,  but that didn’t happen. Instead, I enjoyed lounging with the girls in my gym shorts.

Close enough.   Wearing gym clothes= working out, right?!

 

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I probably should have spent the downtime cooking dinner but that didn’t happen either, so we enjoyed takeout instead.  A meal together is what matters, not who cooked it, right?

My bed was calling my name so I crawled in face planted, and enjoyed reading Jay Abraham’s “The Sticking Point Solution.”   It’s a book with a lot of great tips on building your business and brand.   I love reading before I go to sleep as it’s the best way for me to unwind.

You’ll find that my life isn’t very exciting, and for the most part, it’s pretty predictable.   It’s my hectic life, though, and I am grateful for every single bit of it.

 

Here’s to making the most of a day,

dana

 

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We Have A New Look!

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Guess what?!

 

I am excited to announce my new website is finally up and running!

 

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We took my old one, added to it, changed it around, and uploaded A LOT of pictures.  If you have ever been involved in creating a new site, you can relate to how much work goes into it.

 

As I tuck my tail between my legs, I hesitantly admit I had projects from over two years ago that were not up on my site.   Thankfully, that is not the case anymore as my site is as current as it can be- at least for now.

 

Click here to see and let me know what you think!  We also have a place on our contact page to sign up for our latest newsletter.  I promise you won’t want to miss it!

 

Have a great day, everyone-

 

Dana

 

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How To Choose An Exterior Paint Color

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Recently we had a few readers share some design questions and ideas they would like to see us address on our blog.

One popular topic mentioned was how to select an exterior paint color.  Considering I just painted the exterior of my house, I had to answer this one first.

My house was a combination of taupe brick and a darker trim.  While there was nothing wrong with it, after seven years, I was ready for a change.

What color scheme did I choose?   A cream on cream that has very little yellow to it.  A clean, crisp combination.

 

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Paint transformation in progress with the primer….

 

Choosing exterior colors for your house can be daunting, but it’s well worth the hassle.

Here are a few tips you should take into account when choosing your exterior paint color.

Do your research. Before you begin painting, drive around or look through magazines, Pinterest, etc…to see what color schemes appeal to you.  Try to choose a color palette that will blend in with your surroundings but that’s special in its own way. With well-placed color choices, your home will stand out in a tasteful manner.

Plan around the elements that are hardest to change. Unless you’re doing a complete renovation, surfaces such as roof shingles, stonework, pathways and driveways will remain in place.  Use these elements as color resources because there are numerous shades and hues in building materials.  Are they warm or cool? Look for paint colors that will tie these fixed elements together in a harmonious way.

 

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The side of my home after it is primed

 

Examine color samples outdoors, at various angles, and at different times of the day. Consider buying small quantities of desired colors and paint a section of the house where the body, trim and accent colors can be viewed together. Study it at various times of day and under different weather conditions. How do the colors change with the light?  Do you see blue or yellow undertones?

 

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Choosing a color for the brick…..

 

Obviously my house is a work in progress (this is the primer coat) but I am already enjoying the transformation.

Don’t let the wide array of color choices give you a case of chromophobia, a fear of colors. Plan ahead, try colors on your house first, and be confident in your color choices.  You’ll be thrilled when your house has a fresh, exciting new look!

Who said watching paint dry is no fun?  I certainly have enjoyed watching it dry on mine, and I look forward to sharing the final “after” pics with you soon.

We would love to hear from you.  Please comment below and share some topics that you would like to see us address.

 

Have a good one,

Dana

 

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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

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As I was going thru some old photos of my work, I was reminded of something important…..

When hanging a mirror, not only is the placement important, but also be mindful of what it reflects.

 

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See what I mean?!

Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

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I had the best time in California last week for a Traditional Home/Thermador event.   A group of designers, print media, and bloggers across the country came together to discuss design trends.  Thermador was a gracious host and no detail was forgotten by them.

If you aren’t familiar with Thermador, check out their line of kitchen appliances here.   I have Thermador products throughout my own kitchen, and if you have been reading since day one, I listed my Thermador warming in my very first post as one of my top five favorite things in my home.  For a family on the run, it is a necessity.

I thought I knew their product line pretty well, but after an extensive tour, I learned so much more.

 

Here are a few quick pieces of information that stuck with me, and I hope you find them helpful:

1. If I was building again, I would incorporate a steam/convection oven into my home.  This is a super neat appliance that keeps food moist (and vitamins in) while browning and cooking at a faster rate.

Look at this 14lb. turkey they cooked for us in it.  Super easy and it was ready to eat after cooking for only 90 minutes.

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2. I have a Pro Range in my home, but I had no idea it could do this.   Yes, these are chocolate chips melting- on a paper plate– on its XLO setting.   I haven’t tried this yet, but when I do (AND I WILL!), let’s hope I don’t burn my house down.  YIKES!

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3. One of my favorite discoveries was the refrigerator columns in their line.  Because of their hinges, the front panel on all of their refrigerators can hold over 200 pounds, and I could not help but brainstorm about what I could cover the doors in.  In the right setting, how does antiqued mirror sound?

 

The trip was a lot of fun and I learned so much, all while making a few new friends.

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Karen Williams of St. Charles New York cooking a Cherry Clafoutis with me.

 

I hope this info was helpful, and let me know your “must-haves”  in your next kitchen.

Take care and have a great week, everyone-

Dana

 

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I am excited to be working on a renovation in Mountain Brook, AL, and the talented Louis Nequette of Dungan Nequette has drawn the plans for the couple.   Louis is a well-known architect across the country, but if you haven’t seen his work, click here.  I am honored to be partnering with him and look forward to seeing this project progress.

The house is French in style and was built about 10 years ago.   There are some exciting changes in store for this home, and one of my favorite transformations is in the kitchen.

Here is a sneak peek of Louis’ vision for it.

 

Kuester-kitchen-02-07-14 copy

Drawing by Louis Nequette

 

Who doesn’t love a great sketch- and a great kitchen, right?!

Originally,  the kitchen was very modern in design and you can see from Louis’ drawing that he is bringing it more in line with the architecture of the home.  It reminds me a little of a French bistro with the marble countertops and walls, custom marble/iron shelving,  glass cabinetry, and the incredible view into a quaint courtyard.

This house will be filled with beautiful finishes and details throughout, and I am excited to begin sharing this project with you.

Stay tuned as I keep you informed on the progress….

 

Dana

 

 Also, please take a second and vote here for the New Trad designer’s style you like best.  It is quick and easy,  only takes a second, and I hope you will vote for us.  Every time you cast a vote, you enter a chance to win $1,000 from Hunter Douglas.  $1,000!!  Voting ends soon- July 17th.

 

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A Fun Project Coming To An End

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If you follow us on social media, you have seen us post pictures of a new construction project we have been working on this past year.    I  have been meaning to share them with you, and as this project comes to close, it is time!

This new house, soon to be home to a fun and really nice couple,  has been a project I have enjoyed tremendously.   We have described it as “snappy casual”- a home not too serious but still maintains a sense of formality,  soft lines, classic materials, and eye-catching details.  This couple has been open to new ideas, which has in turn produced a much prettier home in the end.

I am going to show you some transgression photos of a few areas and details in this home.   Barrett Architecture has done a great job drawing the plans and you can look their site here.  The home is going to be gorgeous when all is said and done!!

Let’s start with the family room as Abbey checks the framed dimensions against the plans….

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This room will be painted a bone color with a gray undertone.   The texture of the wood will appear but the walls will read as painted.

The kitchen and family room were drawn as one really big space.  We decided to add an opening to break down the feel of one large room.  What do you think?  Keep in mind the cased opening will be painted the same color as the walls.

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Off of the family room is a gallery.  Notice what we added at each end to shorten the long hall.

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We added this deep opening on each side of the gallery

 

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In the middle of the “x” will be a beautiful gilded sconce.

 

I have to include some pictures of a few of the cabinetry details in this home.   Notice the soft curves included throughout.

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Master bath cabinetry

 

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Love this marble backsplash with the soapstone countertops

 

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A few of the kitchen cabinetry details

 

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning the stairwell.   We wanted to do something a little different but that would still blend with the walls in this enclosed area.   Here is what the painted stairwell we created will look like:

 

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Drawing by the talented Chad Martin of The G Brand

The panels are going to be made up of laser cut panels overlayed over one another, with all of them will be painted the same color as the walls and trim.

Here is a mock up (not to scale) of what the trim carpenter built so we could have a visual.

What do you think?

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This home is about a month away from completion.  As I take photos, I will try to be better about posting in a timely manner.

Take care and have a great day-

Dana

 

Also, please take a second and vote here for the New Trad designer’s style you like best.  It is quick and easy,  only takes a second, and I hope you will vote for us.  Every time you cast a vote, you enter a chance to win $1,000 from Hunter Douglas.  Voting ends July 17th.

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