Posts Tagged ‘design blog’

5 Things To Keep On Hand For Last Minute Entertaining

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There is nothing I love more than when friends and family stop by at a moment’s notice.  
 
Whether it’s catching up with a neighbor or an impromptu girls’ night, I savor these moments.   The key to being prepared for unexpected company is to have a few easy tricks. 
 
It’s not about stressing over how clean your house is or the fact that you may still be in your workout clothes from the morning.  It’s about enjoying friends and family and the time you spend with them.
 
Your guests will only be as relaxed as you are, so don’t fret over the things you can’t control.
 
Here are five of my tried and true tricks to keep on hand for last-minute entertaining:
 
1. Keep a delicious dip in your freezer and crackers in the pantry. This way, all you have to do is pull out of the freezer and heat in the oven. Not only will your home smell amazing, but you don’t have to fuss with any dishes or prep work.  
Here is my family’s favorite  dip recipe, courtesy of the Junior League of Birmingham’s Food For Thought cookbook.  FYI- it freezes wonderfully, too. 
 
Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled,
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers 
 
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Swiss chases, and green onions; mix well. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with bacon and crackers. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and serve with crackers or Fritos.
 
2. Have cloth napkins pressed and ready. No thought or effort required – It is as simple as pulling them out and displaying with your hors d’oeuvre of choice and wine. 
 
 

Or setting a table for a more formal, sit down dinner

 
 
3. Light a nice candle – I love a good candle and am constantly changing out the one in my kitchen.  Find one that speaks to you and enjoy it.  
 
 
4. Keep a good supply of simple, clear vases of different sizes tucked away for entertaining. These are great for filling with grocery store flowers or branches from your yard for a last minute arrangement.   Sprawling branches make such a beautiful, effortless statement, and according to my youngest, flowers make your house look cleaner.  Who knew!
 
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
5. Slow down and give your guests your undivided attention. Put down the cell phones, send the children off to play or to do homework, and make your guests feel like you have time for them (no matter what fire you might be in the middle of putting out). Be present and enjoy your visit!

 

With the holidays approaching, I hope some of these tips will help ease the stress of the season. I’d love to hear your tried and true hospitality tricks.

 
Cheers to living (and entertaining) well,
 
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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The foyer is the first impression of your home when someone walks in, so it needs to make a good one.

After all, whether family or a visitor, you want guests to feel welcome.

We recently began working on the foyer of a current project.  It is a beautiful home and while we have finished up several rooms in the house, we are now focusing in on this space.   As I was assessing the best way to soften this room and make it look like the family has lived there for some time, I thought I would share some tricks with you. 

 

Here are five tips to making a great first impression in your foyer:

1.  Add a piece of furniture and or seating (preferably something with fabric) to soften the space.

 

Foyer, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

McAlpine Booth and Ferrier

McAlpine Booth and Ferrier

 

 

2.  Make the space personal- Add your favorite piece of artwork, a frame with a family photo, etc….

Artwork by my daughter (that I love) personalizes the entrance into my office, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

3.  Make the space useful- Depending on the size, create a place to sit to put your shoes on, or at the very least, add a tray to catch your keys.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

4.  Include something fresh such as flowers or a plant.

 

 

5.  Layer the space with accessories to create dimension and to make it look like it has been collected over time.

 

 

 

 

Below is a video I shot a few years back with Wendy Garner talking about how to transform this overlooked space.  Click here to watch for a few more tips for your foyer.

 

photo (5)

Dana Wolters’ TV Segment on “Ways To Create An Inviting Foyer”

 

 

So, what does your foyer say about your home?   Does it set the tone and catch your eye, or is it a “catch-all” area you want to hurry your guests through?

 

Have a great day, everyone, and here’s to your foyer making a good first impression.

Dana

 

 

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Monday Motivation: Quote Of The Day

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Here’s to Monday morning…..

 

I find myself tackling on Monday the things I put off on Friday, all while trying to organize myself for the week.   

 

courtesy of Pinterest

 

So here’s to tackling that email or conversation or opportunity that you pushed aside last week.    Let’s make it a great week together-

 

xo,

 

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

Living Well: Six Tips For Creating A Bedroom You Love

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I have been talking a lot lately about the importance of making your home your own.  #Livingwell and creating a home around what is important to you. 

A bedroom is the perfect room to create a spot to call your own – a place that allows you to relax and surround yourself with things you love.

I’ve come up with six tips for creating a bedroom special to you.  Here goes:

1. Use colors that SPEAK to you: I normally keep colors in the bedroom soft because I need tranquility in my life (Ha!), but if a bright color speaks to you, then certainly use it.

 

Bedroom created a few years back for a favorite client; Dana Wolter Interiors, Jean Allsopp Photography

2. Mix your Furniture Pieces for a Collected Look.  Gone are the days of matching bedroom sets, so mix your finishes.

Vincent Wolf

 3. Layer- Bedrooms can have quite a few hard surfaces, so it is important to add softness through a rug, window treatments, pillows, bedding, etc…

I love this upholstered niche by Circa Interiors

4. Incorporate things that you love, such as favorite photographs and artwork.

  

     

 

 5. Keep it simple… Don’t clutter or overcrowd your bedroom with too much stuff.  Make sure the room can breathe, so you can as well.  

Pinterest

6. Find a place to sit.  While you don’t want to overcrowd, I always try to add some sort of sitting in a bedroom.  A place to lounge if you aren’t quite ready to curl up in bed.

A leather or upholstered chair to cozy up in to finish that book you started are pieces that can enhance a bedroom space and make it feel like your very own private suite.   #Livingwell in your home by making it your own.

 

 

Bedrooms should have all things in it that you love. It should be the place you cannot wait to get to at the end of your day or sneak off to when you just need a moment to yourself.  

If you want help or need guidance on how to make your bedroom feel like its very own getaway, email us here.

 

Here’s to creating a bedroom you love and #livingwell in your home.

xo- Dana 

 

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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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It’s always fun to go back to a finished project and see how a client is LIVING in the home.  

 

I am always amazed at how your surroundings can completely revamp how you feel and live.

 

After all, #LivingWell in your home is about making your home work for you and your family.  Making it special  to you.

 

We made a two day visit to professionally photograph this home, and I loved seeing the hustle and bustle of everyday life for them.  This family of five stays on the go, and their home needs to work hard for them.

 

Southern style at its best- spaces that invite guests in to visit, spaces that are workhorses for their needs, and in the end are just really pretty rooms.

 

I think we succeeded in making it just that….

 

It is their forever home, but when they bought it a year ago, there wasn’t much to it that made it feel like it was their own.

 

While I can’t show you the full room pictures, I can give you a glimpse….

 

You might have seen this picture of the foyer on My Instagram that I posted last week, or this one today……

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

 

And here are a few more……..

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Kitchen Banquette Detail-Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Details on the loveseat in the bay window, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

If you feel like your home isn’t helping you make the most of your life and your family’s, email us here.  Let us help you #LiveWell in your home, too.

 

xo,

 

Dana

 

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With the devastation we’ve had lately from floods and Hurricane Irma, I’ve been reminded of the importance of home.  I’ve realized I take for granted having a roof over my head, a place to retreat from life.

 

None of us are promised a perfect tomorrow, so why are we waiting to create a home that makes us feel comfortable, happy, and protected?

 

My heart goes out to all of the people across our country having to start over and rebuild.   Now more than ever, it is important to #Livewell by creating a home you love- one that makes you want to retreat to from the craziness of this world.  

 

It’s deciding what makes you happy and taking the steps to create it.   For instance, is family important to you?  If so, think about creating a gallery wall of your favorite family photos.  

 

I do this all the time- I’ll designate a specific hall, a wall, or both in a home where photos can be displayed.   Here are a few from a couple of my projects:

 

Make a wall in your home personal to you, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Jean Allsopp Photography

 

 

For some, #LivingWell might be having friends over.   Casual impromptu dinners are always great, but don’t be afraid to pull out your china, silver, crystal.  If using these things brings you joy,  pull them out-stop saving them for tomorrow.  Let’s enjoy today.  

 

 

I love to create a spot somewhere in the home that clients can call their own.  A cozy corner that calls their name. 

 

 

An extra-deep loveseat in this bay window creates an inviting spot to sit. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

A cute couple I helped with a design/build liked to sit at their island for their meals.  If you are going to sit at the counter for a few meals each day, why not make it functional and pretty and unique? 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

For today, I hope you are inspired to find ways to turn your home into one you love…….

 

 

Here’s to creating a home you enjoy and can #livewell in

 

 

Dana

 

 

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Living Well- Tips For Making The Most Of Your Space In A Smaller Home

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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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