Archive for the ‘Living Well’ Category

Whether you are moving into your first home or you have an existing space that needs attention,  I’m sharing today some tips on designing a home on a budget. 

As I have written about here and here, I recently installed my daughter’s first post-college apartment in Manhattan. There was a distinct thought process I applied on where to invest and where to save as we pulled together her first home.

Tips To Follow When Designing A Home On A Budget:

1.   Buy the best upholstery you can afford

We started with a Fabricut headboard for her bedroom and sofa and chair in some of their wool fabrics for the sitting area as these are all great pieces that can grow with her over time.

A nice, weighty piece of upholstery makes such a difference – the quality is much better and I knew she would use it for years to come.  This leads me to my next point……

Dana Wolter Interiors and John Bessler Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors + John Bessler Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors + John Bessler Photography

2.  Determine your price points based upon the piece’s purpose and longevity

My daughter’s bedroom is a decent size for Manhattan standards, but it lacked a closet.  I took 2′ of the room and created a makeshift one with Fabricut’s quick ship draperies.(the roman shades are part of their quick ship program as well).

Their window treatment program is new to me and I was extremely impressed with the options. They shipped within 10 days of placing the order, too!

We incorporated an IKEA closet system behind the draperies because it only needs to last a year or two.

If she ends up using it longer than that, it’s an added bonus. To my point, this wasn’t an area that needed much financial investment but did need a functional system that worked for the space. IKEA was the solution for designing this small space within our budget and it turned out perfectly.

Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

There’s no doubt she will enjoy this Gabby marble lamp for years to come.

3.  Find your color palette – Think Neutral For Small Spaces

Knowing this was my daughter’s first home after college, I wanted to make it warm, functional, and inviting.  The function of these new pieces can serve her in other living spaces in the future.  

Therefore, selecting a color palette that she enjoys that will also stand the test of time was important. We went with mostly neutral tones but added pops of gray and pattern in the custom Fabricut pillows to add a little flare.

Dana Wolter Interiors – John Bessler Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors – John Bessler Photography

4. Buy the Best Art Your Budget Allows

Regarding art, my suggestion is simple; buy pieces you love and spend as much as you can afford.  It’s something that lasts a lifetime and can move with you from home to home.

My daughter started collecting art her senior year of high school and as a result, she’s curated a nice collection of custom pieces for her age.  

The watercolors on vellum were created by one of her friends from college, Dana Wolter Interiors and John Bessler Photography

Whether you are just starting out or looking for budget- friendly design options for your current home, I hope you find this post helpful.  Let me know what you think-

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or read this post, you know I recently collaborated with Gabby and Fabricut to share some small space living ideas using their product lines for my daughter’s New York City apartment.

It’s she and her roommates’ first apartment after college and like most Manhattan spaces, it is tiny.  

Trying to make a small space fit all of your needs can have its challenges.  My goal was to create a warm, functional Family Room for them and Bedroom for her while investing in pieces that will act as staples in the years to come.

Their apartment has great light that I wanted to accentuate.  I could not help but think about the cold, dreary winter months ahead in the city and decided to create a cozy feel through lighting, fabrics, rugs, and furnishings.

(Note: Like something that you see? Concluding this post, I’m sharing all of the links to the Gabby lighting and bedside tables and to Fabricut’s upholstery, fabrics, and trims used in these two rooms).

 

Small Space Living Ideas: Bedroom Design

What’s behind the draperies, you ask?

The bed frame is on risers (hidden behind the dust ruffle made from a Fabricut linen and tape) for extra storage. The Fabricut ottoman in one of their custom fabrics is perfect for sitting while putting on her makeup. Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

My daughter’s bedroom is a decent size for Manhattan standards, but it lacked a closet.  I took 2′ of the room and created a makeshift one with Fabricut’s quick ship draperies. The Roman Shades are part of their quick ship program as well.

We incorporated a vanity and an IKEA closet system behind the draperies.  It only needs to last a year or two, and if she ends up using the closet system for longer than that, it’s a bonus.

Here’s a drawing of the closet wall:

Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

I love that she can close the draperies to hide the mess, though not sure she would want to because it’s quite pretty with the Gabby lamp.

Gabby Margaret lamp, Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

I knew I wanted to use one on Fabricut’s upholstered headboards for her because an upholstered headboard instantly softens a room.  With this versatile style in one of their exclusive neutral velvets, I personalized her bed with custom pillows made out of Fabricut fabrics.

The chic Gabby “May” nightstand adds a little more storage, blends beautifully with the bed, and it fits like a glove in the space.

I love this Gabby bedside table paired with the Fabricut headboard and pillow fabrics. Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

 

Small Space Living Ideas, Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography.   The lantern shown is the Gabby “Carly”.

 

Small Space Living Ideas: Intimately Fabulous Family Room

Their Family Room is tiny – approximately 6 x 9 (plus the niche) and with its odd shape, there isn’t room for wasted space.

Before:

 

After:

We started with a Fabricut loveseat and chair from their upholstery line as these are perfect pieces that can grow with my daughter.  They give as much seating as the space allows and I envision them moving from home to home with her over the next several years.

Fabricut’s Draper loveseat and Helga lounge chair nestled in perfectly in the family room. Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

 

Don’t you love this Fabricut wool on their “Helga” lounge chair? Yes – it is as soft and comfortable as it looks. Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, John Bessler Photography

It’s amazing the transformation this apartment made and I love how it came together. They have a nice start to some classic pieces that can move with them in the upcoming years.

I have listed below the furnishings, fabrics, and lighting by Gabby and Fabricut. Let me know if you implement any of my small space living ideas into your space as I enjoying hearing how my tips inspire you. And, as always, if we can help you turn your home into one you dream, please reach out here.  We would love to discuss your project.

 

Have a great day,

Dana

 

Want to recreate this look?  Click below on the direct links:

Lighting:

Fabricut’s Quick Ship Draperies + Roman Shades:

Loveseat:

Custom Family Room Pillows: 

 

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Four Problems With Your Home and How To Solve Them

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I’m in a lot of homes, and I tend to see the same problems come up time after time.

Some are dark, cramped, outdated, not functioning well…. Can you relate to any of these issues in your own home?

If so, I am sharing a few simples ways to instantly make your house feel and look better.  

It’s one of the best parts of my job when a client hires us to transform their personal space and for us to see how a beautiful, organized home can completely change how a family lives.  

Here are a few ways to solve some common problems in the home:

1. Organize your home so everything has a place.

If organizing overwhelms you, start by cleaning out a small space such as the towel drawer in your kitchen.  Incorporate hidden storage where you can create a visual calm and remember to store alike things together.  

 

wolterhome_2016_gyc_367-2484x3726

The hidden door under my stairs allows for all kinds of hidden storage for my family, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

2.  Find a Purpose for every room in your home.  

No room should serve as  a “walk-through” or a one that is used once or twice a year.  Once you give the room a function, take a step back and assess the items in it.  Do they bring you joy or are they useful?  If neither, it is time to give them away or throw them out.

This may also mean switching rooms around, or changing how the furniture is arranged in a room.

Take this home below that we worked on recently.   The living room was never used, the family room wasn’t working for the family, so we flipped the two.

Dana Wolter Interiors | Luxury Interior Design

Looking Into The New Family Room, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

Because of where these two rooms are placed in the house, the family now finds themselves using both spaces on a regular basis.

 

3. Find a Balance with how your home flows and functions.  

To Live Well in your home, it should work hard for everyday living  while easily transitioning to host a party when needed. 

Does the kitchen allow for quality work space?  Is there a place for guests to sit and linger?  If not, it may be time to renovate your kitchen.

We took this outdated, dark, cramped kitchen and made it accommodate today’s living.  By raising the ceiling, taking the sunroom into the kitchen space and adding a wall of hidden storage, we created a kitchen that is functional, bright and works hard for this family.

 

BEFORE

 

BEFORE

 

AFTER:

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton

 

I also love adding a banquette when I can in a kitchen.  It allows for more seating AND it adds a layer of softness to a room filled with many hard surfaces.

Recent Breakfast Room completed, Dana Wolter Interiors. Graham Yelton Photography

 

4.  What makes you smile and brings you joy?  

Whether it is a sparse room, layered objects, bright colors, or a wall filled with books, use discernment in adding these touches to your space.   Find ways to add what makes you smile to bring you Warmth and Joy in your house.

Sentimental family photos are added into this new, casual space, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I hope these tips help you make an honest assessment about your home so you can find ways to add to your quality of life.

If you need help turning your house into one you love, reach out to us here.   We would love to hear from you!

Here’s to Living Well in your home, whatever your definition may be.

 

Dana

 

 

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Is Our One-Time 3.5 Hour Consult For You?

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While my firm works on full-room or full-home interior design projects, a few times a year we offer a limited number of appointments for a one time 3.5 hour consult.  

This service is designed for the client who needs direction and help making decisions for their home but wants to implement the suggestions on their own as their budget and time allow.

In the past, it has gone over really well as I have had several people fly in, drive over or even Facetime with me from across the country.

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Here’s how the 3.5 hour interior design consult works:

We will have you send a list of what you would like to discuss and accomplish during our time together.  During our appointment, I will then spend 3.5 hours of uninterrupted time going through your list and answering questions.  

We can discuss design dilemmas, furniture arrangements, fabric direction, paint colors, to knock down a wall or not– you name it!

I’ve also had people use this service to select the all of the finishes for a new build.

The more legwork you do before our meeting in knowing what you would like to cover, the more productive our time will be together.   We will make a Pinterest board with specifics of what to look for when shopping for your home, and I will take measurements so you won’t have to worry about coming home with the wrong size sofa, ever again.

People who have invested in this consult have been surprised over the amount of detail and information that comes from it. We work hard when we are together.

Matter of fact, I recently saw a client who hired me a few years ago to help her with the finishes, colors, materials, furniture layout, etc for a family lakehouse under construction.

I couldn’t help but smile as she proudly showed me pictures of the finished product.  They don’t have furniture yet, but the house turned out so pretty.  She did a great job implementing my suggestions for building their vacation home.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

A beautiful kitchen project as seen in Traditional Home, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

If you think this interior design consult can help transform your home into one you love, inquire about it here.  I would love to talk with you.

Have a great day-

dana

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We strive to create a home that is special to each client by thinking through all of the design details, including those in the forgotten spaces such as hallways and landings.

These type of pass-through rooms can sometimes take a backseat to the main living areas, but they are the perfect spot to add a personal touch.  

Here are a few design tips to turn your hallways and landing into warm and inviting spaces.

1. Create a focal point

In this new home we designed, we transformed what could have been a cold, boring upstairs’ landing into a beautiful extension of the main living areas.

We also added a unique focal point to catch your eye before you walk down the stairs.

How to decorate a landing in a home

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

2. Soften the space through rugs, fabrics, and furnishings

A great way to pull together a hallway is through layering the space.   Here’s a great example from 2018 our Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles’ Southeastern Showhouse space. 

How to decorate a hallway

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. Add a personal touch though art or family photos

My clients will tell you that I love using a hallway to create a personal photo gallery.  I asked this client for some black and white photos that were special to their family, and we took it from there….

How to create a photo gallery

Custom Photo Gallery, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

So the next time you are walking through one of your hallways and it seems a little bare, incorporate these design tips. Be sure to let me know how it transforms.

As always, if we can help you turn your house into a home you love, give us a call at 205-938-4848 or email us here

Have a great day,

Dana

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When Back To School Means It’s Time To Assess Your Home

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My mother always said that with the exception of my sister and two of her grandchildren being born in August, nothing good ever happens in this month. I am starting to think she may be right.
 
The fun of summer has worn off, it’s hot outside, and our houses are a mess from children being home all summer or from moving in and out of dorms, apartments, etc…
 
I’m not a negative person and I hate to say it…. August is kind of a yuck month.
 
But now that the kids are headed back to school,  it’s time to focus on things we’ve put off the past few months. I’m using this momentum to assess and tackle areas in my own home that need updating.  Here are a few tips if you want to do the same.
 

Survey How You Feel About Your Home

Does your home make you breathe a sigh of relief?

When you walk into your home, what feelings and emotions are evoked? Are they feelings of contentment and relaxation or anxiousness and dread?

If you answered the latter, it’s time for some change. Your home should be a restful retreat where you can make memories and host gatherings with family and friends. 

Start with a calming, neutral palette with layers of texture as we did below. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Emily Followill Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Jean Allsopp Photography

Does your home function for you and your family?

What stage of life are you in? Life transitions usually equate to transitions needing to take place in the home.

Have your children moved out and you are a new empty nester (if so, I can relate),  or are your kids older and what worked  a few years ago no longer does?

A house once full of active children and their friends that served your lively family so well can now feel lost.  It’s time to reinvent your home so it functions for you in this new phase.

Clients who hire us for these specific needs want to re-do their bedrooms, tackle the guest bedroom, and make the famous ‘playroom’ more of a mature den for casual lounging as we’ve done here:

Bedroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Does your home reflect your personal style and lifestyle?

Whether you have more formal or casual taste in style, your home should follow suit.   Below are examples of both formal and more casual interiors – which one speaks to you?

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

If you feel like your home doesn’t make you happy, function well (read more on this topic here), or reflect your personal style or lifestyle, we can help. Give us a call (205.938.4848) or email us here.

 

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know my family and I (minus one daughter- she has been studying abroad) spent an incredible two weeks traveling to different parts of Italy to celebrate a few milestones.

Not only did I have a BIG birthday, we were celebrating a high school and college graduation.  Lots of changes going on in my life right now.

Several of my social media friends asked me to share what we did and where we stayed, so here are a few highlights from our trip to Italy.

Things to Do in Rome, Italy

We began the trip in Rome, Italy for three nights and stayed at the Grand Hotel Via Veneto.  It was a nice, five star hotel with great service.  My girls wished it was in a location with more activity around, but I guess I am showing my age- I loved the quiet and the simplicity.

We took in the regular sites such as The Vatican, The Trevi Fountain, etc…., but it was the intricate stonework throughout the city that caught my eye.  

For anyone questioning using marble in their home, Rome is the perfect example to not think twice.  If it can withstand the wear and tear for thousands of years, it can withstand the abuse in your kitchen and bath.   

Thousands of years of natural stone makes for a beautiful patina

 

Gorgeous marble detail, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

Trevi Fountain, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Things to do in Rome, Italy

 

One of our favorite things we did was take a cooking class.  My Italian grandmother would have been so proud as we learned how to make fresh pasta and sauce.  Why I never had her teach me her secrets before she passed, I don’t know.

Pasta Cooking Class In Rome

Armando Al Pantheon in Rome was delicious and one of our favorite restaurants when there.  It’s family owned and has been around since the 60s.  

 A trip anywhere would not be complete without a little shopping.  What can I say- I have three girls and with the two grandmothers they have, their love of shopping comes honestly.

Among the local boutiques, we found a great department store called Rinascente.  It has several clothing lines we loved including a restaurant filled with fresh juices, pastries, etc… The store was beautiful inside, too (we also visited it in Florence and while the shopping was good there, the store was a little more run down).

The Best Things To Do In Florence, Italy

 We took the train from Rome to Florence, and it was interesting handling all of our bags.   I know you are suppose to travel lightly, but with my oldest staying in Europe for work, we had all of her luggage with us.  

Travel Tip Number One: Travel Lightly

We loved staying in the two bedroom apartment in the Hotel Lungarno  in Florence, Italy and would book it again.  It was chic, comfortable, and you still had all of the amenities of a hotel (room service, housekeeping, etc…).  We stayed for three nights but all of us felt like we could have stayed a fourth (or longer!).

Hotel Lungarno, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

One Of The Finest Resorts In The World- Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy

We took a train from Florence to Lake Como and stayed four nights in Cernobbio at the Villa D’este. 

Why can I say….  It was the highlight of our trip.  When their website says it is a destination, not a location, it is so true as the entire experience was incredible.  

Put it on your bucket list as a place to stay.  

Everything from the grounds, to the service, to the welcoming bottle of champagne, was on brand.  

We spent a few days at the resort lounging by the pool, exploring the grounds, and another day on the lake seeing the neighboring towns.  I highly recommend doing the same.

Villa d’Este

 

Dana Wolter Interiors travel, Lake Como by boat

 

Villa d’Este, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Villa d’Este with two of my girls, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

View from Villa d’Este, Dana Wolter Interiors

We found a cute neighborhood place called Harry’s (it was filled with lots of locals eating which is always a good sign), and Il Gatto Nero was suggested by a few friends.  It was delicious, and I highly recommend it as well.

Delicious meal at Il Gatto Nero

And while it is back to reality for me and my family, it’s amazing what a few weeks in a new place can do for inspiration and for your soul.

I can’t help but dream of our next big excursion, and am looking for our next bucket list place to stay.  Please share with me any amazing places you have loved and experienced as I would love to know.

Cheers to dreaming and living,

Dana

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It’s amazing what a little vision, new furnishings, fresh paint, and a great floor plan execution can do for your home and for your psyche. I thought I would share a few homes of clients where we began their home design with a deadline. 

 

Home Design with a Deadline

Each of these families wanted to update their interiors for different reasons, but all had a common goal- to be finished by the holidays.

Believe it or not, if you want to enjoy new furnishings, art and accessories by Christmas, it’s time to call us now .  It takes a few months for orders to be processed and constructed.

There is no time like the present to get started, and I hope these projects inspire you to do the same.

 

Project #1

These clients  had recently moved into their home and needed new furnishings, window treatments, art, and accessories  for several rooms.  

In their breakfast room, we incorporated their table (which they loved), refinished their cane-back chars, and added a showstopping, extra long custom banquette to the wall of windows.

Because we started working on this client’s home during the middle of the summer, and the Christmas deadline was in the forefronts of everyone’s mind, we made sure everything was finalized and ordered by the end of August.

As the holidays approached, we completed minor renovations and cosmetic updates just in time for the furniture to be installed.  What a treat for this family to enjoy their first Christmas in their new home.

Before:

After:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Project #2

This next home had plenty of square footage, but because of the columns and off-center fireplace, a sofa would not fit in their family room.  That’s right – there was not enough space for the family to sit comfortably.

As I blogged about here, we completely reworked this room.  It transformed into a beautiful, functional space where the entire family (pets included) can enjoy together.  

Before:

 

After:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

While we were working on the home, we decided to rework the foyer as well.  

You know me-I love creating a sitting area when possible because it instantly invites guests to come in, sit and visit.  Wait until you see the ‘after’ – it is unrecognizable!

Before:

 

After:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

If you are ready to update your home with the goal of enjoying the redesign by Christmas, call 205-938-4848 or email us here.   We would love to discuss your project with you. 

Have a great day –

Dana

 

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There is nothing I love more than when friends or family stop by at a moment’s notice, and there are five things I like to keep on hand for when it happens.
 
Whether it’s catching up with a neighbor or an impromptu girls’ night, I savor these moments.   
 
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.
 
The key is to be prepared for unexpected company. 
 
Your guests will only be as relaxed as you are, so don’t fret over the things you can’t control.  But for the things that you can…..
 

5 of my tried and true tricks 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 it out and heat it 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. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

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 selection of simple, clear vases in 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, Photography by Graham Yelton

 

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!
 

I hope these tips help you enjoy a spur of the moment company when the opportunity arises.   I’d love to hear your tried and true hospitality tricks.

Cheers to living (and entertaining) well,
 
Dana
 

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Is Our One-Time 3.5 Hour Consult For You?

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While my firm works mostly on full room or full home interior design projects, we will periodically offer a few spots for a one time 3.5 hour consult.  

This service is for the client who needs direction and help making decisions with their home but wants to implement the suggestions on their own as their budget and time allow.

It has gone over really well in the past, as I have had several people fly in, drive over or even Facetime with me for this consult.

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Here’s how the 3.5 hour consult works:

We will have you send a list of what you would like to discuss and accomplish during our time together.  During our appointment, I will then spend 3.5 hours of uninterrupted time going through your list and answering questions.  

We can discuss design dilemmas, furniture arrangements, fabric direction, paint colors, to knock down a wall or not– you name it!

I’ve also had people use this service to select the all of the finishes for a new build.

The more legwork you do before our meeting in knowing what you would like to cover, the more productive our time will be together.   We will make a Pinterest board with specifics of what to look for when shopping for your home, and I will take measurements so you won’t have to worry about coming home with the wrong size sofa, ever again.

People who have invested in this consult have been surprised over the amount of detail and information that comes from it.

Matter of fact, I recently saw a client who hired me a few years ago to help her with the finishes, colors, materials, furniture layout, etc for a family lakehouse under construction.

I couldn’t help but smile as she proudly showed me pictures of the finished product.  They don’t have furniture yet, but the house turned out so pretty.  She did a great job implementing my suggestions for building their vacation home.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

A beautiful kitchen project as seen in Traditional Home, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

If you think this service can help you transform your home, inquire about it here.  I would love to talk with you.

 

Have a great day-

dana

 

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