With all of us spending more time at home, it’s making many of us realize the things we love about our house and things we would like to change.
 
I have been using this time to assess and tackle areas in my own home that feel dated, stale and old.  Here are a few tips if you would like to do the same.
 

3 Signs It is Time To Update Your Home

1. Does your home make you breathe a little deeper?

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. 

Sometimes, you just need a calming, neutral palette with layers of texture.

A calming palette in a mudroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Emily Followill Photography

Other times, it is time to renovate and update your home and it’s amenities.  

For this client, we moved walls and gave them a beautiful new kitchen and bar area. They now have a walk-in pantry behind the new hidden doors.  

 

Kitchen Before
Updated Kitchen, Dana Wolter Interiors

2. 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 can now feel lost.  It’s time to reinvent your home so it functions for you in this new phase of life.

Beautiful master suite to relax at the end of the day, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Master Bedroom, Dana Wolter Interiors

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.

 

Ladies’ Cozy Lounge, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. Does your home reflect your personal style and lifestyle?

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

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

If you can relate to any of these three signs, give us a call (205.938.4848) or email us here.  We would love to hear from you.

 

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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KITCHEN MAKEOVER: DESIGNING A BUTLER’S PANTRY

As I shared with you here, a client’s home renovation resulted in not only an amazing Kitchen and but also a newly created Butler’s Pantry.

This new space, connecting the Kitchen to the Dining, is a sophisticated work horse created with entertaining and ease in mind.  It made quite the transformation from when our client emailed us for help with their home.

BEFORE:

Before walls were moved to create a new Butler’s Pantry

AFTER:

Butler's Pantry, Dana Wolter Interiors
Client’s Newly Created Butler’s Pantry, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

With the help of architect Jason Robb, we straightened out the wall in the kitchen and took the old office space (see the door to the left in the before picture) to create the new Butler’s Pantry.  A hallway was cut short across from it for the new office.

For design consistency, we used materials that blended the Butler’s Pantry to the adjoining Kitchen. A marble backsplash and countertops create the perfect prep station—useful for food prep, drink mixing or staging a buffet. 

Cream-colored cabinetry creates a quiet backdrop for more dramatic finishes. Brass knobs, pulls, fixtures, and lighting add warmth and high impact with finishes that will age beautifully over time.

Keep in mind, that, as a transitional space, a Butler’s Pantry can also be the perfect space for art.

Often visible from both the kitchen and dining room, a pantry wall can double as a gallery. Displaying photography, paintings or drawings is a wonderful way to add layers and visual interest to a walk-through space.

Storage is also important. We added elegant open shelving—unlacquered brass frames with simple quartersawn white oak shelves—to display our client’s pretty collection of glassware. 

Two refrigerator drawers and a wine refrigerator allow for easy access to cold drinks and anything needed for entertaining.

Highly functional and polished, this pantry acts as the perfect transitional while delivering a big design punch.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this Before and After of our client’s newly created Butler’s Pantry. If we can help you with your home, be sure to reach out to us here.

 

Dana

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We often hear from our clients they aren’t sure where to start when they want to renovate or build a new home, so we thought we would share a few helpful tips for an enjoyable process.

 

A few helpful tips for renovating your home

When do I begin my project?

Many people don’t know where to begin; they just know they are tired of the cramped, dark, cold home that doesn’t work well for their family.

An interior designer is a great place to start. By reaching out here , we will guide you through the entire process and help you pull together your team based upon your needs.  This initial step is ironically be the easiest.

How long will the renovation process take?

If construction is required, we help create a timeline based on the scope of the project.

Rushing the renovation process is never wise so sometimes pushing the deadline back on the front end allows for more realistic expectations.  As I have written many times before, custom takes time but is worth it in the end.

I am also a big believer on not starting the project until the plans are finalized.  Demo goes quickly but things tend to slow down after it is complete.

How much will it cost?

This is the number one question I am asked and rightfully so. Building or renovating a home is an investment and you want to spend your money wisely.

Based upon your needs, desires and vision for the home, we help you hire a team that can give you an accurate building cost based upon our selections.  This helps alleviate hidden costs during the renovation.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

Will we have to move out?

Going through a renovation is daunting to some, but moving out can sometimes throw people for a loop.

The good news is depending on your project, moving out may not be required. We’ve renovated entire kitchens and sections of the home with the client still living there. It’s not always pretty (or fun), but it can be done.

If your renovation covers several main areas of your house, it’s also possible to work in stages..  

Just like we get creative with the design of our projects, we can also get creative helping you stay happy and comfortable- at home.

How involved will you need to be?

We understand that life is busy and adding extra tasks and decisions isn’t always ideal.

The beauty of hiring our full-service interior firm is that we take care of the little details by working closely with the architect and builder.  We curate the home to our vision and present it to you for approval.

By intercepting daily decisions you may not know how to answer, we are hopefully alleviating stress from your already busy day.

Our goal is to be our client’s advocate by making sure everything runs smoothly and correctly.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

I hope I have answered some of your questions about renovating your home.  Whether your hesitation to begin your project has to do with timing, fear of the unknown, or an array of other reasons, take the first step.  I promise it will be worth it in the end.

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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We love when a client emails us for help with a home renovation, and with all of the time we’re spending in our houses these days, this particular before and after kitchen makeover for our clients in Birmingham, AL, happened just in the nick of time.

It was quite the transformation.  

We first renovated and furnished the entry, dining room, family room and the husband’s study.  After seeing how well they turned out, the homeowners focused on the back of the home and asked us to renovate the kitchen, dining, office and laundry.    

The tired kitchen needed not only updated finishes and details but to function better for this active family.  

Rework The Existing Space

There was a lot of wasted space in hallways and angled walls, so squaring off walls and moving others around was a must for more livable space.  Jason Robb did a great job drawing the plans.

We reclaimed square footage from hallways and created a walk-in office and a butler’s pantry that now connects the kitchen and dining room.  

Stayed tuned on a future before and after post on the butler’s pantry- you won’t want to miss it.

KITCHEN BEFORE:

AFTER:

Kitchen Renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors

Quite the before and after kitchen makeover, right?

Create A Timeless, Functional Kitchen

To create a more timeless space that didn’t feel dark and heavy, we removed the dark painted cabinets and replaced them with quartersawn white oak ones.  They now feel more like furniture than built-ins.

A custom wax finish enhances the elegance of the wood and reflects the light beautifully.

Everyday appliances are cloistered behind paneled fronts to create a seamless yet functional space.  The La Cornue range is like the perfect accessory to a little black dress.

The large center island was also replaced and given a more elegant, furniture-like design with quartersawn oak legs and fluted details. The main sink was relocated to it and a prep sink installed under the window.  

This is a great #entertainingtip so the island can be used as a serving area while prep is out of the way.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Kitchen renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors. 

Customize The Details Throughout

Unlacquered brass accents are found throughout in the faucets, pot filler, island lanterns  and on the black  La Cornue range and hood.  Tile floors were replaced with light blond oak to complete the light, airy palette.

The finishing touch is a large-scale, honeycomb coffered ceiling. It is an interesting detail that catches your eye but doesn’t distract from the timeless quality of the kitchen.

Home Renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors

Adjacent to the kitchen, we incorporated a breakfast area with a custom banquette that looks like a sofa.   It’s perfect for family meals or morning coffee.

Breakfast Room for family meals and coffee, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

I hope you like the before and after of this home renovation and kitchen makeover as much as we enjoyed working on it.  If we can help transform your home into one you love, email us here.  We would love to discuss your project with you.

Dana

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We are adding a new series into our blog, Insider’s Insight, where we are sharing thoughts, tips and trends from some of the top thought leaders in the design industry.

Barbara Sallick is co-founder of Waterworks, one of the world’s most prestigious makers of luxury design goods.  I personally love the quality and craftsmanship found throughout the Waterworks’ plumbing line, and I am amazed at all Barbara has accomplished over her lifetime.

Enjoy below, as Barbara shares some practical advice for creating a kitchen you will love and appreciate for years to come.

Kitchen Design Tips from Waterworks Co-Founder Barbara Sallick
Waterworks founder, Barbara Sallick

You have one of the most admired kitchen and bath brands in the industry. What’s the secret?

The secret to staying in business for 40 years and maintaining brand leadership is to consistently deliver innovative and authentic product, outstanding experiences, and impeccable service.

I am familiar with the rigor that goes into designing, engineering and manufacturing all of our products. There is such a high level of integrity and craftsmanship in creating things that are timeless and meant to last a lifetime.

What is your most important piece of advice when renovating a kitchen?

Plan carefully. Do your research long before you set foot in a kitchen showroom or talk to a cabinetmaker. Only thoughtful preparation will allow you achieve the results you have dreamt about.

What’s the trick to creating a timeless kitchen?

You need to pay close attention to function and style. Your kitchen layout must flow easily. The design should be both practical and personal.

You should use the finest, most honest materials you can afford—things that will only become more beautiful with age.

But (and here’s the trick), you must first look back and think about the kitchens you’ve loved and were happiest in during your life.

Remember how you felt in those rooms and think about how their design contributed to that feeling. Then, through your design choices, try to recreate that emotion in your own new kitchen.

In your opinion, what should people splurge on in their kitchen?

First, use amazing hardware, it is the jewelry of the kitchen.

Next, select a high-grade sturdy sink and faucet together; they are the hardest working appliance in the kitchen.

Finally, do something special on your backsplash. Please don’t follow the trend and use white 3 x 6 tile.

What 3 things should every kitchen have?

Every kitchen should have a faucet that is comfortable to use. You will turn it on/off multiple times a day. This is the practical must-have.

The room should have a beautiful backsplash. This is the decorative must-have.

Your kitchen also requires a range of lighting choices, including general illumination, decorative accents, and—most important—task lighting. The way you layer lighting plays a big part in creating a kitchen that is personal and brings you joy.

What color palettes are you loving for kitchens and baths at the moment?

I am seeing lots of dark blue and, most especially, I see a mix of two colors. Either the top cabinets are light and the bottom are dark or the perimeter cabinets are all one color and the island is something different.

In my own kitchen, I used a mix of Waterworks paint colors—pale whisper gray on the upper cabinets to make the space feel wider, and navy for the lower cabinets.

What do you love most about your kitchen?

I love that my sink is in the island placing me squarely in the middle of the kitchen. I am, therefore, in the center of all activity—cooking, visiting, and looking out at my beautiful terrace.

Even though it is a small space, it has the kind of charm and functionality that make it the perfect classic and timeless kitchen.

Waterworks’ Co-Founder Barbara’s Sallick’s Kitchen

What is one thing you absolutely can’t live without?

I never thought this was important, but having all of the cabinet interiors with pull-out trays is essential. There is no digging around and everything I have is visible. And, natural light is essential.

Barbara Sallick’s Kitchen

 

I hope you enjoyed this interview with our Industry Insider, Barbara Sallick. I particularly enjoyed how she emphasized to buy the finest materials you can afford as they will only become more beautiful over time.  

To learn more, pick up Barbara’s book, The Perfect Kitchen.

 

The Perfect Kitchen, Rizzoli

 

Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your insight.  Cheers, friends, to creating your perfect kitchen.

Dana

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I am so excited to be included in a recent Traditional Home magazine story on lighting and thought I’d share four tips on selecting lighting for your home.

Tips for selecting lighting as seen in Traditional Home
As Seen In Traditional Home, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

Selecting the perfect light fixture is a great way to marry function and beauty while adding a custom touch to your house.

In many interiors, lighting isn’t given the attention it deserves.   It’s often an afterthought, but well-chosen light fixtures—from chandeliers and pendants to wall sconces and lanterns—can be the element that adds that final hint of drama to a beautiful room.

Here are four tips we often implement when selecting lighting for our clients whom reach out to us here.

 

Four tips for selecting lighting for your home:

1. Include Lighting As A Statement Piece

In this soft gray corridor,  we incorporated unlacquered brass lanterns to draw the eye upward and act as the perfect punctuation mark to tame a long hallway.

They not only make a statement but they provide needed light for the space.

Tips for selecting lighting for the home
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

2. Incorporate Sconces For Dimension and Soft Lighting

Sconces are often the jewelry that completes the little black dress of an interior—offering soft, sculptural light that can break up a long wall and add dimension. These gorgeous accent pieces act not only as accent lighting but also as artwork that personalizes the space.

Ornamented brass sconces with white shades act as delicate accents and balance artwork across the way.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. Create Drama In A Small Space

Dramatic lighting used in small spaces can offer high impact in a diminutive package.  It’s the ideal place for sculptural lighting that catches your eye.

Tips for selecting lighting for the home
Dana Wolter Interiors

We selected sconces in the same patina in the home’s powder room for consistency and to act as counterpoints to a gorgeous gilt mirror.

Paired with a gray grasscloth wallpaper and gray-flecked marble, the fixtures take on a new life.

4. Include Task lighting Where Needed

Another tip for selecting lighting for your home is that decorative fixtures need to be paired with task lighting in high-use areas like a kitchen.  Recessed lighting, mixed with the more decorative ambient light from the lanterns, ensures that every surface is illuminated.

In the kitchen, we chose lanterns with a patina finish to hang over the island.  While the kitchen has varying shades of gray, the patinated lighting acts as a casual counterpoint to the dark waxed island while popping against soft gray cabinetry.

Tips for selecting lighting for the home
Decorative Lighting Ideas, Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

Tips for selecting lighting for the home
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I hope you found these four tips for selecting lighting for your home useful as the options for lighting are limitless.  

Have fun and experiment with your own by mixing finishes and scale, along with new and antique, for a look special to you. The layering is half the fun.

xo,

Dana

 

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It’s amazing what a little vision, new furnishings, fresh paint, and a great floor plan execution will do for your home and for your psyche.

I thought I would share a few homes of clients who needed help furnishing their entire home but with a deadline in mind. 

 

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 new year.

Believe it or not, if you want to enjoy new furnishings, art and accessories by then, 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 purchased their home a few years back and needed new furnishings, lighting, window treatments, art, and accessories throughout.  

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 has 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 as well as several others.  The Family Room transformed into a beautiful, functional space where the entire family can now enjoy together.  

Before:

 

 

After:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

The Foyer received new paint, drapery, furnishings, art and accessories. 

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 as soon as possible, 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 one trend I am seeing in several of our renovation and new construction projects. 

While I began designing some homes with them pre-Covid,  they are being drawn into renovations and new construction more often as people spend time at home focusing on what their home is missing.

So… what is this trend?

A resurgence in a scullery or second kitchen. 

They are more functional than a butler’s pantry as they host a second dishwasher and refrigerator (and some even a second range).  These spaces work hard in a home when it is time to entertain.  

Fabrics and furnishings for a new vacation home that will also have a second kitchen for entertaining. Dana Wolter Interiors, LLC

These second kitchens have special touches such as beverage drawers, dishwashers and coffee bars.  Storage is always a priority, too.

They are perfect for containing the mess while the main kitchen serves as an entertaining space for family and friends. I believe that once society is back to entertaining, formal spaces will make a resurgence. 

 

A second kitchen in a home we designed a few years back, Dana Wolter Interiors

Hopefully, our time is limited that we have to continue to socially distance.

I long for the days of not only having family over, but large gatherings of friends.  After all,  our homes should be a refuge we love to share with others.

Dana

 

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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 interior design consult.  

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

In the past, it has gone over really well not only for clients in Alabama but for all over the country.  While I have jumped on a plane to make this service happen, I have had several people fly in, drive over or even Facetime with me from across the country. 

If you have been noticing all the things you want to change in your home but social distancing is a must due to Corona, this service is for you.

 

Birmingham, AL, Interior Design Firm
Dana Wolter Interiors

 

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

We will ask for a list from you 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 clients use this service to select all of the finishes for a new build while others have brought me in to revamp their existing home.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Mudroom Interior Design
Our 2018 Southeastern Showhouse Mudroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Emily Followill Photography

 

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 lake house under construction.

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

 

Kitchen Design Tips, Dana Wolter Interiors
A beautiful kitchen project of Dana Wolter Interiors as seen in Traditional Home

 

Butler's Pantry Design, 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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With Covid keeping all of us at home, it is more important now than ever to have a bedroom you love.

Your bedroom should be a room that you look forward to retreating to at the end of the day.   It should allow you to #livewell by surrounding yourself with things that help you relax and rejuvenate.

If yours isn’t ideal…

Here are 6 must-follow design ideas for creating a bedroom you love:

1.Splurge on your bed linens 

Buy the best you can afford for your bed linens and sheets.  There is nothing better than crawling into a bed with beautiful linens and soft, clean sheets that feel better the more they are laundered. 

2.Incorporate seating  

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

A leather or upholstered chair are pieces that can enhance a bedroom space and make it feel like your very own private suite.  #Livewell in your home by making it your own.

 

A sitting area in a client’s bedroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. Incorporate colors that speak to you

I normally keep colors in the bedroom soft because I need tranquility in my life (ha!), but if bright colors speak to you, then certainly use them.

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

4. Put your bedside lamps on a dimmable switch

If you are like my husband and me, he likes to go to bed early while I like to read before I go to sleep.  A dimmable switch on your bedside table lamps allows you to enjoy nighttime light without disturbing your partner.  

5. Add in personal touches

Incorporate touches that are personal to you such as your favorite photographs and artwork.

A teenager’s bedroom , Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

6. 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

 

Bedrooms should have all of the 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 designing a home with a bedroom that feel like its very own getaway, call 205-938-4848 or email us here.We’d love to hear from you. 

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

Dana 

 

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