Archive for the ‘Reality’ Category



Dana Wolter Interiors. Graham Yelton Photography



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


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






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







Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography 




Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography




Dana Wolter Interiors




Dana Wolter Interiors



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


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


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


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





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In case you are wondering where I have been……


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


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


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


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


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



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



Monica and Abbey taking inventory



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


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


Layered, collected, timeless.


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


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




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


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


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





Royal Standard china and Baccarat crystal


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


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


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



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



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





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



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



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



2017 Southeast Designers & Architect Of The Year Award


Rebecca and I before the party



 The Editor At Large interviewing me at the party


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


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


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


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


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


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


Have a great day-




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Five Design Ideas To Create A Healthy Home, Happy Life

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


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


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


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


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








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


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


End of sentence.   Period.






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



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


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


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




Dana Wolter Interiors. Photo by Jean Allsopp

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photo by Jean Allsopp



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




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Need A Few Hours Of Design Advice? Our 3.5 Hour Design Consult May Be Just What You Need………

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Since the new year, a few people have reached out to me about the one time 3.5 hour consult I offer.


While my firm works mostly on full room or turn-key projects, this one time service is for the client who needs direction and help making decisions, but likes to take that information and do the legwork themselves.


It has gone over really well, and I have even flown across the country a few times to offer this service.


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


I saw a lady last weekend at my daughter’s dance studio who hired me several months 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.




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Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors



Whatever your needs are with your home, you have my undivided attention during our time together.



Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors



Here’s how the 3.5 hour consult works:


You send a list to me of all you would like to discuss and accomplish during our time together.    During our appointment, I will then spend 3.5 hours of  uninterrupted time giving you my opinion and answering any question you can possible think to ask me.  We can discuss design dilemmas, furniture arrangements, fabric swatches, paint colors, to knock down a wall or not– you name it!


The more legwork you do before our meeting, 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 detailed measurements so you won’t have to worry about coming home with the wrong size sofa, ever again.


After our meeting, you will receive detailed notes of what we discussed.   This allows you to maximize your time with me while I take notes and write down all the specifics for you to implement at a later date.


This service is a great way to invest in your home by making sure what you are changing and buying is right for the space.  It also allows you the freedom to work on your project as your time and budget allows, all while following professional advice.


If you think this service can help you transform your home, email us at   I would love to talk with you.


Have a great day-



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A Different Kitchen (AKA- A Nonwhite One)

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Recently, I blogged about a kitchen here that I designed that is featured now in the Holiday issue of Traditional Home.  I love that not only was it custom designed specifically for my client, but that it is a gray kitchen versus a white one like you are seeing everywhere.


Don’t get me wrong- I love a white kitchen because they are clean, classic, and on trend.   I recently painted my own a version of this palette and I am enjoying it.


But when I am able to start from scratch and create a space you won’t see in any other house, I am all over making it unique.  After all, that is why clients hire us- to give them a space that is classic enough to stand the test of time, but one that is custom and special and different than their neighbor’s.


I kept the colors soft to suit the owners and their style, so I chose Sherwin Williams “Crushed Ice” for the cabinetry and walls.  The kitchen is light and airy without having to be white.




Sherwin William’s Crushed Ice



It’s hard to tell from these photographs but we played with the Crushed Ice color.  I watered down the color on the wood walls but used the same color in full formula for the cabinets.   This kitchen had many details that added warmth and contrast to the design, while remaining bright and airy.



dana wolter interiors - photography by Graham Yelton



Even though the cabinetry and walls were light, the countertops were a great place to add warmth. The dark soapstone really stood out in this space and helped marry the darker island base.  Soapstone is a forgiving material, so it was perfect for this type of workspace.   The island countertop is Mystery White marble, and this “clean” material was fitting for this somewhat formal-feeling kitchen.



dana wolter interior photography by Graham Yelton

dana wolter interiors – photography by Graham Yelton



The French white oak floors from Bois Chamois  are not only beautiful, but practical as well. With two dogs in the house, they are scratch resistant and won’t show dog hair. The waxed finish keeps the color light, but its gray tones blend into the rest of the kitchen.



dana wolter interiors - photography by Graham Yelton

dana wolter interiors – photography by Graham Yelton



The warm gray charcoal finish on the white-oak island base added contrast, as well as a touch of formality with it’s soft lines and reeded cabinet doors. It became a grounding piece against the lighter cabinets and wood floor.



Classic details, such as mixing metals in the light fixtures and hardware, softly added more warmth through these layers. Keeping these details refined and purposeful is one of the best ways to create a tasteful space.


And, as always, if we can help turn your home into one you think you can only dream about, reach out to us here.  We would love to hear from you-



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Bloom Where You Are Planted

I love to write- I am a former journalism major/English minor, so writing has always been therapeutic and a way for me to share my feelings.   At times in my life- especially when I was younger- it was much easier for me to express my feelings on paper than face to face.


It seems when my life speeds up, my blogging/journaling is one thing that is pushed aside.  That and my upkeep- ha!


You didn’t hear from me much this summer, but I am back on track.  We have lots going on at DWI that’s keeping us busy and I am most grateful for it these days.


Lots of fun, new projects in the mix I am excited to share soon, a few magazine features out in the next few months,  new additions to our team, and some exciting opportunities that have come along for our firm.


Not to mention my college girl was home this summer, so to have my entire family under one roof again, was such a special treat.



My girls- Dana Wolter Interiors

My girls- Dana Wolter Interiors




Yet, out of all that is going on, one of the things I am most excited about is signing a lease on a new office space.  It is in the heart of Mountain Brook Village in Birmingham, AL.



BEFORE of the space

BEFORE of the space



I have resisted moving my office out of my house in recent years because I wanted to be close by for my girls.   Now they are older and my business has grown to include other designers and projects across the country, it’s time to move my firm into its own space.


As my designer friend, Kriste Michelini, once told me, sometimes you have to put a plant in a bigger pot for it to grow.


Let’s hope this plant grows like crazy as I am excited to see what the future holds.


I love Birmingham, and particularly my home of Mountain Brook, so it seemed the most logical and perfect fit when this opportunity presented itself.


Stay tuned as I share more on the progress of my new space.   The proposed outside passed Design Review a few weeks ago and I am still working on what minor changes I want to make to the interior.  With all that has been going on, including my mother who has been very sick this summer, I am not going to stress over hurrying into the space.


Here’s to blooming where each of us is planted-




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Tackling A Few Things On My To-Do List

Give me a deadline, such as a party at my own house,  and it is a sure way to make me tackle a few things on my to-do list.


Remember the Southern Living Design Summit party I hosted at my house back in February?


If you recall, Southern Living celebrated their 50th birthday with a fun-filled weekend.  They gave a tour around Birmingham, AL to the designers who came into town, and my house was the first stop on a list of some fun places.   When you think of so many people coming in and seeing how you live, it became the perfect reason to do a few things I have been meaning to change for a while.


In my family room, I changed out my grass rug to a larger one and added sheers across two walls.


I love the way sheers soften a room and take the formality down a notch.  The one below is from Schumacher and is a go-to for me.


I am still looking for the perfect piece to hang on top of them above my sofa, but what a difference they make.




watermark fr

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton




watermark 20

The velvet on the chair is another by Schumacher.  Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton.


I love for a space to feel organic, layered, pulled together… but not so formal that it feels stiff and unwelcoming.    My family room is filled with durable, treated fabrics, so we can live in this room and not worry about everyday life.  This is what I call, Everyday Elegance.


And why not?  Why not create a home that feels good and pretty to you, but is bold enough to live up to everyday life?


I also changed up a few fabrics on the other side of the room by reupholstering my club chairs (in a durable velvet) and adding a custom screen behind them.



watermark today 2

Dana Wolter Interiors



It’s amazing how much better crossing off a few things on your to-do list makes you feel.  With summer here and my house feeling a little more “lived-in” with my children home, I think I need to look at my list again soon.

Here’s to tackling a few things on our to-do lists, one task at a time.


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Southern Living Is Stopping By

There is nothing like a party to make me do a few things around my own home, especially when Southern Living is stopping in and bringing a group of designers by to visit.


Southern Living is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and they are kicking it off with a design summit here in Birmingham at the end of the week.  The lineup includes Bobby McAlpine, Susan Ferrier, Mary McDonald, Mark Sikes, and if you are interested in attending the lectures, you can buy your tickets here.


And as the stellar lineup of designers visits Birmingham, Southern Living has put together a progressive tour of our city for any of the lecturers and the Southern Living network group coming in the night before.


I love my city of Birmingham, and especially my suburb of Mountain Brook.  Any chance I have to show others how special the place I call home is, I am happy to do it.


The tour of Birmingham starts at my home and ends with a few stores before dinner in the new Southern Living test kitchen.  Its going to be a lot of fun, and I needed a fire under my you know what to make me do a few things around my own home.


So…. in the midst of client projects, dance competitions for my daughter, my father in the hospital, my husband out of town for two weeks LIFE, I have thrown working on my own home into the mix.  Its amazing how much better it makes me feel to have my paint touched up, the landscaping freshened up, and a few things moved around my home.


I keep my house in pretty good shape for the most part, but when you start thinking of ALL the people seeing your dirt, it makes you see your house in a different light for sure….



Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors



So, stay tuned as I polish my silver and rework a few things around my own home.  If you would like to follow along this weekend and next, check out my social media accounts below as I will post lots of pictures.


Have a great day, everyone-





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Fly Away, My Little Bird: Ten Things To Remember As You Leave For College







A letter to my little girl who leaves in a few weeks to begin her college journey.


It’s hard to believe we are packing you up to begin a new chapter of your life.  It seems like yesterday you were the toothless little girl-with glasses-swinging a softball bat.





Or a few years later, the little girl playing Ramona Quimby in a community theatre production.




And here you are… A humble, kind, beautiful young lady who graduated with a GPA few will ever see, a resume full of activities, and a very bright future.






I know you are excited, and I know you are a little apprehensive.  After all, what you have known, including your friend group, is all about to change. These are normal feelings, but you are ready.


And while it’s time for this new chapter in your life, always remember a few things.


1.  Trust your gut  Yes, you have a good head on your shoulders, so use it.  If you have a funny feeling about a person or a situation, listen to your instincts.

2.  Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.   Try something new. Be courageous.  Seize an opportunity.

3.  Be the first to speak to others   Ask people about themselves, and listen to what they have to say.

4.  Work hard, pray, and trust.    Ask for guidance and for doors to close. Yes, doors to close. For when they do, it makes it easier to walk through the right ones.

5. Don’t compare yourself to others.   God has given you many gifts and talents, so don’t get caught up worrying about what others are doing.

6.  Stay close to your family and your friends.    Those relationships are dear and a gift, so treasure them.

7. Make new friends.   Get to know others at your new school for who they are, rather than for their social status or friend group.  These tend to be the stronger type of relationships that last.

8. Stay safe at all times.   Don’t put yourself in a bad situation, and if you find yourself in one, get out of it as quickly as you can.

9. Just because the majority believes it, doesn’t mean it is the truth.   Fall back on what you know in your heart to be truly right and wrong.

10. Remember how loved you are, and FLY HIGH     When life gets hard,  stay strong.   And remember we are always here to catch you.


I love you,




Readers, Thank you for letting me lay my heart out on this page.  While this is a design blog, I have tried to make it a reflection of my thoughts and feelings.  And, as you see, I am feeling my firstborn leaving the nest.-



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.


pillows- abc3340

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.



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,



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