Archive for the ‘Refinement’ Category

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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Do you find yourself stressing and fretting before overnight company arrives?  If so, I have some ways to ease the worry and make your overnight visitors feel welcome.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks for making company feel relaxed and at home. The key is to think of things that bring you comfort when you are away.  

 

5 Ways To Make Overnight Guests Feel Welcome

 

Fresh Linens

There really isn’t anything better than crawling into bed with fresh, crisp linens – make sure the sheets are newly washed and pillows nicely fluffed.

Keeping my favorite travel size linen mist in the top drawer next to the bed is also a trick I’ve done for years. Company staying longer than one night can continue to enjoy the fresh feeling of clean sheets with a simple spritz on the pillow before bed. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Flowers + Greenery

Having fresh flowers or greenery beside the bed and in the bathroom is such a pretty and thoughtful touch. It says ‘welcome, we’re glad you are here’.  

This little detail immediately brings life into rooms that otherwise don’t see much activity and it is the best first impression you can give your visitors. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Lined Window Treatments

Allow your friends and family to sleep in with ease with lined window treatments. A good night’s sleep is a great gift for your guests.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

A Welcome Basket

Just as a lovely hotel would do, put together a welcome basket with thoughtful items and a personal note sharing your excitement for their stay. Add magazines and books that your company will enjoy + a few water bottles, mints, and other treats.

Stock Your Bathroom

Just as important as having your guest bedroom filled with touches to make your company comfortable, your guest bathroom should have a few indulgences as well.  A fresh hand soap placed by the sink is not only useful, but it will also leave a lingering, clean scent.

I also like to stock the drawer with new toiletries – shampoo, facial cleanser, body lotion, razors, and toothpaste to name a few. Nothing is nicer for your company than to not have to worry about forgotten items. 

Beautiful, monogramed towels with extras placed under the vanity is a personal touch they will enjoy.  Maybe even add a plush bath robe in the closet upon their arrival. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I hope you have enjoyed these few tips to make your guests feel special.   If you want to read more, be sure to check out these previous blog posts on last minute entertaining and bedroom design ideas.

As always, we would love to help you create a guest room perfect for your future company.  If you would like to learn more about our services, reach out to us here.   

 

Have a great day,

Dana 

 

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Whether you have a house full of children or are transitioning into empty nesting, the kitchen is the heart of your home.  Creating a timeless space that works well for any season of life is always our goal.

We recently completed a stunning renovation that included not only the client’s kitchen but several of their living spaces.  I talked about this home here as our first priority was to make sure this home was highly functional for this family.  

As their home transformed, it was evident the kitchen didn’t match the timeless beauty we created throughout. It was time to pull the kitchen into the same playing field as the rest of the home.

We were strategic with how we saw this home transforming.  It is an investment to renovate a kitchen, so we made sure the design will last for many years.

Here are a few tips to create a custom, timeless kitchen:

 

Select Classic Appliances 

When discussing and selecting the appliances for this project, we knew the range and hood would be the crown jewels of the space.  

Specifying La Cornue was our first decision once the drawings were complete.  This company has been around for over 100 years and they are known for their quality.

The matte black finish and brushed brass details are also a nod to many touches around the home. It is truly a showstopper.

La Cornue Range, Classic kitchens

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Buy the Best Cabinetry Your Budget Allows

You get what you pay for with most things in life, and cabinetry falls into this category.  Quality lasts, so buy the best you can afford.

 

Select Natural Finishes 

Natural finishes like marble and limestone add warmth to a space while also softening other materials such as wood and wrought iron.

They also offer character that stands the test of time. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Hidden Details 

Whether it is hiding appliances behind cabinet panels or hiding rooms like we did behind these doors, be strategic with how the kitchen space lays out and works for you. 

While creating a gorgeous kitchen is a common goal on all projects, it also needs to work for each of our clients. Keeping things hidden and out of sight is a great way to preserve the beauty of the space without sacrificing function.

Custom waxed white oak cabinetry control the clutter – coffee station, microwave, toaster oven, and the likes all are tucked away behind closed doors, allowing the finishes and lighting to shine. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 Beautiful Plumbing

Hand forged, well made plumbing fixtures are like jewelry to an outfit.  It may cost a little more on the front end but quality lasts.

 

Stay Away From Trends

If you want your investment in your kitchen to last,  stay away from excessively trendy things.  The design will more than likely stand the test of time.

If you have a kitchen or renovation project you need help turning into a classic, timeless design, feel free to reach out to us here.  We’d love to discuss with you.

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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It seems extreme weather makes people want to stay in and nest, and what better way to freshen up your home than with some of my go-to accessories that will add warmth to your space.  

Here are five of my go-to accessories every home should have:

1. A soft, neutral blanket  

We use a lot of throws in our interiors because they instantly create a space that calls your name to sit down and relax.  Besides, who doesn’t like a blanket when curling up with a good book or watching a tv show?

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

2. Coffee table books

Books are a great way to add a collected feel to any interior.   I always enjoy looking at the books people display in their home because it usually says something about their interests.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. A bowl to catch keys

If I am creating a vignette near a point of entrance, a bowl to catch keys or miscellaneous items is a must. It makes a place for the ‘clutter’ of life look beautiful while serving a purpose. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

4. Living plants

Flowers, greenery, or branches always add life to any space.  My youngest used to say that flowers around our house made the house seem a little more clean.  Need I say more??

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

5. Art

Find art that speaks to you.  Art is a personal experience for everyone so finding pieces that touch and move you is important.

It’s also a great way to pull an interior together, such as how we layered this framed nude sketch against a Louis Philippe mirror. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Look around your home as you may have many of these accessories already.  If you’d like to discuss your home and your goals for it with us, we would love to hear from you.  Feel free to contact us here

 

Cheers to cozying up in your home while we anxiously await for the warmer days of spring.   Have a great day,

Dana

 

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Living Well: The One Thing Every Home Should Have

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There’s one thing every home should have, and that is function.

We’ve recently been working on a home that is spacious and stately, but the layout wasn’t great.

This is the forever home for the family, and they were ready to make this home more functional for how they live. 

We began with the front of the house because they couldn’t fit a sofa into their family room, and this is the room the family LIVES in.  

With the help of architect Jason Robb, we took out a few columns, added some custom millwork, and the space already feels so much better (it now allows for not one, but two large sofas and several chairs).  

The family room before the new furniture was installed

 

Inviting spaces begin in the foyer of this home, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

The front of the house is finished- done- complete- and we are now moving onto Phase Two.   We are addressing the choppiness in the back of the home by moving walls and reworking the kitchen, back hall, laundry and office.

We’ve given the kitchen as much storage and workspace as possible.  It will be drop dead gorgeous, but that is just a given when you have custom details throughout.

We’ve ordered a La Cornue range and hood, and the custom cabinetry will be a mix of painted and waxed cabinetry.  There is also a beautiful new butler’s pantry, along with an office, to organize the family.

 

A few renovation progress shots:

 

Beautiful millwork on the kitchen and breakfast room walls

 

 

 

Beautiful ceiling detail designed by architect Jason Robb

 

It is the simple things that make a difference, such as the cabinet drawer detail in the office

 

I am so excited to see this one complete, so follow along my Instagram stories as I share the progress.  It’s going to be pretty incredible, and more importantly, highly functional for them to enjoy for years to come.

 

Have a great day,

 

Dana

 

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I have been talking a lot lately about the importance of making your home one you love, and your bedroom is the perfect spot to begin.

Your bedroom should be a room that allows you to #livewell by surrounding yourself with things that help you relax and rejuvenate.

Here are six must-follow bedroom design ideas for creating a room you love  

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 Decorating Tips

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. This means strategically including stained woods, painted finishes, iron and metals that blend with your color palette.

Vicente 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. Add in the personal

Incorporate touches that are personal to you, such as your 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.  

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6.  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.

 

My daughter’s bedroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

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 or need guidance on how to make your bedroom feel like its very own getaway, call us at 205-938-4848 or email us here.

 

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

xo- Dana 

 

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Building or renovating a home is a huge investment with your time and more importantly, your money.  

And when a client hires us, we work to protect their investment and become their advocate, all while investing their money wisely and (hopefully) taking away the stress. I often see the same pitfalls to avoid when renovating or building.

Here are 5 must-follow tips on building or renovating a home:

1. Order the Size Window the Architect Specs   Sometimes in the bidding process, it’s discussed replacing a custom window with a standard size one to save a little money.  

Don’t do it- window size, type, and placement are extremely important when building a home, and this small change can dramatically alter the look of what has been professionally drawn.

2.  Buy Right the First Time.  Let’s face it….Life gets busy and all of us have good intentions to go back later and switch something out.   I know building can be draining and tiring, but once you have moved and settled in, the last thing you want to do is spend money to replace something.  

Buy the best you can afford on the front end and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

3.  Use Classic Building Materials  Save the trends for things that are easy to switch out such as pillows and accessories, and keep your building material finishes classic.   You will thank me in the long run, especially if you decide to sell.

4.  Set Money Aside for the Furnishings  Budget appropriately for the building process (this is another post I need to write) and be sure to leave enough money to properly furnish the home.  

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors. Graham Yelton Photography

5.  Think Long Term on Your Needs  How long are you going to live in this house?  If you plan on staying for five years or more, you need to take into account what your needs will be down the road.

Are you an empty nester building your final house?  Be sure to think ahead on bedroom placement, stairs and other simple things that could be a hindrance down the road.

A custom-designed #island for an #emptynester couple, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton
Photography

Do you have children who will be teenagers in five years?  If so, they (and their friends) will only grow bigger and need more space..  

Be sure to think long term and hire the best architect, designer, landscape designer and builder your budget allows.   I promise you that in the end, it will save you money and hassle. 

If you are building or renovating and would like to discuss your project with us, email us here.   I would love to talk with you.

Have a great day-

Dana

 

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Potential clients will often reach out to us for different reasons.

Sometimes they can’t quite put their finger on why they aren’t happy with their home, but it is intuitive- it feels like wasted space or it’s dated or just not quite right.  

Some are even embarrassed to have visitors over because of how it looks.

You can’t put a price tag on some things, and a home that offers a place to retreat is one of them.

Here are four ways to create a home you love:

  1. Have a well-thought out design plan created for your home.  After the purchase, furnishing your home is the second largest investment you will probably make.  

Furnishing a home isn’t cheap, and you want to make sure you are spending your money wisely the first time….  

You see- designing a home is an investment, so hire a professional to give you a detailed plan on how – and where- to invest in the furnishings of your home.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

 Think long term with your investment and life.

2.  Include pieces that speak to you and that you love.  When we begin a turnkey project, there is a lot of conversation with our client about their dreams, what’s important to them, etc…  Your home needs to be a reflection of you and what makes your heart happy.  

3.  Give a room a purpose, and work the furniture around it.  Unfortunately, you can’t have a home that feels good and works for you unless it works for your needs.

 Cant figure out one?  Contact us here to assess your needs and to help you invest your money wisely.

4.  How can you add to the quality of your life through your home?   Do you want to expand your circle of friends and want to invite more people over to dinner on a regular basis?   Great- let’s make sure your home will flow like it needs to do so.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Life is too short to not love the place you spend the majority of your life.  Your home should be a place that feels good, rejuvenates you and gives you a place to restore and rest.

Here’s to making your house one you love-

Dana  

 

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With the weather beginning to show glimpses of spring (thank goodness!), it is only fitting to embark on another fabulous showhouse.

We are thrilled to announce we are part of the design team selected for the 2018 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle’s Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta, GA, with proceeds benefitting the Atlanta History Center.

 

2018 Southeastern Showhouse Rendering by Harrison Design

 

As you recall, we were part of last year’s incredible home.  It did not disappoint, and this year’s won’t either.   You can read more about the 2017 Southeastern Showhouse here.
 
Our space last year – The Mudroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Photography by Emily Followill
 
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Photography by Emily Followill
 
 
We are working on an upstairs’ bedroom and bathroom that we have turned into a lounge-like room for gathering with friends, doing homework, etc. My inspiration for the space started from Peter Fasano’s newest fabric pattern, an oversized damask called Ellsworth.
 
 
 
Along with the Peter Fasano team, we took the Ellsworth pattern and customized the colors based on our color palette for the space.   They added a contrasting outline to the design and utilized watercolor effects to highlight and darken different areas, giving the damask fabric even more depth.
 
I can’t wait to share how it turned out as it is beautiful.  Their team has made the process effortless to customize with their help and knowledge.
 
Mark your calendars as the showhouse will be open from April 19th through May 13th and is located in the heart of Buckhead at 2805 Normandy Drive in Atlanta. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.
 
Check back and follow us on social media as we will continue to give sneak peek’s into our selections until the show opens.  
 

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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