Living Well

An Insider’s Insight: Benjamin Moore’s Andrea Magno

There are few people who know color better than today’s Insider, Benjamin Moore’s Director of Color Marketing & Development, Andrea Magno.

Magno leads a team that is focused on the myriad aspects of color, and we’ve asked her to share her thoughts on everything from color trends to selecting the right finish.

Tell Us more about Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year. 

Each year, we bring together influencers from a wide array of industries and experiences to see where there are commonalities.

We share thousands of images to see which colors stand out from the rest. After lots of editing and finessing, we establish a palette that captures the color sensibility for the coming year. The one stand-out color becomes our Color of the Year.

For 2021, the Color of the Year is Aegean Teal 2136-40, a soothing blend of blue and green with a nice touch of gray.

2021 Color of the Year, Agean Teal

What colors are people gravitating to right now? 

With neutrals dominating color palettes for several years, people are now craving color. It can be a small ‘color moment’ or the main event in a room. Warmer colors that are comforting and welcoming have seen an uptick in interest.

People are using color as a means to find happiness in the home. We always encourage people to think about the colors that resonate with them to create their ideal spaces.

Which palettes are most exciting To you at the moment? 

Because the colors that stood out to the team for 2021 have a rooted, organic quality, they are warmer than we’ve seen the past several years. There is a wonderful, sunbaked quality to the colors in our Color Trends 2021 palette.

For me, I was really intrigued by natural dyes and materials. There is an authenticity in appearance that is not perfect, yet we can celebrate the beauty of this imperfection. Overall, there is a lived-in softness about these colors that feels right for 2021.

What practical advice can you share with our readers when it comes to paint colors? 

The most important step to build into a color selection process is sampling the color to better understand how it will look in the space.

Understanding the role of light and other elements in the room is crucial to selecting the perfect color.

The color that looks great in a friend’s home may not look the same in your own, so taking a bit of extra time for sampling is super important to make a confident color selection.

Any tips on making the right color choices? 

We suggest using a piece of foam core so that a large sample can be painted out and moved around the room, as color is apt to look different in areas with bright natural light versus shadowed areas.

By painting a separate material, the sampled color won’t compete with the existing color on the wall which can alter color perceptions. The other option is to consider our 4×8” paper swatches that are available on BenjaminMoore.com.

In either case, it’s best to look at a color at different times of the day since color can look different in morning and evening light. If possible, seeing a color on a sunny versus a cloudy day can be helpful when painting exteriors.

Tell us about finish options. What should consumers think about when choosing a finish? 

Generally speaking, eggshell finishes are a great choice for rooms that have a lot of use and traffic. There is a very low level of sheen and the finish is easy to clean.

Matte finishes are also very pretty for their depth of color and velvety look. This finish is formulated to withstand cleaning, and we even offer a matte finish with Aura Bath & Spa, which is designed for bathrooms and areas where humidity and moisture are a concern.

As for trim, doors and millwork/cabinetry, a higher sheen is preferable as it will wipe away fingerprints with ease. Go-to finishes for these applications are satin and semi-gloss. 

Can you talk a bit about lacquered walls? When are they practical?

Walls finished with higher gloss levels such as a high-gloss can be dramatic and quite beautiful, but it is important to remember that a higher gloss will be less forgiving of imperfections so careful prep-work is paramount.  

Let’s discuss white paints. What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a shade of white?

It’s funny, some people think of white as a default or unimaginative color, but the reality is that selecting the right white paint is trickier than one might assume.

Benjamin Moore’s

We have a vast array of white paint colors that vary in undertone. It is always helpful to consider the other fabrics or materials being used in a room when selecting the perfect white color.

If the general tone of the room is warmer, typically a warmer white will be a good route to take. The sample applies for a space with cooler elements. Again, sampling is a great step ensure the color meets design goals and expectations.

I hope you have enjoyed these color and paint tips from Magno. I loved that she mentions how colors can vary depending on the light so be sure to sample them in your space.

It’s important to add that how a paint color looks in a photo is not necessarily how it will look on a paint chip or in person. Many times paint colors in a photograph are altered from their original form.

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your expertise and knowledge with all of us.

Dana

Living Well

A Quarantine Renovation-Before and After

We purchased a fixer upper home with a family member during Covid when we were quarantining and had the best time renovating it.

The house has great bones and is in a great neighborhood, but it needed a little TLC. The owners had been there for many years and it was time for an update.

The kitchen was the first area we tackled. As you can see from the before pictures below, we moved a few walls and opened up the space. What once was a small, choppy and tight room is now light, open and updated.

The open shelving in the kitchen allows the space to breathe a bit and the #carraramarble countertops provide a timeless look. New fixtures, appliances and cabinets give it today’s modern conveniences.

Kitchen After:

After the transformation of this cottage renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors

But, its always fun to see the “Before” from where it began, right?

Kitchen Before:

Before the Kitchen Renovation
Before the Kitchen Renovation

Here is view of the range wall.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Kitchen Renovation

I shared these photo on my Instagram stories here and several people asked for sources and colors.

I do not normally share the sources to our client’s homes out of respect for them for hiring us, but since this was for family, here you go.

The sconces are from Hudson Valley Lighting, the countertop is a honed Cararra marble, and the walls are Benjamin Moore White Dove and the cabinets are painted Sherwin William’s Iron Ore.

This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoyed seeing the before and after photos of this home renovation. If we can help you renovate or build your next home, reach out to us here. We would love to hear from you.

Dana

Living Well

Tips For Building Or Renovating Your Home (from an interior designer and architect’s standpoint)

If you are looking to build or renovate your home, Chris Tippett, of Tippett, Sease and Baker Architecture, and I share with you some important tips from an interior designer and architect’s standpoint.

When clients have reached out to me here, one of the first things I help them do is clearly define their needs, wants and goals if they have not done so already.

Why? Because having as much knowledge as possible early on is extremely important.

After all, your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make.

Watch and listen as Chris and I give homeowners some practical, helpful advice when building or renovating a home.

Chris Tippett and I share some advice on building or renovating a home (from an interior designer and architect’s standpoint)

As Chris and I mention in the video, there are a few key takeaways that will help you achieve a great end result.

Practical Advice When Building or Renovating A Home:

1. Hire A Team Of Professionals You Can Trust

Be sure you hire a team that can work well together. Your entire team should work cohesively to create a vision for your home with each professional giving the level of expertise needed.

This includes an architect, interior designer, builder and landscape architect so you cover all aspects of the project.

You want to hire professionals that not only will have your best interest at heart but will also allot your money wisely.

Remember, you are discussing personal aspects such as how you live and how much things cost, and you want to make sure your privacy is respected.

2. Have A Plan Before Starting The Process

The best investment you will make is to have your team create a concept with all of the details first on paper.

This way, you can see how the home will look with its furnishings and you can decide from there if it is worth the actual investment.

3. Invest In Materials And Finishes That Stand The Test Of Time

What do you touch and where do you sit every day? The plumbing, the hardware, the upholstery in the main living areas all will be used and enjoyed on a daily basis.

Choose quality that will last and classic finishes are timeless.

Recent home renovation by Dana Wolter Interiors and Tippett, Sease and Baker
What a gorgeous ceiling detail, Dana Wolter Interiors, Tippett, Sease and Baker
Visitors will surely enjoy this guest bathroom

4. Be Realistic With What Your House Can Be In The End

Know upfront a house cannot be all things to all people. It is important to have an honest conversation with your architect and designer about your goals, wants and needs.

All houses have some limitations and it is good to know what these are at the beginning of your project.

If you are interested in talking to myself or Chris about building or renovating your home, reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

Dana

Living Well

Dana Wolter Interiors Is Hiring

Project Manager/Interior Designer for Dana Wolter Interiors, LLC

As we start the new year, we are adding another interior designer/project manager to our team.

Known for custom, timeless and livable homes, we pride ourselves on great service, customization and experience for our interior design clients. We value the trust our clients put in us for one of the biggest investments they will make in their lifetime.

We are looking for a hardworking, detail oriented, multitasking team player to serve as an Interior Designer/Project Manager on our team.

the criteria for this position Includes:

  1. You must have at least four years’ interior design experience and some experience in project management.

2. You must be proficient in AutoCAD and willing to travel.

3. You must have strong written and verbal communication skills.

4. You must be honest and trustworthy personally and professionally.

5. You must be a team player who can handle being in a fast-paced office environment. We have fun but we work hard.

Our interior design staff

This is a full-time position located in Birmingham, AL.

Dana Wolter Interiors in Birmingham, AL

By the way, Birmingham, AL, was just named one of the top 50 places to travel in 2021 by Travel and Leisure Magazine. It is a great place to live and raise a family.

Birmingham, AL- Affectionately known as “The Magic City”

If you are interested in joining our design team, send your resume and references to info@danawolterinteriors. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dana

Living Well

An Insider’s Insight: Marieanne Khoury of Khoury and Vogt Architects

If you have traveled to 30A, you have seen the beautiful community of Alys Beach.

Marieanne Khoury, along with her husband Erik Vogt, are the founding principals of Khoury & Vogt Architects.  Their firm practices architecture, urban development, and town planning in Alys Beach, Florida, and they have made quite a mark on this beautiful vacation area.

Here, Marieanne shares building tips and what makes Alys Beach such a special place.

Khoury and Vogt Architecture

Tell us about your work in Alys Beach and what makes it so special architecturally?

Ultimately, what makes Alys unique is its sculptural and crisp architecture set within a strong and cohesive urban plan.  Careful attention was paid to every aspect of this built environment.

This, coupled with the green landscape of our parks and streetscape against the background of blue skies and water, delivers a realm that one wants to linger in.

Erik and I are in our 17th year as the town architects here.  It has been incredibly rewarding to see the town grow and prosper knowing we have had a strong hand in helping to define it.

The climate here allows you to live outside in a comfortable environment 10 months of the year so we love designing homes with outdoor courtyards and rooms.

This is an opportunity to seamlessly tie indoor and outdoor spaces together in a way that is alluring, romantic and unexpected.

Tell us how the design process works for you.

There is a deep appreciation for clients who are engaged and energized by the design process. We love nothing more than taking the sum of their desires for the home and presenting them with a design that is poetic, refined and unexpected.

Our first presentations are typically hand-drawn sketches that are subsequently rendered. Along the way, we ask for photos and images that inspire them, and we will do the same so that expectations can be aligned and well managed from the onset.

When working with clients, are there questions or concerns that are consistently raised?

As a custom boutique architecture and interior design firm, our designs are original and ideally tailored to our clients.

Sometimes, a client may reveal something important about the way they live that will inform the overall design or trigger a strong idea that we had not initially considered.

Alys Beach
Khoury and Vogt Architecture

What are your clients asking for at the moment?

It seems that many of our clients are seeking houses that can accommodate extended family for a longer period of time as well as gracious outdoor rooms.

That is music to our ears, as these spaces are an integral part of our work—where gardens and landscape can merge with fountains and pools to create spaces for social gathering or for respite and solitude.

As people start envisioning themselves spending more and more time in their homes, they are seeking places that can afford them privacy when needed, areas for quiet escape and meditation for much needed moments of zen, and offices where they can work remotely without cluttering the common areas.

What do you think contributes most to a successful collaboration with interior designers?

We love working with talented interior designers and think this collaboration is critical. We always appreciate a new set of eyes on the project and ideally want all elements of a home seamlessly tied together.

Since we typically do the interior architecture for our projects, we will often collaborate on the interior design selections and then let the interior designer further enhance the design with their curated furnishings.

We have found that the best projects are when we are all working together, sharing ideas, being receptive to new ones and always doing our best to move the project forward.

We find ourselves often having our own exchanges with the designer, sometimes without the owner present, so that we can flush it all out and present a cohesive and harmonious concept together.

Tell us about your own home.

Erik and I have lived in our house in Alys since 2006 with our two daughters. We live outdoors and have an outdoor loggia that is essentially our main living room. We end our days chatting in this loggia every single day.

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

That is easy! Travel. It is what gives me the most pleasure. I love the anticipation and thrill of planning a trip and discovering new cultures, cities and spaces.

I love a little of the unexpected and unplanned but also want to have no regrets, so our trips, at this point in our lives, tend to be deliberate, thoughtfully pre-planned, and organized while still leaving room for leisure and impulse.

I will not think twice about knocking on a door and asking to see what lies beyond; I will try different foods as much on a street as in a fine restaurant; I try to seek out experiences that will be memorable and meaningful; and obviously, as architects, we seek out the historical places as much as we do the newly designed ones.

I hope you enjoyed these building tips from Marianne and learning more about their firm.  She and Erik are a talented duo and have had a beautiful impact on the development of Alys Beach.

Dana

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Living Well

An Insider’s Insight: Jim Thompson’s Susan North

We work with many incredible fabric houses, and Jim Thompson is one of our favorites to incorporate into our clients’ interiors.  Their luxurious fabrics add a beautiful layer of texture, uniqueness and quality to our projects.

I am thrilled to share a glimpse behind the scenes in our Insider’s Insight series from Jim Thompson’s Senior Design Director of Home Furnishings, Susan North.

Before joining Jim Thompson, Susan previously led creative teams at Schumacher, Thibaut, and Scalamandre, and she is one of the most respected textile designers in the business—a mixmaster of color, texture and pattern.

Susan North of Jim Thompson

Susan shares below her Insider Insights into the business.

What are you seeing in the design industry that has you excited?

I’ve been excited to see a lot more unexpected use of bold, deep color to transform rooms—from dark doors, dramatic ceilings, more black in interiors, and brilliantly hued furniture pieces.

Designers also seem to be playing with lots of pattern mixed together in single spaces with often amazing results.

It’s perhaps just starting as a trend, but with everyone home a lot more this year, it’s my hope that there will be more interest in investing in better furnishings and textiles that are both luxurious and lasting, more high-level quality and a lot less throw-away.

Jim Thompson Fabrics
Jim Thompson Fabrics, Dana Wolter Interiors

Tell us what inspires your Jim Thompson designs…

Inspiration comes from so many different places for me; like threads that you pull together to create something new—a bit from fashion, from art, or from favorite books, all mixed together.

But I would say the colors, textures and patterns from nature are what inspire me the most.

Serengeti by Jim Thompson
Serengeti by Jim Thompson, Dana Wolter Interiors

No one else hand-weaves Thai silk, or any silk for that matter, quite the way that we do at Jim Thompson. They are some of the most beautiful fabrics on earth, and behind each one is a skilled artisan weaver.

It’s the rich texture, the ‘humps and bumps’ of the silk yarns, as Jim Thompson used to call them, and also the nearly iridescent cross-dyeing of colors that makes them so amazing.

Of course, we don’t just produce hand-loomed silks; we also have a lot more to offer with beautiful velvets, prints, wallpapers and trimmings. But it’s the approach to color and a high level of quality that begins in the silk that comes across in all the products we offer.

Tell us about one of your favorite career collaborations or accomplishments…

I love the story behind one of my favorite prints ever, Pyne Hollyhock Print, which I developed at Schumacher.

Nancy “Princess” Pyne, who was a good friend and client of Albert Hadley’s, showed me scraps of fabric, all faded and in pieces, that she saved from the original room Albert designed for her in the early 1960s. I remembered it from Hadley’s book and had always thought it was one of the most beautiful chintz florals.

She kindly lent me her pieces, and I had it developed into a new chintz print, piecing the design together from all the scraps, and mostly using the colors from the original at the scrap edges, but adding some new colors, too.

Along the way, I would get these phone calls from Albert, who kept recalling what the pattern looked like when it was new, especially the color. In the end, I visited him to show the pattern in progress and he seemed very pleased to see it brought to life again. Albert was delightful to know; charming, funny and with such an incredible eye for design.

Do you have a favorite Jim Thompson pattern?

I love the hand-loomed silks. Thai silk weaves have a beautiful dry texture that makes them simply elegant but unfussy. And of all of these, I am especially fond of the ikats, which are hand-tied and dyed and hand-woven.

Some of my favorites are Anais and Thalia, which haven been in the collection for years, and also the newest ones, like Serengeti. They are like works of art, each one beautifully crafted.

Artisan Weaver for Jim Thompson Fabrics
Thalia by Jim Thompson, Dana Wolter Interiors

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

This year has somehow made a lot of things seem a whole lot less important, or even necessary. But I can’t live without nature and its beauty. It’s always inspiring to me, for colors and patterns – but getting outdoors and being immersed in nature also calms and feeds the soul in a way that nothing else can do.

I hope you enjoyed learning in this month’s Insider’s Insight series about the amazing process and artisans behind Jim Thompson fabrics.  I know I certainly did.

Dana 

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Living Well

Living Well: Where To Begin To Renovate Your Home

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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Living Well

Living Well: A Beautiful Kitchen Makeover — Before and After

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 AFTER:

Kitchen Renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors

KITCHEN BEFORE:

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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Living Well

Four Tips For Selecting Lighting For Your Home

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.

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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Living Well

Vacation Homes In The Making

While Corona has kept my interior design firm in Birmingham, AL, home more than usual the past few months, it hasn’t slowed us down working on our out of town interior design projects.

A few of the projects we are currently working on include vacation homes.   These are always a lot of fun as clients eagerly anticipate all of the memories waiting to be made.

Four Seasons’ Private Residence in Orlando At Walt Disney

One of the vacation homes we are working on is in the Four Seasons’ Private Residence Community at Walt Disney in Orlando, #Florida.  The sweetest couple and their family are building this forever vacation home for their family to grow into and enjoy.

We worked with these clients before so we were thrilled when they called to hire us for this new project.  We will be moving them into the home in about six months.

 

The details and customization throughout make the home unique and one of a kind. 

For instance, in the dining room, we are upholstering the walls a beautiful navy blue.   I love that as soon a you walk in the door, you will see the pop of color in this otherwise light and bright home.

 

Upholstered Dining Room in the making, Dana Wolter Interiors

We presented this home during quarantine and the presentation was a little tricky.  We made it work and can’t wait for our selections to come to fruition.

Alys Beach

We are also working on a new vacation home in Alys Beach.

If you aren’t familiar with Alys, book your next vacation there and you’ll see why my clients have chosen this community to build a vacation home.  The beautiful beaches, wonderful food and incredible architecture make you feel like you have traveled a thousand miles away.   

We are in the schematic stage of the plans and we are thrilled to be brought in at the beginning.  It’s perfect timing so changes are made before breaking ground. The talented crew at Domin Bock are drawing the plans and they always do a beautiful job. 

New construction in Alys Beach, Dana Wolter Interiors

Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram to see more of these vacation homes in the making.   I promise they won’t disappoint. 

Dana

 

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Living Well

Before and After: Furnishing A Home On A Deadline

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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Living Well

The One Trend I Am Seeing In Renovations and New Construction

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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Living Well

Dana Wolter Interiors Offers A One-Time, 3.5 Hour Consult

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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Living Well

6 Tips For Creating A Bedroom You Love

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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Living Well

4 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Home

Home Sweet Home – an old adage that I’m taking to heart more and more these days.

As I mentioned here, I’ve found a few simple ways that have made me fall back in love with my home again now that I have been staying in. Isn’t it funny what you notice about your home when you spend all day some time in it? 

With how heavy the news and life have been, I’m finding peace and comfort in having my family all under the same roof.  I’m so appreciative and fortunate to have a safe place to be quarantined and thought I would share 4 Ways I’m falling back in love with the place I’ve called home for 13 years.

 

Ways I’m Falling Back In Love With My House 

1. Getting Back In The Kitchen

Growing up with Italian roots, I love a home cooked meal. But, because of long work days, our empty nest, and the pure convenience of takeout, cooking has taken a back burner the past year.

It’s been fun being back in the kitchen with my girls and husband during the quarantine.   My refrigerator has a revolving door and the dishwasher runs constantly, but I have loved every moment of it.   Cooking has been a nice escape and having my kitchen where all my girls gather has been a wonderful blessing.

Way to fall in love with your home
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

2. Sleeping In

While we are thankfully still very busy with client projects, I have embraced the stillness of the mornings . With no need to rush out the door, I’m trying to learn to sleep in a bit later and enjoy new morning rituals.

I’ve found myself sitting and actually enjoying my morning coffee and watering all the springtime flowers that are emerging.  This is my favorite time of year for my garden so learning to see it in a new light has been refreshing.

Ways to fall in love with your home
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. In-Home Spa

I’ve quickly been reminded that it is the little things that bring great joy. A nightly mask and occasional bubble bath have been a treat and a way I can practice self-care without the need or ability to leave the house.

Ways to fall in love with your home
A client’s master bathroom, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

4. Al Fresco Dining

One of the several silver linings I’ve thought about during this quarantine is that it’s springtime and a fabulous time of year to spend outside. On days the weather is nice, we try and take advantage of eating a meal outside when possible.  We’ve also set the dining room table a few times and it was fun to linger afterwards with casual conversation.   

Dining- Ways to fall in love with your home
Dana Wolter Interiors, Jean Allsopp Photography

 

I hope you are staying healthy and enjoying your time in your home.   Cheers to falling back in love with your home again.  Take care,

 

Dana

 

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Living Well

4 Tips For Selecting the Perfect Paint Color

Is being quarantined at home giving you the urge to paint a room or two?  If so, here are a few tips for selecting the perfect paint color.  

Choosing the right color can be overwhelming, but if you follow this process, it will ensure the color on your walls is what you thought you selected.

Top tips to selecting the perfect paint color:

  1. The most important first step in choosing a paint color is to take the sample out of the store.  Choose a handful of hues or borrow the fan deck of colors and bring the paint samples home.

 

 

Trying out a few gray paint samples for a client’s library.

 
 
2. Take the samples home and brush them on the walls of your room. Nothing will help you choose a color better than seeing the actual color applied to the wall.  If your walls are dark, paint the samples on a white piece of poster board so the current color doesn’t interfere with the new ones.
 
From bright morning light to golden afternoon light to lamp-lit darkness, look at the colors at different times of day.  Sun, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference in how a color reads.
 
3. Paint two good coats to get a good idea of what the color is going to look like in the room.  Once the test sections are dry, hang artwork over them, push furniture in front of them, and stand back in the room to see how they look.
 
 
 

paint1
This image shows the difference between one and two coats.

 

After the perfect gray paint color selection, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography.  To see more of this home featured in Traditional Home, click here.

 

4. When choosing a sheen, remember that flat paint gives you color closest to the original cardboard paint chip where semigloss paint will have a moderate reflective quality.
 
Be careful painting a surface with imperfections with a semi or high gloss paint because these imperfections will show even more.  
 
 

paint4
A few Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paint colors we tested for a recent project.

 

Good luck choosing your next paint color as I feel confident these tips will help.  Let me know how it goes.

 
Happy painting,
 
dana
 
 
 
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Living Well

4 Ways To Refresh Your Interiors Without Leaving Home

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

As I’ve spent more time at home the past few days, I wanted to share some of the easy ways I’m breathing new life in some of our rooms- all without leaving the house.

4 Ways To Refresh Your Interiors Without Leaving Home

As a homebody, the thought of needing to stay home as much as possible isn’t hard for me. With all of the uncertainty going on in this world, home is exactly where I want to be-regardless of my nature.

I’m taking this time to work from home on some wonderful client projects we have going on,  soak up some unexpected family time while my girls are here, and to spiff up my own home.  

Our homes are refuge from so much and keeping it light and fresh during these heavier times is more important than ever before.

 

#1 – Bring The Outside In

Thank goodness its officially spring and flowers are blooming (and birds are singing. They seem so much louder and happier this year…they must know we need it!).

Snip some flowers or beautiful budding branches to make a simple, effortless arrangement. Flowers always give me a little more pep in my step – and according to my youngest, they make our house look cleaner.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

#2 – Go Shopping In Your House

This is such a fun exercise to give your home new life.  Pull all your accessories in a central location (like on your Dining Room table) to create an ‘accessories shop’. Live with everything bare for a day or two…this is also a great time to do some spring cleaning :).

As you begin to see your spaces empty, go ‘shopping’ and replace the empty spots with new pieces. As you continue this practice, start a donate pile of things you just don’t love anymore.

Once complete, your interiors will feel fresh AND you will have purged a few things in the process. I’d love to see some of your before and after pictures so do share.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

#3 – Spring Cleaning

Speaking of spring cleaning and purging, now is a better time than any to really tackle the clutter.

Don’t let this stress you out – start small. For example, what is actually hiding in your kitchen junk drawer? If it’s anything like mine, I found everything from random batteries and pens to gift cards and notepads.

The pantry is another great space to organize (and it helps us see what we have in hopes of limiting trips to the grocery).

Starting small encourages us to tackle other organizational projects that are looming (but we haven’t had time to do anything about them).

 

#4 – Switch Out Framed Photographs

One thing that I forget to do is switch out photos in my picture frames. There are certainly ones that hold my favorite pictures that won’t ever change but others I like to keep current.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

Find the frames that you wish to replace the pictures and then go through you camera roll to send to your local printer. Before going through this practice, I couldn’t remember the last time I had personal pictures printed. It was also such fun to go through and reminisce on all the travels and fun our family has had over the past year.

Above all else during this strange time, just enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. From longer family dinners around the table to slower mornings, soak in what really matters.

Stay Well,
Dana

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Living Well

4 Ways To Improve Your Home and Quality Of Life

Now that the dust has settled from the new year and spring is almost here,  I want to share a few changes that can make a big difference in your home.  Ways that accentuate living well in your own home.

And while my to-do list has grown quite long on things I want to change this next year in mine, I thought I would share a few easy ways to improve a home and hopefully your quality of life.

Four Ways To Improve Your Home and Quality Of Life

 1.  Paint a room

Nothing reinvigorates a space more than a fresh coat of paint. Paint fades and dulls slowly over time requiring some TLC after numerous years of no attention.  I suggest repainting the ceiling and trim at the same time because once the walls are repainted, the ceiling and trim will be noticeably dull.

 

2. Bring the outdoors in

With all of this cold weather and rain we’ve had lately, an easy way to improve your home (and mood) is to cut a few branches from outside to add some greenery and life into your home.

Winding branches make such a dramatic yet effortless statement that don’t need to be maintained like orchids or other flowers. The texture and scale that branches contribute to a space will add a beautiful layer to your existing design, AND it doesn’t cost a dime.  It may not be summer, yet, but we can pretend it is almost here.

 

Bring the outdoors in, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton

 

3. Closet consistency

 How often do you stand in your closet thinking you have nothing to wear? The problem may lie in the fact that you can’t see half of what you own.

I recently tossed every single hanger in the house and switched to clear plastic hangers for me and color coordinated ones for my girls (and when they go back to school, the specific hanger goes with them). They come in several colors and the key is to buy each person their own color. Not only do these slim hangers take up less space in your closet, but they look nice and clean.

I pulled out a few things to give away, but the consistency in the hangers and hanging clothes by color and type made all the difference in the world.   I’ve found myself spending less time figuring out what to wear because of this simple, esthetically-pleasing change.

 

4. Make a list of projects you want to accomplish  

March is a great time to make a punch list of things you’ve been wanting to do around your home.  I try to group alike tasks together and make a goal to complete a few each month.

For example, a client just contacted us here about renovating her Kitchen, Family Room, Dining, Master Bedroom, and Screened-In Porch with the goal of being able to enjoy all before the end of summer. We are jumping right in with the plans and drawings so we can keep the ball rolling.

On a smaller scale, maybe you have been wanting to switch out some of your light fixtures that are beginning to look dated or replace a Living Room sofa that has seen better days – add these to your master punch list and begin putting effort in getting them accomplished.

 

What will it take for you to live well, or should I say, live better, in your own home?   Take a few minutes and think about it.   I bet the answer is not far away.

 

Dana

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Living Well

After Photos: Livable Luxe as Seen in Traditional Home

I am thrilled to show you some never before seen “After” photos of our livable luxe project in this month’s Traditional Home.  

As I mentioned on Instagram, it was all I could do to keep this home a secret.   We have been waiting for a few years to share the photos, and it’s a great testament that all good things are certainly worth the wait. 

This project was a turnkey project filled with beauty and function for the cutest family with small children. They contacted us here about their project and I am grateful to now call them friends.

Our clients moved into this home completely furnished with pictures hanging on the wall and accessories in their place.  It’s like the magic fairies came in overnight and made it happen.  

After Pictures As Seen In Traditional Home

I love that the home feels pulled together and approachable despite its high ceilings and vast size. Livable luxe at its best.

Its classic materials and detail make it hard to quite pinpoint how old the house might be, just as a new build should be. 

My clients were wonderful in that they trusted my vision and took a leap of faith – even when I suggested an upholstered screen that was almost 15′ tall.   I was looking for a way to ground the large space and this is what I envisioned.  

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, as seen in Traditional Home. Photography by Graham Yelton

If it looks like no big deal, keep scrolling  Achieving this much detail 21′ in the air is not always easy.  

I truly could not have done it without a detailed plan, my amazing team, the builder and my craftsmen.   Oh, and a lift truck.  I am so grateful.

Truly a collaborative effort between us, the builders and my amazing craftsmen. Look at how the beautiful pleats, banding and upholstered screen detail line up. Dana Wolter Interiors

Study:

While my clients requested a home that mostly felt light and airy, we pushed the envelope in a few rooms to create some unexpected drama.

We did so in the study by painting the walls a charcoal gray.  

Study with charcoal gray walls, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

See the cabinetry to the far right? This was originally drawn as a door to a media closet.  We wrapped the cabinetry around two walls and you can open the end bookcase to access this small room.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a glimpse into this home, and I will share more after photos of this livable luxe home over the next few weeks.

The issue hits newsstands this Friday so be on the lookout.  I am thankful to my clients who trusted us with such a big part of their lives and to the Traditional Home team who allowed us to share it with their readers.

Dana

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Living Well

8 Must Read Tips When Building A Home

A past client reached out recently; we helped she and her husband build a beautiful home a few years ago and she emailed saying they are looking to build a second home.

I couldn’t help but smile knowing she enjoyed the process and wants to do it again.

They put together a great team who worked hard to build their dream home, and I thought it might be helpful to share some must-read tips when building a house.

 

Tips for making the building process successful: 

 

1. Put together a talented team 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire a builder, designer and architect that are known for what you are trying to achieve.  It isn’t enough to hire someone because they are a neighbor or because your friend hired them.  Look at their past work, their processes, their staff, and check their references. 

Your team should increase the value of your project while making the process enjoyable.  Again- they should make your life easier and be good stewards of your money.

 2. Make sure the aesthetic of  your designer and architect appeal to you  

Even creatives with a well-versed portfolio still have a certain look and tendencies (including me).  In the end, your home should feel like you.

Just as important, make sure you like their personality and can trust them.  They are going to be dealing with your money and you need to be okay sharing details about how you live.

3.  Wait to break ground on your home until your plans are finished 

Wait to start the building process until the plans are finished.  If you don’t, I can promise the demo will go fast but it will come to a screeching halt.  Be prepared as it takes time to draw detailed plans, but it will pay off in the end. 

Dana Wolter Interiors
A recent project as it was being built, Dana Wolter Interiors

Interior Design Ideas
Project in completion, Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton

4.  Quality takes time  

Quality takes time- there is a reason the room with custom cabinetry, draperies and millwork looks so good.   Details customize a home, but they don’t happen overnight or through the internet.   

Cabinet detail in a master bath renovation, Dana Wolter Interiors

Prepare yourself now- there will be a setback somewhere in the building process that will delay the project.  The weather won’t cooperate, you will hit rock when excavating, etc…  

5.  Talk budget early on 

No one enjoys sharing their personal business, but it is important to have a budget in mind or a realistic expectation of what your project will cost.  

Know your building budget (and furnishings’ budget) at the beginning and be realistic about what it can afford you.  

Talk to your builder about the exact finishes the allowances will buy you, and see what is realistic for what you are building.   Also, the more finishes and specifics you can finalize during the bidding process (such as knowing the exact type of countertop material, what line of plumbing fixtures, etc…), the more it will save you with add-ons at the end.

6. Details make a home  

Not all architects, builders and designers have the same experience and there is a reason everyone doesn’t charge the same.   If detail is important to you, make sure you hire a team where it is important to them.

7. Let your home building team do their job  

You hired your team for a reason, so let them do their job.  If you can’t visualize a detail, trust they can. This means trusting their judgment over your friend’s, your mom’s, etc….

8. Save enough money to furnish the home and be realistic as to how far that furnishing budget will go  

The last thing you want to do is build a beautiful, brand new home and for it to echo because you are not able to furnish it properly. 

 

Beautiful Kitchen Ideas, Dana Wolter Interiors
Dana Wolter Interiors as seen in Traditional Home

 

I hope these eight must-read tips when building a home are helpful and make the building process more enjoyable.  And fun!   

If you are interested in learning about the design services we can offer you when building, email us at here.  We want to hear more about your project.

 

Dana

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