Posts Tagged ‘birmingham designer’

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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Living Well: Five Ways to Wisely Invest In Your Home

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Your home is one of the biggest investments you will make, and you want to make sure you are investing your time and money wisely.

Our goal for any project is to create a home that adds value to your life and will hopefully increase in investment if you ever decide to sell.

 

HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO WISELY INVEST IN YOUR HOME: 

1. Use classic materials in the shell of your home:

By sticking with classic materials such as natural stones and architectural elements that are in keeping with the type of home you have, you will create a home with a timeless feel that will support any style of furnishings you layer in. 

Look at the gorgeous doors, and the dogs are pretty cute, too. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

2.  Be strategic with the types of fabrics you select:

Are you contemplating purchasing a new sofa or reupholstering one you already own? Opt for a higher quality fabric with a high double-rub count and have it professionally treated. Taking these factors into consideration will pay off down the road when your furniture still looks fresh.

The following pictures are projects of high-traffic spaces where we strategically selected fabrics based on how the room functions. 

Recent installation of a client’s foyer. The loveseat and chair are ready for an active family. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

3. Utilize every space in your home:

From large and spacious to small and quaint, maximizing your square footage is imperative.  

As I wrote in a previous blog post here, we helped this large family transform their garage into a second family room to create some needed extra space.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

4. Neat and tidy landscaping:

Your landscaping is the first impression people see as they approach your home. Allow the appearance of your home’s exterior to catch your guests at the door with a few simple and effective ways.

For example, keep your sidewalks and porches cleanly swept so leaves and cobwebs don’t accumulate.

I also like to have the mulch in our yard freshened up twice a year (in the fall and spring). You will be shocked with how this truly makes your shrubs and trees pop.

Lastly, keep the edging of your grass clean and crisp so its not encroaching in areas it shouldn’t. 

Dolores Del Rio House, Arturo Jimenez Photography

 

5. Customize your kitchen and bathrooms:

Updating your kitchen or an out-dated bathroom are both places where you can add value to your home. Not only for re-sale purposes, but also in terms of function for you and your family. 

We designed this client’s kitchen to suit their needs in a new build.  As empty-nesters, they didn’t want a large breakfast room because they enjoy eating everyday meals around an island. With emphasis on the island design and function, we added counter stools and a table-like feel as a perfect solution for ‘island dining’.  

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Another great way to maximize space in a kitchen is to incorporate banquette-style seating with your breakfast room table. 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I hope you find these five ways to invest in your home helpful and that they guide you to wisely invest in the space you call home. Let me know what you think.

Have a great day,

Dana

 

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With as many homes I am in and out of, I see recurring problems that come from everyday life and living.

I love seeing a home transform from one that’s cluttered, dark, and doesn’t work for a family to one that allows them to Live Well in their home.

And while your definition of Living Well may be different than mine or your neighbors’, I’m giving a few tips to solve some common problem areas.

  1. Clutter:  Organize your home so everything has a place.  Incorporate hidden storage where you can create a visual calm and remember to store alike things together.

If organizing overwhelms you, start by cleaning out a small space, such as the towel drawer in your kitchen.

 

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

 

2.  A room that is a catch-all for stuff because it isn’t being used

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

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

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

Dana Wolter Interiors | Luxury Interior Design

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

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

 

3. Dark, cramped spaces that don’t function well.  

Find a Balance with how your home flows and functions.  To Live Well in your home, it should work hard for everyday living  while easily transitioning to host a party when needed. 

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

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

 

BEFORE

 

BEFORE

 

AFTER:

Dana Wolter Interiors. Photography by Graham Yelton

 

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

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

 

4.  Spaces in your house that don’t feel like home

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Dana

 

 

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Do you ever wonder how we use so many beautiful, neutral fabrics in our projects and question how they look after a busy family lives in the space?  
 
Many times when we are in the furniture and fabric phase of a project, clients immediately want to steer clear of anything that remotely looks too ‘light’ in color because of children, dogs, and just life.
 
They have valid reasoning for being concerned; I’ve raised three daughters and know how that goes. But like everything else, technology with fabrics and their durability have come leaps and bounds from where they used to be.  
 
Here are four ways to make neutral upholstery more durable in your home:
1. Treat the neutral fabric with a stain resistant
In this Living Room, we had all of the upholstery treated with a stain resistant formula before being upholstered. It’s important to look at each fabric’s durability when creating a room so it can work hard for your family if needed.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
2. Include commercial grade fabrics in strategic places
Another trick we use is to find contract-grade fabrics that do not look or feel commercial. We have found fabulous looking velvets and linens that go through rigorous testing to guarantee they are stain resistant, durable, and have a high rub count.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
3. Add a blanket or quilt as an extra layer of protection
Often times, we have quilted throws made to perfectly fit a piece of upholstery. This allows the throw take the brunt of the activity and it can easily be removed or dry cleaned.
 
This Schumacher velvet and Jerry Pair leather add to the durability in this room. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
4.  Incorporate a leather or faux leather into the room
This buttery faux leather that resembles some of the attributes of leather can look stunning and function perfectly in a kitchen or breakfast room.
The technology makes it easy to wipe down without stains or harsh chemicals, so no worries about fingerprints or stains on this custom banquette we designed, either.
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
Next time you are faced with the fear of choosing new fabrics for your home, don’t immediately shy away from light upholstery. Remember, the key is to look at its makeup so it can stand up to everyday life.
 
Here’s to living well with neutral upholstery,
Dana
 
 

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The foyer is the first impression of your home when someone walks in, so it needs to make a good one.

After all, whether family or a visitor, you want guests to feel welcome.

We recently began working on the foyer of a current project.  It is a beautiful home and while we have finished up several rooms in the house, we are now focusing in on this space.   As I was assessing the best way to soften this room and make it look like the family has lived there for some time, I thought I would share some tricks with you. 

 

Here are five tips to making a great first impression in your foyer:

1.  Add a piece of furniture and or seating (preferably something with fabric) to soften the space.

 

Foyer, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

McAlpine Booth and Ferrier

McAlpine Booth and Ferrier

 

 

2.  Make the space personal- Add your favorite piece of artwork, a frame with a family photo, etc….

Artwork by my daughter (that I love) personalizes the entrance into my office, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors

Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

3.  Make the space useful- Depending on the size, create a place to sit to put your shoes on, or at the very least, add a tray to catch your keys.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

4.  Include something fresh such as flowers or a plant.

 

 

5.  Layer the space with accessories to create dimension and to make it look like it has been collected over time.

 

 

 

 

Below is a video I shot a few years back with Wendy Garner talking about how to transform this overlooked space.  Click here to watch for a few more tips for your foyer.

 

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Dana Wolters’ TV Segment on “Ways To Create An Inviting Foyer”

 

 

So, what does your foyer say about your home?   Does it set the tone and catch your eye, or is it a “catch-all” area you want to hurry your guests through?

 

Have a great day, everyone, and here’s to your foyer making a good first impression.

Dana

 

 

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3.5 Hour Consult- Is This Service A Good Fit For You?

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Fall is here and with the holidays around the corner, people are ready to make changes to their home.

 

If this includes you, I want to remind you about the 3.5 hour consult I offer.

 

While we mostly work 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 the clients who have invested in this consult with me have been surprised over the amount of detail and information that comes with it.  

 

Matter of fact, I have helped people not only rework rooms and the types of furniture to buy for the spaces, but others have used this service to select the finishes and paint colors for homes not yet under construction.

 

 

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Whatever your needs may be, you have my undivided attention to accomplish all we need to do during our time together. 

 

 

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.  We make an appointment, and I will then spend 3.5 hours of uninterrupted time discussing your project.  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 in knowing what you want to accomplish, 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 notes on what was discussed and a list of the suggestions from me.   This allows you to maximize your time with me while I 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 allow, all while following professional advice.

 

I had one last week and the client sent me this email afterwards.  She said it was fine for me to share, so here goes:

 

Hi Dana,
I just wanted to thank you again for yesterday! As I drove home, I literally felt less stress in my body having so many decisions made that I am excited about! You offer a wonderful service and it fit my needs perfectly.
I look forward to really seeing the transformation take place!
Thank you again and have a great upcoming weekend!

 

 

 

If you think this service can help you, email us here.   I would love to talk with you.

 

Have a great day,

dana

 

P.S. I post pictures on social media that don’t always make it onto my blog, so please follow along.

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It’s always fun to go back to a finished project and see how a client is LIVING in the home.  

 

I am always amazed at how your surroundings can completely revamp how you feel and live.

 

After all, #LivingWell in your home is about making your home work for you and your family.  Making it special  to you.

 

We made a two day visit to professionally photograph this home, and I loved seeing the hustle and bustle of everyday life for them.  This family of five stays on the go, and their home needs to work hard for them.

 

Southern style at its best- spaces that invite guests in to visit, spaces that are workhorses for their needs, and in the end are just really pretty rooms.

 

I think we succeeded in making it just that….

 

It is their forever home, but when they bought it a year ago, there wasn’t much to it that made it feel like it was their own.

 

While I can’t show you the full room pictures, I can give you a glimpse….

 

You might have seen this picture of the foyer on My Instagram that I posted last week, or this one today……

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

 

And here are a few more……..

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Kitchen Banquette Detail-Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

 

Details on the loveseat in the bay window, Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

If you feel like your home isn’t helping you make the most of your life and your family’s, email us here.  Let us help you #LiveWell in your home, too.

 

xo,

 

Dana

 

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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……

 

Before:

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

After:

 

 

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.

 

Dana

 

 

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In several client appointments lately, I have been asked about what to do when their home is filled with silver finishes, but they are wanting to incorporate the gorgeous brass patina that is so popular right now.

 

My answer is easy and simple….   Mix the two!

 

I love a space with mixed metals as it instantly makes the room look like it has evolved over time, rather than everything so matchy matchy like it was bought on the same day in the same showroom.

 

I am not only talking about a finish here and a different finish there, as I have been doing this all along.  I am talking about a bold metal finish that grounds the room, with perhaps another type of finish thrown in.

 

 

 

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Elle Decor

 

 

 

 

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Polished nickel, brass and antique bronze finished mixed together- Elle Decor

 

 

 

 

ElleDecor

ElleDecor

 

 

 

 

Below is a picture of a home we worked on several months back.  As you can see below, there are brass finishes throughout……..

 

Client's foyer- Dana Wolter Interiors

Client’s foyer- Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

 

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Leading into the kitchen- Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

But notice how we mixed the two by adding in polish nickel fixtures in the kitchen:

 

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Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

 

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Dana Wolter Interiors

 

 

 

 

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If you like this look of mixing metals and want to see more images, check out my Pinterest account, DWolterinterior.   I am also adding info on these other social media sites as well, so be sure to follow along!

 

 

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Take care and have a great day,

 

Dana

 

Also, if you are needing a design plan for your home that you can implement on your timeframe and budget, check out our new service here. Lots of information in a detailed plan!

 

#BootcampTransformation: Ways To Make Your House A Home- Part Two

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I kicked off  #BootcampTransformation last week with ways to make your house the home you wish, and today I want to pick up where we left off.   If you are just now reading, you can catch up here.

 

Now that you have chosen a room to tackle, you came up with five words to describe how you want this room to feel, and you’ve cleaned out everything you do not want to keep, it time to move on to the harder steps.   This is where it sometimes becomes too much for someone to do on their own.   Try these steps first, knowing you can always turn it over to a professional if needed.

 

 

Assess the room’s features

Decide what needs to be accentuated and what needs to be hidden.

For instance, if I have a client with a not so pretty stained, wood fireplace surround that cannot be changed- and it’s a feature that doesn’t need to stand out- I would have it painted the wall color to make it disappear.

 

 

Based upon how the room needs to work for you, layout a general floor plan.

Begin by measuring out the room, wall by wall, allowing for casing, doors, openings, etc…   Assess the location of the doors, how the room needs to work, and decide where you may be able to add some sort of seating.

While some rooms may only have room for a chair (foyer), others may be large enough for a couple of seating areas.  Add in where a seating area makes most sense and keep a 34″-36″ walkway throughout.   Include in this plan any pieces that need to be placed in here or need to be reworked (such as a console that needs to be painted, etc….).

 

 

Choose your color palette

Do you want your home to be a retreat from the crazy world we live in…

 

so serene from Mary McDonald

 

 

 

…or do you want it to reflect your bold personality?

 

show the world your personality! by Jan Showers

 

 

 

Whichever you decide, make sure each room flows from one to the next.  A retreat space will have more muted colors and softer furnishings, while one that is more bold may have pops of color.

Figure out what you need when you are at home.  Perhaps you need quiet time, but your home feels loud and busy.  Perhaps you need a little more energy in your life, but all your furnishings are heavy and dark-colored.  All of these things make a difference!

 

 

lighten up and keep it simple… by Thomas Filicia

 

 

 

Accessorize

Add personal items that you LOVE  and want to see each day.    I have a plaster hand my youngest made several years ago that sits on top of some coffee table books on an ottoman.    It doesn’t have to be a fine piece if it speaks to you.

If you have lots of little things, group them together to make them more cohesive.   This post here from a few weeks ago gives some good tips on placing these finishing touches.

 

 

Your home can make you feel inspired and at peace, or it could possibly be draining you.  Stop waiting and start today by applying the above tips and let’s see if you can make a change for the better.

I bet you will  be amazed at how cleaning out and determining how a room needs to work for you can make all the difference in your home.   As always, feel free to call or email us if you would like for us to turn your house into a home you love.

 

Here’s to a more peaceful home for all,

dana

 

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