Living Well

Living Well: Replacing Your Outdated Built-Ins

Many of my projects are older homes that haven’t been updated yet to best fit the needs of today’s modern family.

A lot of these homes have unused, outdated built-ins, and I thought it would be fun to look at a few ways I have recreated this type of space.

It’s amazing what a little thought and creativity can do to update and make a space work for you.


 Here are a few examples:





Custom designed cabinetry by Dana Wolter Interiors


We thickened the wall opening into the room so the new cabinetry reads more as a true built-in.   I made the depth for this custom cabinet less in the middle (the doors slide open to reveal a flat screen tv ) while the side cabinets hold 13″ deep bookcases to personalize the space.

In one of my other projects, the sitting room had a deep, built-in computer desk.  The desk wasn’t being used anymore and the room was pretty much just a walk-through space.  

We decided to give this room a purpose by making it the husband’s sitting room, fitted with a bar and his own personal television.  









Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography


I decided to go with a lighter wax on the bar wood to make the bar “pop” against the dark walls, and I also surrounded the space with a snakeskin wall covering.    The upholstered doors are touch latch for easy opening-


Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography


What about your home?   Do you have wasted, useable space hidden in your old built-ins? 

If so, and you are ready to update your home,  reach out to us here.   We’d love to hear about your project-


Have a great day-




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Living Well

StyleBlueprint’s June Finds

styelblueprint_danawolterbanquette_may-2013-620x412What an honor to have my custom banquettes featured in StyleBlueprint’s June finds! Custom banquettes,  sofas, and built-ins are a specialty of mine, as they are a great way to create a unique and functional sitting area in a home.  Designed to fit the homeowner’s space and needs, these custom pieces come in an array of fabric options, styles, and sizes.  I would love to work with you to create the perfect real and functional home by adding one of these beautiful custom pieces.

Below are a few of the custom pieces I have designed for clients.  Enjoy!

Perfect way to add extra seating in a bay window! Image Credit: Jean Allshop
Perfect way to add extra seating in a bay window!
Image Credit: Jean Allshop
Dining Room Banquette
Dining Room Banquette
Kitchen Banquette for Family with 2 Boys and 2 Dogs Image Credit: Graham Yelton
Kitchen Banquette for Family with 2 Boys and 2 Dogs
Image Credit: Graham Yelton
Custom Loveseat  Image Credit: Graham Yelton
Custom Loveseat
Image Credit: Graham Yelton


Have a good one!

– Dana


Living Well

Portfolio Peek!

Below is the home of my client and dear friend.    I am pleased to announce some of these photos recently appeared, much to my delight, in the March 2011 issue of  Birmingham Home and Garden.  A big thanks to Jean Allsopp Photography for allowing me to post!

I had so much fun designing this house, and I think it shows — enjoy the peek!

functional and sleek kitchen
breakfast nook
child-friendly family room


close up look


master bedroom
does it get any cozier than this?

Living Well

How Layering Takes a Room From Drab to Fab

In my previous blog, “From Blah to Beautiful in a Few Easy Steps,” I mentioned the importance of layering a space and softening the hard surfaces in a home.   The last thing you want is for your home to look like it was bought off of a showroom floor, and layering prevents this by creating a sophisticated, collected look.

Windows are everywhere in our homes, and for good reason — they let in natural light! When windows need to be softened,  curtains are a beautiful and easy fix.

Take a peek at this design from one of my favorites, Susan Ferrier:

brilliant use of fabric (from

She actually uses the curtain as a “wall” and wow!  These panels soften the room’s hard corners while providing depth, dimension, and character.  Notice the layered cowhide on top of the rug as well.

I will always sing the praises of  banquettes and built-ins, as I cannot help it.  I just love them!  The high back on this custom seating I designed for a client’s foyer is an eye catcher and sets the tone for the rest of the home.

come in and stay for a bit!
another client's kitchen. photo courtesy of jean allsopp and puppy courtesy of homeowner.
great balance here! (from pinterest — materialgirlsblog)

Notice how this banquette softens the stairwell and hardwood floor?  They also receive bonus points for their practicality by allowing for more people to sit around a table.

Here’s a nice example of layering with custom seating AND drapes.  Accessorizing with pillows is also a must!

Mixing the old with the new is a great way to create a room that looks like it has evolved over time, even if it was installed in one day.  In this TV segment from Daytime Alabama, I provide ways to mix the two.

Look what the talented Vincente Wolf created in this room.  He pulled up uber-modern chairs to a table made to look old, and it’s amazing!

old and new = divine

To sum up, here is a picture of where old and new, soft and hard, come into interior design harmony bliss:

the home of designer Fiona Weeks

Living Well

Top Five Faves Of My Home

What do you love about your home?   Is it your large closet, your heirloom pieces, or even your garage? I posted this question on my Facebook page, and it was interesting to see all of the diverse answers from my friends.

When I began planning the layout of my new home six years ago, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted…..Tall ceilings, character and personality so my home did not look so “new,” gathering spaces for friends and family, and easy transitions from room to room.

Working as a designer, I see some pretty incredible spaces.   Yet, when I think of my own home,  there are simple features I have grown to not only appreciate but to absolutely love!

Here are my TOP FIVE FAVORITE things about my own home:

1.  Built – Ins. Whether you choose to build in a banquette, a bookshelf, or window seating, built-ins give a space weight, texture, and above all, personality.  Whenever possible, I love incorporating custom sofas and banquettes into my clients’ homes.  Here are some examples from my own.

the banquette in my kitchen


this built-in bench adds so much to this bedroom
a serene space for those times when I need it!
a built-in sofa in my foyer is a great use of space


2.  Hidden Storage. My mother laughs when she comes to our house and finds several pairs of flip flops on the stair landing.  Yes, we do live in our house.  I wanted to incorporate a few places in my home where we “hide” our everydayness by creating spaces that we are able to close off.  Everything has a place, and it’s out of eyesight so tidiness comes easily (most of the time).  A desk area behind a closed door in each of my children’s bedrooms serves this purpose perfectly.  This way, their papers and schoolwork stay out of the way, and their rooms tend to remain neater and more organized.

shut the doors, bye-bye desk!

Here is a picture of my foyer where there is hidden storage under the stairs.  If you look closely, you will see that the paneled wall has a built-in jib door.

surprise! there is hidden storage under the staircase



camouflaged door beneath the stairs

3.  Light. Big windows mean big light.  I love the feel of sunlight flooding into a space.  When designing a room, it is important to look at its function as well as the type of light it receives.  For daytime, there is no better lighting than natural.

Large windows also “let the outside in” and give a feeling of spaciousness in the right setting.   See how this window allows light into the space and accentuates it?

4.  My Warming Drawer.  I know, I know – it’s odd to love a warming drawer, but with a family-on-the-go, it has become the appliance we cannot live without.  While I try to have all of us sitting down and eating together, it is not always conducive with everyone’s schedule.  It has saved time, energy, meals, and well, my sanity, as a result.

5.  My Family. Design and decorating go a long way, as a pretty home is a wonderful place to lay one’s head at night.  Yet, as I look around mine, it would mean nothing without the people that inhabit it – my husband, three daughters, and my Yorkie-Poo.   It’s the fun times we have using and enjoying the built-ins, hidden storage and yes, warming drawers, that put these items on my list of favorites.  After all, as the author, Lois McMaster Bujold, once said, “My home is not a place, it is people.”

The Wolters!