Posts Tagged ‘dana kubiszyn wolter’

Falling for Gourds

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Summer is to flowers as fall is to…gourds!  Take inspiration from the colors and shapes of the season’s harvest to add that extra something to your home.

I love the grays, blues, and creamy white color of the season’s mix.    Here are a few arrangements I’ve been playing with recently:

For a few tips on how to create these arrangements, watch my segment on NBC – 13 Daytime Alabama:

Dana Wolter, Floral Arrangements….

Dirk Walker – Birmingham’s “Landmark” Artist

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I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dirk Walker for years now. He’s an amazing artist based here in Birmingham and also the owner of Loretta Goodwin Gallery.   If you have never been in his gallery, you must go soon!

Dirk is known for his “Birmingham Landmark Series.”  He says the works evolved “completely by accident.”  He had been doing mostly pastoral and landscapes scenes, but then one day he attempted an urban setting with some “non-descriptive figures.”

Alabama Theatre

Sloss furnace

As he puts it, “There was such an immediate appeal that I felt I had found something that allowed me to pursue a more individual style.  The flowing paint and abstract qualities also loosened me up in my brushwork.  Having grown up in Birmingham, I have [seen] so many changes to the city and landscape, so the ‘landmark buildings’  had sentimental meaning not only to myself but to my clients.”

The foundation for his artwork began with a more traditional approach called chiaroscuro, which deals with light and shadow, that he learned through the teachings of David Leffel, a Contemporary Master who taught at the Art Students League in New York City.

Today, Dirk Walker describes his approach as “Impressionistic with a slant towards Abstraction.”  He works primarily in oils for the “wet-into-wet” look and for their luminosity.

Vulcan

Below is a painting that he was commissioned to do for a client of mine.

He chose this perspective — with the driveway leading the viewer into the painting — because we wanted the piece be more “painterly” rather than architectural.  Dirk found this angle focused more on the figures in the painting rather than the structure of the house, while still leaving room for the abstract feel he leans toward.   Dirk achieves this effect by using many thin washes in the beginning stages of the painting, claiming that it sometimes creates “fun mistakes” that he leaves in the work.

This piece is an interpretation of my client’s home that they can pass down through the generations.  The palette of soft golds and blues and the watery, abstract feel is absolutely beautiful.  Isn’t it dreamy?

Feature On The Design Blog Greige

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So excited!  Christina of Greige Design contacted and asked me if she could feature some of my work on her blog!   If you have not visited http://www.greigedesign.blogspot.com, take a few minutes to look.   It’s beautiful!  Christina manages to showcase some of the prettiest pictures around, and I am honored to be included on her site.   Click on her link, and have a great day!

Falling for Fall Colors

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I know it’s hard to believe because it is still hot hot hot outside, but fall is around the corner!  And what’s hot hot hot right now in design are color schemes that reflect the season.

Warmer tones are a no-brainer when it comes to fall’s inspiration.  I love how designer Vincente Wolf used these beautiful colors in his own loft.

a gold and cream dream

Gold, caramel, taupe, tan, rust.  Notice how he tosses in gray here and there to cool it off a bit — on the pillow, coffee table, and in some of the artwork.  Subtle and beautiful!

So yes, gray is definitely another hot color I keep seeing everywhere — and loving!   So sophisticated.  Think of it as the new softer black.

Here’s Donna Karan’s take on a light gray dress from her Fall 2011 collection.  For more shades of this season’s grays, visit her website here!

I’ve also been gravitating towards purple, as it is big this fall.   Not the Mardi Gras purple that may come to mind but something a little more sophisticated.  Here are some fabrics I’ve recently pulled to use through a client’s home:

I love the depth purple gives — it’s full of confidence, yet these more discreet shades whisper rather than shout.

So this fall’s tones are rich yet chic, a bit audacious but within the realms of taste.  And I have to say — I’ve fallen!

K.I.S.S.

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As school resumes, and my schedule is at risk of being greatly overwhelmed, I’m reminded of the thing that I think a lot of us struggle with these days –- Keeping It Simple, Sweeties.

With our cell phones constantly beckoning, and email literally at our fingertips, I’m sure I’m not the only one to find it ironic that technology, in its attempt to make things easier for us, actually contributes to the frenzy of daily life.  We’re all busy.  Too busy perhaps.  It seems that life is a juggling act, balancing work and family, extracurricular activities and exercise, eating well and volunteering.  How do we keep it up without it all crashing down!?

Through trial and error over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to streamlining my life.  While it takes a little discipline, and I am not always good at it, it definitely helps.

1.  Make a list.  First thing in the morning — or better yet, the night before — make a list of everything that you want and need to accomplish that day.  It only takes five minutes, and it saves oodles of time later as it gives some structure to the day.  After you write the list, highlight the top two things that absolutely must get done.  Then star a few other items that you would like to get done.  Then be easy on yourself.  If you are like me, it’s probably impossible to get everything on your list checked off!  So congratulate yourself if you complete at least the two “musts” and one or two of the stars.  After all, there is always tomorrow!

2.  Consolidate.  How tempting it is to check every email/text as it comes in!  Give yourself a break.  If possible, allot two to three times in the day to respond to phone calls, email, and texts.  This way, nothing slips through the cracks, and you will probably end up feeling less scattered.    Who knows, maybe these email and phone times will end up feeling like a break in your day!

3.  Prioritize. While the first two tips will help you prioritize your day, remember to step back and prioritize your life!  Figure out what is important to you – really important to you – and see if your daily life matches up.  If spending time with your children is more important than baking four cakes for the charity bake sale, then feel free to say no this year to the sale – or better yet, get your children involved with the cooking!  If having some alone time is more important than making it to every social function you are invited, be sure to honor yourself in that way.  When you know what is important to you, saying “No” to anything that diverts you will be much easier.  You – and your family – will be happier for it.

The key is to find a balance.  Not an easy goal, as I know from experience!  I do believe though, that in order to simplify, it’s necessary to maintain perspective.  When we are caught up in the day-to-day, we could end up missing out on life.   Keeping it simple helps us to slow down and savor our blessings.  So give yourself a break.  Turn the cell phone off if you have to, forego the juggling, and enjoy your life.

 

I Feel Like I’m On Trading Spaces

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Maybe having three daughters of my own has something to do with this…but I love designing girls’ rooms.   I also love that girls’ rooms give me the chance to be playful with color schemes and whimsical patterns.

I am excited about one of my latest projects, as it’s a bedroom for a precious nine-year-old girl who loves the color blue.   What makes this project so fun is that it’s going to be a surprise installation for the entire family.   Full rein to design as I see fit as long as I stay on budget!  I kind of feel like I am on an episode of Trading Spaces

Here are my inspiration fabrics as I am in the beginning stages of planning the room.   I absolutely adore the combinations!

turquoise & chocolate!

What do you think?   What colors do you love to use in children’s rooms?

I have been working hard the past three weeks on an exciting new project!

It’s an incredible, historical house in Birmingham — home to a fun, young family — and they hired me to work on the interiors of a few rooms.  Interestingly, as we began the project, Cathy Johnson, editor of Birmingham Home and Garden Magazine, called.  It turns out this house appeared in the magazine’s first issue, and she wanted to feature it again for the upcoming 10th anniversary issue!

While the rooms are not complete due to the quick deadline, I was pleased with how it looked for the shoot.  If it looks this beautiful with a few pieces we plan on replacing, imagine how it will look when everything is installed!  While I cannot share the final photos until the article is published, I do want to give you a little preview.

Jean Allsopp works her magic!

me with the girls who live there -- aren't they cute?!

cathy helping with placement for the angle of the shot

Thanks, as always, to Cathy and  Jean Allsopp Photography!

Five Ways to Make an Impact in a Room In An Hour

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Are you looking to update a particular room, but you (like the rest of us) are short on time?  Good news!  You can make some major improvements in as little as an hour!   Try one or all of the following tips and poof! that room that was bothering you may just become one of your favorites.

1.  Accessorize: Is the top of your coffee table cluttered? Do the tops of your end tables look messy?  Tired of seeing the same accessories?

Begin by clearing off the tops of furniture.  You’ll get a fresh look this way, and it’s easier to add to than take away!  Remove the lamps, the books, the candles, the ceramic pears, everything.  Now that you have a clean surface, ask yourself: what kind of furniture is it?  Is it a wooden chest with a marble top?  If so, begin with a wooden lamp and go from there.  Mix up the textures, materials, and styles to see what suits you best.  Be a little daring!  Playing with the hard and soft surfaces creates tension that works.

In this client’s home, I played with shiny and rough textures; metal, wood, and ceramic; and curves and lines to create the perfect combination.   Even the stick in the corner adds dimension!

notice the juxtaposition of materials in this one small corner!

 

2.  Create a Vignette: By definition, a vignette is a “small picture.”  In decorating, it’s a part of your home — say, a nook, a window, an entry way — that, after your creative touch, will tell a story and shed some personality.  Do you have a corner in your home that is empty and boring?  If so, find a purpose for it, and make every inch of your home count!  For instance, I took this bare hall in a client’s home and made it warm and inviting:

the family photos in style-y frames give it extra warmth

3.  Paint: I’ve said it before, but it’s a must for instant impact.  Paint!  Even painting one wall can create dimension in a space.  Paint also makes the space look fresh and can give a light fixture an entire new look.

4.  Clean out: Sometimes we just have to get rid of it.  Bookshelves that are overcrowded, china cabinets with plates that haven’t been used since 1977, bedrooms with stuffed animals that haven’t been played with since 1987 —  you get the idea.  Even spaces guests don’t see count!  Is your make-up drawer out of control?  Has the storage closet collected so much that you have forgotten what was in there?  When you hold onto items you aren’t loving and using, you — and your home — are being weighed down. Say ba-bye, and feel lighter!

5.  Reframe Your Art for a New Look: While you are cleaning out that storage closet, you may come across some treasures as well.  If you’ve been meaning to hang some forgotten pics, do it! Whether it’s artwork that suddenly appeals to you again, or photographs that bring back fond memories, walls welcome anything that warms the heart.  It’s good to change these things out from time to time too, perhaps using different frames or switching the bedroom art with the living room’s.

This is a room I designed for a client’s daughter.  See how the child’s owl art is taken to a new level when mounted on black?

whooo whooo!

Customizing a room doesn’t have to be over the top.  It just has to be creative and well-thought-out!  With a clean slate and a few good ideas, your home can go from ho-hum to custom in no time at all.

All photos by Jean Allsopp Photography.  Thanks, Jean!

What Your Designer Wants You to Know but May Not Tell You

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So you’re hiring a designer to help you with your home?  Congrats!  Below are a few tips to ensure the process is fun and smooth-sailing.

Have a Budget in Mind.  A good designer will be able to work within your means whatever your budget may be, but you must be forthcoming with the numbers from the beginning.   A designer does not want to spend hours pulling items that are over your budget nor does he or she want to skimp and miss out on the custom and higher-end items you can afford.  Know from the beginning what you want to spend so the design process can evolve accordingly.

Buy What You Love. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into a home and the first thing the homeowner will show me is a specific piece of furniture or art that she has bought on sale.  As the conversation continues, she will proceed to tell me she does not really love it, does not really have a place for it, but nevertheless, it was a deal.   Regardless of the price point, if you do not love a piece, do not buy it!

Show Your Designer Anything You Can to Convey Your Taste. Communication  is key, and pictures are worth a thousand words, as they say.  Pull pictures from magazines and off the Internet that inspire you, such as specific rooms or landscapes or artwork.  Giving your designer a visual will help him or her evoke your unique taste into the look of your home.  It’s also helpful to show your designer your current home and what you love and don’t love about it.

How Involved Do You Want to Be? Some clients want no part in the design process, while other clients want to be involved in every detail.  It’s your home, and either is fine, but it’s helpful to let your designer know up front how involved you would like to be and in what capacity.

Trust your Designer. At the end of the day, you hired this particular person for a reason – because you like his/her style.  When a designer gives you an opinion, it comes from experience and skill.  This is why you are paying them.   Some of my best results have been on projects where my clients were willing to trust me and take a few risks.  If you do not have this confidence in your designer, find someone else to help you.

We Want to Make You Happy. Yes, your designer wants to please you, and yes, your designer wants you to be ecstatic with the end result.   We work hard and do not always convey the million times we have had to call about the fabric that was never shipped or that we had to send something back as it was not up to our standards.   In the end, we are in this together, and we have the same goal:  to make your home beautiful and something to be proud.

Hopefully, these tips will help you and your designer work together harmoniously so the process will be enjoyable and the end result will be the home you always imagined!  Have fun!

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

dine

 

master bedroom

does it get any cozier than this?