Living Well

“Living the Teenage Dream”

Not sure how you feel, but for me, summer seems to be going by way too fast. Before we know it, we will be buying pumpkins for Halloween and arranging our fall dining table.  I am ready to pump the breaks a little, as I am quickly reminded how time flies when looking at how quickly my girls are growing.

I was honored when B-Metro Magazine asked me in July’s issue for a few tips on how to furnish a teenage room.  In this article,  I share where to spend your money in the room to create a space that can grow with your child.   They were kind enough to share four rooms of my work, and while each child’s room has its own look, you will see similarities in each.  Balance your classic, more expensive pieces -like the headboard, window treatments, and bedding- with trendier, less expensive items to round out the room.

To read more on how to design a room for a teen, check out “Living the Teenage Dream” feature in B-Metro.   More pictures of these rooms will soon be up on Pinterest, or better yet, feel free to pin yourself.

Have a great day, everyone-


P.S. A BIG thank you to Graham Yelton for the amazing pictures!






Living Well

Creating Quality Of Life Through Your Home


As I was going through Pinterest the other day, I came across some rooms of the great design icon Albert Hadley.  I could study his work for hours as his attention to detail captivates me.

And while I love his design, it was this quote by him that captured my attention:


While Hadley rose to prominence by distilling both classic and contemporary styles, he understood the importance of how the home could impact one’s life.  It wasn’t so much about creating a beautiful, perfect room (though they were), but more importantly about creating a space that improved the lives of those it surrounded.   While Hadley passed away last year at the age of 91, his client list included some of the most powerful American families like Astor,  Rockefeller, Getty, Whitney and Mellon, not to mention Al and Tipper Gore and Diane Sawyer. If you would like to read more about him, click here for a great article from Architectural Digest.

Have a great day, and go find beauty and function in your home.


Living Well

Real Homes for Real Life

It’s been a while since I last blogged (September, but who is counting?!).   By the time I work,  take care of my family, complete my volunteer commitments, keep up with social media, and other things that pop up with everyday living,  blogging just seems to fall the wayside.   No excuse, I know, as I am really going to try and do better.

My business has grown quite rapidly over the past few years, and to be honest, I am experiencing a few growing pains.   As I am setting new goals and looking toward the future, I am trying to be honest with myself as to where my strengths- and weaknesses- lie.  Maybe it is because I have a dog and a revolving door with three active, busy children who constantly have friends coming and going, or maybe it is because I grew up one of five children so I am pretty practical, but I think one of the ways my work stands apart is I design for real living.  Yes, that’s right….you can actually live in the pretty homes I design.  Real homes for real life.

Take this home in the Liberty Park section of Vestavia that was recently featured in B-Metro magazine.   With two boys and a dog (a second pup just joined this family btw), the mother was adamant for a home they could entertain AND live in.

Come on in and see for yourself how we gave them just that:

 What began as a builder spec home quickly became their own through new paint and new furnishings.  Custom upholstery, done in lush but forgiving fabrics, can be wiped up with a dishrag.   No worries about spilled milk in this home.

With the exception of the foyer loveseat and the kitchen banquette, notice how all of the fabrics are light?  I tell my clients all the time the durability of a fabric is so much more important than the color of a fabric.  Even with active children and  K9 friends, you can live in a beautiful home with light upholstery.   The key is to choose durable fabrics and finishes, and with today’s options, they are not hard to find.

For more on this home, you can read the article here.   Have a good day, everyone.




Note: Photography courtesy of Graham Yelton

Looking for more from Dana Wolter Interiors?  Follow us on FB, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Living Well

The Colors of Summer with Megan LaRussa

With hot summer days in full throttle, I thought it might be nice to venture from home decor and look towards stylish ways to look great AND stay cool this season.    I have invited style coach Megan LaRussa of the blog to give us a few tips on what is chic this time of year.   Hope you enjoy this post as much as I did, as I am loving a little pastel thrown into a neutral palette.  Have a great day and let me know what you think-


As a Style Coach, I often hear the age-old belief that every woman must stick to one
color palette based on a season and never venture outside of that ‘color box’. I’m
here to debunk that theory and show you a wide array of hues that are not only on
trend for this season, but will also look good on YOU.

There are 3 main color palettes that are très chic this summer. The first one is

Designers are having fun with colors reminiscent of both icy sorbet and powdery
chalk. Think mint green, peachy coral, sun-kissed yellow, and pale blue. And
despite your ‘coloring’, these colors can be worn by anyone! Simply wear them with
neutral pieces, or allow this color to be an accent piece through a necklace, shoes or

STATEMENT-MAKING BRIGHTS are for the bold trendsetters out there! Designers
and stylists are showing these colors worn together in a color block manner to give
new life to these familiar colors. Try mixing cobalt blue with neon yellow, or maybe
tangerine and magenta! If this appears too much for your taste, opt for a neon green
skinny belt with your neutral ensemble, or a bright tangerine lipstick.

DUSTY HUES are for the classic loving prepsters out there. Washed Nantucket red,
muted mustard and faded forest green are the colors to look for ladies. And for
those that live and breath by the ‘Preppy Handbook’, try playing with these colors
by sporting a Nantucket red blazer + muted mustard blouse + navy pencil skirt for
an updated yet classic professional look.

So take a leap of faith, and have fun with an array of colors this summer!

Yours in Style,


Megan created Southern Femme as a way to share her fashion
adventures, inspirations and her most coveted style tips with
Southern women. She is a Style Coach, Wardrobe Stylist and
Fashion Show Producer. For more information and endless
style advice check out, or contact Megan at

Living Well

Cozy Spaces

I came across a few cozy spaces that made me think of summer.    Not sure why, but lately I have been craving a spot of my own to read a good book, drink a cup of tea, or even to take a nap.
I love how each of these spaces is warm and inviting in its own way.  This comes through the layering of rugs, pillows, blankets, and accessories in each of these rooms.
 What kind of space in your home have you been craving lately?  
Image 2 pinned via Houzz
Image 4 pinned via Elle Decor photographed by Brandon Barre

Living Well

Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace Series-Part 2

Once again, I had the pleasure of being a guest contributor to the Designer Marketplace by Williams and Sonoma.  In this particular article, I discuss making every square inch of your house as functional as possible.  After all, you are suppose to live in your home.

 When meeting with a client for the first time, I always assess how they utilize each room and look for ways to improve how the home works for them.  Sounds crazy, I know, but the design, the flow, and the aesthetics of a home should fit each family’s needs.  Join me on Designer Marketplace and let me know your thoughts and ideas as well.

To read my previous article on marketing your design business, click here.  Have a great day, everyone!


Living Well

Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace Series

I have had something really exciting happen to me lately….. Williams- Sonoma has begun a blog where they have designers throughout the nation write for it, and they have asked me to contribute.   I am so excited and honored to be associated with such a wonderful company.

My first article talks about marketing your design business and what I have found that works for me.   Peruse through the site as they have some wonderful contributors.

You can read the full article HERE.

Let me know what you think!   Have a great day, everyone-


Living Well


I am working on a client’s dining room, and I am looking for a beautiful paper with a light background and a dramatic pattern.  Classic but with a little edge.  In my search, I have come across a few papers I find to be quite incredible.

While this paper is not what I had in mind for this particular project, I do love it for its bold color and pattern.  Stunning!


This paper by Schumacher would make for one stunning accent wall.  It has been out for a few years and I have always adored the pattern……

I could easily imagine this paper in a foyer or entry way. Pair it with the right furnishings, lighting, and accents, and it would make the space fresh and something quite special.  

Now to continue the hunt for the perfect wallpaper for that dining room!  Have a good day, everyone-


Image one: direct link can be found within my pinterest page.

Living Well

Turquoise Is The Color Of The Day

Remember a few months ago I mentioned I was working on a little girl’s bedroom, and the entire project was a surprise to her?

The room was installed a few months ago, and it turned out beautifully.  Custom draperies, headboard, window seat, pillows and a shower curtain made it special like no other.  We wanted a room bright enough to be playful and fun, but classic enough to stand the test of time.  Blue is her favorite color, so with a little direction from her mom and my girls giving an opinion or two, we gave her an age-appropriate room for a nine year old, but there is definitely room to grow into it.   Now for a little look….

Have a great day, everyone!


Living Well

Quick Tips for a Beautiful Home

This past week I had the pleasure of co-hosting NBC-13 Daytime AL with David Lamb while Wendy Garner was on jury duty.   I had so much fun as the Daytime crew consists of just a really great group of people.

Here are a couple of snapshots from a segment I did on Quick Tips for a Beautiful Home.  Yes, a home can be beautiful and practical too.  A few tips I shared and live by…

– Buy only what you love, not just what’s on sale.  It’s not a deal if you do not truly love it.

– Every item should have a place.

– Keep colors cohesive throughout the home (children’s rooms are the exception).  What may be a dominant color in one room may be used as an accent in another.

You can watch an elaboration on each topic and learn more tips here if you like.  Thanks again to Wendy, David, and the Daytime Al crew for this incredible experience, as well as those of you who tuned in to watch!

Have a great day-


* More importantly, my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected in this week’s tornadoes here and in surrounding cities and towns. So hard to believe it happened once again within such a short period of time.  My heart goes out to all of you.

Living Well

Decorating For The Holidays

I think I am finally ready for Christmas as my house is decorated and my to-do list is ALMOST complete.  I guess that is a good thing since Christmas is only two days away!

While I love all of the pretty things you see this time of year, I am really trying to simplify my life to remember why I am celebrating.   Less is more in my book these days.

Here are some pictures of a few of the decorations found around my home:

ann is busy making a moss wreath
this year's christmas tree after it fell over TWICE!
keeping it simple-
boxwood wreaths decorate the front door

And for my three favorite decorations of all……

Merry Christmas from our family to yours


I am taking a few days off after Christmas, so this will be my last post until 2012.   Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your family.   


Living Well

Lunch With A Friend


I had the nicest lunch on Friday with Paula Coldiron from the lifestyle blog, Two Ellie

paula and her family

 If you have not read it, check Two Ellie out as it is a good one!   Paula is a stay at home mom and has made quite a name for herself in the blog world.  I am honored to call her a friend as she is as kind and genuine as she comes across in her writing.  Here are a few pictures from her recent posts:

collage from a recent Christmas post
wreath from her own home
the cooper bag


i ADORE this piece she posted from jarbo wear


When you have a minute, look at Paula’s blog and let me know what you think.  Have a good one-


Living Well

Simplifying Our Lives In A Not-So-Simple Season

As much as I want to say I am ready for Christmas, I am not.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had two installs the past week.   Work, on top of a Christmas birthday for one of my girls, has made this time even more busy than usual.

Village Living, a wonderful  paper for the Mountain Brook community, asked me to write an article on decorating for the holidays.   I loved writing for them as it made me reflect on how I approach the holidays and what I can do to simplify my own life.   Here are a few of the tips I gave on how to make the holidays stress free and more enjoyable.


Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.

No, your decorations do not have to be elaborate; they just have to be a reflection of you and your family.  You do not have to have a Christmas tree or a nativity scene on every chest or open space to create a beautifully decorated home.  Less is more, so keep your decorations simple and use only what you love and has special meaning to you.


Strategically Place the Decorations You Use

When walking into a room, where does your eye go first?  Where does it go next?  Decide where your focal points are in each room and strategically place a decoration in one or two of these places.


Choose Holiday Colors Cohesive With The Colors In The Room

Just as you want the colors of each of your rooms to flow nicely into one another, you want your holiday décor to do the same.   If a warm palette is used throughout your home, use warm colors in your holiday décor.   If your home has more cool tones, try silver, white, or blue tones when choosing holiday colors.


Layer Contrasting Textures

Contrasting textures layered in subtle ways is one way to create dimension and make a room look like it has evolved over time.  Think of placing an iron lamp on top of a wooden chest versus a wooden lamp on a wooden chest.    Apply this same concept to your Christmas décor.   Instead of placing a nativity scene directly on top of a hard surface area (such as a glass top table or marble chest), add a little texture with Christmas greenery, moss, and magnolia leaves first and then place your Christmas items on top.  If you are placing greenery on your mantle, think about mixing in some shiny ornaments or candles to add another texture to the mix.  You will be delighted how much prettier your decorations look just by layering different materials.


Pull the Outside In

There is nothing like the smell and texture of fresh greenery.  Holly, magnolia leaves, fraser fir, birch wood…I love it all.  Incorporate natural materials into your holiday décor as your imagination is the only limit.


Involve the Family and Create Tradition

Every year, my girls and I gather the leftover limbs from our Christmas tree (along with any other scraps of greenery we can find) and we make a few small wreaths.  If you know my girls, you can probably guess which wreaths belong to whom, as they truly reflect each one’s personality.  One wreath may be wrapped neatly and tightly all the way around while the other child’s wreath is looser in style.  No, they are not always perfect, but each is beautiful in its own way.

I hope you find these tip helpful in simplifying your own holiday season.   To read more, visit Village Living and let me know your thoughts.

Living Well

Christmas Is Here

Not sure when I blinked and discovered Christmas is around the corner.  I am just now putting up greenery as I have been busy with two installations and a child’s birthday this week.   As I am deciding how I am going to decorate my own home this year, I thought I would share a few photos from Christmas past in the Wolter household.

When my home was on the Independent Presbyterian Church’s Home Tour in 2009, I added a few trees to the mix.  Here they are:

traditional christmas tree
painted tree of sticks in my daughter's room. picture courtesy of southern living christmas
tree made from birch branches
Some other decorations found around my home…..
photo courtesy of southern living christmas


I will keep you posted on how I end up decorating my home this year.   The holidays are upon us……Are you ready?  How will you celebrate this year?

Living Well

How Are You Going to Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table?

The menu is planned and the guest list is complete.   But how you are going to set your table this Thanksgiving season?

The beautiful gourds available this time of year make it easy to arrange a STUNNING tablescape while still watching your pocketbook  The palette of creams, grays, and blues are gorgeous and set an unexpected yet welcoming tone:


Remember my blog post “Falling for Gourds” back in September?  Check it out here for some fall arrangements that I came up with this season!  Here’s one idea below.  Wouldn’t a table be gorgeous with a few of these across it?

flowers soften everything -- by Dana Wolter

The shapes and various sizes of the gourds can inspire creativity and beauty.  Notice above that the flower “vase” holding the lily is actually a gourd scooped out.  How cute would they be as place holders with names handwritten in gold paint pen across the front?

I love taking lifestyle expert Jenny Steffens Hobick ‘s idea of using small pumpkins as candleholders and building upon this idea.  Perhaps elevating the largest gourd and mixing some different size candles would be a great way to add even more dimension to a table arrangement.

check out the candle-holder detail by Jenny Steffens Hobick

Of course, you can go in a totally different direction with glitter, gold, and silver.  Notice how they played with height and texture, mixing shiny and smooth with the courser greenery and gourds.  Very festive!


It’s always a good memory-maker for me to involve my children in decorating for the holidays.  I love the bonding time and learning what their little minds can create.  Here’s one adorable idea that could keep the kids busy for a while:


However you decide to decorate your table this holiday, make it your own.  Your table decor does not have to be perfect, it just needs to be a reflection of you and your family.

Living Well

Fun Fall Trends

My segment on fall trends for the home is airing TODAY, October 19th, on NBC-13 Daytime Alabama at 11:30 AM.  I have to say, I adore this season’s looks!  If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say — lush!

Here’s a preview for what’s in for fall 2011:

1.  Brass —  It’s back!  Whether it’s lacquered or unlacquered, this is not your 70s flashback.  The shapes are uber-modern, and the color is rich and refined.  I’m also loving bronze right now — see the large handle below.

2.  Driftwood — The gorgeous shape and color of wood touched by the sea is showing up in homes all over.  It acts almost like a piece of sculpture, and I’ve found some amazing accessories made out of it.   What better way to bring a bit of nature into your home, while still keeping it chic?  Check out the chandelier below to see what I mean…

unhung chandelier made from driftwood

The wall below makes a bold statement, but check out the crafty yet chic driftwood lamp next to it.   Driftwood in the home is definitely a trend, so a little goes a long way.

from pinterest

3.  Colors — We saw a lot of turquoise last spring and summer, but as it cools off, the deeper hue, teal, is popping up in its place, and it is beautiful!  I especially love it as an accent with warmer neutrals and even grays….  Other colors to pair with gray are the softer purples that I’ve been talking about, as well as eggplant.

Here is a great example of grays and purples by Susan Ferrier:

Another color that is a must for 2011 — saffron!

close up on fall colors!

4.  Wool — As far as materials go for fall, wool cannot be beat.  Softer wool is making its way into homes and fashion this season.  The look is draping, feminine, and sophisticated.  In homes, it is being used as upholstery as well as on pillows, rugs, and throws.

Tune in tomorrow to NBC-13 — that’s Friday, October 7th– for more on these amazing fall trends!

Living Well

Falling for Gourds

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….

Living Well

Falling for Fall Colors

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!

Living Well

Here Comes The Sun

Want to see something beautiful and learn a little trivia?  Look at this gorgeous sunburst mirror.  Talk about incredible!

from 1950s France & 49" in diameter

It’s message is boldness, glamour, and strength, and it would make an impact in any room!

Dinah Toro, owner of Charlotte Woodson Antiques where I discovered it, has an in-depth knowledge of sunburst mirrors. Dinah said many people believe Louis XIV, aka the Sun King, is responsible for making the sunburst mirror popular, but that is a myth.  Louis’ symbol was a sunburst with the face of Apollo, the Roman god of the sun, in the center — not a mirror.

the Sun God & the symbol of Louis XIV

It wasn’t until the French Revolution mirrors were added to the middle.  The reason for this is so interesting…  During that time, religious articles were being destroyed, so in order to preserve them, people would replace the faces of the Holy family (which were surrounded by rays) with other things – such as mirrors!

example of rays around the holy faces

In the 1920s, the sunburst mirror became popular in France, and they became even more en vogue across the world over in the 1950s.  Sunburst mirrors are still being made today.

modern sunburst from

The most desirable sunburst mirrors, according to Dinah, are made of individual pieces of gilded wood.  Today, these type of mirrors are being made of steel, iron, bamboo, and other materials, although wood is the tradition.

Due to popularity, the new ones vary greatly in size.  Dinah buys the largest ones she can find because of the statement they make!  I’d say so!