Posts Tagged ‘design blog’

30K Giveaway

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We’re thrilled to announce we have hit 30,000 followers on Instagram.  

 

 

 

 

As a thank you, we have a giving away a gorgeous, custom pillow and throw.  

 

 

Here is how to enter:

* Follow @DanaWolterInteriors here on Instagram

* Like the Giveaway post

*Tag three friends in the comment section

 

We are announcing the winner on Tuesday so be sure to check back in.  The items cannot be exchanged for money or services.

 

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.  We are grateful for your support!

 

Dana

 

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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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It’s hard to believe summer is in full force AND 2018 is half way over.

And while my blogging has taken a nosedive the past three months (so sorry!!), it’s been for good reason.   We’ve had lots of EXCITING things going on and I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights.

We installed the last two rooms of a home recently built.  It’s hard to believe this is a new home as the interiors are beautiful and classic and timeless.   I can’t share too much, but warm weather is here and it’s time open up that pass-through window to the pool…..

 

We’ve also been on the road quite a bit….

Projects in and outside of Alabama have put some miles on our cars.   Lots of wood shavings and dust are flying around with renovations and new builds, and some are being updated with new furnishings and decoration…

My one-time 3.5 hour consults are going strong as it is a great way to have a plan for your home that you can implement as your time and money allow. 

For the second year in a row, we were nominated for the 2018 ADAC and Veranda Southeast Designer of the Year awards.  It’s a huge honor and we were thrilled to be recognized for two years straight.  

 

Robert Brown Interior Design of Atlanta, GA, walked away as the winner of the award.  If you aren’t familiar with his work, look him up.  He’s a super nice guy and his work is beautiful.  

As mentioned here,  we designed a lounge and bath in the Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta, GA.  The Showhouse did not disappoint so be on the lookout for pictures this fall in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

I just came back from visiting my daughter in Charleston and then drove to Asheville with my husband for a few days.   We slept too much, ate too much, and might have had a drink or two every night.  I think God meant for life to be just like this- slow, easy and stress free.

 

 

View from the Biltmore Estate

In the meantime, I am headed back to reality Birmingham with my roller skates on and my eyes to the ground.

 

XO,

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 two of my girls off at college and my last one with a little over a year before she leaves,  I find my house starting to feel a little too big.    

I love my location in Mountain Brook, AL, and my home that I put so much of myself into,  but I hate the idea of unused space.  I realize this is probably not my last house.

And like my empty nest clients, my next home will be one that will need to carry us through the final stage of life, and I realize my needs as an empty nester will be different than those of someone with children living at home.  

So if you find yourself thinking like me, here are five tips every empty nester should know when building a house:

1. Not all of your furniture will fit in a scaled down home.  This is a great time to think about the pieces your truly love and have meaning to you.   Practice living well in this new home by simplifying, downsizing and surrounding yourself only with things you love and use.

2. Your children may not want your discards.  Newsflash….When you are cleaning out, chances are that if you don’t want Aunt Susie’s favorite chair, your children may not either.  Give them the gift of deciding what they would like to bring into their home without the pressure of keeping a family piece.  When it is time, savor the memories and let go.

3. Customize this home to you.   Life is short and life is meant for living well.   If you have always wanted a large storage closet for your china and silver, build it.  Surround yourself and customize your home to what brings you joy.

And while your space may be smaller, this is a great time to upgrade your finishes and details. Thought out touches add value to your home and to your life.

For instance, the home below was for my empty nest clients. They did not want a breakfast room because they like to eat everyday meals around an island.    I wanted them to really enjoy their kitchen and especially their island, so we focused on making the space unique and extra special for them. 

Island customized for everyday meals. Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Custom island with reeded doors. Dana Wolter Interiors

 

4. Create dual purpose rooms.  While you may not have children and grandchildren visit every day, you want them to feel welcome when they do.  If your new home doesn’t allow for enough extra bedrooms, think dual rooms, such as an office or sitting room with a bed or pullout sofa in it.  

For instance, we turned this garage into a playroom because my clients needed extra space for watching tv when all of their grown children are home.   We added an extra long sofa that has a pullout sofa for family visits.

 

Just because you give up square footage when downsizing does not mean you should ever give up entertaining or hosting overnight guests.

5. Think Long Term. While you may be healthy now and still running marathons every few months,  your forever home may need to transition one day to the later stages of life.  

What will that mean for you?  It may mean a master on the main or an elevator for upstairs’ access, limited stairs where possible, and a shower and tub that are easy to get in and out.

So here’s to living well in your home and making it unique to you.  Life is about surrounding yourself with people and memories you love and enjoy.

If we can help you create the home of your dreams, email us here.  I’d love to discuss with you.

Dana

 

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 I’ve always been proud of how our designs change how people live- because they do.  I’ve seen time and time again how a beautiful, well-functioning home can add to the quality of a family’s life and save them from costly mistakes.

While the reason we do what we do hasn’t changed, we gave it a name in early 2017.   We added to our Vision Statement “To change people’s lives through the art of Living Well in their home.”

So, in keeping with Living Well in my own life, I thought it would be fun to look back at what 2017 held for me.   Here is a recap- the good and the bad- that took place.   

We began the year opening my new office in Mountain Brook, AL.   I kept my office in my home for several years to stay close to my children, but now that they are older and my team has grown, it was time to move out.  We are now in the heart of Mountain Brook Village, so still close to my own home which I love.

 

BEFORE of the space

 

AFTER:

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

January also included installing our #DiamondsOfDesign vignette for the AmericasMart market in Atlanta, GA.   It was their 60th anniversary and to celebrate, they had 10 designers from across the country create spaces based upon a style icon from the past 60 years.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, photo courtesy of AmericasMart

 

In March, we installed our spaces in the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle’s  Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta, GA.

 

davis-analytique-color_150dpi_2017-02-15

 

 

 

Designers from across the Southeast were asked to participate in this showhouse, and we loved being included.  The house is a James Means’ creation where his designs were based upon Classicism and craftsmanship.  The renovation/addition was by Yong Pak of Pak Hyde & Associates.

Here are a few pictures from our Mudroom photographed by Emily Followill:

 

 

March came with a family trip to The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas for spring break.   It was a much needed break, and the fresh air and scenery were exactly what I needed.

 

We were thrilled to learn in early April that we were a Finalist for the 2017  ADAC and Veranda Southeast Residential Designer Of The Year award.

 

Though we didn’t win, it was a fun few days celebrating and catching up with design friends. 

 

Talking with my friend, Arianne Nardo, of The Editor At Large

 

 

Rebecca and me heading to the awards’ ceremony

 

2017 also included publications of our work.   We loved this feature here in Charlotte’s Peachy Magazine featuring one of our designs from years’ past.   It’s an example that good design doesn’t go out of style….

Mountain Brook Magazine featured one of my favorite renovations. The backstory to this project is a feel good story for all, so be sure to read here .

 

 

StyleBlueprint did a wonderful feature on our work.  You can see the article here.

I also visited New York a few times for work and for fun.  I love the city and find inspiration from new sources so easily there.   When I was there in July, I drove over with my friend Vicki to see the Traditional Home Hamptons’ Showhouse in July.  It was filled with amazing talent and every space was gorgeous.

Vicki and I enjoying the Hampton Showhouse with Jill Waage, Traditional Home’s Editor In Chief

 

I can’t leave out moving TWO of my girls to college.   While it is always time for them to go back to school when the time comes (and this is Lucy’s junior year), it is still emotional for me.  Not sure why- because they are doing amazingly well, but I just miss them.  

Mother/Daughter senior trip to the Grand Velas in May

 

 

We took over Traditional Home’s Instagram feed here in October and it was a ton of fun.

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

I enjoyed showing their followers around Birmingham, AL.  People are always pleasantly surprised to see how urbanized our city is and all that it offers in the Deep South.   

 

Graham Yelton photography

 

We had several installations this year, and for our amazing clients, we are always grateful.  Here are some pictures of a few of the homes(photography by Graham Yelton):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are still reading following me here on Instagram, you know I recently had hip surgery.  It was a big decision for me to go through with it as I have had hip pain for over three years. Quite frankly, I just became tired of being in pain and not being able to walk long distances.   It has been a rough few weeks, but every day I seem to be a little stronger.   I just pray 2018 will be pain free and that I will be able to walk as far as I would like without thinking twice.  I’ve learned it’s the simple things that I take for granted, like bending over to tie my shoes (I can’t do this for six weeks post op).   If you see me walking into my office barefoot, you will know why.:)

 

And while 2017 has been a pretty good year for business and accolades, what I am most grateful for is my family.  Living Well for me is enjoying my family and creating memories with them whenever I can.    I recently turned an extra room in our house into a tv room, and I have loved watching all of the many movies we did over the holidays.

So here’s to Living Well in 2018, whatever your definition may be.   If it includes transforming your home into one that works hard to live up to your definition, give us a shout here.   We’d love to hear from you.

 

Happy New Year-

 

Dana

 

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5 Things To Keep On Hand For Last Minute Entertaining

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There is nothing I love more than when friends and family stop by at a moment’s notice.  
 
Whether it’s catching up with a neighbor or an impromptu girls’ night, I savor these moments.   The key to being prepared for unexpected company is to have a few easy tricks. 
 
It’s not about stressing over how clean your house is or the fact that you may still be in your workout clothes from the morning.  It’s about enjoying friends and family and the time you spend with them.
 
Your guests will only be as relaxed as you are, so don’t fret over the things you can’t control.
 
Here are five of my tried and true tricks to keep on hand for last-minute entertaining:
 
1. Keep a delicious dip in your freezer and crackers in the pantry. This way, all you have to do is pull out of the freezer and heat in the oven. Not only will your home smell amazing, but you don’t have to fuss with any dishes or prep work.  
Here is my family’s favorite  dip recipe, courtesy of the Junior League of Birmingham’s Food For Thought cookbook.  FYI- it freezes wonderfully, too. 
 
Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled,
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers 
 
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Swiss chases, and green onions; mix well. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with bacon and crackers. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and serve with crackers or Fritos.
 
2. Have cloth napkins pressed and ready. No thought or effort required – It is as simple as pulling them out and displaying with your hors d’oeuvre of choice and wine. 
 
 

Or setting a table for a more formal, sit down dinner

 
 
3. Light a nice candle – I love a good candle and am constantly changing out the one in my kitchen.  Find one that speaks to you and enjoy it.  
 
 
4. Keep a good supply of simple, clear vases of different sizes tucked away for entertaining. These are great for filling with grocery store flowers or branches from your yard for a last minute arrangement.   Sprawling branches make such a beautiful, effortless statement, and according to my youngest, flowers make your house look cleaner.  Who knew!
 
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
5. Slow down and give your guests your undivided attention. Put down the cell phones, send the children off to play or to do homework, and make your guests feel like you have time for them (no matter what fire you might be in the middle of putting out). Be present and enjoy your visit!

 

With the holidays approaching, I hope some of these tips will help ease the stress of the season. I’d love to hear your tried and true hospitality tricks.

 
Cheers to living (and entertaining) well,
 
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.

 

photo (5)

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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Monday Motivation: Quote Of The Day

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Here’s to Monday morning…..

 

I find myself tackling on Monday the things I put off on Friday, all while trying to organize myself for the week.   

 

courtesy of Pinterest

 

So here’s to tackling that email or conversation or opportunity that you pushed aside last week.    Let’s make it a great week together-

 

xo,

 

Dana

 

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