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:

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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.

Dana

Living Well

Thanks, StyleBlueprint Birmingham!

All of us know what it is like to get bombarded with a 50+ emails every morning suggesting we read this or buy that – it is exhausting.

I want to share with you an online publication that is certainly cut from a different cloth.  StyleBlueprint is a southern style blog that focuses on conversations that inevitably connect women with people and businesses within the Birmingham community.

Every Monday, StyleBlueprint Birmingham showcases someone on “The Faces of Birmingham,” and I was so honored that my friend, Catherine (StyleBlueprint’s Birmingham City Editor), asked to feature me.  In the interview, I really wanted to emphasize your home can be both beautiful AND functional.   Every square inch of your home should have a purpose and it should be designed to withstand the wrath of daily life. 

Here is a link to the interview in StyleBlueprint – Dana Wolter.  Thanks again, StyleBlueprint, for the feature!

Have a good one, everybody-

Dana

Faces of Birmingham – Dana Wolter

Image Credits: Beth Hontzas Photography/ StyleBlueprint Birmingham

Living Well

Putting On My Rollerskates

Whew!  April has been busy….. Between work and my children’s schedule, I am ready for summer.   It is time for life to slow down a bit.

Remember in a few previous posts I mentioned you can have a pretty AND functional home?   If you ever question if my family lives in ours, these pictures will clear up any confusion.

My craziness started with an install for a client and her family.  We have worked on this home the past year, taking a few rooms at a time.  I must say, this home is looking pretty amazing!  Here is a sneak peek:

A few days later, we held a cast party for over 70 kids at my house for the high school production of Kiss Me Kate.  I am always amazed at the talent of  kids these days.

I was out of town later that week seeing a client, followed by the taping on Friday of two television segments for Alabama’s 13 Daytime Alabama.

Camerman Wes from Daytime Al letting me know what he really thinks of me

That night, I helped my youngest set up a tent with her friends to raise money for Relay for Life, a fundraiser through the high schools.   Our school system raised over $250,000 for the fight against cancer.   Talking about some kids who know how to come together for a cause.

Luminaries being released in honor of those who have fought or are fighting cancer

On Saturday, my daughter was being presented in a ball for all of the Sophomores at her school, and not only did we take pictures beforehand……

Yes, she reluctantly had one made with her mom
Pictures can’t all be serious…..
The girls look like perfect accessories in the room, don’t you think?! Thanks, Jennifer, for the picture.

But we also held a breakfast afterwards for approximately 60 kids.  Thanks goodness I didn’t have to cook, as that is not my strength.  Great group of kids, and they could have stayed longer if it wasn’t 1:00 in the morning.

Kept finding clusters of bobby pins around the house. Guess the girls were ready to take down their hair.

I put on my skates the next day and kept on going as my assistant and I left for Highpoint Market.  After an eight-hour drive, we arrived there at 12:00am.   It was an exciting few days seeing some new lines and new pieces, and I cannot wait to share a few trends I saw with you.

I came home to my daughter’s 16th- yes, 16th- birthday the next day.

Happy birthday to my sweet baby!

It was a great day, but no one told me I would be a little sad……  While her mom was on the verge of tears (and maybe it was due to exhaustion), she was on cloud nine as the band Parachute sang happy birthday to her during their concert that night.  What else could a girl ask for these days?

Will, the lead singer, rocking out. Even an old lady like me thought he was cute-

While I have had a busy few weeks and have a daughter a year older, I hope the start of your spring has been as good for you as it has been for me.  Take care and have a great day-

Dana

PS. Excuse the quality of the photos, as all were shot with my phone.

Living Well

Let The Light Shine In

I don’t know if I am just tired of the cold, wet weather, but I am noticing more and more as I go into homes the importance of window placement and size in relation to the sun.  To me, there is nothing better than a  room with natural light filtering in.   I came across both of these pictures on Pinterest and thought I would share-

  Not sure what I love more about the window above:  The size or the shape.   What a beautiful detail it is to this room.

  I am also loving the look of steel windows, and though when I look at them I see a lot of windows that will need cleaning (call me neurotic- I get it), you better believe if I build again I am going to incorporate a few into the architecture of the home.  I guess I will need to have my Windex ready.

  What do you think?  What’s inspiring you lately?   Follow us on Pinterest to see what is catching our attention-

Hope you have a good one!

Dana

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.

 

Dana

 

Note: Photography courtesy of Graham Yelton

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

Living Well

A Coffee Table Book Worth Reading

Want a great way to add some warmth and personality to a room?   Place a few stacks of coffee tables books around.  I am always looking to add to my collection and recently bought a new one I am enjoying.  

I am sure you have seen Phoebe Howard’s new book,  The Joy Of Decorating, but if not, find it at your local bookstore.  Earlier this year, Phoebe had a book signing in Birmingham and I hate I missed it.  I love her work-and her Atlanta stores Mrs Howard and Max & Co- as she does a beautiful job creating spaces that are classic yet fresh.  Her rooms are well-designed and always seem to invite you to sit down and enjoy them. 

You can see more of Phoebe’s work here, and let me know what you think of her new book.  I think you will be glad you bought it.

Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

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 http://www.southernfemme.com/about/ 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-

Dana

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
PASTEL PERFECTION.

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
purse.

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

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 southernfemme.com, or contact Megan at
megan@southernfemme.com.

Living Well

What Would Your Perfect Day Look Like?

Whew!  Where has the summer gone?!  I know I have been slack on blogging as time has gotten away from me.   Now that summer is coming to an end and life will soon become a little more structured, I promise to be more consistent with my posts. 

 A fun thing happened to me this summer…… I was featured on Birmingham’s new daily online magazine, Haute Pink.  Are you familar with it?   Haute Pink is the new quintessential southern lifestyle guide, and it is THE site to visit on styles, trends, events, and entertainment.   

It was a fun interview as they asked me about design trends, balancing work and family, and even what my perfect day would look like.  Ha!  Maybe I can plan one of those for myself very soon. 

Hope you enjoy the article as much as I enjoyed giving the interview.  You can read it here on Haute Pink.

Have a great day, everyone!

Dana

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

The Kitchen

Recently, I taped a television segment on kitchen trends for Daytime AL.   I always enjoy working with them as they are just a really great group of nice, fun people.   If you haven’t seen their show before, catch them on NBC at 11:30 Monday thru Friday, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Whether discussing kitchens with Wendy or with a client, my number one recommendation for this space is to incorporate natural materials.   They stand the test of time, as there is nothing prettier to me than an old piece of marble or limestone.  Here are a few things that I am seeing and loving lately…

Marble is beautiful and using it in a subway tile makes it even more gorgeous…

Colored appliances are making their way back, but the look is much more fresh and modern than the ones from back when…

My favorite look right now and one I look forward to using soon is unlacquered brass hardware.  I love the fact the patina becomes even more beautiful the more it is touched…

How about you? What are your favorite looks for the kitchen right now? Please share your thoughts with us.

If you like, you can watch the full segment here on Daytime AL for more tips and ideas.   Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

image 1  Style at Home | image 2 Canadian House & Home | image 3 unknown | image 4 Houzz |image 5 Bill Ingram for House Beautiful | image 6 Sasha Seymore for Canadian House and Home

Living Well

A View Of My Garden

 I met with a dear client the other day at her home.   She was referred to me through her sister in law, and through the process of working on her home last summer and fall, we have become friends.  She is one of those people who really makes me enjoy what I do.   Our tastes are different- she is more ruffles and “pretty,” while I am more streamlined and neutral.  It has been fun to work with her as we have found a nice balance in her home.

I had not been to her house since December, though we have eaten lunch together since then.  When seeing me, she asked me if everything was okay, as she noticed I had not blogged in awhile.   I guess my New Year’s resolution has been thrown out the window….   As much as I try to make blogging a top priority, it seems to be the one thing that is pushed aside in my life.  I seem to focus on the tasks at hand while failing to document them as I go along.  If any of you have any advice to offer to make blogging easier for me, please pass them on!

 So, for today’s blog and a nod to the pretty weather we have been having……

The outside of your home sets the tone for what visitors can expect to find on the inside.  Chances are, if the outside is nice and neat, the inside will be as well.  One of my favorite things about the spring is my garden, as it looks better this time of year than at any other.  My climbing rose is in full bloom, the grass is turning green, and my garden is coming to life with fresh flowers.  Seeing my garden bloom after a long dormant winter makes spring time all that much more sweet.  Here are a few images from my own yard…

What about you? Do you take as much care to the outside of your home as you do the inside or do you prefer one to the other? Would love to know what inspires you!

Have a great day and enjoy the pretty weather-

Dana

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!

Dana

Living Well

Remodel of a Bungalow

For the past year and a half, I have been working on an addition/remodel of a bungalow in Homewood, a quaint suburb of Birmingham.   Yes, good planning takes time!   The homeowner, architect, and myself have tried to think of every detail in creating a custom home in this renovation.  Here are a few before photos:

We have customized this home by incorporating natural materials and by using wood in unique ways (such as planking on the walls).   Classic finishes- such as marble, limestone, waxed wood- stand the test of time….

Here are a few pictures of how the home is progressing…..

These are just a few of the materials we have incorporated into this project. The big slab of limestone is for the kitchen island and the other palette makes up the master bath. My favorite though may be the jib door in the kitchen that leads to the pantry.  Seeing a vision come to life is quite gratifying, and I can’t wait for the final product!

{photos taken with my iPhone, a photographer I am not}

Have a great day, everyone!

Dana

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-

Dana

Living Well

Spring Gardening Trends {a guest post}

 

As the weather warms up in Alabama, I guess you could say I have a case of spring fever.  I asked Hilary Ross, a longtime friend and a landscape designer/horticulturist here in Birmingham, Al, to give us a few gardening trends for the spring.   

Take it away, Hilary….. 

 Like interiors, landscapes evolve over time and certain trends become evident.  In landscape design, EDIBLE LANDSCAPES are a trend that will continue to rise in popularity where edibles will be featured alongside our favorite annuals, perennials, and shrubs.

Thyme, Rosemary, Lettuce and Eggplant mix in a border with purple petunias (photo by Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic)

Which edibles should a first-time gardener try? 

 I asked Charlie Thigpen, former Garden Editor of Southern Living and the mastermind behind several naturalistic plantings featured in many different magazines, about his favorites.  Here is what he suggested:

 HERBS

Try these top three, whether in a pot – or in a border.

CHIVES have grasslike leaves with either rosy-purple or white (garlic chives) flowers.  Pretty enough to use alongside your blooming annuals and perennials while tasty enough to be snipped and use in salads, cream cheese or butter.

Chives and pansies look great together

Garlic chives have a beautiful white bloom

BASIL thrives in our hot, humid weather, performing better when it is regularly harvested, and seemingly grows overnight.

I like sweet basil – with lush green leaves and milder flavor.

Charlie likes ‘Spicy Globe’ basil seen here next to Thyme because it stays compact and is flavorful.

Is this coleus? No!  It is ‘Red Rubin’ Basil which blends magnificently with fall marigolds.

THYME is perfect as a low edging or container plant and it seasons vegetables, shellfish or poultry.

I have Lemon Thyme, which has a vibrant green leaf edged in gold. It has been in the same pot for two years!

Another favorite is Silver Thyme, which is stunning mixed with creams and purples! See it nicely paired with the purple Heuchera?

VEGETABLES

Instead of buying flavorless grocery store veggies, why not try and grow some of your own this year? Some favorite vegetables to try:  Okra, Eggplant and Tomato.

‘Little Lucy’ Okra

Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery sold out of this vegetable plant last year and he said this dwarf red okra looks as great as it tastes! It will work in a container and looks great on porch and patio — and then you can enjoy the harvest! Beautiful, creamy hibiscus-like blooms yield gleaming burgundy pods abundantly all over this compact 2-3 foot plant.

‘Ghostbuster’ Eggplant

Eggplant is generally a dark purple color; however, different varieties of eggplant may range from indigo to white such as ‘Ghostbuster’ pictured above. The term eggplant originated as a description of white colored eggplants because they look like eggs.

‘Ichiban’ Eggplant has a beautiful purple bloom and slender, prolific fruit

‘Tiny Tim’ Tomato

After winter, we can’t wait to sink our teeth into the first homegrown harvest of these sun-ripened fruits. Popular ones include ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Brandywine,’ ‘Beefsteak,’ ‘Better Boy,’ ‘Park’s Whopper’ and ‘Mountain Pride.’  If you like cherry tomatos, try selections such as ‘Black Cherry,’ ‘Sweet Million,’ ‘Sun Gold’ or ‘Yellow Pear.’ ‘Tiny Tim’ is a dwarf selection that’s well suited for containers.

Thanks, Hilary, for sharing yours and Charlie’s thoughts on spring gardening trends.  If you would like to know more about Hilary, you can find her on Facebook, subscribe to her blog at http://maternaturadesigns.blogspot.com/ or contact her via email at maternatura.designs@gmail.com

Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

RESOURCES used in this article include:    Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery – http://charliethigpensgardengallery.com

Living Well

Gone to the Dogs

Dogs are part of the family, and we are honored to say they love our interiors….

Some pets make a photo that much better.

photo courtesy of Jean Allsopp

While others like to sneak into a photo shoot.

And well, what can I say?  Some easily claim a favorite spot for their very own. Isn’t Murphy the sweetest?

Where is your pet’s favorite spot to perch, or is he even allowed on the furniture? Obviously I am okay with it, because, after all, they are part of the family.

Hope everyone is having a great day-

dana

Living Well

Wallpaper…

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-

Dana

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!

Dana

Living Well

Inspired

Of course we all know what an inspirational spot Pinterest can be. It really is such a great source. Lately I have been noticing what great quotes and motivational pieces that can be found. These are just a few that have really stuck out to me. Any words of wisdom that have been spurring you all on lately?

sources clockwise: 1 (done by me) | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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-

Dana

* 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.