Living Well

Fall Favorites

The leaves are beginning to fall, the air is cooling off, and the days are getting shorter.  Football is in full swing and pumpkins are showing up everywhere.

 

This only means one thing… Fall is here!

 

As a way to celebrate the beginning of this new season, I wanted to share a few of my fall favorites from Pinterest.  As mentioned in my last post, Pinterest is my go-to for all things inspiration.

 

 

cashmere blanket. The wine bar will be cool....Temperature wise, it is wine after all.
With cooler temperatures, who doesn’t love a cashmere throw? Image from The Little Corner.

 

Cindy Smith and Patrick Lewis's Prohibition Room offers rustic luxury at the 2013 Adamsleigh Showhouse - Traditional Home®  Photo: John Bessler Sponsored by Lee Industries
I love the rustic elegance of this room. The ambiance of the room makes me want to wrap up in the blanket pictured above and enjoy a nice glass of red wine. Image by Cindy Smith and Patrick Lewis

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Cups ~ Can you believe these adorable little cups are entirely edible??
Can you believe these adorable cups are edible? I am sure this is a project my girls will love! Image from Oh, Nuts!

 

It’s time for sweaters and booties! Image from fashionablelittlethings

 

As you know, I am all about simplifying and this image screams serenity and peace. Image from Savy City Farmer.

 

pumpkin
As I transition my garden from summer to fall, I added pumpkins to my planters. Image from Dana Wolter

 

flowers
This is an arrangement I used on my tables for Thanksgiving last year. Image from Dana Wolter.

 

 

 

Even though I am sad to see the summer sun slip away, autumn is an incredible time of year and I am looking forward to enjoying all that it has to offer.

 

Have a good one,

dana

 

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Living Well

We Have A New Look!

Guess what?!

 

I am excited to announce my new website is finally up and running!

 

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We took my old one, added to it, changed it around, and uploaded A LOT of pictures.  If you have ever been involved in creating a new site, you can relate to how much work goes into it.

 

As I tuck my tail between my legs, I hesitantly admit I had projects from over two years ago that were not up on my site.   Thankfully, that is not the case anymore as my site is as current as it can be- at least for now.

 

Click here to see and let me know what you think!  We also have a place on our contact page to sign up for our latest newsletter.  I promise you won’t want to miss it!

 

Have a great day, everyone-

 

Dana

 

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Living Well

A New Project Is Beginning!

I am excited to be working on a renovation in Mountain Brook, AL, and the talented Louis Nequette of Dungan Nequette has drawn the plans for the couple.   Louis is a well-known architect across the country, but if you haven’t seen his work, click here.  I am honored to be partnering with him and look forward to seeing this project progress.

The house is French in style and was built about 10 years ago.   There are some exciting changes in store for this home, and one of my favorite transformations is in the kitchen.

Here is a sneak peek of Louis’ vision for it.

 

Kuester-kitchen-02-07-14 copy
Drawing by Louis Nequette

 

Who doesn’t love a great sketch- and a great kitchen, right?!

Originally,  the kitchen was very modern in design and you can see from Louis’ drawing that he is bringing it more in line with the architecture of the home.  It reminds me a little of a French bistro with the marble countertops and walls, custom marble/iron shelving,  glass cabinetry, and the incredible view into a quaint courtyard.

This house will be filled with beautiful finishes and details throughout, and I am excited to begin sharing this project with you.

Stay tuned as I keep you informed on the progress….

 

Dana

 

 Also, please take a second and vote here for the New Trad designer’s style you like best.  It is quick and easy,  only takes a second, and I hope you will vote for us.  Every time you cast a vote, you enter a chance to win $1,000 from Hunter Douglas.  $1,000!!  Voting ends soon- July 17th.

 

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Living Well

It Turned Out Beautifully!

I thought I would give you a quick update on the stairwell in my client’s new home.

If you recall,  Dungan Nequette’s talented Chad Martin of The G Brand helped us with designing the pattern.    This home has a French feel, and I knew I wanted a design with soft lines and one that would blend in with the walls in this enclosed space.

If you follow us on social media, you have probably seen this drawing.

stair-idea
Drawing by Chad Martin

The majority of it was installed today, and it turned out beautifully!   We are still missing a few transition trim pieces, but look how gorgeous it is, and it’s not even painted.

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I can visualize how this area is going to look with some artwork and a gorgeous runner, and I am pleased!

Have a great day, everyone!

Dana

 Also, please take a second and vote here for the New Trad designer’s style you like best.  It is quick and easy,  only takes a second, and I hope you will vote for us.  Every time you cast a vote, you enter a chance to win $1,000 from Hunter Douglas.  Voting ends soon- July 17th.

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Living Well

Cast Your Vote- It Only Takes A Second

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am very excited about being named  by Traditional Home  a New Trad designer to watch in 2014.

 

 

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It’s a HUGE honor and one I am proud to be included.

Have you seen the April issue?  I was in great company, and I look forward to showing you my project in more detail when in the Tradhome digital issue comes out May 15th.

I hope you noticed in the shelter magazine you have a chance to vote for the designer that matches your style.

I would be honored if you would vote for me.

It’s quick- and EASY!   When you vote, you are entered for a chance to win $1,000 from Hunter Douglas, a window treatment company.

Visit HunterDouglas/TraditionalHome to cast your vote.  You can vote once a day per email, so the more you vote, the more chances you have to win.   The contest will run through July 17th.

Happy Voting,

Dana

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Living Well

Can Hiring a Designer For Your Home Save You Money?

Have you ever made a large purchase for your home and the moment the piece came through the door, regret set in?

 

Woman Pulling Hair out

 

 

As I was reading what my client wrote for my new testimonial page, it hit me there are probably a lot of you who can relate to what she writes below.

“Dana entered our recently renovated, chaotic, choppy home and listened to our family’s needs, vision, and lifestyle. 

Unfortunately I had  recently bought some furniture (that our kids loved) which did not necessarily match what I ultimately envisioned, but she was able to transform even expensive mistakes into a balanced, livable, inviting home. While at first I had misgivings that following all the recommendations could be costly, I quickly realized that Dana was spot-on and much less expensive than fixing more mistakes made by me with a loose credit card. ”

                                                                                                         homeowner and client

 

I hesitate to even write a post that focuses on the monetary aspect of my profession, because I believe my value is in my knowledge, my creativity, my service, and my practical ability to create beautiful, functional homes that can change how a family lives.

BUT, I think a big misconception with hiring a designer is that it is costly.

Yes, if you look strictly at the cost of hiring a professional, then you will not see past the dollar signs.   After all, it is an investment, and one that can cost several thousands of dollars.

BUT, if you are making that kind of investment in your home,  can you afford NOT to hire someone to make sure you are doing it right the first time?

Making the right choices from the beginning saves you time, effort, and money.    If you hire someone who is trustworthy, talented, and practical, she will know how and where to invest your money.

How?

By listening to your needs and wants.  By creating the RIGHT plan of action tailored to your home and family.   A vision without costly mistakes, with pieces you will want to keep.   Designed spaces that will stand the test of time.

Just food for thought.   Let me know what you think-

Have a great day, everyone-

 

dana

 

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Living Well

It’s Like Birthing A Baby……

Have  you ever created a website?  If so,  you know how much time and energy it takes, even if you aren’t the one building it.   The end result is worth all of the hard work, but in the beginning it is not always so easy to see.

It’s like birthing a baby….

Not really, but you get the point.

I have been working with the talented Chad Martin of The G Brand on changing my branding materials and redesigning my website pages, and he has nailed my new look.  My little business has grown and I needed to adjust my wording and update my pictures on my site.  (I haven’t added any of the professional shots I have had taken in the past two to three years- yikes!).

Dataperk in Birmingham created my original site and has worked diligently (or patiently…choose your word) on making these changes in a quick turnaround.

I wish I could show each of you the “work in progress” as I am excited where my site is headed.   Just like my design work, I  am going for classic but edgy, simple but functional…..

Here is a sneak peek…..   Hopefully, it will be live soon and I can share the fruit of all of our efforts.


photo (20)

If you have any helpful hints, let me know.   Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

 

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Living Well

Can’t Hold In My News Any Longer…..

Hi  Everyone,

I have some exciting news I have been looking forward to sharing with each of you.

And today I finally can……

I have been named by one of my favorite publications, Traditional Home, as a New Trad up and coming designer for 2014.

The article is hot off the press.   So hot that I  have not even seen the article in person.  A friend text me (she found the issue at the airport) a few pictures of the article from April’s issue of  Traditional Home.  Here they are:

 

April's cover features a New Trad designer from last year.
April’s cover features Andrew Howard, a New Trad designer from last year.

 

photo (18)

 

The New Trad designers are introduced in this issue of the shelter magazine, and Trad Home, Traditional Home’s online publication, is featuring a project of each of ours in the May issue.   I will be sure to let you know when it is online, as the project featured of mine is a good mix of custom and box store items.

A big thanks goes to each of you.  Thank you for sharing my work, encouraging my work,  keeping up with my work, and more importantly, trusting me to come into your homes and change how your home functions for your family.

Because of you, Traditional Home noticed me.

I especially want to give a big shout out to Ann Maine, Editor in Chief of Traditional Home, and to Jenny Bradley, Editor of Trad Home.   Thank you very much for including me in your incredible publications, as I am honored.

Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

 

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Living Well

Real Homes for Real People- Family Room Edition

Like most of you, this is how I spent the past few weeks.

snowman

While I loved having my girls home and enjoyed being forced to shut down for a few days, I was ready to get back to work.   The warmer temperatures and sunshine have been a nice change.

 One of the best parts of my job is when I am called in to make a space more functional for a family, and a good friend of mine asked me to do just that.

She has a great home in Vestavia and needed help making the family room more suitable for her growing teenagers and their friends.  You may recognize a few of the other rooms in this home from the pictures below.  They were published a few years ago in one of my favorite publications, Birmingham Home and Garden.

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 1.24.16 PM
living room-courtesy of Jean Allsopp photography
dining area
kitchen banquette- Jean Allsopp photography

 

While I am keeping the family room a surprise until we add the last few pieces, I thought I might show you a glimpse of what we have installed already…..

photo (2)

chair

ottoman

screens

I’ll share pictures of the finished room in a few weeks.

Have a great day, everyone-

Dana

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Living Well

Design Dilemma

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You ask, I answer!

Today I am so excited to announce a new blog series called “Design Dilemma.” Think of it as my spin on “Dear Abby,” the design edition. Feel free to email me at allyson@danawolterinteriors.com or you can comment on this post with any questions you would like answered. I plan to answer one or two questions per post. “Design Dilemma” will debut next week so stay tuned and start asking……

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-

Dana

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

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GYC_3501GYC_3434

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Living Well

My New Favorite Read

 

Do you ever walk into a room, or look at a picture of a room, and become invigorated by what you see?   That’s exactly how I feel when I look at the work of Cindy Smith and Jane Schwab.   Jane and Cindy are the talent behind Circa Design Firm based in Charlotte, NC, and the renowned retail collaboration – Circa Interiors (the retail store has locations in Charlotte and Birmingham).  Something in their interiors or in their store always catches my eye.   Every time.

Imagine my excitement when I learned this talented design duo had written a book, The Welcoming House.   I couldn’t make it to Circa fast enough for their book signing.

Cindy, Jane, and myself at Circa in Mountain Brook Village. Note: Notice all of the pretty things in the background? See I told you; Something always catches my eye.

While I have met Cindy several times and think so much of she and her daughter, Whitney, who lives and runs the store here in Birmingham, I was thrilled to finally meet Jane.  Jane was just as warm and gracious as I pictured her to be.  Warm and gracious.  Two good words….  Not only to describe these two ladies, but their work as well.  I also discovered Jane was staying the night with my next door neighbor, a dear friend of hers from college (small world).

Why do their interiors resonate with me and make me want to study every little detail that never seems to be forgotten?

There are a lot of reasons.  I love how they mix old and new, formal and informal, and while a room may have been installed in one day, their homes always look like they have evolved over time.  I also think this quote in their book sums it up just fine:

“In design and decoration, pretty is wonderful, but it’s far from everything.  Practicality and function always come first, because if a room doesn’t work, who will use it?”

 Not only are their interiors gorgeous and inviting, but their rooms are useful.   Yes, they are pretty AND functional.  You want to sit down and stay awhile.   Real Homes For Real Life.   Remember?   My new mantra that I think every homeowner should be able to claim.

This homeowner for sure claims it.

 

Don't you want to curl up in the chair and read a book?

 

What a beautiful patio!

 

The perfect master suite!

Be sure to visit Circa Interiors or Amazon.com to buy your copy of The Welcoming House, as it is filled with great advice for all.  In the meantime, I will leave you with a few pictures of my favorite things in their Birmingham store right now.    Have a great day, everyone!

Dana

 

 

This little man needs a new home in my house.

 

Photo Credits: (1) The Welcoming House (2) Dana Wolter Interiors (3,4,5,) The Welcoming House (6,7,8) Dana Wolter Interiors

 

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

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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

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 www.gumps.com

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!

Living Well

Portfolio Peek!

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

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

functional and sleek kitchen
breakfast nook
child-friendly family room

 

close up look
dine

 

master bedroom
does it get any cozier than this?