Today’s FACE of Birmingham is the lovely and super talented Dana Wolter! Dana, of Dana Wolter Interiors, has been creating modern classic, new and different interior spaces that bring comfort and style to new heights. Her sophisticated, natural design elements have been plastered all over local and national media, and it’s no wonder she was just recently named “Best of Houzz 2012” in the design category.
How did you get your start in decorating? Give us some background/bio on you.
I have had a passion for designing for as long as I can remember. I was that child who would rearrange my bedroom in the middle of a summer night while my mother slept, and I was choosing paint colors at the age of 14 for a home my dad was selling. After working in the corporate world for years after college, I never stopped practicing my love for creating. While renovating a few of our own homes and soon becoming a stay-at-home mom, I had two friends approach me to help them with their own homes. Before I knew it, a little business began and was growing rapidly through referrals. Seven years and a few employees later, I have had projects throughout the southeast and as far away as Illinois, and I have been published locally as well as nationally. I also tape decorating segments for the Mountain Brook television station MBTV and for NBC-13 Daytime Alabama, and I was just named “Best of Houzz 2012” in the design category.
How would you describe your style as a decorator?
I believe it’s possible to have a beautiful, functional AND family-friendly home. Just because you have children and pets does not mean your home cannot be stunning. Every square inch of a home should have a function–gone are the days where rooms sit unused.
Aesthetically, I would describe my custom designs as classic with an edge. I want to create an interior that will stand the test of time, but I also strive to have something in every room that catches the eye. It may be an incredible piece of original art, a gorgeous banding on the edge of a curtain panel, an upholstered wall, a custom-designed sofa, etc… I also layer an interior by using natural fibers and mixing the new with antiques to create a room that looks like it has evolved over time, rather than being installed all in the same day.
What are the cornerstones of good decor in your opinion? Where would you suggest people put their money to get the most bang for their buck, if they aren’t able to do it all at once?
Before spending a dime, use an objective eye to critique the space. What is the room’s purpose? If you do not know, give it one! Make the space work for you and your family. What is the focal point when you walk into the room? Once you decide what it is or if one needs to be created, go from there with your furniture arrangement.
Paint goes a long way and covers a multitude of sins. It is an inexpensive way to not only pull a room together, but to also make an entire home look cohesive. Buy the best upholstery your budget allows, because in the end, it will wear better and last longer.
What trends do you see in home decor going into the future?
I am using a lot of wood detail in my projects. Wood planking on the walls, waxed wood on the ceiling, beamed ceilings–you name it, I am loving it. You want to make sure you are in keeping with the architecture of the home, but wood, whether painted, waxed, bleached or stained, is a great way to customize a home while adding texture to the space.
Color is also hot right now. I am mostly a neutral girl, but am finding myself incorporating a little more color into my interiors through pillows, accessories, and other items that can easily be changed if you tire of them.
I am also seeing a surge in fabrics that are more traditional. While modern pieces are still strong, I think you are going to start seeing more traditional pieces coming into play.
Do you have any secret go-tos for budget friendly decor finds that you can share with us? Or simple advice for our readers as they decorate their homes?
Always watch the price point on trendy pieces. It is okay to add them to your interiors, but know you may be trashing them in a few years when they goes out of style.
If you could share 3 design faux pas, what would they be?
Buying an entire room off of one showroom floor. You always want a room to look like it has evolved and been collected, even if it was installed in one day.
Buying something just because it is a good deal, as it is never a bargain if you don’t really love it.
Buying a piece just to fill a space.
Aside from creating beautiful home environments, what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about my girls. Even with my crazy schedule and growing business, I try to always keep my girls first. My assistant strictly helps me with my business, as I run all my carpools myself. I see them growing before my eyes and realize my time with them is limited, so I am trying to embrace and enjoy it as long as I can.
What music are you currently listening to?
My music taste has gone up a notch since my oldest daughter’s phone was synced to mine. Ha! She has introduced me to The Fray, Betheny Dillon, Christina Perri, and Jason Brown to name a few.
What books are on your bedside table/eReader?
Reading is one of the ways I relax and I download a wide spectrum of genres. My most recent reads are Hue by Kelly Wearstler, She by Kathryn Tucker Windham, Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis, The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen, Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis, The Pact by Jodi Picoult, and I Declare by Joel Osteen.
What’s are some of your favorite Birmingham restaurants?
I love Highlands, Gian Marco, Bottega and Hot n Hot, as you can never go wrong with any of these. We eat out a lot with my girls, and our favorite go-tos are Olexas, Cantina, and Urban Cookhouse.
What do you do to recharge your batteries?
I love to curl up with a good book, exercise or take a nice nap to relax and recharge my battery.
What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Right now, the advice that sticks with me is there is no shame in putting yourself out there and not achieving something. Never let fear keep you from trying something.
Another good one is life is hard, but it is even harder when you don’t do the right thing.
What advice would you give to others?
Not sure I should be doling out advice, as I feel there is too much room for self-improvement, but I do think that if I go with the mindset of trying to do the right thing and acting out of love, all will work out in the end.
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
It drives me crazy when people text using slang. It is just as easy to write yes as it is yea.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, family & friends!).
This is easy! I cannot live without my cell phone, my cross necklace, and a positive/grateful attitude! Certainly not in that order!
Thanks for sharing with us, Dana! For more information on Dana Wolter’s Interiors, check out her website: www.danawolterinteriors.com.
And thank you, Beth, for todays fabulous photos! And for more information on Beth Hontzas Photography, visit her website at www.bethhontzas.com.