Ann Wolter might be only 15 years old but her future as an interior designer seems predestined. For one thing, her mother is acclaimed Birmingham designer Dana Wolter (whose work has been published in Traditional Home, This Old House and Southern Living), so good taste is in her DNA. Dana sees the decorator traits emerging already in her daughter. “Ann is the most organized person in our home and knows her own style,” says Dana. “She likes nicer things but fewer of them, for instance … and she’s drawn to things that are basic but with an edge.”
Ann’s recent bedroom redo at the Wolter house was a mother-daughter collaboration beautifully combining function and aesthetics. “Ann wanted this space to be a retreat for her and her friends, and I think we succeeded,” says Dana. “It feels like a small apartment and has everything she needs: a bathroom, a small fridge behind closed doors, a TV and a seating area.”
As for looks, the two combined Ann’s wishes — mixed metals, and finishes with a different look than you see every day — with Dana’s practicality. “I tried to incorporate pieces she would one day want to take with her, such as the custom king bed, cow-hide barrel chairs (old chairs I already had and recovered with leather and hides), the coffee table books she selected and the acrylic console,” says Dana. Her tip: Be strategic about how you spend money for a teenager’s room but investing in a good bed and upholstery will likely be something a child could use down the road or would work well for a guest bedroom.
“The existing Roman shade and seat cushion were our starting point,” says the designer. “They were custom-made when we moved into the house and I wasn’t ready to change them out.” Dana and Ann decided to add layers to the room, starting with a sophisticated wallpaper behind the bed. Once they had that in place, the two continued playing off the black, brown and cream theme.
Along with choosing an atypical color scheme for a teenager’s room, the two avoided cutesy accessories in favor of sophisticated items. “We mixed metals through her accessories — nailhead accents on the bed, chrome floor lamp and various gold accessories — for a collected look,” says Dana. Ann is an expert at editing down exactly what is needed, adds her mother, and doesn’t hesitate to discard something outside her door if she decides it makes the room too busy looking.
Dana predicts that her “mini-me,” who shadows Mom on design errands, is going to be a design star someday. “I better be careful because she just might take my job away from me,” jokes Dana. “But that’s alright because we have the best time together.”
Thanks to Graham Yelton for today’s beautiful photography. See more of her work at grahamyelton.com.
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