An Interview With: Dana Wolter (Dana Wolter Interiors)

Dana Wolter's desire to create harmonious living spaces
 led to her to redecorate her family home in her youth,
 quite often as a surprise while her family slept!
She ended up attending school for journalism, and working in sales,
before two friends approached her for help renovating their home.
Dana's creative spirit was unleashed,
and Dana Wolter Interiors was born.

I met Dana on Twitter, and after exploring her site and learning more about her,
thought you may like to, as well. 
Dana's spaces feel as though they have evolved over time, 
rather than having been "done".

Let's get to know her a bit better, shall we?

10: You mentioned that growing up the chaotic environment of a large family triggered your interest in creating serene environments.  Is that desire for serenity still at the core of your design style?

DW: Most definitely! To this day, whether for my clients or for my own home, I still feel a sense of peace when I am being creative.  My quest for calm in my own life has switched from trying to find calm in a house full of siblings to finding calm in a house full of my own children and their friends.
  This definitely carries over to my work, as I want to create cohesive interiors, yet I want them to look like they have been collected over time.  I think many families lead stressful lives and desire the same thing.  A person's home should be a retreat, a relaxing place they look forward to coming home to each day.  Life is hectic, but your home doesn't have to be.  It has nothing to do with how much money you spend on making the space your own, but has everything to do with making it a calm, inviting space that is a reflection of you and your family.

10: You are a working Mother.  What design elements have you incorporated into your own home to make it function better?

DW: With my own family, I like to think of myself as a Mother first and interior decorator secondly, though many times they go hand in hand.  With three children, a husband, a dog, and a revolving door to my children's friends and our large family, our home receives a lot of activity and we would not have it any other way.
  I use the same materials in my own home that I use in my client's. Materials that, in my opinion, wear better the more they age.  I love marble, waxed pecky cypress, crusty antiques, Belgian linens, leather, velvets, etc.. 
  If I am designing a built-in, such as a banquette, for a client where there will be food and drink, I try to use a commercial grade fabric or a fabric with a high double rub on it.  Not to say things do not get their share of wear and tear in my own home, but hopefully it adds character as a home should look like people live in it.
  Favourite item in my house?  Hands down it would be our warming drawer as I think every household needs one.  We love ours and I am not sure what I would do without it.  So many nights we cross paths due to activities, and it is a great way to save a meal for someone.

10: Your interiors are notable for their many layers, and the mix of finishes and styles.  How do you include such a variety and still achieve a cohesive look?

DW: In order for a room to work, it has to have balance, and layering is a great way of achieving this and giving a space dimension.  I also try and have one "eye-catcher" in every room, whether it be a large, old mirror, an upholstered wall, a custom built-in, etc..
  A great way to add interest to a room is to use contrasting finishes and styles.  For example, if you have a wooden table, try an metal or glass lamp on top of it.  Using contrasting textures, as does contrasting styles, keeps a room from feeling too boring.  I have been known for placing a modern piece of art or a clean-lined table just to shake up a room a bit.  
  Not sure if it is my practical upbringing or quest for serenity in my own life, but I almost always use a neutral fabric on my big upholstery items for myself and for my clients.  These fabrics are almost always a solid or a fabric that reads as a solid.  I like the idea that you can move a chair from room to room.  I achieve a cohesive look by taking one color, playing off the different shades of it, maybe throw in an accent color, and then pull the room together through artwork, patterned pillows, accessories, etc.. These pieces are usually the items that pull my room together.

10: The majority of your work is based around a fairly muted palette.  What is your favourite color?

DW:  If you asked my girls, they would say it is chocolate brown without hesitation, but I have to say I am in love with the slate grey color that is so hot right now.  To me, it is the new black.  It is a neutral and looks great with creme, chocolate, and tan, but definitely is heavy enough to give a room some weight.

10: What's next for Dana Wolter Interiors?

DW: We have been so blessed as my little design business has grown tremendously.  We are doing work outside of the state of Alabama, my work is being featured in print media, and I am doing a few segments of design ideas for a television station here in Alabama.
  More importantly, I want to continue growing and challenging myself as a person and a designer.  A year from now, I want my work to look even better than it does now, as that is what life is all about.. Taking our God-given talents and turning them into all they can be.


I love this lady! 
Thank you, Dana, for graciously taking the time to answer these questions -
you gave us a lot to think about in our own homes..
favourite quotes:

"A person's home should be a retreat, 
a relaxing place they look forward to coming home to each day."

"A home should look like people live in it."

 "I like the idea that you can move a chair from room to room." 

"A year from now, I want my work to look even better than it does now."

Quite sure, with her refreshing attitudes, abundant talent, and practical sensibilities 
that we will be hearing more about Dana Wolter.

Many of Dana's client are given custom banquettes, 
so we will end off with a little banquette eye candy..

til next time..

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Alison Lewis said...

Dana is an amazing and talented woman! I am so glad to see this post and check out your site. Great job!

natasha said...

good post !

Ashleigh said...

I think I just found my dream kitchen. WOW! Talent, is right.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

stunning rooms, and a great interivew. fab post all round! jx

monica stewart said...

Dana's use of neutral colors and textures makes me take a deep breath after a long day!

Kim said...

What a treat to get to view Dana's house decorated for the holidays! Such a beautiful home with such understated elegance.

Jenny Quld said...

Thank you for leaving a link on Joni's post in the comment section; I've now found your great blog!
I am very impressed with Dana's work, it is so elegant!

Shannon Holmes said...

I had the privilege of seeing this lovely home on the Independent Presbyterian Church Christmas Tour a couple of years ago. Then I found Dana on Twitter. I love the elegant simplicity and warmth her rooms evoke. Great post!


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