Inspired by Design: Dawn Wolf Designs

One woman's inspiring approach to modern interior design.

Every month, we highlight distinctive designers who inspire us to find beauty in the details and embrace our home’s authentic style. Here’s December’s pick.

Pale yellow dining room with a picnic-style table and wicker seating.

Dawn Wolf, Interior Designer and Home Stager
Company: Dawn Wolf Designs
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Describe your design style.
I am lucky to work with clients whose own styles vary greatly. It is my job to try and help them find their personal style, explore possibilities and incorporate those things into the project. As a result, my appreciation for design and style is vast and varied!  But, if I had to put a name to it, my true style is best described as “Modern/Rustic Cottage Eclectic:” I love a warm, family-friendly home that incorporates traditional elements, some rustic touches, and also brings in some bright, unexpected pops.

Entryway that opens to a long hallway with dramatic windows on one side with a long wooden staircase on the other.

What inspires your designs and where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! Honestly, I have a million pictures on my phone of everyday inspirations – some that may never come into fruition and others that may be the key to my next design. Whether the inspiration comes from architectural details on an exterior home, color combinations on a restaurant menu, landscapes, or a design pattern on a textile, when you’re open to being inspired, you’d be surprised how many random observations can stir up a muse.

Just over Thanksgiving, I saw an art display in the Denver airport, where kids’ artwork peaked through constructed cut outs on a display wall. It has definitely got me thinking!

How can homeowners enhance the style of their homes?
Stay true to what you like. Design trends will come and go, so I never advise anyone to do a major renovation based on current trends. Your home should be your happy place and a reflection of you. Try incorporating some new statement pieces, whether it be in lighting, hardware, textiles or decor are easy ways to refresh an old look.

Another piece of design advice: consider decluttering! Everyday life often gets in the way and those fabulous doors and windows no longer get the attention they deserve because all eyes are on the mess! Take the time to organize and declutter so the details in your trims, finishes and architecture can stand out in your home.

Interior view of a family room built in a southwestern style and cream coloring.

What value can quality crafted windows and doors add to a home?
Doors and windows anchor a home and won’t soon be replaced. That is why I always encourage homeowners to spend time thinking about these elements. They play major roles in creating a home’s overall feel and should not be overlooked.

Luckily, when it comes to windows and doors the design possibilities are endless.Material type, style and color all help to enhance the specific aesthetic you are going for, whether it be traditional or modern. The trending modern farmhouse, with tranquil white interior walls, becomes a showstopper when paired with dark-paned windows. And a simple exterior gets noticed when a beautiful, vibrant door lines the entrance. My advice: You can always add/replace interior selections and decor, but do not skimp on the staples!

What’s a day on the job like as an interior designer?
I started my own design business back in 2015 after spending 20 years exploring and dreaming about design. It is in me and what I love to do, so I decided to go for it and make it my reality. For me, it’s the ideal job. I have the opportunity to help people and create beautiful spaces – my two favorite things.

No two days are the same and I wear many different hats, from marriage referee and designer, to shopper and business owner. A typical day can be spent helping a couple figure out what their combined personal style is, working with a builder/architect on a new floor plan, making selections with a homeowner for a new home, decorating an old space to make it new again, or staging/decorating a show house with beautiful Pella windows and doors. A perk of being self-employed means my possibilities are endless and typically what I want them to be.

Tell us about your dream home. What makes it special?
My dream home would look like it had been plucked from an English countryside or out of a storybook. A white cottage exterior would feature warm wood shingles and wood windows, lots of slate hardscapes, warm gas-lit lanterns, and expansive front and exterior porches with blooms in abundance. The interior would be warm and tranquil, with reclaimed wood floors and sprinkled with unexpected modern touches and pops of color. There would definitely be lots of hidden nooks and architectural surprises.

As you walk in, you would hear James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin or Ray LaMontagne singing. You would also be greeted by the aroma of warm apple pie baking and coffee freshly brewed. Unless, of course, it is nighttime. In that case, Garth Brooks would be playing loudly, the wine would be free flowing and my expansive Pella sliding patio doors would be open to a fire pit and dance party on the back patio. That’s the dream.

This article was written by

A self-proclaimed Social Media Geek and DIY aficionado, Nicolle is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on content creation and curation. In her free time she can be found pillaging thrift shops for furniture projects, attempting to rationalize with her 4 year old daughter, and editing her husband’s honey-do list.