Keeping the Peace

This busy Mountain Brook family of five decides to redecorate for restoration.

Photography by Graham Yelton

Words by Joelle Hamilton


How long have you lived at this home?

Ten years ago this month. We lived down the street and loved the neighborhood so much that when we outgrew our previous home with the birth of our third (and last) daughter, we hoped to stay close by. When she was a week old, the new house came on the market, so here we are!


What attracted you to the house? 

We love the warm and inviting coziness of it. There are a lot of nooks and crannies, arched doorways, openness without vast emptiness.


What made you decide to seek an interior designer? 

Our family found a sectional couch and chair that we were excited about, but once we got it in the house, it just didn’t look the way I had envisioned.

While we absolutely love to lounge on the furniture and hang out, it didn’t have the peace and calm that our home needed.

I found a few photos on One of our favorite photos was one of Dana Wolter’s rooms. Her style and aesthetic is exactly what we all wanted and needed to execute the vision of a peaceful, calm retreat where our family can rest, hang out, play, and watch hours of sports (go Kentucky Wildcats!)


What input and inspirations did you give Dana to work with? 

I supplied Dana with some inspirational photos of spaces that we liked and she transformed our home. She executed what I could not put into words.

A few times I hesitated, but when I got the courage to actually execute her recommendations, the results were exactly what I wanted. Things like painting the exterior white, painting all the inside linen white, grass rug in the living room, to name a few, were all great ideas.

I am attracted like a bee to honey to metallic and fur. (What a funny old lady I will be!) So she has suffused our home with touches that appeal to me but toned it down to make our home cohesive.


How has your life changed since you finished decorating the home? What problems were solved?

The peace and calm of our home allows us to rest and be restored in it. Our girls and their friends have spent hours lounging on the couch. The study and living room spaces have allowed us to have a work area together but have some space to allow concentration.

The living room had the feel of a stuffy-don’t-touch-room, but we needed the space to live in. Dana made it an inviting, hospitable room that is flexible to the family’s needs.


GYC_BMetro_Dec021How do you live in the space now? Do you have any favorite rooms? 

We eat most meals at the kitchen table. The new banquette area has allowed peaceful dinners without excessive violations of personal space as our daughters have grown. They have been known to engage in sport aggravation! The chairs allow the bouncing younger child to bounce and wiggle while the teens eat in kinetic peace.

I absolutely love the haven that Dana has made our master bedroom. It is as quiet as a five-star luxury hotel. The unified, neutral scheme settles all chaos of the day. The fabric softens the room while not making it fussy. Some days, with three girls, oncology patients, and the various job demands that John has, we need to  have our space. The study allows a transition from family life to our time.

The gallery of photos in the den, hall, and study are ripe with meaning. After John’s mother died this year, it meant so much to place her photos as a young woman in our home to remember her. We are blessed we found the cache of old family photos.

The house was just plain choppy before, but Dana made it cohesive inside and out. Peaceful. She made the focus our family. She allowed us to make our home an expression of who we are, a haven, and a place to make memories.

3 Responses to “Keeping the Peace”

  1. Susy Philhours says:

    We are the proud parents of Joelle Philhours Hamilton. She and Dana have done an awesome task of transforming the home into a showplace! We love the new look!

  2. DeAnna Bagwell says:

    Dr. Hamilton – if I could remodel my own home – it would look exactly like this !! This is warm, inviting, sexy, fresh, and all things JOELLE !!!

    Love it !!

    DeAnna Bagwell

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