What’s been Happening, What’s Coming Up Next

Hey guys!  Here we are… Spring.  I’m sooo ready for a re-awakening.

This winter has been weird.  The ridiculous amount of snow turned me into a hibernating hermit.  I haven’t wanted to share, I’ve been too busy and filled with a bit of writers block.   All I’ve want to do is cuddle with my honey by the fire.  Meanwhile work has been very busy and Dad and I are juggling an awesome mix of kitchens, bathrooms and decorative projects.  We’ve been experimenting with luxurious materials, creative layouts, custom fabrications and taking our designs to next level.  (Or trying, at least ;) I’ve been so impatient to share our projects but all are in various stages of planning and not a lot has actually happened yet.  In the past few weeks things have finally started to come to fruition   It’s super cool.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{We recently installed a Custom Coffee table we created in collaboration with Coldren Design}

Another exciting Spring happening is that I will be partaking in the One Room Challenge again!  It starts next Wednesday April 2nd, so be sure to tune in.  I can’t give much away until then, but I will reveal that I’m turning the challenge back to my own house again and in typical fashion am being my own worst client!  Nothing is finalized yet.  I have 7 weeks to do it and am basically f*cked.


Also, the lineup of bloggers this time is INSANE.   This is going to be so fun to follow.  Check it below- some of my favorite internet people.

Abby M. Interiors

Because it’s Awesome

Bijou & Boheme

Calling It Home

Chez V

Chinoiserie Chic

Copy Cat Chic

The Decorista

Design Crisis

Design Indulgence

Design Manifest

The English Room

The Glam Pad

Little Black Door

Mimosa Lane

My Notting Hill

The Pink Pagoda

Simple Details

My Sweet Savannah

Verandah House


Do you have a room you want to makeover too?  Did you know you can play around with us ORCers?  Every Thursday Linda is hosting an ORC linking party.  Check this post to learn all the details.  (PS- last rounds linkers had some aamazing spaces!!)

Modern Wood Kitchens

Maybe it’s in reaction to the world being so saturated with all WHITE KITCHENS, but I find myself attracted to EARTHY STAINED CABINETS recently.  When doing stained wood in a kitchen I love it rich: not too dark (espresso) not too light ( bleached)  Those looks, while lovely, seemed more trendy to me, and thus prone to lookin dated down the road.  I’d rather have a natural stained walnut or weathered reclaimed wood.  Something organic and natural.  The stained wood cabinet looks best on a modern door- slab or something with minimal embellishment. Pair it with a light counter, modern fixutres, perhaps an unexpected pattern and you have yourself one chic kitchen.


modern wood kitchen, light counter patterned splashvia Design Files

modern wood kitchen with arched window wall

McAlpine Tankersley

modern wood kitchen mid century tribal rug

modern wood kitchen with white subway patterend floorAbramson Teiger

modern wood kitchen dark counter herringbone floor

wood and metal island mixed open and closed

That island!  I love a mix of wood and metal.

Reasons to Celebrate

I’m feeling celebratory.  Business is fantastic, Winter is (please. God. hopefully) ending soon, Romance is alive and well in my life, and my house is FINALLY coming together.  I’ve given myself a summer deadline to complete The Cottage.  Finishing in 4-odd months feels pretty daunting when I feel like it’s so far from perfect, but I’m trying to tackle in one small element at a time.  With each new step I celebrate.  A glass of wine, a happy dance, whatever.  My home is starting to make me feel giddy again… and shouldn’t our homes be our happy place?


Here are a few small reasons I’m celebrating today:

1.  Black Bamboo Chinese Chippendale Chairs Reupholstered!

I picked up a pair of these vintage chairs years ago and let them sit with ugly upholsltery because I didn’t want to spend the money to recover them or pick a fabric.  I discussed fabric ideas HERE but ended up choosing something different.  I found this great vinyl faux ostrich fabric down on Fabric Row of Philadelphia ans snagged 1.5 yards.  I love that it’s light, textural and totally durable.  The brass nailheads are a nice touch too, I think.

Black Bamboo chair with Ostrich Upholstery

chinese chippendale chinoiserie chair with ostrich upholstery les touches pillow (1)

2.  The slipcover has made its triumphant return!

After 4 months of sitting crumpled in a bag I finally accomplished my personal goal of getting my slipcover dry cleaned.  I spent the winter with snowy boots, dirty dogs and my old gray original upholstery on my sofa.  IT IS SO NICE HAVING OPTIONS WITH THE UPHOLSTERY.  The gray was perfect for winter but now I’m welcoming the natural linen again.  It feels so fresh and clean that I can almost feel the spring air wafting through my cottage.

DM Living room- Layered cowhide over jute rug, patterened ottoman, slipcover sofa

3.  The Fireplace Mantel has been Refreshed

I loved my holiday mantel and kept it a little too long, but it was time to mix it up.  I needed a little less gold and shimmer and a little more softness.  I’m simplifying things all over the cottage and being a little more selective with what I display.  Less is more.  Just don’t call me a minimalist.

DM Fireplace Mantel simple styling

Design Manifest Fireplace Mantel Gold Mirror

So there you go- just a few small tweaks to the living room and I already feel like I’m on my way to a finished home.  Fingers crossed I can continue to pull it together.

Thank You, Thank You

No, this is not a post about the Oscars.  Instead, I hope you’ll indulge me while I toot our own horn just a bit.

Design Manifest has had the good fortune of receiving awesome local press lately!  We are always grateful when anyone features our work, but getting a little love in Philadelphia is extra special.  Just yesterday I rushed to the grocery store to pick up my copy of Philadelphia Magazine.  This month is their “Amazing Spaces” issue and features our Philadephia Modern Bohemian project.  I was standing there in the check out line grinning ear to ear just waiting for someone to ask me why I was so happy.  I would have non-nonchalantly pointed to the photo and said, “oh that’s my work.”  Alas, no one noticed or cared and I went home without bragging.  But that’s what the blog is for, right?

So here’s a quickie run down of where we’ve been featured…

The Philadelphia Inquirer included us in a great article about design trends.  That’s our Bachelor Pad dining room below.

philadelphia inquirer feature with design manifest(You can read the article and view the slideshow here.)

Here is Philadelphia Magazine‘s feature I mentioned above…

Philadelphia Magazine feature with design manifest

AND one of our favorite Philadelphia furniture stores, Host Interiors, is featuring me in their designer spotlight.  You can read the little interview and see sources HERE.

naomi picksI’m super excited for Host to open their new flagship store in Ardmore this spring!

The fact that it’s only just March and so far this year, the two biggest media publications in Philly have featured our work just blows my mind.  We are VERY grateful.  And if anyone is new to us from these source… welcome neighbor!  I hope you’ll stick around.  We have quite a few NEW projects we plan to reveal in upcoming months.

We also have a select few design/build slots open for the spring.  If you are interested in renovating your kitchen, bath, or living spaces, please feel free to reach out naomi (at) designmanifest.com.  We are already filling our summer construction slots.  It’s not too early to get planning.

One Room Challenge- Where are they Now? … My Master Bedroom

Hey Hey Hey!  Guess who’s not dead?  It’s me.  I’ve been consumed by a dozen or so amazing design projects and using my free time to enjoy my delicious little life.  I must say, I’m very happy right now with my personal situation and I think it has taken a toll on the blog.  Don’t be a jealous girlfriend quite yet though, I promise to be better to you in upcoming months.  March and April should be an exciting time for DM, the online version.

I’m coming out of blog winter hibernation to take part in the One Room Challenge NOW linking party.  Linda, creator of the ORC, has come up with a great idea for the past participants of the decorating challenge.  The idea is to share how our rooms have evolved since the 6 week makeover.  What worked, what didn’t, etc.  Some of you may remember that I decorated my Master Bedroom for my first challenge last February/March.  It was a manic, rushed, and overwhelming project as I attempted to finish my bedroom and move into my house while construction was happening all around me.  To say that I was thrilled with the result would be a big overstatement (LIE) and the room has continued to evolve over the past year.  It’s still not “right” or “done” in my mind, but at least it doesn’t keep me up at night any more.

So let’s quickly reminisce, shall we?

At the end of the ORC, I had my bed  on the long bare wall and I had whipped up a slip-covered, shapely headboard as the focal point…

orc week 7 block print paisley headboard bed straight on

BEFORE- Bed on Bare wall, Bay window Open.

bed against long wall

Well the curved headboard lasted about 10 months before I just couldn’t take it anymore.  As much as I am incredibly grateful to my father and sister for making it, it looked like a DIY and didn’t have the feeling or quality I desired in my bedroom.  So I took it off and went back to the standard Ikea Malm bed.  Then on a whim this past weekend, I moved the bed into the bay window.  It’s really opened up the space and I like the feel much better!


Design Manifest Teal Bedroom with Suzani bedspread and Danish Chest

Berry Border Bedding with vintage Suzani bedspread

I’ve mixed up the bedding a little bit, changing to plain white shams and adding a bedspread on top of my duvet.  I bought a vintage blue and green suzani for a client and I loved it so much I went on Ebay on a whim and snagged one for myself.   (Hehe- casualty of this biz)  Not sure if it will stay in the bedroom, but I’m loving it here right now.  My pug is loving it too, because now I let him up on the bed.

NOW-  The view as I walk in the door…

Design Manifest- Bed in Bay Window

The rug is also new to the room.  It’s another Ebay purchase from years ago.  I had it in my loft and it’s been in storage for the past 2 years.  I didn’t think I’d use it in the cottage because I’m kinda totally over Beni Ourains.  (Sorry, but Very overused int the bloggersphere.)  But it was “free” soft and warm and my floors feel rrreally cold underfoot, so I’m happy to have it back.

BEFORE-  Nightstands and Lamps

orc week 7 bed and nightstand

NOW- My old nightstands (THIS Ikea Hack) have moved to under the mirror.

Mirror Wall

NOW I have mismatched nightstands.

Design Manifest Pink Desk as Nightstand

Due to window placement, I had much more space on the right side of the bed then the left,  so I trying out a desk as a bedside table.

This desk (a used West Elm Parsons Desk painted Glidden’s “Very Berry”) has been floating around my house unable to find a home.

It REALLY needs to be repainted.  The desk chair is vintage.

I’m hoping to use it as a vanity, but I haven’t styled it up yet.  I also plan to hang the bamboo mirror.

Pink Desk top with bamboo mirror


corner before

and NOW… RIP Tree :(

Design Manifest Teal Bedroom- Suzani Bedrspread-  pink Desk

On the left side I shopped my own home and used a vintage rattan and glass coffee table.

I love round tables for nightstands!  So much room for all my stuff.

Since I moved the foo dog lamps downstairs, I needed a new light by my bed.

This one was cheap and cute- Nate Berkus for Target.  I don’t think its available anymore but this one is super sexy too.

Design Manifest Round Rattan Glass bedside table

The panton chair is a spare dining chair.   Since my first floor is so small, it’s nice to have it out of the way, but convenient to grab when I have a larger dinner party.

round rattan and glass nighstand

After living in the bedroom for a while, I realized I needed more storage.  So I hit up Mom for the spare Danish Dresser in her basement.  I like having wood in this super saturated space.  It’s warm and maintains a nice balance between the natural and the POP in this room.

Teal Bedroom with black and white dog photo on danish chest- Design Manifest

Pug art and the real deal, Mr Bailey Bartholomew…

bailey on bedroom rug

So to recap, in 11 months I have remodeled/dressed down my headboard, added to the bedding, changed the nightstands, added a dresser and rug.

I’d say things are a little different now.

This new design may last me 11 months.  Maybe.  I’m kinda itching to repaint the place, but I’m trying A) to not be crazy and B) to focus on other rooms for now.


I’m linking up to Linda’s ORC Now party.  To check out updates on all the ORC projects, please check out Calling It Home.