Petite Master Bathroom BEFORE & AFTER

Happy Hump Blog Day!  That sounds a little weird right?  I’ll have to come up with a more catchy term for blogging Wednesday.  This week is a busy one for us and the next three days are looking to be long ones.  Now that we’ve fully recovered from the holiday season we are diving full force into the first of the new projects for the year.  I’m REALLY pumped for what we are working on right now.  I feel lucky to have clients with such a diverse variety of  taste and wants.   We’ve been having lots of fun with tile (mostly marble,) wallpaper, fabrics, rugs, leather, wood, metal, lighting, lighting and more lighting.  It’s a droolfest over here between me and my assistant, Rachael.

Speaking of drooling, today I have a little treat for you.  My favorite teeny bathroom yet! Design and built by Dad and me!  And No I don’t say that about all of them.  This is a project we completed last year that I teased a few weeks ago.  Calling it a master bathroom is kinda funny because its the size of a postage stamp, but alas Philadelphia is full of old houses with teeny bathrooms and we have to do the best we can to steal inches and make them as efficient as possible.

Here are a few BEFORES.  Be warned, they ain’t pretty…

master sink

mast med cab before



Year In Review / Year Ahead: Personal

If you read last week’s post than you may have surmised that 2014 was a busy year.  We worked A LOT.  If I had to sum up 2014 in one word it would be WORK.

I’m not complaining.  It was a necessary year.  I learned a lot of lessons, stretched myself as a designer, earned some dough.  But I don’t think it was sustainable.  I’m a little exhausted- physically, mentally, emotionally, creatively.  I think 2015 is going to be a totally different year.  I don’t know what its going to look like yet and that’s a little scary.  I’m kinda a hybrid when it comes to planning.  I like to have freedom to try new things, mix it up, etc, but at the end of the day I really like my security.  I like knowing we have big jobs sold 3 months ahead of our schedule.  I like projects with proven profitability.  As much as the design gig is about being creative and expressing myself all over your home, it’s also about being able to put food on the table and pay my mortgage.  As DM grows and expands and dips our feet into new waters I’m also finding myself a little insecure about what will work and what wont.  But I have to continue to follow my path in this business- take on new opportunities, rise up to new challlenges… doing the same thing over and over again just doesn’t work for me.

But I’m rambling and getting a little ahead of myself.  Truthfully I still am foggy on my goals for 2015.  I’m using this month to reflect on last year and get clear on what I need and what I want.

So what did 2014 look like?



When you pair a work-a-holic with a snowy apocolypse winter I was very much a hermit for the first few months of the year.  I think I pretty much stopped talking to 75% of my friends around this point.  The bonus and drawback of working with your father and your boyfriend is that you get a lot of contact with people you love everyday.  So friendships, socializing, networking… yea that fell to shit.

Goal for 2015- BE MORE SOCIAL.  I’m not exactly an extrovert but I very much get invigorated by interacting with other awesome people.  I really hope to carve out more time for this now.  Especially other creatives.  That really gets my juices flowin’.


winter pics

love my working fireplace but that meant hauling A LOT of firewood.  (Because according to George you can’t just buy it at the store) / 

My little niece, Eliana, visited from San Francisco and had her first taste of fun in the snow /

Georgie and Bailey took lots of opportunities to snuggle on the couch.  This may have been around the time that I discovered my pug loves my boyfriend more than me. /

I thought a winter ice storm killed my weeping willow, but that sucker came back to life in the spring!!  Resilient beauties.



spring pics design house

The Poo Incident.  Dad and George jumped to the rescue when the basement toilet started gushing with sewage.  It was gross and absolutely the worst timing because… /

Besides poo, we we were knee deep in the 3rd floor renovation!  This 6 week makeover really tested my newish relationship with George and really brought out my crazy.  He really poured his heart into this project with me- building me a daybed and TV stand /

For a few weeks we were obsessed with racing around town in the truck and stealing pallets to make a wood wall in the lounge.  It was a lot of hauling and  trash picking.  In the end, we didn’t even use the pallets because my dad offered up some amazing barnwood.  I guess sometimes it’s about the adventure and sometimes its about the destination. /

Photo shoot day in the 3rd floor lounge.  I dressed up and posed with my creation.  George napped after a week of late nights.

Goal for 2015- FINISH THE HOUSE-  It’s so nice to have this room done (though its since been converted into a functioning office) and I’d really like to stop making excuses for the rest of the house.  This may include a little kitchen renovation and see the conclusion of the bedroom I started in October.

Spring also meant a little bit of re-birth of my social life.  Just a little,

spring social=

Made a trip to San Francisco to hang out with all of my siblings.  Got to see my brother’s town, Santa Cruz, for the first time.  Loved it! / 

With temperatures rising we were able to enjoy George’s rooftop with great views of Philadelphia /

A trip up to NYC for a boozy brunch with some of my best college pals

Goal for 2015:  GET HEALTHY, ALREADY! Ok I’m finally ready to listen to my body and give it what it needs.  More water, less booze, less cheese (sad!)  Traveling out west always makes me yearn to be healthier- more time outside, eating better, more physical activity.  This stuff is SO key to my happiness.



The theme for summer was outdoors.  We  had a lot of projects and deadlines, but every weekend we dropped everything and headed to our secret lake in New Jersey /

The waters really are turquoise… it’s this perfect private sanctuary that is totally worth a grueling hike to get to. /

Sister time in Philly.  I didn’t spend nearly enough time downtown but this eve with my sis, Meg at the Magic Garden was a lotta fun /

Family trip to Ocrakoke.  The whole Stein gang (less my brother) traveled down past the Outer Banks for a family vacay and managed to take no pictures.

Goal for 2015:  Get outside as often as possible.  Sunshine makes me happy,  Trees and water are high up on my list too.  But I also like city life.  I miss wandering around my favorite neighborhoods in Philly.  Hoping to visit some old and new haunts more this year.



I got my travel ON in the Fall.

I went to Austin to visit my blogger pals Erin and Ashlina and totally didn’t take any pictures.  whoops. /

We headed down to Maryland to go sailing with friends.  Bailey was an excellent sailor! George was a goofbal. /

A few of my college gals and I did a long weekend in Charleston.

Goal for 2015: TRAVEL MORE.  ONE INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION AND ONE US CITY I’VE NEVER BEEN TO.  I need travel in my life.  It gives me perspective, it expands my creativity.  I’m really hoping to travel somewhere where I can pick up some fabulous textiles as well.  George and I have already set our first trip of the year- we will be heading to Puerto Rico next month.  I’m counting down the days!



December was a crazy ass month.

George packed up his beloved loft and moved into the cottage with me.  I know he misses city life badly but I sure like having him around.  Perhaps we will make our way back there soon… /

My sister Becca moved back from San Francisco and had a baby boy, Toren.  We are all very excited about the first grandson/nephew in the family.

A film crew followed around me, Georgie and my dad for a few days.  It was completely surreal.  I learned that I’m definitely not a Kardashian.

Georgie spent Christmas with my family and prepared us a tradition German dinner.  I love a man in apron.

Goal for 2015:  Continue to do things that scare me.  The whole film crew thing definitely put me outside of my comfort zone, but it was a great experience too.  Sometimes we have to be a little uncomfortable to grow.  And I’m all about growing in 2015.

And that was my year in a nutshell.

Thanks for letting me indulge you on a personal note.

Back to design next week!

And hopefully some cottage updates soom :)

Year in Review // What We Built

Hello, 2015!  I’m back!!!  On the blog.  Ready to take this year by the horns.  Lots of good things to come and one my resolutions is to share more with you.   Can I keep my resolution?    I’m thinking realistic goals will be the key to any kind of blog consistency success.  Once a week.  Every Wednesday.  Will you join me in some fun?

For my first post of the year, I thought we’d look back… to last year.  Last year was epic.  Lots of projects.  Amazing clients. Tons of custom creations.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  And proud.  Damn Proud of what we’ve created at DM.

Here’s a little review of what we built in 2014

JANUARY // Custom Wingback Chairs

We found these old chairs and made them over for a client.  New steel base, new fabulous patterned fabric takes these chairs from grandma to chic.  I love statement head chairs in a dining room.

wingback chair before after design manifest

FEBRUARY// Dream Master Bath

We began this master bath renovation that includes lots of delightful details like waterjet tile in the shower and floating mirrors in front of windows.  That’s just the start of the good stuff in here.  Cannot wait to photograph this house properly.

malvern bath details design manifest

MARCH // Hip yet Traditional Living Room

We designed and installed this living room that featured a custom metal and stone coffee table.  We reupholstered an old bergere chair with a stripe down the middle.  The rest of the upholstery is new including a delicious green velvet sofa.

wynnewood hip traditional design manifest

APRIL // Preppy Bohemian Bedroom

We brought this previously empty bedroom to life with a mix shapes, color, pattern and textures.  My client was game for an eclectic mix that included mid-century pieces and chinoiserie touches.  The suzani bedspread is vintage.

preppy bohemian bedroom

MAY //  An attic becomes a Lounge

We transformed my 3rd floor into a delightful lounge space complete with reclaimed wood daybed and wallpapered nook.  The TV stand is a custom Coldren Design creation.

lounge design manifest

You can see full detail and sources for this room HERE

JUNE // Shades of Gray in the Kitchen

Love this kitchen we started in May.  The base cabinets are charcoal gray, while the uppers are a light gray.  Brass accents provide a nice pop.  The island is made from reclaimed wood.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

JULY // A Tapered  Fireplace

We added a gas fireplace to a previously blank wall in a bedroom.  The mantel is a textured cement.

custom fireplace design manfiest

AUGUST // Custom Steel Upholstered Canopy Bed

Love this custom creation we built in collaboration with Coldren Design!  The curved upholstered headboard juxtapose perfectly with the clean lines of the modern canopy bed.

custom steel upholstered canopy bed design manifest

SEPTEMBER // Bathrooms, Bathrooms, Bathrooms

We designed and built a ton of bathrooms this year.  From clean and classic to contemporary each had unique custom touches.

custom bathrooms by design manifest

OCTOBER // Family Room Facelift

Amazing what paint, a slipcover and new textiles can do to a space.  We kept key pieces like the sofa, but refreshed the rest of my client’s family room.

familly room refresh design manifest

NOVEMBER // Petite Kitchen Renovation

We renovated a small, dark kitchen into this hip beauty with custom range hood, mosaic gradient backsplash and waterfall island.

petite kitchen by design manifest

You can see full detail and sources for this room HERE

DECEMBER // A Living room with custom touches

A 4′ x 4′ custom designed patchwork cowhide ottoman anchors this living room we installed just before the end of the year.  We also completely re-did the fireplace mantel and sourced all of the furnishings included the faded pink vintage Turkish rug.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

All images shown are rooms / cabinetry / furniture custom designed and built by Design Manifest (ie Dad and myself.)

We frequently collaborate with Coldren Design to bring these pieces to life.

Please contact us if you would like something custom built for you.


I have linked to two of the rooms that feature full details and sources.

The rest of these rooms have not been professionally photographed yet and blog posts with sources have not been compiled.

Stay tuned for more pictures and sources in months to come.

DIY // Green & Ostrich Rast Hack // IKEA {Bedroom Nightstand Reveal}

green ostrich rast hack by design manifest

In an effort to get the bedroom finished, (well past the One Room Challenge deadline,) George and I transformed my pine Ikea Rast Nightstands into these emerald green/ ostrich faced beauties.  I wish I could say the DIY was a breeze and joy but it actually sucked a whole lot.  First – even though we both know better- we rushed and picked a crappy stain in our basement and didn’t like the result.   We had to totally rework our design, which changed our nightstands from stained to painted. Then we got a bad batch of oil paint and it never dried fully.  Poor Georgie had to cut the trim twice… what a trooper.  If we counted up our hours on this one, these $30 cabinets would end up being over $1,000 in our design and labor rates.  It’s kinda funny.

 Despite the ordeal, the result is pretty fab and the green is the perfect pop of color against my black bedroom walls.

Here’s a breakdown for those of you who are are as crazy as us to DIY this yourselves.  (Seriously though, its not that hard.)


ikea rast natural

It’s the Ikea Rast

In my case, I was re-doing a pair that I had already hacked to look like this:

Design Manifest Rast White-stained wood Nightstand



rast mark centers

(Find you center point and then measure out from there to place holes for pulls)

lews dolan bar pull

I used these pulls in polished brass.

rast holes drilled

(new holes drilled)



The Vinyl Ostrich was sourced locally.

You can also find it HERE.

rast ostrich template

We turned the fabric on its back and used a straight edge to trace lines.

Since we knew our trim would be covering the edges, we made our fabric pieces 1/2″ smaller than drawer head all around.



We used spray adhesive (heavy duty for vinyls) on both faux-ostrich vinyl and drawer fronts

rast glue ostrich

George is a neat sprayer, I am a messy sprayer.  Insert your joke here.


We waited a few minutes and slowly pressed the fabric onto the drawer.

This worked best as a two person job when one person held the fabric up and one pressed down starting at one edge and working towards the other.

rast ostrich on drawer heads

All glued up!

This part was really quite easy.



rast hack mitred trim pieces

George took his measurements and then cut his miters on his saw.

Mitered corners are much nicer that butting ends of the trim.


rast trim pieces stained

Since we were working with previously hacked Rast’s we were intitally going to stain the trim to match the stained boxes.

Alas, we rushed and chose a poly-stain and were not happy with the look at all.

So we scrapped that idea and pulled out are paint chart.

After a little debate, we settled on a bold green hue…


Starboard by Sherwin Williams.

It’s pretty bold in a white setting, but looks great against black walls.

Color is all about context, right?


Paint Drama ensued- stuff not drying.  Finish looking shitastic.

Long story short- skip the oil paint.

Ask your paint guy for a nice durable gloss latex.

Oh and don’t rush.  You’ll just make mistakes, DUH.




Finally (like a week later) the stupid paint dried and we attached the trim with a few pin nails.

The finishing touch was the polished brass hardware.  Find it HERE.

I purposely chose a really long pull.  I wanted that drama.

ostrich and hardware detail- design manifest

ostrich rast hack starboard green - design manifest

green rast 4

Green Lacquer Ostrich Rast Hack by Design Manifest


I am having the damnedest time taking a good picture against the black walls.

Here is a cruddy shot of my side of the bed.

Processed with VSCOcam

Loving the nightstand paired with my favorite planter.

More bedroom pictures to come soon.


And there ya have it, another rast hack.

This is my 3rd (and probably last) for those who are counting.

This one is still my most popular blog post ever.

One Room Challenge {Naomi’s Bedroom} Week 7

Seriously guys, you make me want to cry. Like good tears. I don’t deserve this tears. The praise, support and over-the-top enthusiasm you have shown me and Dad is just too much for words. I feel humbled, almost embarrassed by your compliments. (But don’t stop, seriously.) We aren’t superstars, we aren’t design geniuses… we just like renovating homes and we try to do it as best we can. Maybe in my private dreams I’m some design superstar… but last wek, you made me feel like I was the real deal. So thank you. Thank you for loving our kitchen and telling us so. I read every single comment and each one was special to me. I wish I could reach out to all of you and hug you, high five you or just clink my wine glass. Thank you. You are awesome. You make all of this hard work just a little more gratifying.

So last Wednesday was my glory day then last Thursday I fell flat on my face and completely missed week 6 of the ORC Linking event. So much for a bedroom reveal. My Bad. The good news is our carpenter, Brandon, came back! We are on target for a 12/1 finish date. The room is back in forward progress mode.

Let me show you what’s going on…

windows painted

The window trim and frames got painted black.

Yes, you can spray paint vinyl window frames.  It’s da best thing ever.

crown installed

The crown moulding got installed and painted black.

Still need to paint the baseboard black.

bedroom light

My Steampunk ceiling fixture got installed.


I need to change to round bulbs though.  Those candelabra bulbs make me all sorts of angry.

closet doors in

The closet doors are in.

We need to paint the doors and trim black.

We also need to add the moulding and mirror to the doors.

inside closet

I took a break from the black inside the closets.

I had to paint them twice because the first pink was just wrong.

The winner was Sherman Williams “Tuberose.”


Last time I posted about my bedroom, I was debating between black and white trim.

George voted black and I voted white.

I let him win this one because I’m doing whatever I want with the pillows.

Also, its’ for the best that things area black.

While the trim is more subtle, it also hides the fact that nothing is level in this room!


I’ll be back next week in my own version of the neverending One Room Challenge.

Hopefully I’ll be sharing on my super sexy nightstands!


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5