Spring Pillow Favorites

Something about the Spring makes me want stow all my winter pillows away and indulge in major retail therapy.  While my orange crush continues, I also find myself drawn to blush and aqua plus my standby of black, white and gold.  I’m craving texture in my pillows.  Whether it be the glisten of metallic, or the woven hand of a vintage rug-pillow, I just want something that pops off my sofa.

Here are a few of my current crushes…


abstract lumbar  /  black blush ikat lumbar  /  velvet multi lumbar

gold raindrops pillow /    guns and roses pillow /  blush and gold triangle pillow

Magenta Vintage Rug Pillow / Moroccan Multi-Color Pillow / Black and White Striped Rug Pillow

Also, I wanted to announce that next week kicks off the next round of the One Room Challenge.

I’m very thrilled to be participating, yet again.

I can’t share what I’m doing until next week, but I can reveal that I have not started yet and I am SUPER stressed out about it.

You, know, just the usual. 😉

Happy Spring!

InstaProjects #BalaCynwydModernBoho

If you follow us on instagram  (and you absolutely should, you can find us @designmanifest) then you may have spied a new project: #BalaCynwydModernBoho.  We are remodeling the kitchen of a longtime client and it is going to be really good :) It’s pretty awesome working with someone who you’ve known for years.  I have designed every other room in their house. (You can see a few here.)  The kitchen is the last room to get its makeover and it’s well overdue.  We are actually doing the master bath too, but I’ll have to save that for another post.

Working on this design was like playtime.  My client has so much trust in me that I would just throw out ideas and she would just be totally game.  I know what the house needs.  It wants to be classic, yet funky.  Colorful yet refined.  Pretty much the place you want to BE.  So we are turning this kitchen into the heart of this home.

Kitchen before


KITCHEN rendering


This is mostly a cosmetic upgrade with some crafty layout improvement.  We initially hoped to take out the back stair and gain some critical square footage in the kitchen.  Sadly complex structure and high construction bids thwarted those plans.  Instead we working within the existing walls to improve the kitchen.

Demo Plan

We are removing these cabinets to make way for a bigger island.  They were shallow and non-functional, so we are able to re-gain this storage elsewhere.  It’s a win-win for me to gain a bit of wall space and have a better looking island.  Shapely islands make  me weary.  A rectangular island is much more clean and classic.

basement door

We are also removing this door and moving the refrigerator and pantry to this wall.  It will be nice so have them tucked out of the way here.

refrigerator wall rendering

Before you would walk into the kitchen and stare at the fridge and oven.  Now, you will see the custom range hood and marble herringbone backsplash.  We have a focal point and we have a good functional work triangle.  We have a winner.

Warden Deanna Kitchen 2B 11x17-Layout

Like the renderings indicate, the base cabinets will be blue (Ben Moore “New York State of Mind”) and the upper cabinets will be white.  The countertops will be white quartzite and the backsplash tile will be white herringbone marble.  I think it will feel  unique yet classic.

We drew a bit of inspiration from the following kitchens…


Kitchen by Studio Mcgee

jillian harris blue and white kitchen

Kitchen by Jillian Harris

brittany makes kitchen

Kitchen by Brittany Makes

We will be doing just a touch of brass (pendants, counter stools) but not on the cabinet hardware or faucets.  I think polished nickel will pop much more against the blue and it felt more timeless to me.  My goal is for this kitchen to look fantastic and new in 10 years.

While the planning and design have been in works for months, construction finally kicked off two weeks ago.  We partnered with Integrity Design and Build to remodel this kitchen.  So far everything is going very smoothly.  I know cabinets are due to be delivered early April, so I am eagerly awaiting that moment.  I will post a few project updates on instagram when I stop by the site.  Right now it’s pretty much just a mess.  You’ve got to make it ugly before you put it back together again.

kitchen after demo

Actually, that’s a pretty neat jobsite, isn’t it?  Way to go, Integrity!

Wallpaper on My Fireplace! {A Cottage Update}

Happy Wednesday.  First of all, thanks to those who left thoughtful comments on last week’ post.  I love hearing from you guys.  Our comment form and our contact form have been a little bit out of whack.  I assure you, we are working on fixing both!  If you have reached out to use in the past several weeks and have not heard from us, please try again.  (Email me directly- naomi@designmanifest.com)

On the home front, I’m serious about my commitment to get my living room together.  I’ve already made an exciting first step with a fireplace makeover!  We had a home work day on Friday and re-painted the brick fireplace surround.  If you remember, it used to look pretty dirty, so I’m happy it’s crisp and white again.

fireplace mantel needs help


Then on Monday, wallpaper was hung above the mantel.  I’ve always felt this wall was lacking a little and could really benefit from a graphic pop.  I really fell for this black and white geometric paper from Milton and King.  It’s called Nixon and I love that it manages to feels a little more abstract in it’s repeat.  A lot of geometrics feel grid-like to me and this feels a little looser and more random on the wall.


design manifest geometric wallpaper fireplace wall ornate mirror

I’m really digging the combination of the modern paper against my vintage gold mirror.

wallpaper and mirror detail- design manifest

I prefer to have a mirror here, but a television would look great in this spot too!

fireplace mantel black white geometric wallpaper ornate gold mirror

I’m still sorting out my mantel styling, but for now, what I already had seems to be working just fine.  I just paired down my tchotchkes to a few favorites.  Ideally I’d have some greenery up here, but I’m not sure I can handle the maintenance.  Are topiaries too formal for here?  I like topiaries, but I’m not sure I’m a topiary person myself.  I’m going to say topiary one more time just for fun.

nixon wallpaper detail milton king design manifest

The bust will probably Go.

I have no emotional attachment to it and I only want to live with items I LOVE.

But I DO like the idea of something with height here.

fireplace wallpaper with bust

{Also on the To-Do List: Swapping out the boob light you can see reflected above}

There is still a lot to do in the living room.  This certainly doesn’t solve my storage issues.  But it’s just nice to walk in the door and see something pretty.  I’m motivated by this small change and inspired to keep working on the room.  Wee! Decorating Spring Fever has Sprung.

Thanks to Milton and King for the beautiful wallpaper!

You can find Nixon wallpaper right HERE.

Embarrassing photos of my House


It’s been forever since I’ve blogged about my own house.  Mainly because it’s a embarrassing, hideous, mess.  For awhile the excuse was that we worked and received deliveries there.  And truthfully, I spent the summer more focused on my city condo.  But it’s accountability time: we moved our offices back to Bala in November and the condo has be booked straight on AirBnb for months.  Yet my living room still looks like this.

cottage living room march

Fabrics and Boxes sprawled about, An Unfinished Painting on the wall… welcome to my Life.

I RRREALLY fought the urge to tidy up before taking these pictures.  But honestly, I just felt like I was starving for real talk about how we live in our homes.  I’m fessing up that I am a slob.  If my things don’t have an exact place to go then they tend to sprawl.  And then multiply.


Can we talk about the shame corner behind my vintage armchair?  A foam roller, tupperware containers of household items, two pillow fills and package from Morocco THAT I HAVEN’T EVEN BOTHERED TO OPEN YET.  What is wrong with me?

We are in the midst of a massive Spring Cleaning.  I’m evaluating, inventorying and putting a ton of stuff in storage.  I just feel this strong desire to simplify and only live with the things I love.  So that’s why there is the box full of art in the living room and bins galore all around.

But what is my excuse for this situation?  I actually love this wingback chair, but I never sit in it because it is always covered in crap!!

mess with cheetah on wingback chair bailey the pug

Bailey says, Love Me, Pet Me, Feed Me.

My Mail and coat system really isn’t adequate in this house.  Since we don’t have an entry/foyer and this chair is right by the front door, it ends up being a dumping ground.  Plus I just like to collect fabulous furry cheetah fabrics.

the real coffee table styling

The ottoman/coffee table is one of the three drop zones for mail, cash, apparently business cards, and fabric samples.  I need a better place for this stuff!  Just one spot, instead of all over.

windowsill clutter

The deep windowsills have become a place where more crap gets dumped.

And then there is the other side of the living room.  UGG.

Fireplace wall

The hooks by a door are a joke. We can only hang 4 max coats there and they always look like a mess.  I’ve cleared off the shelves by the fireplace in hopes I can use this area more efficiently.  It can’t be a closet, but could it be a mail drop?

fireplace mantel needs help

The brick fireplace surround desperately needs to be painted and the mantel styling is a bunch of random afterthoughts.

TV Wall

For my last bit of shame, I give you the TV wall.  I have NEVER gotten this wall right.  In theory art around a TV is a great idea, but I’ve always struggled with the scale and composition of the pieces I own.  It’s challenging with the TV so close to the fireplace that it always feels off to me.  At this point, there is so many holes in this wall its like swiss cheese.  I’ve hung pieces up, but left them on existing nails, so the placement is just silly.


  • There is TOO MUCH Clutter.  Too many accessories, too many magazines, too many chairs.
  • The lack of entry/foyer creates a real problem in the living room as there is no good place to put coats, bags, mail, etc.
  • I do not have enough smart dedicated storage.
  • There is a lack of disregard of the space.  I’ve stopped really looking at it.  Instead I rush in, I rush out, I abuse it and yet I get mad that it’s not pretty and perfect.


  • Improvements to aesthetics and function
  • I’d like to remove about half of the stuff in the room.
  • I want to create an entry area with-in my living room that is both cute and functional
  • Give the fireplace wall a little pizzaz
  • Do something better with the TV Wall.  Maybe just no art is the way to go here.
  • Do a little pillow/textile refresh
  • Smarter storage.  Magazines should go in one place instead of seven.  I need a dedicated drawer for mittens and dog stuff.
  • Window sills need purpose.  Maybe just a singular plant on each instead of various items. May have to hit up Pinterest for this one.

I’m putting this out there to hold myself accountable.  No more home shame.  No more “deal with it later” when I “have time”  (HA!) or “have more money.”  This is my sanctuary and I want to reclaim it.


Are you feeling the Spring itch?  Do you have any plans to re-fresh or improve function in your space?  Are you totally horrified by my mess?  (Don’t answer that last one.)

I’m so feeling Amanda Nisbett’s Apartment on One Kings Lane

Remember a few weeks back when I told you I was majorly crushing on orange?  Well the feeling is still going strong.  Amanda Nisbet’s apartment only affirms my affections.  Her home was featured last week on One Kings Lane, and I had an instantaneously joyful reaction upon seeing it.

I love how it’s unabashedly colorful and fun, yet it still comes across as polished, traditional and timeless.  There is color everywhere- the art, the windows, the chairs, the pillows- yet it works so harmoniously together.  This to me is updated traditional at it’s best.

AMANDNISBET apartment living room orange curtains

AMANDNISBET living room

The orange pillow (boiled wool by Holland & Sherry) with the purple trim.  So simple yet lovely and fun.


Those orange curtains!  Insert kissy emoticon.

AMANDNISBET styling details

I like how she mixes mostly modern art with mostly traditional furnishings.

AMANDNISBET bathroom wallpaper lavender

Such fun wallpaper in this bathroom.  Makes me a little nervous with no splash guard around the tub.

Hopefully this is an adults-only bath?  Yet it would so cute for a kid!

AMANDNISBET regency console table

Note the vignette with no pop of color feels the most grown up.

AMANDNISBET- dining room yellow and lavender

I don’t think I’ve ever liked a yellow wall (and truth be told, that is my least favorite element about this apartment,) yet still, it works here.

For me its the lavender-orange combo that makes this home come alive.  I really  like the punchy with the soft.  Vibrant yet relaxing.  That being said, I like how the dining area doesn’t have any orange.  If every room had that combo it would come across as more matchy, ie, decorated to me.


I’ll leave you with this quote from Mrs Nisbet.  Decorating hero for sure.

“I’m not shy in my decorating… To me, it’s always about contrasting seemingly opposite things, whether that be materials or styles. That’s where you get the most interesting design.”

— Amanda Nisbet in One Kings Lane