Before & After: Gladwyne Girls Bath Makeover

Today I’m sharing the last of our projects we completed in 2014.  Time to photograph some of our projects from this year!  This bathroom was a fun one because it was for a young teen girl.  I always enjoy designing spaces for young people.  It’s a chance to be a little more playful and whimsical, but it can also be tricky, because the room will typically have to last them until college (and perhaps beyond.)  Just because you love pink at 9 doesn’t mean you are going to be a fan at 15.  This little lady had excellent taste and we created a neutral and classic bath that I know she will enjoy for years to come.  I’m seriously jealous that I didn’t have this kind of space growing up!

The original bathroom, like so many old homes outside Philadelphia, was teeny-tiny.  This space was particularly difficult because it is a Jack and Jill bath.  Meaning, we needed two different doors going into two separate bedrooms.


before bath


{This vanity was NOT providing enough storage.}

before bath sink


before bath tub toilet

I went to task working on a new floor plan.  I was able to steal a few inches from the guest room AND take over a closet.  This allowed for a larger, upgraded bathroom.  We had to gain the closet space back, so we re-worked that into her bedroom, which I will show below.  In the new space we are able to have lots of drawers for storage, a nice big counter, a hamper, plus we ditched the tub for a shower with a bench.


My favorite element of this space is the cabinetry.  I really wanted to design a vanity cabinet that felt like a furniture piece.  I sketched up a stepped drawer design, showed it to my client and luckily she went for it.  I love how it’s crisp, clean and traditional yet also one of a kind.

White Framed Vanity hexagon mable floor carrera white subway-Bath By Design Manifest

I designed the vanity to look like 3 banks of 4 drawers.

Actually, the sink is a door and the bottom two drawers on the left and right are deep drawers.

So different function on the inside / symmetrical on the outside.

design manifest cabinetry detail 1500

The color scheme is mostly just a soothing mix of gray and white.

White Cabinets / White Subway Tile on the main bath walls.

Gray (and White) marble floor, Marble countertop, Marble Shower Walls, Nickel finishes.

design manifest cabinetry detail 1500-2

Across from the vanity is a hamper with hutch above.

The mirrored back and glass shelves help this piece from feeling too heavy.

I also help how it partially obscures the toilet.  Now its not the first thing you see when you walk into the room!

Also- note the radiator cover below.  My signature favorite touch.

hamper with glass shelves above- bathroom by design manifest

My client worked with her existing decorator, Mona Ross Berman, on the soft finishes for this space.

Items like wallpaper, roman shade and sconces were sourced by them.

{My Elevation of the Vanity Wall}

Chief Architect Premier X5: Kopelman Elana bath 3D.layout

{And the Real Deal}

Stepped Vanity with Feet by Design Manifest

In the shower we looked at tons of options for tile and settled up a 2″ hexagon marble.  I’ve never mixed hex with hex before (the floor is 1″ hex) but I think it worked out nicely!  Again, the limited palette and shapes her keep the space really clean and soothing.

marble hexagon shower by design manifest

I like the base moulding we installed at the shower.  That little detail helps break up the hexagons.  Another fun detail was the chair rail trim around the shower opening.

Chief Architect Premier X5: Kopelman Elana bath 3D.layout

marble hexagon shower by design manifest

To make up for losing a closet in the bedroom, we designed and built-in cabinetry into the room.  I’ll let the pics do the talking there…


Before- closet wall


After- Built-in Closets by Design Manifest

{Decor by Mona Ross Berman}

We really thought through the insides or these armoires.  Each is packed with different storage- double hanging, shoes, shelves, etc.

Chief Architect Premier X5: Kopelman Elana bath 3D.layout


A little close up of the cabinet details.  We did inset cabinets here with a beveled frame.  The doors and drawers have an applied moulding.

I like to think if it as just enough detail to feel traditional and interesting, yet simple enough to feel transitional.

cabinetry detail- built in closets

I hope you enjoyed this project!

Images are by Courtney Apple Photography.

Hopefully Courtney and I can get together in the early Fall (!!) so we can keep bringing you guys reveals of our work.

Before & After: New Kitchen Light for City Condo

A few moons and many lifetimes ago I owned a cute little condo in downtown (Center City) Philadelphia.  While I’ve moved on to a few homes since then, I held onto the condo and rented it out to a nice string of tenants.  The most recent tenant just moved out and I walked into the unit I was horrified at how dated and beat up it was.  Obviously this hadn’t happened over night (more like 7 years of use and abuse,) but looking at it more closely with my refined and discerning eyes, I knew a little updating needed to be done.

The kitchen in particular was just short of terrible.  Years of accumulated oil had stained the walls and cabinets.  There is no natural light in the kitchen and it felt DARK and DATED.  While a full renovation felt way out of reach, I knew I could immediately improve the space with a new kitchen light.  It’s such an easy change that can improve both looks and function.  When the fine folks at Del Mar Fans reached out to me about partnering on a lighting post I really felt like the universe was giving me a personal high-five.  My kitchen was getting a mini-makeover!

I’ve always cringed at the site of my old kitchen light.  Due to the construction of the condo, it was not feasible to recess cans into the ceiling, so instead the previous owner chose an unfortunate fluorescent moon dome for kitchen illumination.  Here is the kitchen before we started our makeover…


Did you miss the light?  It’s right past the soffit over the island.  (The dropped ceiling there allows for two recessed lights.)

BEFORE KITCHEN- offending light

kitchen light before 1

When it’s off, it’s sort of just bland and un-cute.  But when it’s on…. the fluorescent lighting feels like you are in a hospital room.  Hello Moon Dome!  This pic doesn’t even do justice to the ickyness.

kitchen before- light on

When searching for my new kitchen light I had a few requirements

1)   Close-to Ceiling fixture.  Unfortunately my condo is not blessed with high ceilings, so I needed a light that would leave 80″ of clearance below it.

2) Max Wattage.  As the only light in the room, I couldn’t just chose something with one 60 watt bulb.  I needed something that would brighten up the space.  My goal was at least 180 watts

3)  Stylish Finish.  I waffled back in forth on whether I should do nickel or brass.  What if I went to sell it and potential owners weren’t as trendy as me?  Ultimately I love brass, so I went for the gold.

4)  Good Scale.  While I couldn’t have a light that hung low, I didn’t need a pip-squeak diameter either.  I wanted a light that would command the space and make a statement!

5) Sexy.  With the short ceiling, I would never be putting a pretty chandelier in this space.  That’s fine.  Not every room needs a chandelier.  Instead I wanted something tailored, classic and grand enough to make a little statement.

Taking my requirements into consideration, I perused Del Mar Fans’ website for some potential lights.

Close To Ceiling Kitchen Lights

1 / 2 / 3

4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9

I ended up choosing Minka Lavery’s Harbour Point semi-flush light.  At 19″ in diameter I liked how it was bigger than flush mount lights so it commands the space.   The brass finish or “Liberty Gold.” feels very now, but I like how the lines of the piece feel very classic,     Also with 3 bulbs at 100 watts each, my kitchen would be getting decent light!  You can find the light I purchased HERE.

While kitchen updates are still in progress, the light has been hung and I’m super happy.  It’s Stylish, It’s Bright, and its Brass.  What’s not to love?

Habour Point Semi Flush Brass kitchen Light

kitchen light 3

Besides changing the light, we are also painting the ceiling.  Previously it was a dark cream and now its a really light blue.  It’s so subtle you can barely tell against the newly gray cabinet frames.  Perhaps I need to go a shade darker to really make the ceiling shine?  In small defined spaces like this I love doing a subtle color on the ceiling.  I think it makes the space more fun and draws attention to my new pretty light.  There is still a lot more to be done in here, but it’s feels so good to be well lit.

This one actually makes me happy when its lit.  Hard to photograph, but easy to enjoy in the kitchen.

Gold semi flush lamp lit up

As you can see, we will be doing a gray and brass kitchen.  I just love that combo.  The light was such a great jumping off point.

kitchen light 6

Do you approve of my new kitchen light?

Do you have an offending light you wish you can replace?

If so you are in luck because Del Mar Fans is doing a giveway on their Facebook Page!!  Seriously, who couldn’t use a new light in some kind?

It starts tomorrow and you have 7 days to enter.  Please head over to their page for details.

This post is sponsored by Minka Lavery & Del Mar Fans & Lighting.


A few thoughts on my home and my dreams…

house settlement day

{Settlement Day, September 2012}

I’ve owned my little cottage for almost 3 years now.  It seems unfathomable it’s been so long, yet at the same time I’m already itching to move on.  I have that sort of real estate affliction where I fall hard fast, make all sorts of changes to tailor it to perfection and quickly become tired of it.  I haven’t even “finished” the house yet, so leaving now feels like I would be quitting prematurely.   But I’m not sure if my heart is in it any more.  I feel like I need something else.  I feel like it would just be easier to start over.

When I bought the cottage I had such big dreams.  Coming off a break-up, it would be my place to re-build.  I felt so raw and empty back then, but also incredibly hopeful.  I was going to design a comfortable and beautiful nest that would host dinner parties, family gatherings, late night dance parties with friends.  I was going to garden, walk my dog around my cute little town and talk to my neighbors.


{Converting my third floor attic into a livable space}

I had this fantasy I would document the entire process, put it up on You-Tube to a catchy soundtrack and become an internet sensation.  (Seriously, I filmed several segments of the remodel, but eventually fell dropped the ball. Womp womp)

I was going to fall in love again and maybe, just maybe, my guy would share this home with me.  I would I feel full and happy and peaceful in this cottage of mine.

Besides becoming a break-out YouTube hit, most of my dreams came true in the past few years.  So why have I started to hate the house.  And why do I feel unhappy?

The truth is I’m probably using the cottage as a scapegoat.  Overworked, stressed out, disconnected, unclear on the future, I find myself channeling my frustrations towards the house.  IF we had more space to store stuff, THEN I would be more organized.  IF we didn’t have a big tent full of furniture in the back yard THEN we could host a BBQ and enjoy that space.  If I finished the guest room, THEN maybe I would get up early each morning and meditate.  IF we weren’t in a twin, THEN  I wouldn’t get so mad at my neighbor’s noisy dog.  IF the house were located in the city, THEN maybe I’d connect more with friends.  IF it got more natural light, THEN maybe I’d feel more inspired and happy.

If the space were finished and pretty THEN maybe I’d just be able to enjoy myself.

Maybe for once I would stop thinking about things I would change, re-arrange and improve and just RELAX.  Just BE.  When is enough, enough?

design manifest lounge space reclaimed wood daybed

{Third floor turned into a lounge… which has since been turned into our work studio}

Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures this week, but I just don’t have it in me.  Instead, I choose to be real.  My name is Naomi and I am a work in progress.  My house is not perfect, and I am even less so.  And hopefully I’ll find a way to accept that.

Our homes cannot make us happy.  All they can be is vessels to have those life experiences to make us feel real and loved and fulfilled.  So, I’m sorry little cottage, I think I’ve been asking a little too much of you.


But seriously though, I REALLY could use a proper storage shed.

What We are Working on Now ….. PART 3….. *** Current Interior Design Projects *** “Station Road Project”

Hello, Wednesday, how do you arrive so quickly?

So I’m back to talking about projects we are working on  right now.  Station Road is the last of the major decorating projects to discuss.  (Though we did just begin a new project in Chestnut Hill, so I guess it isn’t the last!)  I would describe Station Road as my Pretty Project.  Not that they all aren’t beautiful, but when I think of our choices, they are all so PRETTY.

What does Pretty mean?  A mix of jewel tones.  Soft patterns.  Feminine touches with just enough of glam to make her happy.  A bit of mid-century and boho mixed in to speak to the Mister.  Fresh Traditional with just enough edge to not be saccharine or sterile.

My clients bought their house in Wynnewood, making the typical migration from the city to the burbs.  She reached out to me before settlement and had us jump on designs as soon as it was theirs.  They were hoping to have minimal home overlap and to be able to renovate the new home and move in as soon as possible.  With big changes happening on the first floor sometime soon (fingers crossed) we focused on the bedrooms.

This was the master bedroom as the old owners had it…

bedroom before

My client was interested in adding more color.  She was down for pattern, metallics, mirrored, lacquer, wood, chinoiserie… just nothing too busy or ultra contemporary.  Since the bed wall was large and bare, I suggested we add wallpaper.  I wanted a soft pattern that work well with the other textiles, but not be too bossy.  Instead, we chose a pattern for the head pillow that would serve as our focal point/inspiration for the design.


I’ve long wanted to use this birdy floral by G&J Baker.  I LOVE the colors.

We had so much to pull from- soft blue, teal, lavender, fuschia, yellow, pale green… the design could have gone in a dozen of different directions.

Wanting it to remain gender neutral, we took it easy on the pinks purples and layered on different shades of blue and a pop of citron.

Bleached woods, a touch of brass and mirrored nightstands finish off the room.

bedroom mood board 1B

bedroom textiels

So far the wallpaper has been installed and it’s so pretty!

wallpaper detail station road

We also added a little softness to the adjoining master bathroom in the form of more wallpaper.

bedroom into bathroom

Bedroom wall into bathroom

The master bedroom has a sitting room off of it and we created a complementary design for this space.  While the bedroom is decidedly more feminine and glam, the sitting room takes on a more casual, bohemian vibe.  I found a faded turkish rug that had many of the same colors as our bedroom inspiration fabric and built the room from there.  Bonus points- Hubby enjoys the Turkish rug!  See, designing for both sexes is so easy.

Sitting Room BEFORE as the old owners had it

sitting room before 1

The Turkish Rug…

sitting room rug

We also had to figure out how to use this long skinny room with lots of windows.  The request that it be a den for TV watching, with an office AND a vanity area.  A lot to pack it, but I think the floor plan laid out nicely.

Station Rd Sitting Room

We’ve finalized nearly every decision, just need to figure out which fabric we will use to recover my client’s Bergere chair.

sitting room textiles for chair

If all goes as planned, we will be installing the majority of the items in two weeks!  I’m pretty excited to see it come together.  Next up is finalizing the daughter’s room, and it just may be my favorite bedroom yet.  Don’t worry, we will be sharing that design soon!

Before & After: Indian Creek Living Room

I’m taking a break from current project happenings to share a reveal of a living room we finished last year.   I’ve been holding onto this one for awhile, and I don’t feel like waiting anymore!   We took my client’s formal living room from dark, dated and deserted to a vibrant,  relaxed retreat where everyone actually wants to hang out. The best part? We re-used most of my clients furnishings.

It’s amazing what a slipcover, paint and a new mix of textiles can do.


I was called to do this project after we successfully updated their family room last year. I find a lot of people like to give me a “tester room” and once that goes well, we move on to a few more. Most of my clients are working with an interior designer for the first time and it can be a little daunting. I have no problem taking it slow and learning how to best bring their design goals to fruition. This being our 2nd time, I had a good sense of their style and the design came together quite smoothly.  We did this room in conjunction with their dining room, which I shared a few months ago.  (See it HERE.)

Here are the BEFORES

living before indian creek


As you can see the room was very green.  Green carpet, green chairs, green swagged curtains.  And a big floral sofa.  Look, I like me some floral, but this just wasn’t feeling fresh any more.

My clients were interested in updating and making the space more inviting.  They wanted to make improvements that would help the house sell.  They also wanted to re-use what furnishings they could as they had invested in quality pieces years ago.

See the whole transformation HERE!