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.

Happy New Year!

Hey All.  Sorry for the extended absence, but not to worry, everything is great over here.  The past month + has been spent with family cherishing the good life.  On top of a very merry Christmas and New Years, we celebrated my dad, Andrew’s 60th birthday.

Last year was a year of contemplation- which direction to take the business, how to grow and plan for my dad’s eventual retirement, and how to make my own life happier.  I think my lack of blogging had a lot to due to the lack of clarity in my own life.  While I’m not going to sit here and claim I now have it all figured out, I will say this; life is good, business is good and I’m excited for the future.  2014 holds a lot of exciting projects and adventures for DM and also marks my 10th  year in the business!  I plan to share all of it more regularly along the way. Until then, here a few shots of me and the fam.

Happy New Years, friends.  Hope you’ll stick around for the ride.



stein pic - med

Papa Bear and his clan

eliana nay santa- med

pelegs goofy- med

bec nay baking- med

stein sibs

parker clan silly- med

eliana and grammy- med

Living {Real} Life

Lately I’ve been noticing that I’m living my life a little differently. Whereas in the past my free time has been spent decorating my home and blogging all about it, recently I just don’t care.  I guess I’d rather be gardening in my new yard, taking really long walks with my pup, exploring my spirituality, or finally learning how to cook.

I started blogging four years and one month ago. When I first started I was just a twenty-something dreaming to break into the decorating business and since then I’ve learned and accomplished more than I ever did at Penn State University.  In the past few months, with business being more busy than I can even manage, I’ve been feeling a bit like I’ve graduated to the next phase.

But can I really graduate from blogging? Can I give up the community and validation? I have to admit that I worry if I’ll still be relevant. Will any magazines want to publish my Cottage?  Will I become the design superstar I always wanted to be?  Does it even matter?  Will press and validation make me happier and richer?  How am I supposed to balance it all and enjoy the true pearls of life?


living room fireplace before

{My fireplace wall; the week I bought the Cottage}


Real Life

I just had the most wonderful weekend.  I hosted my high school best friends and we had our own intimate reunion.   Spring has finally kicked in here in Philadelphia so we got to have lots of outdoor time both in my own back yard and exploring the farmers market, shops and watering holes in my adorable town.  Highlights included an after-hours dance party in my kitchen and some really really terrible karaoke.  I’m totally tone deaf and apparently all my high school girls are too.  The best part though, was just connecting with old true friends and sharing my home with them.  The Cottage was built with entertaining in mind and I’m just so grateful that I have dynamic, intelligent, hilarious, authentic people to come over.

naomi and friends in kitchen

reunion fireplace shot

naomi and friends on sofa

I’ve so enjoyed the break from the blog to catch up on client projects and just enjoy a little real life.  I’ll be back to blogging soon with a mix of Cottage updates and client project reveals.  Posts may be short and sweet for a bit, but somehow I doubt you guys will mind.  In the meanwhile, you can probably spy a few real life house details above.  Not finished, not perfect, but dayum I love it!

Scenes from Mexico

Mexico was amazing.  Pure Heaven.  The first two days, in typical Me fashion were purgatory.  I was totally sick and the weather was cold and rainy and let’s just say my spirits weren’t high.  (Literally, I couldn’t drink while my whole fam took advantage of free unlimited cocktails.)  But then the sun came out and I got a strong Mexican decongestant and had a perfect 5 days.   I flew on a trapeze, climbed a sacred pyramid,  swam in pristine waters, kissed fat baby cheeks, ate dessert every day and just tried to soak in the beauty as much as possible.  I love my family so much and it was such a treasure to spend time with them in this relaxing magical setting.  I got back last night and am ready to dive back into LOTS of work, but I hope I’m able to hold that peaceful Mexican spirit in my heart just a little longer.

scenes from mexico

I tried to embed a dorky video of me on the trapeze, but I still don’t quite understand this wordpress site.

You can see it HERE if you want 47 seconds of acrobatics.

Going on a trapeze has been one of those random Lifelong dreams for me.

Since I’m a former competitive gymnast, I thought I would kick ass, but I was surprised at how terrified I was to do it!

Sadly, I won’t be running off to join the circus, but at least I stuck the landing.