Quickie Tile Update- Gladwne Master Bath

Whoa, Wednesday, you snuck up on me fast this week!  Sorry guys, I did not make time to properly prepare for a blog post this week, so instead I’m posting some progress shots from the Gladwyne bath jobsite.  This is going to be our client’s shower and I’m already obsessed.  A subtle geometric pattern, marble baseboard, crown moulding, a “floating leg” bench… this one has a lot of fun details.  See more posts about this project here and here.

shower pre tile

Shower pre wall tile- You can see 2″ hex shower floor and wood-look porcelain outside shower.

bathroom floor

Another shot of the bathroom floor.  That’s porcelain tile.

design manifest shower bench

Shower bench gets set, plus starting marble base moulding below.

design manifest tile work- shower niche

Shampoo niche.

design manifest tile work- crown moulding

The ceilings are so high in here that we could run wood crown throughout the whole room without concerns about moisture.

design manifest tile work- patterened tile and basemoulding

Pretty, Pretty.

So that’s just a little something the guys have accomplished in the past few days.  As for me, some projects are starting to wind down, while new ones are going full steam ahead.  If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen my post about being super overworked and tired.  While our schedule remains quite busy,  I’m happy to report I spent 3 days of Labor Day weekend doing zero design work at all.  Instead I went to a football game, swam in a lake and sipped cocktails by the harbor.  It was awesome and reinvigorating.

On a note about busyness, Sometimes I do worry my transparency about work load and my own personal state may scare people away, but it’s the only way I know how to be.  I always try to conduct myself and business practices in the most honest and accurate way possible. I’m not interested in portraying some facade of perfection… I just don’t have the energy or interest in that.  For those who hope to work with us in the future, we ARE taking on new clients.  We are 8-10 weeks out … which is so worth the wait!  We try to keep our project load smaller to give our current clients the best possible service and attention.

Thanks to all of you who check in on this blog.  See you next week!

What We Are Working on Right NOW- Gladwyne Master Bath

Well it’s our Family vacation week, so dad and I should technically be down the shore, but both of us snuck back mid-week  to get a little work done.  There is just SO much going on right now!  We are collaborating on a lot of exciting projects.  We’ve been hired to design and specify two different major additions.  They will both be two-story expansions with new kitchens and master suites.  I just love juicy renovations like this mixed in with smaller decorative projects.

On the Manifest (Build) front lines, the guys remodeling a showstopper master bathroom.  I’ve been giving little teases of it on instagram (#blackrockmasterbath) and I’m thrilled to see the design finally come to life.  This is the best part.  (For me…. I don’t have to live in the house during the renovation.  Ha!)

I would describe this bathroom design as modern, yet it blends really well into their more traditional home.  I did a blog post back in May while I was designing the vanity wall.  (You can see the post HERE.)  As I mentioned in that post, my clients wanted a space with pizzazz.  Of course we wanted to add function (better storage, improved lighting, window treatment solutions,) and luxury (multiple shower heads, heated floors, stone pedestal bathtub) but mainly we wanted style.  We decided to frame an arch over floating vanities.  It will be the focal point when you walk in the door.  We are also doing a fabulous patterned (neutral) tile in the shower.  There are so many good moments here- the plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, countertops, lighting(!), hardware, wallpaper… its goood.

This is the bathroom layout.  Same as before, we just made the shower larger, switched the tub and re-worked the vanity wall.

gladwyne master bath layout


master bathroom before


vanity wall before

(OH GAWD remind me to dress better on BEFORE photo day!)

This is a little rendering of how the bathroom will look…

gladwyne master bath rendering

We are currently in week three of the renovation.  The old bathroom is all gone, new plumbing and electrical lines have been run and all framing and drywall is done.

Here is the sink wall now:

master bathroom framed out

Once the painter primes we will begin tile work!  We were over there yesterday looking at the layout together.  We’ve already had our first “challenge” in that floor tile came in slightly different than we expected.  These things happen and what’s most important to us to deal with it, find a solution and keep our clients happy.  It looks like we will be keeping the tile, but dropping the plan to do a herringbone pattern.  The dark wood-look porcelain is so pretty on it’s own, it doesn’t need the extra pattern.

dad with tile

Here is a pic I snapped of the cabinetry sample (two-tone gray!) with the floor tile (left,)  vanity wall tile (upper right,) and shower wall tile (lower right.)

tile materials cabinetry sample

A few weeks ago I went to my favorite stone yard to tag stone for the countertop, shower bench and sills.  Here are a couple of options we considered.

quartztie 1

quartzite 2

quartzite 3

Which would you choose?


And here is the delicious stone tub I mentioned above.  I would SO love to soak in this baby.

stone pedestal tub

Stay tuned while we make progress on this project.  In the meanwhile, I’m heading back to the beach!

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.

………….. What I’m Working on Right Now………….. Gladwyne Master Bath Sink Wall

We are working on a variety of projects right now, one of which is a master bathroom design in Gladwyne.  The owners reached out to me requesting a space with a little pizzazz.  You know, more than your builder grade master.  They were also looking to achieve a more modern style in the bathroom but struggled with how to blend it seamlessly with the rest of their traditional home and furnishings.

All of this is music to my ears.  I love working in special details in a bathroom.  Mouldings, Tile, cabinetry, fixtures and finishes… there are lots of ways to take design (and function!) to the next level.  As for aesthetic, I love my modern mixed with a little traditional.  Tailored, classic yet clean lined.  It’s been fun to work on.

Here are some of the rooms and details I am using for inspiration for the sink wall:

floating vanity between walls

Design by Erin Martin

There are a lot of elements that I love about the bath above.  The simple arch over the vanity.  I like enclosing this space a bit and making it more intimate.   (The bathroom we are working on happens to be large and could use a little intimacy.)  I also like the darker vanity and mirrors hung from chains.  Not sure if we will do that, but its pretty stunning.  The last element I like is the stone on the back wall.  This looks to be slab marble behind the mirrors.  We will probably do a marble tile instead of slab to save a lot of money.

vanity and arch detail

arch sides

Design by M E Beck

Here is another arched vanity top I liked.  This one feels a little more dressed up with extra and molding atop the arch.  My clients may actually favor the simpler style and that’s fine with me.  What I also like here is that the arch is stepped in from the vanity base, so it’s not quite so imposing.  This may be beneficial to our layout.

chevron wall

Design by Melanie Turner

My clients were pretty jazzed to do a floating vanity and I was happy to jump on that gravy train.  I like the combination of the floating vanity with the tiled wall above.  I like that the tile peeks out underneath the floating vanity.  The underneath portion is also a great place to tuck accent lighting.  Both my client and I were really into the idea of herringbone tile.  Ultimately I felt it made a better statement on the floor, with something simpler behind the sinks.

As for the actual cabinet style, its needs to be something clean, yet interesting.  We are still figuring that part out.

Should it be a mix of wood (or perhaps painted gray) drawers and metal?

floating vanity with wood and metal

designed by Juniper Tedhams via House Beautiful

Or have a thick stone apron and then standard drawers?

thick marble apron with drawrs below

via Riviera Fine Homes

I love the two-tone tailored look of the vanity below.  The drawer faces are parchment-clad.

tailored vanity style.peter-marino-08-master-bath

designed by Peter Marino

I may re-interpret a few designs we have used in the past.  I love this stepped drawer detail we did in this Gladwyne Girls Bath.  (I haven’t shared this reveal yet!)

stepped drawer- custom cabinet by design manifest

Design by Us, photo by Courtney Apple

I love the idea of a simple vanity trimmed with a little metal with some fabulous hardware.  Since we are discussing doing gray and chrome, I don’t think it will pop the same way it does as below with the stained wood and gold.

vanity trimmed with metal

source unknown

While we are still working out the exact style of the cabinets I’m pretty excited about the direction.  Arched wall with tile alcove, floating modern vanity with special details, gray paint, white marble (or quartzite) and low lighting.  Hopefully my client’s desire for pizzazz will be answered.  Wish me luck- I’m off to present final design ideas this morning.


Before & After: Berwyn Bathroom Renovation

Fun bathroom Reveal to share with you guys today.  Every bathroom project we tackle is different.  Our big challenge with this space was figuring out the function and layout  for the room.  Once we worked that out it was all about the tile, tile, tile.  My clients started with a bathroom that was very white and blue.  While it was a simple and clean design, it was both (a little too) colorful and a little stark at the same time.  My goal was to create a bathroom that felt light and bright, but also had a little more depth.  I still wanted to incorporate color, but in a more subtle, layered way.    After searching high and low for the perfect statement tile, we found a pretty arabesque-like mosaic and built the palette from there.  The result, I dare say, is really beautiful.

Before you check out the Before and Afters, I did an extensive post on the design of this bathroom.  We discussed how we chose the layout, what was saved from the old bath and a little behind the scenes of the design and construction process.  If you would like to learn more about that, you can read the post HERE.

Now onto the pretty pictures!


master wide


berwyn bath by design manifest

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