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.)

Cottage Project: DIY Lucite Suzani Ottoman

I’m FED UP with the chaos that is my home, so I’ve given myself a June deadline to pull it together.  It feels good to have a date… it really motivates me to design and execute.  And when I’m in the design zone, I don’t stop for nuttin’.  Think obsessed, vigorous and effective.  Which is what I’ll need to be done by June!

I have big plans for a kitchen renovation, but that probably wont be until the fall at the earliest.  My focus right now is the interior design of the other rooms in the house, plus a quickie update to the kitchen.  Everything is like 75-90% there, but not quite “finished.”  My focus is pulling that last bit together and making it all shine.

Today I’m sharing an update (DIY!) I just finished in my living room.  I was tired of my old ottoman, so after a little scheming I decided to create my own lucite ottoman.  This project was inexpensive, easy, fun and I think the result is damn sexy.

DIY Lucite Suzani Ottoman bench


Like many of you out there, I have a bit of a lucite fetish.  I felt LUCITE would be perfect for my ottoman legs because I already have a lot of wood and metal furniture and didn’t want to repeat those materials again.  Unfortunately lucite furniture and leg parts are expensive!  I am too fickle and cheap with my own stuff, so I found another way to source lucite.  Turns out Wayfair sells a lucite ottoman for under $200.  Since the ottoman size worked well in my room, I decided to buy their version and recover the top myself.


Seasonal Rug Switch

With the hot days of summer upon us I have adapted my living room to better suit my mood and season.  Gone is the layered jute/cowhide look and layered ottoman.  I wanted something a little more minimal, a little cooler.  So we just have the cowhide down and I’m really enjoying the wood floors for a change!  I also switched up my La Fiorentina bench for my vintage live-edge table.  I love the organic feel of the table and it’s a nice scale for the petite room.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


DM Living room- Layred cowhide with jute rug, patterened ottoman, slipcover sofa-


Cowhide rug slipcover sofa and bamboo chair

One of the benefits of the smaller rug- besides enjoying those wood floors- is that my entry mat and rug no longer overlap.  I have a teeny house with no foyer so the front door walks right into the living room.  It’s nice to have a little visual space there.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Next up is a little pillow and art change up.

But I’m in no hurry… it’s summer after all.  Let’s go outside!

Living Room with cowhide and vasarely

Dish: Do you change up your decor for the seasons?

It makes all the difference.

Reasons to Celebrate

I’m feeling celebratory.  Business is fantastic, Winter is (please. God. hopefully) ending soon, Romance is alive and well in my life, and my house is FINALLY coming together.  I’ve given myself a summer deadline to complete The Cottage.  Finishing in 4-odd months feels pretty daunting when I feel like it’s so far from perfect, but I’m trying to tackle in one small element at a time.  With each new step I celebrate.  A glass of wine, a happy dance, whatever.  My home is starting to make me feel giddy again… and shouldn’t our homes be our happy place?


Here are a few small reasons I’m celebrating today:

1.  Black Bamboo Chinese Chippendale Chairs Reupholstered!

I picked up a pair of these vintage chairs years ago and let them sit with ugly upholsltery because I didn’t want to spend the money to recover them or pick a fabric.  I discussed fabric ideas HERE but ended up choosing something different.  I found this great vinyl faux ostrich fabric down on Fabric Row of Philadelphia ans snagged 1.5 yards.  I love that it’s light, textural and totally durable.  The brass nailheads are a nice touch too, I think.

Black Bamboo chair with Ostrich Upholstery

chinese chippendale chinoiserie chair with ostrich upholstery les touches pillow (1)

2.  The slipcover has made its triumphant return!

After 4 months of sitting crumpled in a bag I finally accomplished my personal goal of getting my slipcover dry cleaned.  I spent the winter with snowy boots, dirty dogs and my old gray original upholstery on my sofa.  IT IS SO NICE HAVING OPTIONS WITH THE UPHOLSTERY.  The gray was perfect for winter but now I’m welcoming the natural linen again.  It feels so fresh and clean that I can almost feel the spring air wafting through my cottage.

DM Living room- Layered cowhide over jute rug, patterened ottoman, slipcover sofa

3.  The Fireplace Mantel has been Refreshed

I loved my holiday mantel and kept it a little too long, but it was time to mix it up.  I needed a little less gold and shimmer and a little more softness.  I’m simplifying things all over the cottage and being a little more selective with what I display.  Less is more.  Just don’t call me a minimalist.

DM Fireplace Mantel simple styling

Design Manifest Fireplace Mantel Gold Mirror

So there you go- just a few small tweaks to the living room and I already feel like I’m on my way to a finished home.  Fingers crossed I can continue to pull it together.