A few Peeks at my favorite Bathroom Yet

Last Friday Dad and I were out at our Malvern Project reviewing final details for a master suite renovation we plan to begin soon.  We’ve been designing it for months and its full of stunning details and finishes.  I’m really quite excited to see it come to life.  This will be our second project with these clients as we designed and renovated their hall bath last year.  The hall bathroom went from standard builder-grade hum drum to a classic, collected beauty.  Our goal was traditional with a twist: natural woods, marbles and subway tile combined with mixed metals, stand-out lighting, interesting shapes and delicious textiles.  Every time I visit this bath I can’t help but smile.

Here is the BEFORE…

Malvern Reno Hall bath before

A closet crowded the entry, The shower was tucked to the left (not seen) and the whole space felt long and narrow.

This is how it looked when I visited last Friday…

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We flip flopped the toilet and the shower making the shower to focal point at the end of the room.  

(And yes with a window in the shower!)

The toilet is now tucked into the old shower alcove, quite inconspicuously.  (Not seen.)

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Library Sconces provide unexpected lighting for the round iron-rope mirror.

All fixtures are matte black- Jason Wu for Brizo.

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My client was down for open shelving instead of your typical linen closet, so we chose a faux bamboo etagere.

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I just love the way she has styled it!

I helped her select the navy Serena and Lily towels.

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We designed the sink cabinet to look like a classic chest.

The bottom two middle drawers are actually one deep drawer.  Gotta have a place to store bigger items!

The rug is vintage and I love how it pops off the Carrara hexagon floor.

* * *

Once we finish the master suite I plan to have both bathrooms shot professionally, but until then I thought you guys might enjoy this little peek.


Insta-Projects: #ChestnutHillJob

I share a lot more of my “In-Progress” projects on instagram than I do here on the blog.  It’s so easy to snap a photo or two when I’m on a job-site and give a little sneak peek.  I’d like to have all of my big jobs professionally shot, but most have lingering items that delay a fancy shoot.  One such project is #ChestnutHillJob.  If you can’t guess by the hashtag, this is a home in Philadelphia’s gorgeous Chestnut Hill neighborhood.  When I came into the picture there was a lovely, newly built house with virtually no furniture in the dining room, living room, family room or master bedroom.  Over the past 3(!!) years we have steadily and meticulously filled the rooms one by one.  Budget restraints and busy schedules have made this been a long project, but really I think its a blessing.  The home has evolved naturally and my client has taken her time collecting treasures that are sprinkled stylishly throughout the home.  We are mulling over one final decision- the dining room chandelier- and then I think I’m ready to reveal this home for real.

Until then, here are a few of my favorite instagrams from this project.  Note- I never style my pics, she really just keeps her home this lovely!  (With 4 kids too…)

snapshots of chestnut hill project by design manifest

Definitely a different look than the Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad, right?

I like to mix it up.  Neutrals can be fun too.

And please follow me on Instagram for the latest updates- DesignManifest


Happy Friday.  Just wanted to pop in to give a heart felt thanks for all the amazing feedback and support for our Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad Reveal.    You guys are truly the bestest and I’m so grateful for this blog.  I wish I could high five each and every one of you.

You know what I’m also grateful for?  Awesome clients.  Remember this vignette?

Black wall shelf stylilng Design Manifest

Well those vintage cameras aren’t just for show.  My client is actually a talented photographer and develops film and everything.  (Film, what is film?)  He snapped a few pics of the pad and I just had to share.

images on film

bw black wall dining room crednza

bW chandelier

Also- if you missed it- he left me the sweetest comment on the reveal post that I am reposting here.  Let’s just call this my Yelp Review.  Thanks, Jeff!


“Men without women live like bears with furniture.” Rita Rudner


Hi everybody,

Courtney, these pictures are wonderful as usual. Fantastic work!

Naomi’s gifts extend to writing so I think those following her blog already have a feel for her sense of design, and humor, and how driven she is, but perhaps I can add a few details to provide a more complete picture for those that haven’t met Naomi and her father Andrew personally.

The Steins have designed and built spaces for me in the past. If you’re familiar with Naomi’s portfolio you might recognize a few of my pieces of art in another area of her web site. Working with Naomi and Andrew has been a pleasure right from the start; they are unfailingly courteous and forthright while going about the business of building inspired interiors, and the other professionals they recruit share those qualities. I trust them, and their friends too.

Naomi and I have worked with larger budgets and now this more humble one, but as you can see the result is the same: elegant form, color and texture that’s easy to live in and kid friendly. We’ve gone from the first week description of ‘a bachelor with a chair and some art’ (oh heavens) to this design, and seemingly in no time. Thanks, Naomi. As you already know my boys now feel quite happy and relaxed in their new home.

One new approach with this project was the intent of using custom furniture from local sources, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have one piece from Andrew and two from George Coldren. They each added something special to the project and of course now those pieces of furniture mean something more to me than furniture purchased from a far away land. They were made right here in Philadelphia, by friends who care about design and enduring quality.

And the dining room sideboard? Four different pieces were designed in CAD and taped on that wall for review. The first one was approved by me and in production when Naomi cancelled it after finding a detail that she couldn’t accept. It took some work to get to that final design, so those custom pieces are hard won, and keepers. Nice job everyone.

The final details and accessories complete the place and are such a treat; my youngest has touched every little piece of it, turning things around in his hands and asking if we get to keep it daddy. Life can be sweet like that.

But oh the plants . . . I fear for them. Someone please send help before the ruination is complete. :-)

Naomi, Andrew, George, Deb, Courtney. Thanks so much. I’m delighted, and my two smaller bears are simply overjoyed. We’re so lucky.

The best of everything to all of you.


Seriously, too nice.  I can’t handle it.  Fingers crossed the plants make it.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I’ll have to find something new to post about starting next week…

One Room Challenge: Bachelor Pad Edition Week 6 Finale

Woop Woop its time!  I’m both incredibly excited and nervous to reveal the finished Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad.  This project was an awesome challenge for me and sharing it with you guys over the past 6 weeks has been incredibly fun.  Not gonna lie, there were a few moments of sheer terror, but mostly it was fun and  rewarding.  I’m so lucky this is my day job.

The goal was to create a space that was modern, masculine, layered, warm and most importantly, family-friendly.  You see, I’ve been touting this place as a “bachelor pad” but the truth of the matter is, it’s a home to a father and his two sons.  My client’s focus and priority from the beginning was to create a comfortable home for his kids.  My priority was to meet his needs and make it pretty.  I think we both succeeded.

Prepare yourself for picture overload.

If you’ve been following from the beginning, you know it started with a chair

Gentleman's Bachelor Pad by Design Manifest- Black wall eames chair colorful accesories

The Eames lounge chair set the Mid-Century tone for the home.

The Jim Dine lithograph established the color story.

Gentleman's Bachelor Pad by Design Manifest: Black wall shelf stylilng

Brass and gold is sprinkled throughout the accessories, lighting and hardware.

Old, new, patina, polished… I love how it all works together.


With this being a rental, we relied on paint, art and furnishings to transform the space.

Perhaps the black wall was the biggest game changer.

Remember how we started?

gentlemans bachelor pad before and after by Design Manifest


Creating Custom Furniture Pieces

Recently we’ve been dabbling more and more with custom furniture in our interior design projects.  There can be be many reasons to go custom, but mostly I love it for its unlimited options.  With the right artisans I can create a piece that is just the right size, just the right finish and just the right function for my clients.  I’m not limited by a manufacturer’s specifications, lead time or price.  I’ve been really happy with the results so far and look forward to creating more custom furniture in the future (and hopefully in my own home!)

Here are a few of my recent favorite pieces we have had built…

Custom Bench

custom ikat bench metal x legs design manifest

Earlier this summer we teamed up with Chairloom to create a custom bench for our clients’  upper hallway.  We wanted a piece to anchor a family photo wall.  We designed a double X-bench base  that was finished in a distressed gold.  The upholstered top is a gorgeous ikat by Jim Thompson.  This whole house is a study in mostly neutrals and its really stunning.  I can’t wait to photograph it properly and show it off!

Custom Sideboard

custom wood brass credenza

Christiana Cabinetry built  this custom credenza for a client’s family room.  This sits on a long wall that has a television and a “window’ into th kitchen.  We designed a long piece that could span the whole space and make a statement.  It serves as a TV stand, a storage unit and a display piece all in one.  The weathered wood is really chic, but my favorite elements are the brushed bronze legs and ring pulls.

Custom Etagere

gold and wood etagere glass shelves coldren design

Recently we teamed up with Coldren Design for the design and fabrication of an etagere for our Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad.  I had a specific vision for this piece and was able to work closely with furniture maker, George Coldren to see it transform into a reality.  I decided on a brushed gold frame to contrast against the solid wood back.  This bookshelf is going against a black wall (see floor plan here) so I really wanted it to pop.  The glass shelves and open sides help it feel light.  My hope is once it is styled, items will feel like they are floating on the piece.  In the image above the etagere is sitting in my living room, but for the One Room Challenge on Wednesday we will show how it looks in my client’s space.

And for those of you who are curious as to how a pile of this 1″ square steel tube stock…

pile of steel

Can turn into this fabulous etagere…

brushed gold wood etagere with glass shelves

Well you are in luck because here is a quickie progression: