What We are Working on Right Now… Historic Gladwyne Renovation

It is extremely convenient that both of our major renovation projects right now are in Gladwyne (like 2 minutes apart) which happens to be a 10 minute drive from my house.  I talked about the master bathroom remodel we are doing two weeks ago (see this post here,) and today I thought I would share about our other project.   It’s a doozy.  A historic home… pretty sure the oldest section was built in 1690… in need of a complete gut job.   We have been working on designs for months and now demolition has begun.  It’s pretty awesome to work on this kind of project and I’m really looking forward to the transformation.


{The Oldest Section of the House}

As most old houses go, this one has seen a lot of renovations and sadly was stuck somewhere between the 80’s and plain dilapidation.  This is the kitchen.  Not exactly fitting for a historic home, right?

kitchen before

Before hiring us, our clients worked with a team of architects for several months on plans for the remodel.  Items to be revamped included a new grand front staircase, major wall removal (including a chimney removal,) kitchen, master suite and 2-3.5 bathrooms.  When we came to look at the project, the first thing I zeroed in on were the plans for the kitchen.  The kitchen is the heart of the home and my opinion its the most important room when remodeling a house.

Here is the original design plan.  Note where it says “New Door” A- that is the main entrance for the homeowners.


Reviewing other people’s design plans is always a little tricky.  I didn’t want to insult the architects or poop on a plan that my clients’ were really happy about.  But, the fact of the matter is that I thought I could design something better.  I thought the kitchen felt RRRRREALLY far from the family room.  Also there was no mudroom, no pantry and I didn’t like how the entry door split right through the work area- cutting into travel zone from fridge to sink to cooktop.  And then there was the breakfast bar… that eating area was also far from the kitchen.  The peninsula eating area with one  sided entry felt way too contemporary to me.  I would want a kitchen that had all of the modern amenities, but also felt right at home in a very old home.  Luckily my clients were open-minded to new ideas and they let me play.

Here is the future “Breakfast Area.”  The fireplace and wall will come out and open up to the family room.

breakfast area before

And here is my kitchen design that our client’s approved…

naomi's kitchen design for historic home

We plan to move the kitchen into the former “breakfast area” making it more centrally located and closer to the family room.  The back wall, which housed the range in the original plan will be closed off and turned into a mudroom/ pantry.

old house kitchen rendering

As I mentioned above, demolition began a couple of weeks ago.  The wall with chimney is now gone!  Hello family room.

kitchen demolition

Seeing the space opened up was amazing!!  Now our client is re-thinking a few things.  Do we relocate the bathroom above the kitchen to allow for a cathedral ceiling?  Do we spend the extra money to lower the kitchen floor to make it level with the family room?  Do we remove the back stair to allow for a slightly larger kitchen space?  These are all up to our clients, but we will be there to make adjustments as needed.

This project will take several months, so no quickie reveal anytime soon.  Nevertheless, it’s a fun one for me and Dad :)

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!

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!


What We are Working on Now ….. PART 2….. *** Current Interior Design Projects *** “Swarthmore Project”

We are back for another week of the behind the scenes action at DM.  I’m glad to hear a lot of you enjoyed these progress posts!  One thing I really try to do on this blog is “keep it real.”  It’s not all about glitz and glamour of the after shots.  There is a laborious process behind it too.  My hope is by sharing a bit of the development I might inspire or help others with their homes.

Last week we talked about a large decorating project in Malvern, this week we will talk a bit about our plans for a family room renovation in Swarthmore.  I’ve shared just a few peeks of this project on instagram under the hashtag #swarthmoreproject.  I also talked about inspiration for this project this post on denim and stripes.  If you read that post, you know we are planning a blue and white striped sofa.  But how did we get there and what are we building around it?  Read on!


family room before

FAMILY ROOM before 3

From an architectural standpoint it was a great room to work with.  It’s a nice size- 18′ x 21′- which is good because we need to fit both a sitting area AND a table for casual meals.  While the ceiling isn’t high, the thick wood beams add character without closing in the space.  And the floors are beautiful wide planked wood.  The space feels a little bit rustic country, yet also traditional at the same time.

After to talking to my client and getting a sense of her style – lover of all things blue, open to pattern, bohemian touches, pretty much anything Design Manifest (yay!)- I began to build a vision for the design.  Since the architecture was so rustic, I knew I wanted furnishings that complimented it but didn’t feel too “farm housey.”  We needed to add classic traditional elements with a few more modern pieces.

bronchetti textile

{A textile scheme at mid-way through design.  Close, but not final.}

Early on I got a big hit that this room needed to have the streamlined feel of traditional Ralph Lauren Americana mixed in with some bohemian touches.  Denims, stripes, leather, braided jute rugs would be the base of the room with a great pillow mix thrown in.  Color was definitely welcome, but layered onto a neutral base instead of a color explosion.  The overall feel needed to be edited, classic and comfortable.  Comfort and Practicality.  Aren’t those two the most important things in a family room?  This space will be for a family of 6 including young children, so that was always on the forefront of my mind when creating the design.

With every project, we start with the floor plan.  After reviewing and editing a few options we ended up with the plan below.  You can see that it’s similar to the arrangement they already had, only I tweaked placement to allow for a larger table and larger loveseat for additional seating.

swarthmore family room layout

With the plan finalized, we started paint and minor construction.  I knew the walls had to lighten up.  It’s amazing how much brighter and crisper the space feels now that the room is white.  The ceiling beams really pop now.  It’s such a great neutral base to build our room.

family room painted

The built-in bench was also installed early.  We upholstered it in a Ralph Lauren denim which we had treated with a fabric protector.  It should hold up well to abuse from kids and adults.

window bench

Next week we are installing the room and I cannot wait to see it come together!!  I’ll leave you with a few of the pieces we will be putting in the room…

swarthmore furnishings