Project Profile: Chestnut Hill Living Room.

Today I wanted to share my own thoughts on a recent project; the living room in our client’s Chestnut Hill Home.   This project was featured on Style Me Pretty Living back in April and I have been slowly working my room through each room sharing details.  This home was one of my first major decorating projects and challenged me to create a space that was much more neutral and traditional than my own style tendencies.  I’ve been delighted with the results and relish the opportunity to tackle more neutral spaces.  I find pushing my own boundaries really help me grow as a designer.

I wish I could call this post a Before and After, but sadly I have no “before” photos of our Chestnut Hill Living Room Makeover.  Just imagine an empty white room with high ceilings, crown moulding and no furniture.  We tackled this room after previously working with our clients’ on several projects including the family room, powder room, bedroom and dining room.  By the time we got to the formal living room I knew my client’s tastes quite well and this one came together harmoniously and quickly.

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Living Room wide

The room is a smaller square space and our first challenge was working out a floor plan.  When thinking of space planning I always ask how a room will be used.  In this case, they wanted a more formal, yet cozy space to read the paper, entertain, have a glass of wine and relax.  We opted for four chairs around an ottoman as it felt more intimate.  My client’s husband’s main request was that he be able to put his feet up on the ottoman.

1 Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project Living Room

With the ottoman as the driving factor in the room, I knew it needed to be special.  I sketched up a custom octagonal piece and presented it to my client.  The legs had a slight Moroccan flair and the faux snakeskin fabric had definitely attitude.  My client could have easily said “NO” or “that’s too bold” but instead she told me she was scared, but trusted me.  Boy am I glad she did, because we absolutely LOVE the result.  When doing a neutral space you need a few surprising elements and some interesting textures!

3 chestnut hill living room ottoman

Keeping consistent with most of the first floor, we used bound sisal rugs and off-white walls.  This flow from room to room really tied the rooms together and created a soothing effect.  Each space has it’s distinct feel yet you also could swap pieces from room to room and they would look great.  I love creating flexible design.  Some people never shift rooms around.  I will walk in a year later and everything is exactly how I left it.  Others evolve in their spaces and continue to tweak.  Neither is wrong.  Your home, your happy place.

black bamboo armchair with cushion- design manifest

Keeping that airy feel, we opted for creamy sheers.  They are stationary panels-not functional- just a little something to add softness to the space.  The shutters provide all the privacy they could need.  (Side note- loving shutters right now and I just want to use them everywhere!  Well at least at my house.)

For additional seating, I found these vintage bamboo chairs and had cushions made in a Kelly Wearstler weave.  I love a little black, a little eclectic and a little old in every space so these chairs checked off quite a few boxes!

living room wingback lounge chair

For the main seating, we used 4 wingback lounge chairs from Lee Industries.  I love how they are super cozy, elegant yet not too massive either.   The proportions were just right for the room.  We let the chairs curves do the talking and used a quieter simple linen.   The pillows provide just enough pop.

My client used personal pieces for art on all four walls.  Above is an antique rutter found on the Cape.  My client’s vacation up there and it feels very “them.”  I love that it is not traditional art, but is still beautiful and tells a story.  I think its so important for a room to have these little bits of personal character.

vignette on vintage tea table

Besides seating, we filled the room with two tables.  Above is an antique tea cart that sits between the two front windows.  Below is a wood console table that fills the long empty wall.  While it’s not an antique, it matches the tea cart quite well.  By limiting the finishes in this room it felt softer and more serene.  Sometimes I feel like in an effort to be layered rooms can have texture overload.  Wood, metal, stone, lacquer, rope, lucite, animal print…. it can all be lovely mixed together, but sometimes less is more.  (And sometimes more is more.  It’s personal ;)

wood console table flanked by floor lamps- design manifest

For the console table, both my client and I were in sync with our desire to flank the table with floor lamps instead of placing them on the tabletop.  This was great for two reasons.  1) It filled in this long empty wall nicely and 2) it left room on the table for collectibles and plants!

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Living Room sideboard detail

My client commissioned the painting above the console table.  It is based on a vintage family photograph.  I just love that!  As for the fab lamp shades, we added the black trim ourselves.  I love the little bit of definition it adds to the lights and the wall.

There was this framed moulding above the fireplace that was a little bit perplexing.  We discussed filling it with paper, art, paint, even taking it away.  We ended up mounting antique mirror inside the frame and floating a piece of art over it.  In my opinion you can never have too many mirrors in a room- I love the brightening and expanding effect.  (When done in a tasteful way.  Scary 80′s plate mirror would be an exception.)

art hung over mirror- design manifest

A couple of white pierced garden stools do double duty with providing a little visual texture AND a place to plop that glass of wine.  I like the mix of shapes and lines we used in this room: round, linear, curved, octagonal… it helps make the square room flow better.

white pierced garden stools as side tables

And that is my two cents on the Chestnut Hill Living Room design.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!  You can see the whole project HERE.

Images by Courtney Apple

If you live in the Philadelphia area and would like to discuss your own home project, please contact me at naomi@designmanifest.com

Mixed Seating in the Dining Room

One of the most common requests my clients give me when designing their dining room is a mix of seating.  Benches, head chairs, a mix of firm of soft… gone are the days of the matching sets of table, chairs and sideboards.  People want flexibility and style to entertain in different ways.  We try to design dining rooms to be used as more than just the holiday dinner spot that sits empty most of the year.  Formal dining rooms can double as libraries, lounges, homework headquarters, or your favorite room to sip your morning coffee.

 

For our Chestnut Hill Project, we provided three types of seating in the dining room.  We wanted the flexibility to host large groups or intimate gatherings, formal adult events or children’s dinner parties.  The kids love to pull the bench up to the table and draw.  The head chairs, slipcovered in a linen are super cozy and provide a little drama in the room.  And the Louis XVI oval back chairs are surprisingly comfortable for a good price.  (Thanks Ballard Designs!)

Here is how we set up the room….

Layout Option 1: 6 chairs with 2 Head Chairs

5 chestnut hill dining room

Layout Option 2: 3 chairs, a bench and 2 Head Chairs

MIxed Seating in the dining room design manifest

When the bench isn’t needed, It sits against the window wall

dining room bench

How other people use mixed dining seating

mixed seating in the dining room christine dovey

Christine Dovey

seating with bench in dining room

Laura U

mixed seating in dining room tulip chairs with settee

Marie Olsson Nylander

mixed seating in dining room wing chairs with benches

Tracery Interiors

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(Images of DM Dining Room by Courtney Apple)

Sources for the DM Dining Room can be found HERE

Project Dream Kitchen Before and After

Last year we designed and built this amazing kitchen in North Ardmore.  This was our second time working with our lovely client, having done two bathrooms and a few decorative projects the year before.  Most of our clients are repeat clients (or referrals) and we find the more we work together, the easier the process is and the more beautiful the result.

Hopefully by now you have seen the feature in Lonny Magazine from last week.  (Thanks to all who left sweet and supportive comments!!)  Today I wanted to talk a little about the design process behind the kitchen and share before photos.

The before kitchen wasn’t so bad, but the cherry cabinets were about 20 years old and had started to come apart.  We took the opportunity to refresh, tweak the layout, improve the quality of cabinetry & appliances and make the space better suit my client and her family.  When you enter from the dining room you see long back wall of the kitchen and kitchen island.

cooktop and island

Before there was no real focal point.  We decided to add an industrial range and statement range hood.  We also moved the sink from the corner into the island and added pendant lights and seating at the island.  The back wall felt very boxy with all of the those wall cabinets, so we broke it up with some open shelves.

design manifest kitchen in lonny magazineimage via Lonny Magazine

Design Manifest Kitchen Black and Brass Hood Lucite Pendantsimage by Design Manifest

After careful research we selected a 48″ blue star range.  My client loved the powerful burners and I loved that we could do it in black and brass.  We both agreed that we were over the stainless craze in kitchens (hello finger prints!) so we used very little in this kitchen.  Vogler Metalworks made us a custom black hood with brass strapping.  It definitely sets the tone for the kitchen- classic yet bold and updated at the same time.

black and brass hood by design manifest image via lonny magimage via Lonny Magazine

design manifest kitchen hood

image by Design Manifest

Functional storage is even more important than looks in the kitchen, so we made sure to fill this space with all the necessary bells and whistles.  A pot filler in matte black finish means my client doesn’t need to carry her heavy pots from the sink to the range.  We built in two “garages” to hide away small appliances to keep the countertops clean.  We also placed a spices, cooking utensils and pots and pans conveniently close to the cooktop.

design manifest kitchen spice drawerimage by Design Manifest

BEFORE- The sink was in the corner (I rarely like that,) the eating area was raised to bar height (I never like that) and an awkward structural post sat on the counter.

kitchen with post

AFTER- Sink moved to island, counter height lowered to open up the space and we were able to move and conceal the post into cabinetry.  I don’t usually love countertop garages, but in this case it was functional for storage and to hide the post, so it was definitely a win.

design manifest kitchen with corner garage concealing postimage by Design Manifest

To balance out the heaviness of the black range and hood we opted for white cabinets (painted in BM Decorators White.)  The base cabinets are a standard shaker with ogee bead at the inner edge.  For the upper cabinets, I wanted a something a little more special.  I sketched out a clean, yet more intricate pattern and Christiana Cabinetry brought them to life.  I call it the Design Manifest Door and I love it.

Design Manifest Cabinet Door- Detailed stepped shakerimage by Design Manifest

We searched high and low for a backsplash tile that would compliment the soft blue gray accents in our quartzite counters.  We ended up Quemere subway tile in the Ash color.  It’s subtle and so pretty.  The 2×6 size is classic yet also a little different.  The quartzite is Namibian Sky.

lonny shootimage via Lonny Magazine

BEFORE- the kitchen counters wrapped the corners at the end of the kitchen.  I hate short stumpy corners.  No one uses this area to work in and they become junk collectors.

kitchen before 2

AFTER-  We eliminated the corners, allowing for a longer island and more straight counter space.  Note the second storage garage on the left.

lonny shoot horimage via Lonny Magazine

BEFORE- To the left of the dining room door were the double ovens and a stupid little corner.   This area was neither very functional or pretty.

ovens

AFTER- Our double oven is now part of the range, so this wall was turned into the refrigerator and snack zone.  I always like a dedicated section of the kitchen for the toaster, microwave and coffee maker to live.  They should be out of the main work area.  We used a 42″ Kitchen Aid Refrigerator and added panels to make it a little softer.

design manifest kitchen paneled refrigerator and snack zoneimage by Design Manifest

This area also has a bread drawer and baskets for snacks!

design manifest kitchen snack zone

image by Design Manifest

You may have noticed the soffit on the left side in the image above.  This kitchen had several structural issues we had to work around.  Besides the post I mentioned earlier, there was also a structural soffit we could not remove and the roof line cut into the ceiling of the kitchen.  We concealed the issues with cabinetry the best that we could.

BEFORE-  The previous kitchen designer kept the wall cabinets short to avoid the sloping roof line.

kitchen before with roofline

AFTER- Dad and our carpenters took those cabinets up to the ceiling.  This was no easy task as we had to cut out the backs of the wall cabinets to cope them to the roofline.  Note that the hood had to be cut on an angle too.  These details might not be as glamorous, but I feel like they really help the kitchen feel finished and luxurious.

Design Manifest Kitchen with black and brass hood and industrial rangeimage by Design Manifest

The island was a fun moment. You may have noticed the black and white doors.  Christiana Cabinetry hand painted the white accent on the inner trim of the doors.  I love how its tailored and bold yet still feels classic.  Notice a theme here?  We really wanted to do something different in this kitchen yet not have it be too outlandish.  It’s tough to take risks in kitchens.  They are very expensive, so most people don’t like to overly personalize the space.  I’m so proud of my client for taking a few design risks.  I think it paid off well in this space.

design manifest kitchen island doorsimage by Design Manifest

The hardware on the island is vintage and was found on ebay.  My client polished each piece herself.  We did a double laminated counter on the island for extra thickness.  It’s a single eased edge elsewhere.

lonny cabinet detail

image via Lonny Magazine

Sorry for the terrible pic, but I wanted to show the foot detail.

I love little things like this… they add so much to the cabinetry.

island foot detail

The faucet at the sink is the one place we chose to do stainless.  It was practical, durable and just felt right.  Not everything in a kitchen needs to match.

design manifest island sinkimage by Design Manifest

Besides the sink, the island also houses the dishwasher (its paneled,) a pull-out trash and recycling bin,  a bookshelf and additional bonus storage.  But let’s be real, the real star of the island are the statement pendants- the Alpine by Hudson Valley.  They were a bit of a splurge but they provide excellent light and are so stunning in person!

Black and White island doors by Design Manifestimage by Design Manifest

Now instead of that stupid raised bar outside the kitchen proper, the island has seating for two!  People actually sit at islands.  I feel like no one sits as raised bars.  That’s why I’m such hater about them.  PS- I love these stools from Ballard Designs.

design manifest kitchen island stoolimage by Design Manifest

BEFORE- The refrigerator was cramped to the right of the dining room doors.  There was also NO dedicated pantry in this kitchen.

ovens frig

AFTER- Since we moved the fridge to the left of the dining room doors, we were able to make the right side be a full pantry.  This kitchen is a dark space and we wanted to bring light however possible, so we opted to add mirrored fronts to the pantry.

design manifest kitchen island with mirrored pantryimage by Design Manifest

lonny pantryimage via Lonny Magazine

We also updated the eating area which is open to the kitchen.  Before, the table was a little large for the space and it felt crowded.

BEFORE

eating area

We lightened up the walls with Ben Moore’s Horizon, removed the window treatments and started fresh with furniture.  A 48″ round table fit best in the space and was big enough to fit the family.  We mixed a cozy tufted banquette with french Louis XVI square back chairs.  The floral pattern on the chair backs provides a nice hit of pattern in the otherwise neutral room.

AFTER

Design Manifest Breakfast room with banquette and pattern backed seats

image by Design Manifest

design manifest kitchen chair detail

image by Design Manifest

BEFORE- Dad taking notes on the first day of our design interview.

from eating area

AFTER

design manifest kitchen 10

The Floor Plan

dream kitchen floor plan by design manifest

And THAT is project Dream Kitchen.  What a dream it was to design and build it!

I want to thank my client for trusting us with her home and allowing me to share the results.

Clare, You are awesome and I hope you continue to enjoy the space.

Design Manifest in Lonny Magazine!

Pinch Me.

Today one of my dreams has come true; a Design Manifest project is being featured in Lonny Magazine.  Last year Dad and I had the pleasure of designing and building a beautiful kitchen for the sweetest family ever.   Custom touches were used throughout and each detail was planned with care.  From the black and brass strapped hood, to the two-tone island to the custom cabinet doors, working on this space was truly a dream.  In fact, I shared a few peeks last year on instagram which I dubbed #projectdreamkitchen.  Today, finally, I am so thrilled to share the results.

You can see the article HERE.

design manifest kitchen in lonny magazine

(image via Lonny Mag)

I want to thank Lonny Magazine for the pleasure and honor of gracing their online pages.  Working with photographer, Genevieve Garruppo, art director, Wendy Scofield and writer, Mackenzie Schmidt was such a thrill.  I’ve never had one of my projects shot by magazine before so it was very very cool.

I hope you all love the space.  Kitchens are my absolute favorite rooms to build.

 

Chestnut Hill Family Room Before and After

Here’s the design story of our Chestnut Hill Family room renovation.

When our clients first came to us their family room furnishings were a collection of randoms and hand-me-downs.    An old sofa, an assortment of uncomfortable chairs  and a rug that didn’t suit their style were all given the boot.  We also didn’t like the television over the fireplace.  It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the room.  We needed a better focal point.

family room before

My client’s have a family of 6 and wanted a space that was elegant yet comfortable, kid friendly yet chic.  They favored neutrals, but weren’t opposed to  pattern or a the use of selective color.  The goal was clean, bright classic, beachy but not beachy.  “Hip traditional” is how I like to think of it.

The room is pretty large with high beamed ceilings and two sets of french doors.  We wanted to keep the walls white, the windows bare and beef up the architecture in the room.  Here’s what we came up with…

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Family Room built-in bookshelves

We built white bookshelves along the empty wall that previously housed the American Flag.   The television was relocated from the fireplace to the bookshelves.  I love placing the TV amongst books and personal items… it’s such a good way to “hide it.”  Now this wall gives us great storage, display and TV viewing.   Oh and the built-ins provide for that stronger architectural presence we wanted.  Quadruple winner.

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- bookshelf detail

While the walls are an off-white, we did the back of the bookshelves in a very soft blue.  It’s pretty and subtle and adds a cheerful touch in the room.

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Family Room bookshelves

You might be thinking that a sofa facing away from the Television is not very practical.  Don’t worry there are two sofas!  While TV watching definitely goes down in the room, we also wanted a space that was conducive to conversation and socializing.  We placed two sofas facing each other in front of the fireplace.   This is the heart of the family room.

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Family Room fireplace

 I love the look of two sofas with an ottoman in between.  So classic.  The stools in front of the fireplace are the perfect cherry on top.

BEFORE

family room before 2

AFTER

12 family room 3

There are a lot of neutrals, woods and irons layered in this room.

Linen Sofa, tufted linen ottoman, sisal rug, cowhide, reptile velvet  stools… ALL neutral.

Yet it interesting and rich.  I believe it’s because all all the textures and finishes.

ottoman with rugs

family room sofa ottoman stools

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- End table detail

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Family Room sofa detail

I really enjoyed selecting my neutral pillows!

Luckily my clients were down with a a little chinoiserie and greek key.

Who says you need color to have fun?

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Project- Family Room Chest

Speaking of neutral and beautiful, I’m still in love with this chest we selected for under the stairs.  Hexagon antique mirror on wood.  It’s really a special piece!

paisley bergere chair by design manifest

Just because the room is neutral, doesn’t mean it’s boring.  We went bold on the bergere chairs with a black, white and caramel paisley.

I love black, white and caramel.  I could do that scheme over and over again.

Design Manifest Chestnut Hill Family Room

I just love how this room turned out.

It’s such a happy, beautiful space.

I know the whole family uses it and enjoys it too!

What a fun one to work on.

I’m hoping there are a lot more hip traditional projects in our future.

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Thank you to Courtney Apple for the beautiful pictures.

Sources for this room can be found on the Style Me Pretty Living Home feature.