The Tale of a Credenza Bookshelf Thingy

Hey guys.  Thanks so much for all the supportive and sweet comments about the custom furniture we created for the Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad.  Part of the reason I love blogging so much is for the feedback and general cheerleading other design lovers generously give.  I actually learn more as I share my own process.  So thank YOU for helping me grow as a designer and giving me a big head while I do it.  Wink Wink.

A lot of you have asked about the custom pieces, so I thought I would share a brief behind the scenes glimpse.  Today it’s the credenza and I’ll break down Dad’s coffee table after the big finale on Wednesday.

I have never been as intimately involved with a piece of furniture as this bookshelf credenza.  I saw it from conceptualization, to scaled drawings, material selection,   welding, sanding, more welding, staining, delivery and finally styling.  Let me be clear- I in no way built this shelf- that was all George.  But I got to be involved in the process every step of the way from weld placement to stain thickness.  I think you respect a piece a lot more when you know where it came from and all the decisions that went into creating it.  That’s the truth for me, at least.  So here is a brief tale of the credenza bookshelf thingy.  Can you tell I don’t know what to call it?

conceptual rendering of credenza

pile of steel

cutting steal


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:


Shopping for Vintage Wood Credenzas

*Note:  This post relates the space I am decorating for the One Room Challenge.  To get caught up from the beginning, check out this post. *

After doing my initial evaluation of the soon-to-be Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad, I knew an essential piece in the living room would be a credenza.  Some thing super handsome will lots of storage.  It would be the first thing you see when you walk in the door so I wanted it to set the tone for the home.  This is the wall where it will go…

credenza wall before


Traditional Wood Table with Tulip Chairs

Look what I pulled out of the basement?  What do we think of the combo?  I love modern chairs with traditional tables.  I think they add such a nice balance and fresh vitality to a space.  Now if only my tulip chairs weren’t missing their cushions (D’Oh!) and didn’t have the cheapest paint job ever.  I think its time to bring these babies back to life.

carved leg wood table white tulip chair design manifest

That doesn’t mean I’ve made any decisions, RE: multiple tables and chairs.  It just means I’m a sucker for a project.

PS- thanks for the amazing comments and thoughts on Wednesday’s post!  You guys gave me a lot to think about.

Vintage chrome and leather dining chair score

Hello?  Is anyone out there still reading?  I hope so because Fall is in the air and I’m raring for a comeback from my unintentional summer vacation.  Something about Autum makes me want to recharge at home and that pretty much always turns into nesting.  And nesting means lots of fun ideas to share.

I”ll start with this weekend’s flea market find: 4 Vintage chrome and leather chairs.  The brown leather has the perfect patina  and I love it paired with the  modern chrome plated bases.  On top of being handsome, the leather sling seats are super comfy.  Oh and I got them for a great price.  Holler!  I love shopping vintage.  Philly locals- I found them at Clover Market and bought them from Three Potato Four‘s stand.


vintage chrome leather dining chairs tulip table vasarely pop art design manifest dining room


vintage chrome leather chairs design manifest cottage

They are so comfortable and delicious. I really love the warm and modern vibe they add to my home.  Mixing chrome with brass and gold?  Yes Please.

vintage chrome leather dining chairs design manifest

I wasn’t planning on keeping my pedestal table (Ikea Docksta,) but it sure does work well with the chairs.    Now I have serious table dilemma because the chairs add a wrinkle in my dining room plan that I discussed  HERE.

mid century modern chrom leather chair design manifest

But we will dig into that in another post…  Man, I’ve missed blogging!   I promise to keep you in the loop as my dining room continues to evolve.  I”m feeling inspired to jump back into Cottage projects.  Summer Break was nice, but now theI’m excited to reveal some awesome projects in upcoming weeks.  Plus my own pet project, The Cottage.  Happy Fall and happy decorating to you all.