Before & After: New Kitchen Light for City Condo

A few moons and many lifetimes ago I owned a cute little condo in downtown (Center City) Philadelphia.  While I’ve moved on to a few homes since then, I held onto the condo and rented it out to a nice string of tenants.  The most recent tenant just moved out and I walked into the unit I was horrified at how dated and beat up it was.  Obviously this hadn’t happened over night (more like 7 years of use and abuse,) but looking at it more closely with my refined and discerning eyes, I knew a little updating needed to be done.

The kitchen in particular was just short of terrible.  Years of accumulated oil had stained the walls and cabinets.  There is no natural light in the kitchen and it felt DARK and DATED.  While a full renovation felt way out of reach, I knew I could immediately improve the space with a new kitchen light.  It’s such an easy change that can improve both looks and function.  When the fine folks at Del Mar Fans reached out to me about partnering on a lighting post I really felt like the universe was giving me a personal high-five.  My kitchen was getting a mini-makeover!

I’ve always cringed at the site of my old kitchen light.  Due to the construction of the condo, it was not feasible to recess cans into the ceiling, so instead the previous owner chose an unfortunate fluorescent moon dome for kitchen illumination.  Here is the kitchen before we started our makeover…


Did you miss the light?  It’s right past the soffit over the island.  (The dropped ceiling there allows for two recessed lights.)

BEFORE KITCHEN- offending light

kitchen light before 1

When it’s off, it’s sort of just bland and un-cute.  But when it’s on…. the fluorescent lighting feels like you are in a hospital room.  Hello Moon Dome!  This pic doesn’t even do justice to the ickyness.

kitchen before- light on

When searching for my new kitchen light I had a few requirements

1)   Close-to Ceiling fixture.  Unfortunately my condo is not blessed with high ceilings, so I needed a light that would leave 80″ of clearance below it.

2) Max Wattage.  As the only light in the room, I couldn’t just chose something with one 60 watt bulb.  I needed something that would brighten up the space.  My goal was at least 180 watts

3)  Stylish Finish.  I waffled back in forth on whether I should do nickel or brass.  What if I went to sell it and potential owners weren’t as trendy as me?  Ultimately I love brass, so I went for the gold.

4)  Good Scale.  While I couldn’t have a light that hung low, I didn’t need a pip-squeak diameter either.  I wanted a light that would command the space and make a statement!

5) Sexy.  With the short ceiling, I would never be putting a pretty chandelier in this space.  That’s fine.  Not every room needs a chandelier.  Instead I wanted something tailored, classic and grand enough to make a little statement.

Taking my requirements into consideration, I perused Del Mar Fans’ website for some potential lights.

Close To Ceiling Kitchen Lights

1 / 2 / 3

4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9

I ended up choosing Minka Lavery’s Harbour Point semi-flush light.  At 19″ in diameter I liked how it was bigger than flush mount lights so it commands the space.   The brass finish or “Liberty Gold.” feels very now, but I like how the lines of the piece feel very classic,     Also with 3 bulbs at 100 watts each, my kitchen would be getting decent light!  You can find the light I purchased HERE.

While kitchen updates are still in progress, the light has been hung and I’m super happy.  It’s Stylish, It’s Bright, and its Brass.  What’s not to love?

Habour Point Semi Flush Brass kitchen Light

kitchen light 3

Besides changing the light, we are also painting the ceiling.  Previously it was a dark cream and now its a really light blue.  It’s so subtle you can barely tell against the newly gray cabinet frames.  Perhaps I need to go a shade darker to really make the ceiling shine?  In small defined spaces like this I love doing a subtle color on the ceiling.  I think it makes the space more fun and draws attention to my new pretty light.  There is still a lot more to be done in here, but it’s feels so good to be well lit.

This one actually makes me happy when its lit.  Hard to photograph, but easy to enjoy in the kitchen.

Gold semi flush lamp lit up

As you can see, we will be doing a gray and brass kitchen.  I just love that combo.  The light was such a great jumping off point.

kitchen light 6

Do you approve of my new kitchen light?

Do you have an offending light you wish you can replace?

If so you are in luck because Del Mar Fans is doing a giveway on their Facebook Page!!  Seriously, who couldn’t use a new light in some kind?

It starts tomorrow and you have 7 days to enter.  Please head over to their page for details.

This post is sponsored by Minka Lavery & Del Mar Fans & Lighting.


Favorite Finds of the Month- Soft, Sweet and a little Exotic

I tend to vacillate between a few design moods- loving bold,dark and exotic, favoring neutral, layered, and textural, etc.  This month I’m really feeling color, but in a very soft way.  I want pale pink, coral, soft blues, grays, maybe just a touch of yellow.  I like the sweetness of pastels balanced by touch of global influence: a bench that looks like it belongs in Morocco, a gilt mirror with an Italian flair, a chandelier with an exotic shape.  Pastels can get so girly and that’s just not my thing.  You need to throw in something rough, patina, something not so perfect.  Finish off with a few modern and masculine elements and you have yourself a winner.

Here are a few pieces that I am totally crushing on this month.  They all fall into this soft, sweet spot I’m loving with interiors.

DM faves soft and sweet

pillow / chandelier / painting

rug / bench / mirror

And a few rooms I’m feelin’…

colorful melbourne home

{Miranda Skoczek’s home}

nuevo estilo space pastels

{Nuevo Estilo}

soft pink boho room skona hem

{Skona Hem}

ellen pompeo trailer

{Ellen Pompeo’s trailer}

Goes so well with my fave vintage flatweave rug we have for sale on our instagram (@designmanifest)

armenian vintage flatweave rug design manfiest

striped multi-color vintage flatweave rug- design manifest

38″ x 102″

$400 with free shipping to US

email if you would like to purchase!

see more details –

Rejuvenation Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the Rejuvenation Giveaway.  The lucky winner of $100 gift certificate is Kat!



And I just followed all of Rejuvenation’s boards on Pinterest (must have been confused by visiting the site all the time).

Congrats Kat.  I hope you buy yourself something lovely.

hood pendant rejuvenation

I am personally obsessed with this Hood Pendant!

Lighting Week: Kitchen Pendants

Sorry I missed you guys yesterday… big presentation and couldn’t fit in a shoot.  As a result of that, I will have to reveal my dining room chandelier another time.  But today you are still in for treat because I’m sharing my lovely kitchen pendants.  I waffled for awhile on what to buy but am so happy with my choice.  The mix of brass and glass is just the chic look I was going for the scale is perfection.  At 10″ wide they are substantial but not too big for my 54″ island.  Mini pendants are so JV in my book… I want something that makes a statement!  The fact that these are mostly see-through helps them from feeling too overwhelming and doesn’t block my back art-wall too much.

design manifest kitchen (more…)

Lighting Week: My 3rd Floor Lounge

3 posts 3 days in a row?  Who is a newly reformed blogging champion?  Prepare yourself for less posts next week, m’kay?

We are continuing on with Lighting Week.  On Monday I showed you my guest room plug-in pendant light, on Tuesday I revealed my bedroom glass chip chandelier, and today I’m sharing my stringball chandelier in the third floor lounge.  I’ve posted about this light before, but I thought it would interesting to see it in context.  This room is still pretty much an empty canvas.  After I removed all of the walls and painted the floors and ceiling white, I’ve pretty much let it sit in this state.  It will probably be the last room I finish and I’m ashamed to say I don’t spend much time up here because it is such a cute space.

This room is all about being white and bright with pops of color and texture.  My stringball chandelier was perfect up here because it adds a nice modern touch while also being textural and organic.  While unlit, it is an unassuming little sculpture, but when illuminated, it transforms this space into a cozy crystal.

design manifest 3rd floor lounge tribal rug pink desk string ball chandelier

sting ball detail

I did not DIY this light, but there are many tutorials out there.

I bought mine while shopping at Structube in Canada.

design manifest lounge pink desk white room

3rd floor lounge string ball lit up

As I mentioned, the light is at its best when lit- creating a dream like space.

Unfortunately I do not have the photographic skillz to capture the beauty.

design manifest 3rd floor lounge eames chairs tribal rug

There is a lot more to be done in this room, but that’s OK.  I’ll get to it when I get to it.

In the meanwhile, it’s a good spot for a pug to nap.

{Sources- Rug= Ebay, Desk = West Elm Parson Desk plus Glidden Very Bery Paint, Eames Chair = Trash Picked}

See all Lounge posts HERE


and don’t forget…

Enter the $100 Rejuvenation Giveaway HERE