Cottage Dining Room Update

The best fringe perk of renovating my kitchen for the One Room Challenge is that I was inspired to pull together my dining room as well.  I didn’t make a ton of changes – swapped out a chandelier, added a roll of wallpaper, 2 pillows and a runner- but it really made a huge difference in aesthetics and function of this “room.”  I use quotes around the word room because my entire first floor is open concept, so it’s super important that each area flow and feel cohesive.

For a little over a year my dining room looked liked this.  Glass table made by Coldren Design, Panton (knock-off) side chairs, vintage Chinese Chippendale head chairs and a vintage chandelier I found on 4th Street in Philadelphia.

old dining room

As much as I absolutely Love my vintage chandelier, it wasn’t functional in this space.  My dining table is multi-purpose ans also serves as our main work desk.  We do a ton of design work here and the old chandelier just wasn’t bright enough.  If this was solely a meal time table it would be great, but but for a place to work, I really needed UP the wattage.  Don’t worry, the vintage chandelier is staying in the family.  I’m long-term loaning it to lil sis Becca.

I did a little searching and selected Crystorama’s 6-light Calypso Chandelier to hang over my glass table.  Crystorama has been such an awesome partner for the past few ORC’s.  I love working with another family-run company and their lights are really exquisite.   Like this bad boy…

calypso chandelier crystorama

This 6-light chandelier hit on every category I was looking for:


This chandelier puts out so much light!!  It’s super functional and bright when we need it.  Plus, we have it on a dimmer, so it can go from very bright to quite romantic in just the movement of the switch.

DIMENSIONS / 30″ wide x 20″H  (Height is from bottom of crystal to top where 3 rods join together.)

I love the scale of this chandelier.  It’s both substantial yet airy.  It makes a statment from when you walk in the door but it also doesn’t block the view.

STYLING/ Modern Glamour / A new Twist on traditonal

The shape is contemporary but the crystals add this traditional elegance.  I thought the mix complimented the vibe in the kitchen.


crystorama calypso teardrop crystal detail

Yes that would be hundreds of gorgeous tear drop crystals that have to be hung individually.

Thank Gawd for assistants 😉

Now that it’s hung, I really love how it looks when it’s lit up. The light bulbs are placed inside the metal ring so the crystals do a nice job of concealing them whether the fixture is on or off.  (Great for you exposed bulb haters.  I don’t really get you, but it’s cool.)

Another big change in my dining room was adding wallpaper to the stair wall.

Stair Wall Before.  This always felt so unfinished to me.

stair wall before

And Stair Wall Now.

Design Manifest Dining Room black white abstract geometric wallpaper glass dinig table panton chairs calypso teardrop chandelier

I really love the simple graphic nature of this wallpaper.  The paper is Nixon by Milton and King.   I can’t tell you how many people have told me (unprompted) that they don’t usually like wallpaper but they really like this wall.  Converting a hater is definitely exciting for me 😉

Dining Room looking into kitchen Crystal teardrop chandelier white shiplap wall

Adding a small runner to the dining room really helped it come alive for me.  I’m pretty obsessed with this vibrant tribal rug from Dash and Albert.  Sometimes a little color can go a long way in a space.

chinese chippendale chair

And the cherry on top was new lumbar pillows for my vintage chairs.  Pink shibori stirpe for the win.  I got these through Minted.  They have so many cute pillows now and they are pretty well priced.

design manifest dining room and kitchen

Images by Courtney Apple


Chandelier by Crystorama

(You can purchase chandelier here)

Dining Table by Coldren Design

Chinese Chippendale Chairs are vintage (Similar)

Panton knock-off chairs- (Similar)

Wallpaper by Milton and King

Rug from DecoratorsBest

Pillow from Minted

Before & After: New Dining Room Light for City Condo

I have good news and bad news about my quickie update to my Philadelphia condo.

The good news is that I have partnered again with Del Mar Fans to give a much needed update to the dining room chandelier.   Thank you Del Mar- You rock my world.

The bad news is the rest of the project is totally stalled.  My “small” renovation started to feel kinda big and I really had to step back and think about the money being spent.  Adding to my stress is my complete uncertainty with the space.  Do I want to rent it?  Do I want to sell it?  Do I want to use it for myself?  We are just so busy right now with REAL work, that unfortunately the condo has taken a back seat.  It is sitting, mostly torn apart and unfinished, like a big ole black cloud looming over me.  I literally had to haul in furniture from my own house to stage around the chandelier like it wasn’t a disastrous job site.  Note the pictures below are pretty tight… that was to avoid a massive table saw just off to the right.

While the place is a mess,  I’m seriously thrilled and so thankful for the new light.

Let me back you up and show you the dining room before.  It’s a open floor plan with just a small space carved out for the table and chairs.

dining room capiz chandelier mirror houdstooth rug

Years ago (2009) I had DIY’d myself a capiz shell chandlier.  It’s been hanging in the apartment ever since.  While I’m still fairly happy with my little project, it wasn’t feeling fitting for what I wanted in the condo.  I wanted something a little more modern, glamorous and appealing to several types of people.

Here is the space right after my tenants moved out in June.

condo light before

And here it is again a couple of weeks ago.  Heaven help me.

Photo Jun 08, 10 12 35 AM


Choosing a chandelier for the condo was challenging because I didn’t know how I would be using the space.  I knew most likely I would be trying to appeal to a renter or buyer, so it was important I choose something not too wacky or impractical.  Also, since it’s a tight dining area, I wanted something smaller, but still felt visually commanding.  Since I chose a brass fixture for the kitchen (which is open to the dining area) I thought it made sense to continue the brass theme in here.  (You can see my previous Del Mar Kitchen Light post HERE.)   Also, this is the only light in this general area, so a good wattage was important as well.

Here are various lights I considered for my kitchen table.  I choose my kitchen light and dining light at the same time- so I considered all sorts of finishes before settling on brass.

Dining Room Chandelier Lights by Design Manifest

1 / 2 / 3

4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9

I ended up selecting the Cadence 2-light Pendant from Murray Feiss.   I just adore a mix of brass and black.   And it’s not overwhelmingly brass in your face- just a touch of it.   It has the feel of the popular Hicks pendant by Visual Comfort, but at a much better price!  At 13″ wide, it is small, yet still feels substantial.  And it has 150 watts, which was my minimum for lighting a table.  I hung mine 30″ above the table top.

tulip table with panton chairs black and brass pendant light

black and brass pendant light with tabletop

pendant detail

Cadence Pendant with tulip table and panton chairs- Design Manifest- black and brass pendant light

pendant 2


Seeing the light installed this week made me really happy.  Will this be the inspiration we need to finally finish this space?  Even though it’s still deceptively a construction site, now it is a stylish and well lit one!

One more piece of Good News. Del Mar Fans is doing a another giveway on their Facebook Page!!  Free pendant light, people!!

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

This post is sponsored by Murray Feiss & Del Mar Fans & Lighting.


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!