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

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.

***

Thank you to Courtney Apple for the beautiful pictures.

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

Bare Natural in the Living Room

With my focus pointed in 14 different directions, I don’t intend to finish my living room for awhile.  I have big ideas, most of which feature fancy designer fabrics and even more custom projects.  Let’s be real, I don’t have the funds or the energy to deal with that and I just want to enjoy my space.  Luckily I have a lot of great pieces and have been able to fill in the room so I can live comfortably.  Here is the first iteration, 1 week after moving in.

design manifest living room neutral

Chocolate oak floors, a cowhide layered over a jute rug and a linen-slipcovered sofa create natural, neutral space.

Vintage finds including a live-edge wood table,  Asian chairs and a brass and wood end table.

design manifest neutral living room

Curtains have been made, art will be hung, furniture will be re-arranged and I’ll be experimenting a lot with pattern and color.  But at this very moment… I’m really just digging the simplicity of the bare natural room.

I’m signing off for the week.  I have a lot to get done before my first house guests arrive.  Later Gators.

{Living Room Before}

The large gilded mirror

Dear Antiquing Gods,

I know I’ve been lucky in the past, but I’m really going to need your help in this next venture.  I’m seeking a large rectangular French mirror.  Gold and substantial would be best, but please not too ornate, except for a little embellishment on top.  Something like below, would be perfect.

Faithfully yours,

Naomi

Atlanta Homes/ Amy D Morris

Lonny Mag/ Lauren Gold

I want to place this type of mirror over my clients’ fireplace mantel.  But don’t these mirrors look equally good behind a tub or perched between two windows?  

Must find one!

60 second makeover

Do you ever overthink about the decor of your home?  Perhaps you want to make a change, but you are paralyzed with what direction to go.  Sometimes it’s really quite simple.  Look at what a difference a rug makes.  One bold element added or subtracted can revitalize a whole room.  This is why I love design!

I know HGTV tells you to paint your wall a bold color, but I’m telling you something even simpler- change up your rug, or your pillows, or your art.  Hell I rotate all of mine seasonally and I find each room appreciates the change.  I do too.
Laura Resen Photography found via the fabulous Head Over Heels Blog