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.


the squeaky wheel gets the…

Lamp !
Interesting story…
A couple of weeks ago, Cassandra of Coco + Kelley wrote a post on her love for Ateriors Home lamps.  I left a comment saying that I shared her love, but was currently annoyed that I had two lamps on backorder since December.
Well it seems the folks over at Arteriors found that comment, as they promptly contacted me and have since shipped me my lamps.  I am again smitten with the company, and am really enjoying my small Malaya Table lamp.
Sorry for the crappy photos, but this corner gets zero natural light and I’m a terrible photographer.  Just trust me when I tell you she’s pretty.  I’m excited to find a home for her in the new place soon!

Before I Say Goodbye

I’m leaving Thirteen and South!!

Not the Blog, but the Apartment.

By the time I move, I will have lived here almost three years, which is about two years longer  than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. I remember my 26th birthday dinner at Amada when I stood up and announced to my friends that I was buying a condo.

(my apartment, the day I signed the offer)

I was SO excited to take on the challenge of my OWN space. Walls and cabinets and flooring couldn’t hold me back now! I could do whatever I wanted and truly make the space mine. I was so confident it would be the most impressive, fantastically designed apartment. EVER.

Oh silly, naive Naomi.
I will be the first to admit that this here apartment is NOT the coolest, most stylish, most creative apartment ever. It’s probably not even the best decorated unit in my building.

I could blame it on my old green sofa and chaise.  They were impossible to move in, and replacing them wasn’t an option- even though the very sight of them upsets me.  Or could I say I was restricted by my bland dining set?  Another purchase made before I knew better.  Or maybe I just have bad taste.  After all, I did, at one point, think this would be a good idea…


Ultimately, I am OK with the fact that this apartment was not my design masterpiece. Instead, I will choose to think of it as my training wheels. It was Here that I truly fell in love with interior design. Before, I had always had a more-than-casual interest in design. But I lacked knowledge in design history, decorating styles, furniture types, material and pattern pairings, and even the hot trends. Hell, I didn’t even read design blogs.

(My first purchase for the apartment.  Anybody want it?  Because I don’t.)

Throughout my time here I have experimented with color, texture, furniture arrangements, accessories and lighting.  My roommate has willingly suffered through three straight years of projects-in-progress. Paint brushes have been left in the sink. Spray paint dust has been caked on the floor. Pillows have changed faces. Furniture will mysteriously show up in the living room, only later to be banished to my bedroom, and occasionally pop out again in the common area. Life would have been much easier if I just had a basement to hide stuff!  Carrie, I want to thank you for your patience, and for putting up with me while I’ve continuously expressed myself ALL OVER the apartment.

But enough with the jibber-jabber. Many of you have asked to see the space, so I thought I would give a little tour before I say goodbye.  This is as good as its gonna get, Folks. Hopefully the next place will be more impressive. (And maybe someday I will learn how to take a decent picture.)  Until then, I will always have Thirteen and South…

Remember the old Entry?

I first mentioned this space back in April. Well 9 months later, the 40″ x 64″ space isn’t quite done -the table lamp hasn’t arrived- but this is what we have today…

I simply painted the old cabinet white, wallpapered the space, and hung a few hooks.  I found both the mirror and the cabinet hardware at Anthropologie.  The mirror was a steal, whereas the hardware was ridiculously overpriced…

Wallpaper is Wilderness by Ferm Living, wall hooks from Urban Outfitters.

Moving along we have the living room.

I mentioned my wallpaper art and coffee table in a previous posts, so i wont go there. Newer additions include my ridiculously large table lamp i found on super sale and  this ugly, awesome, vintage chair i stole from my parents.

The best part of the room? The pillows of course!

I’ll be the first to admit that there are far Too Many pillows in this room.  I have rationalized that soon all my friends err pillows will have to split up into various rooms in the new house.  So, I’m letting them hang out all together for these last few weeks.

On to the dining area.  This space has gone thru several iterations. I orginally bought two purple benchs and pillows and made myself a cozy banquette setup. (Note lovely brass chandelier)

I’ve had to use every last inch of restraint to stop myself from buying a new table and chairs that better suits my style. I shall wait until the next place, I shall wait until the next place. That’s my mantra.
I have since gifted the benches to my parents- opting for a cleaner set up.  I also painted my chairs white and bedazzled my brass chandelier with capiz shells.

Yes that is the same chandelier- for more info on that see this post.  Oh also found myself a cheap rug from Surya that reminded me of Jonathan Adler’s houndstooth rug. Only mine is larger and about 600 less dollars. Haha Suckers!

Alas, i have no before photos of the Kitchen. Just try to image pasty yellow cabients with kelly green frames.
My first project was to tear down this half wall and put in an island.  (technically its a peninsula)

(weee it was fun to kick this puppy in)

After a brief stint in chocolate brown, my cabinets decided they would rather be white.

Boo I’m dark and sad.
Yay I’m white and happy.

See my granite? I went to the granite scrap yard and fell in love with the veining.

I was so siked that I didn’t care it conspicuously matched the green formica on my original cabinets.  I told myself someday I would switch out those counters for simple black counters to compliment my green island.  Today  both green counters are still in place and I dont really care

I DO care about my hideous backsplash. I tinkered with the idea of painting it. Instead I just hung up this Salivdor Dali print. I like that it adds some color in this space. My wallpapered cabinet also makes me happy.

I hesitate to even show my bedroom as I never really “did” this room. Too many furniture pieces and an abudance of mismatched dressers made this a tough space.
I do however enjoy my tree wall.

My favorite part of the bedroom is behind the tree wall. My closet!
I’ts messy, sorry, but just trust me that its my happy place.

Another small bedroom project- i got some scraps of The Woods from my wallpaper guy, Paul. I decided it would look lovely in my wood frame thats been sitting around unloved. Unfortunately,  I totally didn’t double check measurements and ran out of the paper. That’s what i get for wallpapering on a Friday night while slightly tipsy.

I dont care, I put it on my dresser anyway. If anyone points it out, I tell them to shut their pie hole.

OH and just a small bathroom improvement
Bye bye clam shell, hello bargain granite counter.  (Same cabinet, just painted it white.)

Philadelphia Folks- This lovely gem is for rent! Furnished, if you want.  Contact me for d’s.

Oh and lastly- Blogger tells me this is my 100th post!
I just want to congratulate myself for not quitting or throwing myself under a bus those few times when no one left me comments.
May the next 100 kick the last 100’s Ass.

happy weekend to you all. i’m off to – what else– plot out my next dream home!


my ever-evolving living room… ie the money pit

Mom came over tonight for a date in the city. This glorious event necessitated a thorough cleaning of the apartment. (Or at least a sweep of Bailey hair and hiding of the crap.) Nothing like a good clean to force you to re-evaluate your space. Per usual, I am not satisfied. Per usual I would like to get rid of half my stuff and start over again. But I know this is ridiculous. I need to stop spending money on my room. This room has been like a revolving door for furniture. A sofa came to visit, went to the bedroom then was resold. Rugs and coffee tables have come and gone. Art is transient. Plants even get switched around. I get a little sick to my stomach when I think of all the money that I’ve probably spent adorning my home.
So I decided to take part in Nester‘s Price My Space Party to see how much my (current) living room actually has cost me.
Tell You the truth, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought. I am nowhere as thrifty and nifty as Nester, but I’m hoping to get better at finding treasure amongst trash. From here on out I make a new vow for this apartment; I will only buy used/thrift shop items. Or maybe pieces that are environmentally friendly as well. Or a really really good deal. Hehehe. So here goes…
Sofa and Chaise: Purchased 5 or 6 years ago at local philadelphia furniture store for $899.
Jute Rug is from Pier One- $99.

Coffee Table. $28 Ebay find.

Buffet was a thrift store find. I think it was $300.
That slate piece to the right of the buffet is actually the top of my old coffee table. I took it apart and didn’t know what to do with it!
The frames were from Target- $20 in total. Baskets store dog toys and blankets. They were free as I stole them from my parents.
Art on the walls is free wallpaper samples.
I picked these pillows out for my friend’s restaurant. When the restaurant closed I was sad. But then he gave me the pillows, so I was happy!
Curtains: Solid red ones were from Target for $20. Patterned ones are from Urban Outfitters- $16 on sale! My chair is a spare dining chair. It lives here most of the time.
End table is Ardesia Slate from Pier One. Maybe it was $50? I forget… its old.
Plant= stolen from my Mom= Free.

Target Hudson Bookshelf from 3 seasons ago was $199
I think all the accessories were gifts from my Mom. Thanks Mom!

The best accessory of all… Bailey = Priceless.

What do you think? Under $1,700. Not too bad, I guess.