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.

Making a Statement in the Bedroom- The Modern Canopy Bed

I’m working with a client right now on her master bedroom and I am just dying to install a canopy bed.  The room is quite large (almost 20′ wide) with a high tray ceiling and it is really begging for some kind of statement right in the middle.  Insert fabulous canopy bed.  I love the versatility of these beds; they can be traditional, modern, whimsical, bold.  When creating a layered bedroom I love pairing a traditional bed with more modern nightstands, or a clean metallic bed with rustic woods.  It’s so fun to mix and match around a canopy bed.

Here are a few spaces that are inspiring me while working on this design.

If it were my room, this would be my choice hands-down: chrome, chinoiserie, in-your-face gorgeousness.   But that’s a little bold for my client’s style…

chrome canopy bed with chinoiserie wallpaper behind

We will be keeping it more neutral, more soft, with subtle, selective doses of pattern and color.  I’d say this room is more in-line with the feel.  I love the patterned fabric behind the bed!

white poster bed with curtain fabric behindvia House Beautiful

I wish that we could fit a sofa or chair at the end of the bed.  It’s such a chic and cozy look!  (PS- how great does this bed look in a smaller space below?  We may do a different finish on the ceiling as well.)  Alas, we do not have the space, so we will need to do a bench or stools.

canopy bed in small space cozy symmetrical layouts

I considered doing a chrome bed as a modern statement in the middle of the room and pairing it with traditional finishes and furnishings.  It makes for quite the drama piece!

Angie Hrankowsky chrome canopy bedAngie Hranowsky

poster bed with floral

But ultimately it felt too modern.  The rest of the house has been decorated and we have to think about the flow and personality.  So while we are doing our own thing in the bedroom, I also want to be sensitive to my client’s tastes and comfort.  An iron canopy bed just felt more appropriate to me.

I love how iron canopy beds can be soft and strong at the same time.  They are a little rustic and romantic.

neutral bedroom with iron canopy bed

 

Because comfort is extremely important, we are considering an upholstered canopy bed.  It’s the best of both worlds.

iron upholstered canopy bed

Above and below is the bed I have in mind.  I love the soft curve of the headboard.  Imagine a gorgeous patterned paper behind it?

iron upholstered canopy bed with sunburst mirror above

We will want to do reading sconces next to bed.  This is a little tricky- between finishes and placement.  I’m thinking nickel or brass and inside the bed frame, like below.  (No curtain in the back, though.)

iron upholstered canopy bed with curtains at back and sconces

Our rug (carpet) will be more neutral, so I am looking to make a little more impact on the wall behind the bed.  Yep… WALLPAPER!  I only want to do one wall to really highlight the bed and not overwhelm the space with business.  Remember, this is supposed to be a serene and restful space.

This bedroom has similar elements to we want- natural iron bed, neutral textural capert, patterned wall, white bedding and color/patterns on the pillows, but the vibe will be totally different.

iron canopy bed paired with wallpaper behind

PS- I love this Galbraith and Paul paper and we may be using it elsewhere in the house!

What do you think of canopy beds?  Are you as smitten as me?

Green Velvet Sofas

So you all know I adore blue, but lately I have been having a love affair with green.  Weirdly, its a color I actually avoided in the past, but now I find it popping up in the interiors we design.  It started with grassy green lounge chairs in a family room, then a limey curved headboard in a bedroom, and now we are doing an olive velvet sofa in a formal living room.  This green velvet sofa is going into a room that has very little color- mostly blacks, whites, grays and camel- so it will really be a special piece.  I love the idea of anchoring a room in one colorful piece and letting textures, shapes, layers and a few great pieces of art create the rest of the intrigue.  Trust me, this room will be anything but bland and I can’t wait to share it with you guys.  In the meanwhile, here is the some of the inspiration we used during the design…

green velvet sofa lauren liess

It started with Lauren Liess’ green velvet sofa.  No one works green better than Lauren.  I never considered it as a neutral before seeing it in her home.

padma lakshmi green velvet sofa architectural digest

The sofa we are using will be closer to this color.  The room has a lot of dark woodwork, so we didn’t want the green to be too dark.

green velvet sofa with beni ourain and brass coffee table

I love how this room pairs green velvet with a modern brass coffee table.

We will be doing this, but the base will be more antiqued and we designed it custom(!)

green velvet sofa with asian ming chairs

I love how green velvet pairs with these ebonized ming chairs.

I couldn’t talk my client into this seating, but I did  convince her that the room needed something Asian.

We will be doing black lacquered Chinoiserie chests instead.  Yummy!

green velvet sofa in front of  the window

The sofa will be in front of a big bay window, just like this one.

green velvet sofa with black modern chairs nicole cohen

We were inspired by the modern mix in this room by Nicole Cohen.

Out space will be more traditional, but will have some key modern pieces mixed in.

* * * *

So that’s just a taste of our inspiration and a few ways you can work a green velvet sofa.

As for our project, we will be re-tiling the fireplace next week, then painting, then grasscloth, then the first round of furniture!

I’ll probably share a few peeks on instagram.  Just need to pick the perfect hashtag for the project ;)

Moody Blue Dens

Recently two of my favorite blogger/designer/all-around-stylish-mavens were featured in design magazines and each spread included a gorgeous moody blue den.  It’s no secret blue is one of my favorite colors and I pretty much incorporate into every decorating job my clients will allow.  I love it for fabrics, rugs, but especially on walls when we want a little drama.  I am designing a formal living room right now that is going to be part lounge part play room and we are planning a dark blue for the walls.  We haven’t finalized the exact color but these two rooms below are serving as great inspiration.

blue millwork den meredith heron

Above and below is a den by Meredith Heron that appears in the February issue of House and Home.  She really went bold with high gloss blue/gray on the built-in bookshelves and fireplace mantel.  I’ve never done a colored mantel before, but now I’m kinda dying to do it.

blue millwork detail meredith heron

I love all of the moulding details, particularly the stepped mantel and subtle picture frame detailing above.  The curtains were also done in a similar hue, which makes to whole room flow well and feel a little softer.  Imagine the drapes in white… it would be a completely different effect!

blue den meredith heron

The Den was done in Benjamin Moore’s Lead Gray.

My monitor is showing this color to be much more gray than the pictures would indicate.

Of course its always better to get a real paint sample.

ben moore 2131-30 lead gray

Another fabulous den is that of Erin Williamson.  Her stunning home was recently featured in Bungalow magazine.  (See the whole spread here- page 99)  Her teal-hued formal living room/ play room has long been fave of mine.  I love the pairing of the leopard (cheetah?) rug with the teal walls and her fabulous art and lighting collection.

dark teal study erin-williamson

Erin also did the her bookshelves in high gloss in the same color as her walls.  They add just enough intrigue without being too loud.

I enjoy seeing how the foyer blends well with the living room while having its own distinct vibe.  Art is such a great way to tie spaces together.

blue den erin williamson

Erin’s walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Dark Harbor.

It looks like its a little green and a little blue.

dark harbor

I’ll be running out later today to test out both swatches.

Stay tuned to see how DM Loungey Playroom turns out.