Amateur Work: My Yard

I am by NO MEANS a gardener, but I’ve been getting great joy out of designing and working in my yard recently.  Previously a city gal for the past 10 years, I now feel a little overwhelmed with both a front AND back yard.  It will probably take me years to get the whole area together.  The back  is particularly full of challenges.   In typical Naomi/George overzealous ambitiousness, we’ve discussed a deck, adding a fence, an outdoor living room, tiered vegetable garden beds, a shed/workshop, a fountain, a firepit.  The truth of the matter is, I don’t see this as a forever home, so it’s probably crazy to do so much work.

For now, I’ve been mostly focused on upping my curb appeal and making my front yard a little less embarrassing.  I’ve trimmed down ugly bush trees and completely removed the grass.  Since the space is so small I’d prefer to have mulch and plantings.  The idea is for it to be a cutting garden, with something or other blooming throughout the warm seasons.  I love having fresh flowers in my home and having them come from your own yard is even more special.

When I first bought the home in September 2012, my front yard looked like this…

front yard on closing day
And now in June 2014 we have progressed to this…

Cottage Front Yard June 2014

I know, I know, I have a long way to go and I’m not exactly winning and curb appeal awards yet.  Would you be more impressed if I told you the yard looked like this on May 31st?  Not even exaggerating.

4 Weeks Ago

yard from front june 1

yard from side june 1

And Now…

Left side on June 21

A little less terrible.  Not done weeding.  (Does it ever end?)  Need to re-mulch.

I half mulched the right side and it makes me feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

right side half mulched

right side detail

Container Garden

I know this isn’t very impressive.  I’m mostly posting to hold myself accountable and keep it real.  Gardening is hard work!  I’ve gotten a lot of help from my Mom so far and hope we can make some headway in the next few months.

GOALS:

- paint fence

- add second section of fence on left side

- hide recycling/ trash cans

- finish weeding

-finish mulching

- tackle front porch

That’s it for me today.  Wish I could go outside and play right now, but it’s work time.

How are your gardens growing?  Are you into plantings or grass?  And do you have any tips for me to help me pull my front yard together?  I’m all ears!

Seasonal Rug Switch

With the hot days of summer upon us I have adapted my living room to better suit my mood and season.  Gone is the layered jute/cowhide look and layered ottoman.  I wanted something a little more minimal, a little cooler.  So we just have the cowhide down and I’m really enjoying the wood floors for a change!  I also switched up my La Fiorentina bench for my vintage live-edge table.  I love the organic feel of the table and it’s a nice scale for the petite room.

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BEFORE

DM Living room- Layred cowhide with jute rug, patterened ottoman, slipcover sofa-

NOW

Cowhide rug slipcover sofa and bamboo chair

One of the benefits of the smaller rug- besides enjoying those wood floors- is that my entry mat and rug no longer overlap.  I have a teeny house with no foyer so the front door walks right into the living room.  It’s nice to have a little visual space there.

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Next up is a little pillow and art change up.

But I’m in no hurry… it’s summer after all.  Let’s go outside!

Living Room with cowhide and vasarely

Dish: Do you change up your decor for the seasons?

It makes all the difference.

My short window solution

Hey guys!

First of all, a belated THANK YOU(!!!),  for all the praise and support for my Lounge Makeover.   You guys give this girl a big head.  Luckily the rest of my house looks like crap, so I stay humble.  The One Room Challenge is such an awesome experience and I’m just so honored to participate.  Did you see all of the finished rooms?  Nutso beautiful makeovers.

Oh my gosh it’s been so crazy around these parts.  At DM we are in the midst of two major renovations.  I’m keeping Dad and the guys VERY busy.  If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed our current projects, #malvernreno and #villanovakitchen.   Malvern Reno is a master suite that includes a master bathroom, dressing room and bedroom.  We are doing really special elements like floating mirrors, plaster fireplaces, gorgeous water jet marble,  envy-inducing lighting fixtures, wallpaper, a steel canopy bed.  I could go on and on… it’s awesome.  Villanova kitchen is going to be stunning.  We installed custom cabinets in a selective mix of charcoal and light gray.  There will also be tumbled mosaic marble, quartzite counters, reclaimed wood tables and gorgeous light fixtures.  In kitchen and baths it’s the lighting fixtures that takes a space from “pretty.” to “INCREDIBLE!!”  Can I get an amen?

Speaking of my instagram (designmanifest,) in the past few weeks Philadelphia Magazine AND Philadelphia Style have dubbed Design Manifest as a top Philadelphia Instagram to Follow!!!  Thanks for the brotherly love o city of mine.  Local love truly tastes the sweetest.  I’m flabbergasted and honored and just hope you guys continue to enjoy my work and photo adventures.  Spoiler alert: there are occasionally bad pug selfies.

Annnywho, I’m blogging today because I wanted to share a favorite little design solution I used in my Lounge.  The problem:  Awkward short windows.   Paired with the sloping ceilings this whole space felt dwarfed.

lounge short windows

I needed to add HEIGHT so I hung my woven wood shades 9″ higher than my window frames.  The valance visually extends my windows and make the space feel taller and larger.

Design Manifest Lounge Meditation nook with fake out shade

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

I suggest you try it at home.

***

That’s all for me!  I’ll try to blog again soon.

What do you guys want to hear about?  Projects, our design process, how-tos, my place?

 

One Room Challenge {The Lounge} Week 6

Congratulations, you have made it to the finale of the One Room Challenge!  I don’t know about you guys, but these six weeks have FLOWN by.  It seems like just couple of weeks ago I was staring at my third floor in total disgust.  And then I hatched an ambitious scheme  to completely transform my attic into the hippest lounge ever.  Today,  I enjoy the fruits of my labor as I recline on my new daybed to write this blog post.  I am totally in love with the space.  I never want to leave.

Naomi on her lounge day bed 2

Oh look at me… I completely made over my lounge in 6 weeks.

No big deal.

 I also tackle DIY projects in heels.

HAH.

***

Have you caught up?

Week 1- Before Pictures and Plan

Week 2- Inspiration

Week 3- Furniture Pieces and Textiles

Week 4- chair makeover and barn wood wall

Week 5- Art selections and wallpaper options

***

If you’ve been following along week to week then you know this challenge has not been easy for me.  Rushed decisions led to mistakes.  Indecisiveness forced down-to-the-wire deadlines.  My To-Do list would have been steep for my whole Design Manifest team to do as a “real job”, but it was near impossible for my boyfriend and I to tackle on nights and weekends.  I had moments of sheer panic, stress and exhaustion where I was sure we would not pull this room off.  When I left you last Wednesday the lounge looked like this…

room messy 2

Later that same day I came home to discover my basement filled with sewage.  I’ll spare you the pics (they are on instagram) but it was gross, scary and dangerous to our health.  We lost our paint, our work space and a night’s worth of labor.  Certain people thought I ought to delay the room and deal with real life.   What’s was the big deal if I shared the room a few days late?

Shudder.  

I was certain I wouldn’t let a pile of poisonous shit rain on my parade.

So we kept going, pulled in incredibly long hours and late nights. We cried, we laughed, we bled, we ached, we spilled wood stain on our Ugg boots.  (Insert expletive of choice here.)  George deserves some kind of metal of honor for endurance, craftsmanship and compassion towards me and my complete design mania.  I would not be standing here a triumphant decorating champion without him.  Thank you, Georgie- this room is yours too.

The point is, 7 days later, the same spot looked like this…

Design Manifest Lounge with barnwood daybed and chinoseirie wallpaper

Hey awesome room.  You so sexy.

The biggest architectural element / home run/ sentimental favorite would be the built-in daybed and barn wood wall.  As soon as I discovered these reclaimed planks in my father’s garage I knew I needed them in my life.  Then my parents told me the wood came from the barn they were married in and I knew it was destiny.  I love how the installed effect is modern and masculine yet also organic and really cozy.

Reclaimed Wood Wall Built In Day bed - Design Manifest

George expertly engineered and built me a daybed that has a ton of storage and is damn sexy.  We clad the drawers and end tables in the same barn wood for a clean and seamless effect.  We painted the end tabletops in flat black paint for a little calm moment amongst all the wood.  I still need to add pulls to the drawers but I totally love the whole wall.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better result.

Design Manifest Daybed pillows and sconce

Brass Sconce on Reclaimed Wood Wall- Design Manifest

Brass tray coffee table

BEFORE

daybed wall before

AFTER

Design Manifest reclaimed wood wall

Daybed end table with wallpaper

Hey there’s my secret wallpaper!  I absolutely love how it compliments my barn wood.   A little feminine mixed with the masculine.  The paper I chose is Eleonora by Zoffany and it was finally installed this Friday and Saturday.

Chinoserie Wallpaper with covered vent

I decided to go with a winding pattern of birds on branches to compliment my wood wall.  I love that it is neutral yet colorful, traditional yet organic.  It captured my original inspiration colors of green and coral (ok, pink) yet it wasn’t so colorful that I would tire of the palette.  I knew I would love it now and 5 years from now.  It’s my little treehouse… perfect for my work area.

Design Manifest Office nook with chinoserie wallpaper and mid century furniture

I love the dichotomy of the more traditional wallpaper against the modern table and chairs.

Vintage chrome and leather chairs

One of my biggest complaints about this side of the room is that the right wall was broken up with unsightly HVAC components  There was a trap door to my heater, a large return duct and a vent.  It felt broken up and way more functional than pretty.

design manifest lounge pink desk white room

I knew wallpaper would mask these issues and really designate the office as a separate area from the other zones.  I love how my paper hanger Keith, was able to cover my vents and outlets.  Never have I enjoyed HVAC ducts as much as now.  Just put a bird on it.

Design Manifest bird wallpaper and vent cover

 

I had no proper lighting in my office area so I picked up this plug in fixture for some quickie lighting.  You can see the wire running down the wall by the ceiling.  That’s the ugly truth of plug-in features.  But you know what?  The piece is cute, it was cheap and the wire doesn’t bug me too much.

Office nook light

The TV Stand

The final big piece hanging from last week was the TV stand.  I mentioned how we scored this amazing live-edge cedar from my dad.  Our plan was to make this boxed live-edge cedar base that would be wrapped with inset metal legs.  It was going to be very gorgeous and complicated to create.   Alas, we ran out of time to finish it properly before the shoot.  Whoopsies.  I want to give a huge shout out to my dad who worked tirelessly for days on the piece.  We WILL finish it together and it will be awesome!

boxed cedar frame live edge wood- design manifest

Love you, Dad!

Around noon on Sunday it became apparent to me that we would not be able to finish the TV stand I’d planned on, so I turned to George and asked him to make me something really simple with wrapped metal legs.  He carried this upstairs to me on Monday morning just in time for our photo shoot.  Baller!

Design Manifest Lounge custom TV stand

Design Manifest Lounge custom TV stand (2)

Design Manifest Lounge TV stand and Art wall side

I love the simple, chic combination of white and brushed gold.

It balances out the warmer elements like the wall and this croc danish chair.

Design Manifest Lounge crocodile danish chair

This chair is so comfy and has such beautiful lines.

It was built by my furniture-maker beau, so it has a little sentimental value too.

***

And then there is my art wall.

It only took me three versions and several nail holes, but I really love the result.

I mixed personal pieces like a picture of my dog, a silhouette of my niece and  LOVE sign gift from a friend with modern and vintage prints, drawings and collages.  My inspiration started with the cactus print and was added upon by two prints from our generous sponsors, Minted.  It was a little scary to stand on the railing and hang the pieces, but I’m glad I went for it.

Design Manifest Lounge TV stand and Art wall

Design Manifest Lounge Gallery Art Wall

design manifest bench with mudcloth

I’m loving my bench from our sponsor, Lamps Plus.

It’s such a great multi-function piece.

Right now it greets you at the top of the stairs, but it will definitely be used as an ottoman for the daybed and seating for the table.

Design Manifest Lounge TV stand and Art wall with bench

I love how my meditation nook turned out.

I’d say there is 50% more chance I may meditate there some day.

Design Manifest Lounge Meditation nook

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Design Manifest burnt bergere chair

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The burnt bergere chairs turned out pretty snazzy.

We just used a basic white vinyl for the upholstery.

I’m super sad that buttery white snakeskin leather didn’t work out, but my wallet is not.

Design Manifest Lounge

Design Manifest Vintage gilded bamboo Bar Cart

Design Manifest wood planked wall with bar cart

I hope you enjoyed the tour and like the space.

I’m certainly glad it no longer looks like this…

1 Design Manifest Lounge- front and side wall before

Cause this is much more my thing…

horizontal shot of lounge by Design Manifest

Thanks so much to my family, my DM crew and most especially George Coldren for helping turn this little room from a fantasy to a reality.

And of course I need to thank Courtney Apple for the beautiful photography and coming out to shoot my space while suffering from bronchitis.

And lastly thank YOU for following along and supporting me.  It’s been an awesome ride.

***

Linda, thanks so much for including me again.  The One Room Challenge seems to get better and better every season.  Now I’m off to check out what this incredibly talented line up has created.  It’s sure to be a good show!!

Abby M. Interiors

Because it’s Awesome

Bijou & Boheme

Calling It Home

Chez V

Chinoiserie Chic

Copy Cat Chic

The Decorista

Design Crisis

Design Indulgence

Design Manifest

The English Room

The Glam Pad

Little Black Door

Mimosa Lane

My Notting Hill

The Pink Pagoda

Simple Details

My Sweet Savannah

Verandah House

***

sources:

rugs- ebay * daybed- coldren design * sconces- schoolhouse electric

lumbar pillow- pottery barn (discontinued) * mudcloth pillow- design manifest

coffee table, bar cart, chrome and leather dining chairs- vintage

table- Ikea * wallpaper- zoffany * light over table- Urban Outfitters

 danish chair -  coldren design * TV Stand - coldren design

Feather print, Butterfly Print- Minted * Cactus print- Sarah Eisenlohr * Mushroom and flower prints- vintage

pug, silhouette and Love sign- personal collection

bench- lamps plus * bergere chairs- design manifest/coldren design * lamp- arteriors

dress (on me) – Free People, designed by my incredibly talented sister, Megan

photography- courtney apple

***

PS- everything in this room is for sale or can be made for you.

Please email us to inquire about pieces. (naomi@designmanifest.com)

One Room Challenge {The Lounge} Week 1

It’s the most wonderful (stressful, exciting, exhausting, financially draining, rewarding) time on the year!!

Welcome to the season premiere of the One Room Challenge!  For six consecutive Wednesdays, twenty professional Interior Design bloggers will transform one room from start to finish updating you on our progress.  I am extremely flattered and excited to be participating in my third round of the ORC.  (You can see my first ORC Here and my second ORC Here.)  This time Linda‘s lineup of participants is INSANE.  Like seriously talented women with a broad range of  style.  I can’t wait to see everyone’s design process and of course the beautiful results.

ORC banner april 2014

***

A little about Me and the Client (Also Me)…

If you are NEW to Design Manifest, I just want to welcome you and say I’m so happy you are stopping by here to follow my room transformation.  I’m Naomi and I’m one half of the father-daughter design-build firm, Design Manifest.  We renovate houses, build custom kitchens, gut dated bathrooms and generally decorate our hearts out all over Philadelphia.  Well I decorate, Dad just likes to build.

The last round of the ORC was pretty smooth for me because I was decorating a client’s home, but this time I’m taking on a nightmare client; MYSELF.  The budget is small, the timeline is tight and this stupid bitch (ME) cannot make up her mind about anything!   I like A LOT of different design styles and I’m not totally sure what direction I want for my design scheme.   I’m paralyzed by fear of commitment, spending too much money and looking like a damn fool in front of you lovely readers.  This should be a very interesting 6 weeks.

The Room…

1 Design Manifest Lounge- front and side wall before

I will be tackling my 3rd floor; a finished attic space that I hope to transform into my “lounge.”  I would like to use it as a home office, a place to watch Television, and a retreat to relax or do yoga.  It’s pretty teeny- 8′ wide in most areas- and it has sloping roof lines that make it feel even smaller.  But what it lacks in space, it makes up for in charm!

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