Some designers have a 'look', and you can spot their projects from a mile away. Our approach at Design Manifest is much more bespoke; every project uniquely reflects our clients and their homes. If you scroll through our portfolio, or are already familiar with our work, you know that hiring us will result in a home that is gorgeous, unique and not like your neighbor's! Our Washington Square project, or "Park Perfect" is a newest chapter in our always-unfolding design lexicon. It is sophisticated, global and timeless, and we are so excited to share it!
Some projects have a clear scope from the get-go, while others start as a small exploration of how to improve a living space and then expand into something much grander. This is exactly what happened at #ParkPerfectPhiladelphia, a dreamy condo residence in the Lippincott building on Philadelphia's Washington Square.
The Lippincott, built in 1910, was originally home to the J.B. Lippincott publishing company, notably the publishers of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was converted to condos in 2005, and still features the charm of many original architectural details, plus the soaring ceilings and killer views of the park.
SCOPE OF WORK
Our clients first called us in to help with layout and furnishings in their family room and living room. Being that this was an open-concept loft space, all of the living spaces in the main room flowed from one to the other, including the entry, family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, and bar area. Our clients felt that their family room was dark, and uninviting, and complained that no one ever spent time in the living room. They were looking for more color, and we could see right away that they existing décor felt too stuffy, beige and blah to fit with our clients dynamic personalities.
Dining "Before" Formal living "Before" Family room "Before"
Naomi looked at their existing layout and immediately envisioned a total re-organization of the spaces. She saw the formal living room, meant for entertaining, made the most sense placed closer to the wine vault. The one area that worked well for our clients was their breakfast table by the big, park-facing windows, but the dining table placed nearby made for an excess of tables and a congested feeling layout.
Moving the family room to the former dining area created an open, flowing layout where most of our clients at-home time would be spent. This area had the best access to the kitchen as well, meaning that the daily living spaces all flowed directly to one another. The dining table was relocated to the north side of the room, putting it in alignment with the living room and bar. Positioning all of the entertaining areas on the same side makes for a conducive flow during gatherings.
We presented these ideas to our clients, and they were delighted. Just like that, we were undertaking a complete redecoration of dining, living, family and entry spaces.
THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Our clients were avid travelers, and we felt inspired to bring their globe-trotting lifestyle into the décor of their home. As we developed our designs, we curated textiles, lighting and furnishings from all corners- France, South Africa, Pakistan, Germany, Mexico- as well as pieces commissioned and built right here in Philadelphia. One of the key features of this project is the stunning gallery wall in the formal living room, for which we researched a selection of more modern works to complement our clients' existing collection.
THE LIVING ROOM
In the living room we mixed a traditional skirted sofa upholstered in a creamy wool fabric, an armless loveseat in a statement hand-printed linen, sculptural postmodern coffee tables, and midcentury inspired chair frames. We balanced the frames of the furnishings as well as the floor coverings and textiles in a way that would allow the gallery wall to shine while still feeling collected and interesting in their own right.
A pair of very handsome cane-back armchairs from master furniture maker Alfonso Marina in Mexico City make a beautiful statement that you can see all the way from the entry of the residence. We loved that they were airy enough to keep the space feeling open and inviting as you come into the main living area, but have a real presence to anchor the sitting area as well.
THE DINING ROOM
In the new dining room, we commissioned a beautiful walnut dining table from a local furniture maker. To bring the existing built-ins up to par with the new furnishings, we had new walnut shelves made and papered the inside of the shelves with a lovely textural grasscloth. We gave the shelves a bit more breathing room, and gave our clients a fresh look with new accessories and a thoughtful reorganization of their existing books and objects.
The dining room rug was a key design element that we settled on early in the design process. We loved the fresh, vibrant coloring and deco patterns, it helped this space come alive. We had the rug sent to our studio on approval and spent hours cross-legged on it, mixing textiles and wood finishes in piles to see how they would all work back to the rug.
A beautiful finishing touch to this room was the Bocci chandelier, a fantastic modern creation of hand-blown glass orbs that are beautiful whether lit or not, and can be spotted from the park to the delight of passers-by.
THE FAMILY ROOM
Moving the family room over to the former dining area made a huge difference in how bright, comfortable and inviting the space felt. We had a custom frame built for the TV to integrate it beautifully into the existing millwork, and anchored it with a vintage Mongolian console below that brought a richness and beautiful patina to the room. A custom u-shaped sectional in a super cozy Peter Dunham performance fabric made the most of the floorspace in this area, and with two chaises, our clients each have their own side to lounge on.
The new floorplan in this area means a clear view to the beloved breakfast table with its stunning views of the park. We didn't change much about the layout here, but brought in a new marble-topped bistro table and a pair of Alfonso Marina chairs that are both super chic and very comfy.
All of these upgrades meant the existing window treatments were looking a bit shabby, as well as being hard to operate. This residence has a west facing exposure which means great light, but also a real need to protect the interiors from harsh UV rays. Custom motorized Hartmann & Forbes woven shades were a perfect solution. We designed them with arched tops to fit into the brickwork on the window wall, and now with the touch of a button our clients can control the level of light pouring into their home.
The fourth "room" in this open concept space is the kitchen. We didn't re-design the kitchen as it was spectacular before we got there, but it was a big influence on our design of the other spaces as we wanted all of them to visually flow. We helped pull in a few final details like finding the perfect vintage rug and installing a slimline, petite television.
In the entry we added a stunning vintage Turkish runner that incorporated all of the hues in our color story. We rearranged the layout slightly, turning our clients console to face the elevator doors and adding a bold woven mirror with elegant curves over it to create a welcoming visual upon entry.
We added a striking hand-printed textile from Botanica Trading to the entry bench, and selected a statement art piece in coordinating blues to hang over it. In any entry space, especially a narrow one, simple details can help to feel welcoming and functional.
THE WINE VAULT
The wine room, formerly a vault for the printing press, is a very cool, but also a little bit of dark cavernous space. It needed little boost to help it keep up with the gorgeous new living room, so new art and new barstools were incorporated. Our clients are big fans of vintage rugs, and so we added another beauty in here as well.
THE POWDER ROOM
THE PRIMARY BEDROOM
Once they saw our designs unfolding for the main living area, it wasn't long before our clients were asking to add on a primary bedroom redesign as well. We really enjoyed taking the design scheme we had developed in the main living spaces and translating it in a more serene, restful way for the primary bedroom.
This more enclosed space was a prime opportunity for a wallpaper moment, and we were very inspired by these chinoiserie mural panels that we had installed on the bed wall.
The hidden story behind all of these fabulous upgrades is the very real upheavals that we have been experiencing in the design industry since the pandemic began. Our clients gave us the go-ahead to begin placing orders on March 10th, 2020, just three days before lockdowns began in Philadelphia and all over the country. Lockdowns were already in place in much of Europe too. Sourcing globally meant that we were executing our design in an era where factories were sitting empty, supply chains were disrupted and shipping was more unpredictable than ever. Fortunately our clients trust was rewarded with a complete install just 7 months later, and they were thrilled with the outcome, as were we!
PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTO STYLING BY STYLISH PRODUCTIONS