sneak peek: naomi stein of design manifest

Naomi Stein describes her aesthetic as modern bohemian glamour. She gravitates toward an eclectic look, mixing colors, patterns and time periods. This was Naomi’s first apartment completely alone, without having to factor in a roommate or a boyfriend’s tastes, so she pushed herself to take risks with color, pattern and art. Together with her father, Naomi owns a boutique construction firm, Design Manifest. They design and build residential projects in the Philadelphia area. Her own home is a bit more daring than she might suggest for a client, but everything was done on a tiny budget, with most pieces found for less than $250. When she’s ready, she can change it all up without worrying about the preciousness of the furnishings. Thanks, Naomi! And thanks to Courtney Apple for the lovely photos! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: This is my office nook. It’s a dark corner of the loft, and I knew it would be the only wall I painted. I already had the hot pink Parson’s desk (a second-hand find that I painted with Glidden’s Very Berry). I decided that bright blue would be the perfect complement to the desk. It’s my take on Yves Klein Blue. The actual paint I used is Olympic Brilliant Blue. The rest of the space evolved over a six-month period. I slowly added pieces until it felt just right. The shelf is massive — a 50 lb. live edge piece of wood. I love the contrast it creates against all that saturation. And the side cabinets are Ikea’s famous Rast drawers. I added overlays to them to create a Palm Springs look. (The detailing reminds me of the Parker Palm Springs.)

Image above: This is my bedroom, otherwise known as the cheapest makeover ever! My sister scored this headboard at an Urban Outfitters’ sample sale for $60. I will be forever indebted to her. The batik dyed bedspread was a gift from my mom, and I LOVE it. The pillows are from my friend Caitlin Wilson’s new textile line. My end table was a $30 Craigslist score. And I won the Marilyn in a giveaway from Cozamia. I had been eyeing her, so I probably would have bought her anyway, but free is better.

The rest of Naomi’s home tour continues after the jump!

Image above: I bought this vintage bar cart at a furniture auction. I was so nervous as I waited to bid on it, as I was sure there would be a bidding war for it. I ended up winning it for $150. Worth every penny. I commissioned Nicole of Sketch 42 to create the painting above it. I bought it for myself when I moved into the apartment. It will forever remind me of new beginnings.

Image above: This is my living room sofa. You might think I’m being dramatic, but when I slipcovered my MG+BW sofa, it changed my life. I loved the soft-yet-streamlined look and have a slight obsession with changing the pillows out seasonally. Right now, I’m digging my pink/blue/black mix. I saved money by shopping discount fabric outlets and sewing all the pillows myself. I’m obsessed with the Jim Thompson goddess pillow on the left. It was left over from a job I did, and I’m just so happy to have a small piece of it in my home. I painted the black frames on my doors to add a little architectural intrigue to the slab style. Oh and the elephant on the coffee table is vintage and was given to me by my sister.

Image above: I dressed up a plain Ikea Expedit bookshelf by adding a plate mirror to the back and putting a big piece of art on top of it to extend the height. The pop art is actually a framed scarf that was signed by Victor Vasarely, the artist. It’s one of my prized pieces, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon it in my grandmother’s basement. The Eames reproduction lounger was found on a curb. Thank you to whoever threw that away. High style + dirt-cheap budget = that’s the way I roll.

Image above: That mini Singer was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but it’s pretty cool to have a piece of her in my home. The David bust was scooped up at thrift store. I love collecting — whether the pieces are valuable or cheap, sentimental or just pretty, I like mixing them all into my space.

Image above: This is my living area. The Tangiers rug is Pottery Barn, and it was picked up on eBay for half price. Someday, I hope to upgrade to a real Beni Ouarain Moroccan rug, but for now, it’ll do. I picked up the vintage wood end table from Z Brothers in south Jersey. It’s one of my favorite pieces. I think I paid $280 for it, which makes it one of the more expensive items in my apartment. Totally worth it.

Image above: My entry bench. I have a serious weakness for David Hicks’ La Fiorentina, so the bench was a splurge for me. The art was another free score from Nana. I picked up ikat scraps from Material Culture and sewed them into pillows. I bought the lady in the cage for $5 at a furniture auction. It’s actually a light, but I never turn it on!

Image above: If my apartment was burning down and I could only save one home possession, it would be my Nina Campbell wallpaper. Okay, not really, because it’s glued to the wall and that would totally slow down my escape. But honestly, I love this paper. This nook makes me smile every time I walk into the door. I found the mirror on sale at Anthropologie and spray painted it teal. The chairs were another auction find — $30 for the pair. I recovered them in a zebra fabric that was gifted to me by a friend.

Image above: I would like to thank Craigslist for my free dining table and inexpensive bamboo chairs. The chairs were originally creamy French-country wannabes. I glammed them up with a high-gloss black finish and chevron upholstery. My vintage Suzani still takes my breath away. I don’t care if Suzanis are trendy, it makes me really happy, and that to me is what good design is about. There was no light in this area, so I had my carpenter hang my string ball chandelier so that I can see my food while I eat it. It’s the little luxuries that make life special.

Image above: This is my kitchen. A tribal rug in the kitchen is a must for me. They warm up the space and bring so much personality. I found this little beauty for $30 at a thrift store. I also decided to hang some of my more ornate art in the kitchen. I like how they dress up the simple cabinets. I never would have chosen cabinets in this stain, but it’s a rental, so I just tried to style the kitchen as best I could.

Image above: That’s me and Bailey, snuggling on the sofa. He’s my little love bug. You may have spotted him in large-scale photography around the loft. It was my inexpensive way to fill my many walls!

  1. Noelle says:

    I love Naomi and her gorgeous loft. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the whole house tour since she first moved in. Excellently done!!

  2. modern jane says:

    Hey I wanted to be number 100! A job incredible well done Naomi! I love it all! :)

  3. Anna says:

    An eclectic , vibrant and ever so stylish home..that I couldnt help but have to share on my blog ; )
    Good Skills have created such a refreshingly unique home for you and Bailey.
    Anna x

  4. Your apartment takes my breath away!

    Naomi, your living room with the pillows you made, in THOSE strikingly beautiful colors are out of this world! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    What a beautiful and cozy place for you and Bailey to call home.

    Thanks for the wonderfully detailed tour!

    Happy Holidays :)

  5. Simply GORGEOUS…not overdone, stuffy and totally put together! Great job Naomi!

  6. Hey guys, back to answer the last of the questions-

    Alice- Neither the plate mirros (2) or bookshelf are fixed to the wall. We are not typically earthquake prone here in Philly so I didn’t think it was necessary. You would probably need to glue the mirrors to the wall.

    Theresa Joy- The only designer fabric I used on the pillows was the Jim Thompson black and white goddess pillow. The rest really were just inexpensive fabrics I picked up. In Philadelphia I shop at JoMar, though the the flamestitch was actually found at Aids Thrift Store. As I mentioned in the post, the ikats were found at Material Culture. You could search for ikats on Etsy or Ebay as well.

    More details and sources can be found on my own blog.

    Thank You SO much to everyone who viewed this and commented! I’m blown away. This has been one of the best weeks ever


  7. I love it! Thank you for inspiring me! Oh yes silly … lady in a cage LOL {I will have to tell my parents about that} its called an oil lamp, we had one in the 70’s. Turn it on … its really cool! Love from Tahoe

  8. Cameron says:

    Any more information about that bedspread? It’s wonderful!

  9. lovely. a true eclectic point of view on layers and finds that come together to make something beautiful and still applicable to others. love it!

  10. Saffron says:

    You are so talented and you have amazing taste. Well done.

  11. Seriously one of the best home tours I’ve ever seen. Your styling and use of color & patterns is so inspiring. Almost hard to believe you’ve scored all of these pieces for so little $ – amazing! The pug is precious too!

  12. MHT Design says:

    This space actually changed my life! Well my decor life. It reinforced my urge to work with completely contradictory patterns and colours. It is so true that the only way to make a a crazy bold print look less bold is to put another crazy print with it. I love it. It gave me butterflies in my stomach!

  13. lisa says:

    love your work love your blog!!

  14. Kari says:

    Your mom was telling me about this and since I love design, I had to take a look! It really is spectacular. You are so talented. I am grateful that the world has inspired souls like you to give us beautiful things to look at and inspiration to look outside the box:). I have to budget, so I can get you in here to help me on the guest bathroom and lots of other ideas I have!!

  15. sarah says:

    I love this home.
    I want to know where to buy every single thing.

  16. Malou-La-Croix says:

    I keep coming back to this Sneak Peek…it is absolutely hands down my favorite EVER! Naomi you are genius. I can only imagine what you would do with a generous budget! Best of luck XOXO

  17. Marie L. says:

    Love your boldness with color. (I’m such a chicken and a solid color girl) There are so many things i love, among them the black dining set, and that beautiful tablecloth. So, I am proud to say that I have the same metal can that you have your beautiful elephant sittiing on. I make jewelry, and mine is full of red beads. What’s in your’s?

  18. carlita dee says:

    Someone said Home Tour of the Year, and I can’t agree more. This is spectacular, and on a budget? Bravo, bravo, bravo. You, Ms. Stein, are a design genius, and you’ve inspired me to be bolder and more expressive in my own space.

    My only complaint is that I’m having a hard time not pinning every single photo to my Pinterest boards.

  19. what fun! love the black trimmed doors ~ excellent.

  20. absolutely stunning images…the first room took my breath away!

  21. ria says:

    How do you open the Rast without pulls? Love the mix of colors. The wallpaper is TDF.

  22. diana says:


  23. I found your approach to design to be really refreshing and original. You and I share the desire for great design at bargain prices. I appreciate your honesty about where and how you source and your tenacity to search in unexpected places. Also honoring/making nods to the past/loved ones. Keep up the good work.

  24. sharadawn says:

    all i’m doing over here is smiling ear to ear & eyes gleaming at the photos … this’ incredibly gorgeous!!

  25. Julie says:

    I can’t believe I missed this first time around. FAR AND AWAY my favorite sneak peek, ever. Gorgeous home – fun, witty, yet still comfy and warm. Love!

  26. sandy says:

    That is exactly how one should decorate their home, doesn’t have to be expansive. A little imagination and love is all it takes. Only have things you love around you never compromise on that! Love every detail at this home!!

  27. I personally have a seating distance of about 7′ from my 40″ TV and it’s fine for watching movies (though I wish I would have had the extra cash to go for the 46″).


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