Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: naomi stein of design manifest

by Amy Azzarito

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!

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  • A beautiful home with a real personality… really so rare for a rental. It’s so tempting to take the Holly Golightly approach to rentals — never bother unpacking or buying anything since it’s just a temporary stay!

    I assume that Saarinen-looking dining room table isn’t the real thing given that it was a freebie from Craigslist. I love the suzani over it, and coincidentally, my own Saarinen tulip table was finally delivered just this morning.

    I’m curious to know if the slipcover for the MG&BW sofa is from the manufacturer or if it was custom made? If the latter, how did you find the tailor? I never know who to go to.

  • Awesome!!!
    I wish the creativity gene passed on to all the cousins. Especially me.
    Love the apartment. Very brave use of color. Beautiful.

  • GORGEOUS!!! As a major auction girl, I loved seeing her great finds. What an amazing mix of seemingly random prints that all absolutely sing when put together. I would dance a little jig if walked into such a happy, glamorous home at the end of every day. Fab.

  • I am in love with this house. . . AND you found that lounger on the side of the road?!?! I wish I had that kind of luck!

  • Be still my heart. I’m a big fan and follower of Naomi’s blog and so have gotten to see little snippets here and there…but I had NO idea how amazing it would all look together, and so much more! Naomi you blow me away, every time! Cannot get enough of your style.

  • This is IT! My favorite sneak peek ever on this site. HOLY COW I LOVE EVERYTHING! I don’t usually love every little thing, but this time I do! Question: can Naomi please source the hide-skin rug?? I’m looking for one just like that!

  • Wow I am in complete awe. I love Naomi’s style and knew her house would be fabulous but had no idea it would be so freaking perfect!!!! Congratulations on creating such a beautiful home!!! xo

  • Seriously you have an increible home. I wish I could totally jump in these pictures to see it all. Can you tell me where the love print is from. Usually in don’t like prints but the scale of this is really stunning. You wall paper! Ah! Crazy amazing. And I can’t belive you found that lounger on the side of the road?! Wonderful!

  • Lovely, smart, colorful, interesting… just like the lady herself, whom I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year. After seeing snippets on her blog for months, its wonderful to see it all in its glory here!

  • Naomi, it’s so exciting to see you on Design Sponge!! I feel like I should have paid a bit more attention to your shopping habits at the Phila Flea Markets! Your loft is stunning!

  • WHAAAATTTTT???????
    You should be really proud of yourself. Fab on every level.

  • Question: I love the rug that you have on your bedroom floor. I am looking for one just like it and haven’t had any luck yet. Where did you find that great rug?

  • Best sneak peek ever! I don’t know that anyone wouldn’t want to climb inside their computer and live in her home.

  • So lovely and chic. I read Naomi’s blog and it’s amazing to see how she’s pulled it all together. That pink and blue is the best!

  • absolutely beautiful! i read Naomi’s blog & am so excited to see her place! her style is amazing & i love that so much of her stuff was thrifted/bought at auctions, etc…hunting for items takes time. you can really tell how much thought went into her purchases! serious skillz!

  • I live the placement of the Marilyn print in the bedroom – art really can change a room and in a very affordable way too! Good Job! Take a look at this print, i think the colors would sit just right too, roses, pinks, reds, yum!

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself, Naomi – your home is truly Uh-MA-zing! All your hard work has paid off with a space any designer should be proud to claim – Congratulations!

  • The blue wall and generally the desk and its’ surroundins are beautiful. How did you ge to do those inlays on the Ikea cabinets? excellent idea!

  • Seriously out of control. Love the saturated color, and how unabashedly bold the space is. So amazing. And oh my gosh — some people really have all the luck when it comes to thrift and sample sales, no??

    PS, @Emiliana, I think the overlays are from a company called, well, O’verlays! http://www.myoverlays.com/

  • OH MY GOD… I was expecting something pretty great from Naomi (adore her blog and her style) but this is just beyond gorgeous!! My eyes are so completely delighted with all the colors, patterns and unique mix of old and new… I absolutely ADORE the living room, the chairs and wallpaper and that bedroom, wow. Seriously, just beautiful…amazing job Naomi!! I have to say Marilyn could not have found a better home ;)

  • Amy and the Design Sponge crew, Thank you SO much for featuring my apartment. It was a delight to design and I’m just so happy to share it with others.

    As for all of the commenters- WOW, you made my day. Thanks so much for all the kinds words.

    I’m going to try to answer every question. Give me a little time and I’ll tell you what I can.


  • this space is fantastic. I love how you used the ikea bookcase – I have a really tall entryway and have been trying to figure out how to maximize the space. Adding height with the artwork is perfect! And your color choices are really inspirational!

  • Absolutely not my taste at all -I don’t like cleaning around lots of stuff and in this home, with all it’s lovely little personal items there would be A LOT of cleaning; secondly- all the color makes me jittery. BUT- it does look like the candy store that everyone would want to be a kid in once again.
    I give it a great big BRAVO!
    Love the pooch!

  • I think I have a new favorite D*S post! I can’t even begin to point out my favorite element in this space.

  • Beautiful! So many great finds, I’m really envious! Thanks for the inspiration for my own house.

  • Once in a while a space comes along and makes your heart ache in a good way – this apartment does it for me. I’m lusting after all of her faux bamboo pieces, wallpaper, and pillows. Love your fabric choice, Naomi!

  • You had me at the first shot!! Love the enterance. The whole apartment is to die for. Awesome job!!!

  • Naomi is a rock star of design, and I’m so glad she’s gotten the recognition she deserves. Her loft is a feast for the eyes . . . I, of course, love it all! Congrats to you, sweet Naomi!

  • SWOOON!!! Your office is a dream. You are one lucky lady to find all those amazing bargains, what an eye! You got mad talent. Bravo.

  • I love everything about your design – colorful yet tasteful, thrify yet sophisticated, quirky yet down to earth. Love love love. I’m going to go hit up a Marche aux puces here in Paris today, you’ve inspired me. Thanks!

  • Naomi is BEYOND talented…I absolutely adore this tour of her space. Her home is packed full of character and personality…and is completely gorgeous to boot. I love her bold mix of pattern and colour- it’s a curated collection of absolute perfection…so so impressed!!!

  • Ok- I’m back to answer the questions….

    Dining Table- No it’s not a Saarinen (I wish!) just a Docksta.

    Slipcover- not made by MG + BW. I had my slipcover guy do it. I found him through my upholsterer.

    CowHide- Got it on Ebay. Wouldn’t recommend the seller, though, as they made returns difficult.

    Love Print is actually a little metal sign. It was a gift and it was originally red. I spray painted it gold.

    The rug in the bedroom I stole from my Mom. Not sure where she got it. Novica has similar rugs, though.

    The inlays on the rast are by O’verlays. See my own post today for a detail shot of them. I LOVE them!

    Yes, that is a Miro print on the wood shelf. Good eye!

    Thanks again for all the love, guys! I’m blown away.


  • You’re home looks amazing! Love how you combined everything no matter what it looked like in the beginning… And you just answered a lot of my questions. :) And by the way…Bailey is adorable! He just adds to the overall beautiful look to your home.

  • Such a great space, and nice to see (and learn of) another local talent, and awesome that Courtney did the shots! :)

  • Congratulations, Naomi, on your feature- and very well deserved !! You are truly the BOMB :-)) It all looks fab-u-lous!! So long you have kept us blog readers and friends in supsense,but it was totally worth the long wait.
    And Bailey is just the extra bit of fabulousness that makes the whole apartment super cosy :-)
    Modern Country Lady
    I was stunned to read this is a rental- it so amazing.

  • Gah! I hate being the last in on great stuff! Naomi, it turned out *insanely* amazing, you should be incredibly proud! I was even more stoked to finally see the bedroom, dining room, and kitchen…and I don’t think I could love the office nook any more than I do, the hot pink parsons is just too good. And *HELLO* Nina Campbell wallpaper…how you doin’? (c: Amazing.

  • Long time reader… this is one of the better house tours. And it’s a rental! Good job – very stylish home.

  • I love everything too !!!!!!!! Just a quick question about the mirror behind the bookshelves; Is the bookcase fixed to the wall? How did you do that with the mirror there? I live in earthquake land and would love to do that, but always need to think of safety first. How boring!

  • Oh my gosh! Gorgeous! I’m dying over the hott pink desk with the brilliant blue wall. The geo textile pillows on her bed are amazing! I have that fabric in two colors at home and it’s to die for! Her favorite thing = my favorite thing! My baby princess (my dog) is named Bailey too! I love all of these bright colors and patterns! I want to keep naming all of the things I love but then I’d have to just copy and paste the entire post! I am head over heels in love! This entire space is incredible!

  • Gosh, this space is ridiculously beautiful. You are an incredibly talented young woman. I just want to live in this space!

  • it’s almost embarrassing how many times i’ve looked at this post over the past 2 days…. i’m slightly obsessed with naomi’s place. swoon.

  • I wish I could say this without sounding like a teenager, but:


    because I love it. all of it. The scarf art. the giant dogs. the kitchen rug.

  • Woww!! Naomi your place is gorgeous!! I just everything about it! I’ve been looking for some nice pillows for awhile now but haven’t really come across anything I like.. but yours are fantastic! Would you mind sharing where you found them (or the fabric)? Thanks so much!

  • This sneak peek reminded me of the pictures of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s apartment for the Christie’s auction. It’s so colorful, eclectic and inspired. I swoon for this apartment! Thanks for sharing.

  • I think the photo’s look great. The use of patterns is very well executed. Oh and where did you get the carpet? This should be home tour of the year hands down. Good job Naomi!

  • So inpiring! I made a bee-line for the Glidden paint section in Home Depot last night just to see the Very Berry chip.

  • 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!!

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

  • 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 :)

  • 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


  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Naomi,
    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!!

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • 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″).

  • Hello! Stunning space! I know this is an old post… But, I need your help! The blue on your wall- you mentioned olympic blue- but what brand/code – I need this blue… I recently settled for behr electric blue because it’s so difficult to find this vibrant color… fingers crossed you will respond!