Tour a Stylish Empty-Nester Home Outside Philly

This gracious family home on Philadelphia's Main Line was transformed into a empty nester retreat by designer Naomi Stein.

May 28, 2020

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Photo By: Courtney Apple

Designing Woman

Naomi Stein is the head of Design Manifest, a family-owned design and construction firm in Philadelphia's affluent Main Line area. The company was founded by Naomi's father, Andrew, in the late 1980s. Naomi's tenure at the helm began in 2016 with her father's retirement. Two years later she was joined by her sister Megan as the company continued its transition from construction to a noted interior design firm in the Philadelphia suburb. When a pair of newly minted empty-nesters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, needed help re-envisioning their family home, they called on Naomi, for her expertise in designing one-of-a-kind spaces, to make it happen.

Dining Room Indulgences

“We really love wallpaper,” Naomi confesses about her firm. This dining room lets her express that love to great effect. As the major source of color and pattern in the space, the wallpaper is the undisputed star of the dining room. “Each room has a distinct personality,” Naomi says. In the dining room, a floral aesthetic reigns. Floral designs are brought in with the wallpaper and echoed in the artwork and lighting in the dining room.

All in the Details

Botanical themes abound in this dining room. The plant silhouette in the wallpaper design is accented by the floral motif on the metallic lamp base, a photograph of a flower and a potted plant. The mirrored credenza on which the lamp and plant are resting deserves special mention. "That was a special vintage piece that we picked up at a furniture auction," Naomi says.

Serene Bedroom

Nature motifs continue in the master bedroom, where leaves appear on the curtains and rug. Their presence creates a palpable connection between the first and second floors, but with a different effect. Here, it helps evoke the feeling of a charming bungalow and escape far from the city. The room is one of the designer's favorites. "There is a great mix of color and pattern while still feeling light and serene," Naomi says. "The tailored aesthetics transport you into a feeling of calm and relaxation right away."

Traditional + Contemporary

Naomi describes her design aesthetic as "traditional, with a fresh contemporary sensibility." In this spacious, well-lit bedroom, we see that aesthetic on full display. A king-sized four poster bed and dark wood side tables add a traditional touch. Indian block-print bedding and pillows trimmed with colorful details lighten up the room.

Design Over Time

Designing this home involved tackling one room at a time over a number of years. When her clients first invited her into their 4,200 square foot, four-bedroom home, the couple was raising three children, all of whom have since moved into homes of their own. "The house has been renovated over time," Naomi recalls, "including two-and-a-half baths, the entry hall, living room, dining room, home office and master suite. We even added two fireplaces and enhanced the millwork throughout."

Mixed Up in a Good Way

A neutral color palette doesn't need to be boring, and Naomi made sure it was anything but in this richly detailed, interesting living room where a play of textures is at work. A soft vintage rug, plush bench, and buttery leather sofa create layers of interest and depth in the space.

Living Room About Face

One of the early challenges of this design project for Naomi was to turn the living room into a family destination. Originally a very formal space, it was one of the least used areas of the home. Changing that required adding millwork to enhance the character of the room, complemented with a soothing neutral color palette and a few sophisticated touches of color for fun. Augmenting the leather sectional sofa, velvet side chairs in deep green add a welcome dose of fun to the home’s neutral aesthetic and more seating for the whole family to gather. Artistic touches in the metallic side table and overhead lighting fixture complete the space perfectly.

First Place Finishes

Malvern, Pennsylvania, is an idyllic suburb of Philadelphia, home to grazing horses and historic barns. The area dates back to the American Revolution. A sense of Americana can be felt in the details of this home. Built-ins bring home a traditional feel. Beautiful millwork perfectly frames an arrangement of books, flowers and collected pieces. Brass details brighten the pale gray bookshelves.

Playing Favorites

"All of the redesigned spaces are beautiful," Naomi says when describing the home, but confesses that one room was her favorite. "The master bath is a really unique and special room," she says. "We made functional use of the natural light coming in by mounting vanity mirrors in the windows, and the shower is its own separate 'room' with a large picture window to let in light." The custom vanities and built-ins all around the room make this a bespoke elegant space.

Dressing Room Envy

One of the benefits of an empty nest? Being able to repurpose rooms however you like. When their children left home, this Philadelphia couple gained a whole room that they could dedicate to their wardrobe. At the center of the room, Naomi placed a chest-of-drawers in light gray to add contrast to the deep blue statement wall for a contemporary touch. Built-ins provide plenty of room for the couple's wardrobe in this enviably large walk-in closet.

Sophisticated Home Office

Good design is an oft-overlooked but crucial aspect of having a home office, especially with so many of us spending time working from home these days. A good layout can keep you organized, as well as energized and engaged. And if you use your office to meet clients, it can help to make an impression. This office is designed to give the blend the best parts of work and home — comfort and organization — seamlessly. The glass desk keeps the space from feeling cluttered while the built-in shelving holds the eye with a mix of painted and raw wood. A wingback chair upholstered in mud cloth adds a modern touch to the home office.

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