Naomi Stein of Bala Cynwyd's Design Manifest Shares her Décor Muses

Who she admires, which rooms she loves, and why you’ll see touches of blue wherever she goes.

Photo by Jared CastaldiNaomi Stein is the creative arm of Design Manifest, a father/daughter residential design and construction firm in Bala Cynwyd. “I really enjoy working with my dad,” says Stein of the partnership with her father, Andrew. “Nothing beats a great before-and-after. I have the vision, but my dad creates the ‘after.’” Stein blogs about her projects and all things interior design in Design Manifest (

Design style: Traditional with a bohemian twist. “I love the look of classic, timeless spaces with ethnic and eclectic pops that add a bit of dimension and personality. I like rooms tailored and crisp, but still comfortable and warm.”

Favorite room in her house: The living room. “I love that I took a neutral base (white walls, linen sofa, cream rug) and layered on lots of color, patterns, antiques, finishes and furniture styles. And it’s easy to change out the pillows and accessories if I want a new vibe.”

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Designer who inspires her: Windsor Smith. “She’s the master mixer. Her spaces are traditional yet eclectic, colorful yet well edited. She always throws a bit of surprise and whimsy into her sophisticated rooms.”

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Favorite design advice: Mix finishes and furniture styles. “The best rooms look collected and organic. Try something old, something new, something shiny, something rustic—it creates a sense of balance and depth in a space. Furniture sets are lame. You can tell when someone has purchased a whole room from one store.” 

Color she couldn’t design without: “I’m an equal-opportunity color-lover, but recently I’ve been using blue on every job. From moody navy to vibrant turquoise to the palest of seafoam blues, there’s so much dimension to the hue—and it mixes well with many other colors.”

Design elements she loves to incorporate into a space: “A dose of chinoiserie in every room. Whether it’s blue-and-white pottery, a bamboo piece of furniture or a festive-themed fabric, it adds a fun, unexpected element.”

Favorite room to design: “With kitchens, I love breaking out of the boring, boxy standard, and creating practical and beautiful spaces.”

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Three words that sum up her design: Tailored, eclectic, glamorous.

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