A 1920s East Passyunk townhouse gets a makeover



Design Manifest used architectural upgrades and selective splashes to elevate the classic South Philly century home.

This South Philly townhouse design makeover uses color selectively and creatively. / Photography by Courtney Apple

For city dwellers, maximizing space is a must. South Philadelphia-based firm Design Manifest is familiar with this challenge and eagerly set about sprucing up a 1920s East Passyunk townhouse. The renovation was “a practice of restraint,” says the DM owner , Naomi Stein; her clients “wanted it to be airy and calm, but they also liked the color. It was about being picky with where we did our splashes.

New hues came from subtly bohemian rugs; a mid-century modern coral sofa; a bench seat in green leatherette. But the real splashes were technical touches that add the illusion of space. Stein widened the stairs (previously too small to allow furniture to climb up and down), added custom metal railings, and installed French doors that open to a leafy back patio. “We wanted the outdoors to feel included wherever we could,” says Stein. The neat design didn’t go unnoticed by the neighbours: “When we got our set up, they were all hanging out on the front porch and peeking, like, I can’t believe this house!”


townhouse design

A La Cornue cooker and tiled hood center an expanded kitchen, while a vintage Turkish rug adds warmth to the industrial style. A large pantry provides convenient storage space for items that might otherwise clutter a counter.

Dining Area

A cozy built-in at the end of the house overlooks the patio, providing the perfect spot for a quiet cup of coffee.


This fun space offered the opportunity to be “a bit wilder” with the design. A vintage dog painting is a nod to owners’ love for animals.

Living room

Widened doors and windows (softened here by Ripplefold linen curtains) emphasize the height of the ceiling and evoke the sculptural grandeur of a Brooklyn brownstone. A bespoke floating credenza below a Samsung Frame TV adds to the airy ambiance of the home. Functional pieces like a jute-look indoor/outdoor rug and a sofa upholstered in performance fabric allow for easy upkeep.

Published as “South Philly Serenity” in the October 2022 issue of philadelphia cream magazine.


About Author

Comments are closed.