Podcast, Ep. 292: Romancing the Home with Stewart Manger

Stewart Manger, Interior Designer

Stewart Manger, Interior Designer and Author of Romancing The Home

It’s all about getting out of the routine and the regular this week as we welcome New York-based interior designer Stewart Manger to the show. Stewart has worked in some of the most celebrated design offices in the United States, and we talk to him about learning from David Easton, Bunny Williams, and David Kleinberg as well as his advice for new and upcoming designers. Stewart shares the inspiration behind his new book, Romancing The Home, and gives us a few expert tips on balancing both style and comfort in design.

Romancing The Home Book

Romancing The Home by Stewart Manger

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How the point of view comes from the voice of the house as well as the client.
  • Stewart’s ability to naturally blend traditional and modern while bringing in contemporary.
  • How working with celebrated names like David Easton, Bunny Williams, and David Kleinberg influenced him and what elements of their work and habits he draws into his own practice now.
  • How can we better distribute patterns around the room?
  • How small details can have a large impact, such as leading edges on drapery.
  • Ways to mix it up and get out of your own routine.
  • Why your upholstery should be comfortable, and the rule that you shouldn’t buy a chair if you haven’t sat in it!
  • Textured and tactile fabrics can make our furniture feel more comfortable.
  • Why Stewart is a big fan of white kitchens and that NOW is the time to buy that brown furniture.
  • How can we use rugs to warm up the room?
  • What was it like for Stewart to hop over to Scotland and design a castle?
  • The importance for future designers to work in a professional office for someone they admire.

Summer Home designed by Stewart MangerDecorating Dilemma:

How to Decorate Team,

Thank you for having such great questions and informative guests—I’ve learned so much just from listening to each of you.

I live in a South Carolina house which was built to be more of a vacation home for weekly stays and therefore does not have a lot of storage. There is no front closet to squirrel away everything that gets dropped at the front door including dog leashes, shoes, coats, keys, etc. Our front door opens directly into a front room (pictured) which has been used more as a dining room in the past. As with many homes down here, we bought the house with furniture included and have been trying to make the current floor plan more organized for day-to-day living and a longer stay. I’m recovering the Thomas O’Brien chairs in this photo and plan to keep the table, side table and bookshelf currently included in the front room.

My dilemma is what can I do to utilize the far corner space that is essentially behind the front door when open? Is it a missed opportunity or should be left open? It’s currently a wonderful spot for the Christmas tree so if you think it should be left open, I’m all for it, but would love for y’all to weigh in with a guest!

Many thanks,



First, you have a great home and you are doing very well!

Next, it is not a missed opportunity if you don’t fill the space, so don’t worry about that. Stewart agrees that you don’t want to over furnish it, and sometimes there are areas that don’t necessarily need anything at all. With that in mind, we agree that a bench can be a great method to add more storage and still put your Christmas tree there.

Also, there is a 3-inch span of the wall next to the door, and you may want to consider an oversized bracket or wall-mounted table that can serve as a perch. Check out the Julian wall bracket. Here you can also add some lamps or candles to add a nice glow.

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home decor and is always searching for that "finishing touch" antique piece he can never seem to find. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.