Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Favorite Vacation House

My Favorite Vacation House

After weeks of long days filled with work, I look forward to a weekend out of town.  Our friend has a fabulous beach house, a proof of his creativity and inate decorating skills.  Every nook and cranny in this house is well thought of, depicting balance and scale.  He admits to having a passion for collecting décor and items for the home. Although he isn’t a designer by profession, friends and relatives have begged him to transform their homes to get a taste of his magic.

Purchased throughout the years, every piece of décor must have a story to tell.  From ostrich eggs, solid wood cart wheels, and modern abstract painting from Ivan Acuna, this home always leaves me looking forward to the next trip.  Solid narra floors and beams line the stairway, while mixed and matched furniture of various design styles settle around the living room. 
What amazes me as a designer is the way he thought of colors to use as accent.  These are colors  I must admit I would never think of using in a beach house, yet the pink, yellow and green worked perfectly well. 

The way he arranges accessories around his center tables was also something worth commending.  We can learn from his compositions by following these tips:

-          -Don’t be afraid to fill the whole table with items, just pay attention to scale and balance.
-         - Use various elevations and add interest with varrying heights.  Use a pile of books, wooden boxes, décor in different sizes.
-         - Pick décor that make a statement. Go for big pieces as opposed to knick knacks.  If you like collecting small items, make sure they have a story to tell.  Purpose is a valuable characteristic of good design.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Designing Your First Home

 This Bog entry is a modified version of my article for Good House Keeping Magazine Philippines

Your First Home: Design 101
In between planning your wedding and starting your fairytale life comes designing your first home.  Every newlywed will benefit from having their own space.  Be it a modest flat or your dream house with a pool and garden, planning it together has been proven to be fulfilling and fun.  Most people don’t know where to begin, and may actually put this off until after the wedding, however coming home to your own private space will be worth every effort.  With these simple steps you can design and arrange your own home while planning your wedding.

Something old can be your own treasure
You may have furniture from your old home that you can take with you, or your family may have items to pass on.  Keep in mind that pieces can always be re painted, and altered to fit your new area. A sofa can look new by changing its upholstery to a plain textured modern fabric.  Knowing what pieces you already have will help you plan and save on what you don’t really need to buy.  Whatever furniture you decide to keep must of course match new items you will purchase. 

Meublair furniture

Start with the biggest pieces of your home
The easiest way to get the design process going is by acquiring the large pieces first.  These are most of the time the most needed in a home.  Buy a sofa, dining set, and bed.  Smaller furniture like side tables, consoles, and shelves should come after, so that you know what spaces to fill.  A great way to ease you into space planning is to get overall dimensions of each furniture piece. Mark them onto your actual floor with tape or chalk so you can visualize and see if it fits.  Location and angles can then be repositioned depending on how much space is required. 

Storage, something every home cannot live without
Although everyone must learn the art of tasteful restraint when accumulating items, storage will always be a necessity.  Be aware of dead space, nooks, and corners that you can turn into a closet, or chest.  All you will need is wood and a few hinges to build closet doors and conceal it.  You can be creative by making it look like a part of your wall, or highlight it with contrasting materials to build a focal point.  Buy furniture with drawers, or shelves, and invest in space saving fixtures like corner carousel shelves for hard to reach areas. 

Herman Miller Meridian Filing

Spruce up your home with color
There can be many ways of adding color to a home. Artwork, linen, as well as accessories all give a punch of color but nothing spices up a room like wall paint.  Though neutral colors work best, you can experiment by adding accent walls or focal points.  Re enforce that color by adding accessories like jars and throw pillows with the same shade or tone in them.  Computerized paint mixing stations found in home depots and mall hard ware stores make it easier to select colors and even paint your own walls.  

the bella life

Toby Fairley

Sentimental Art Work and Photographs Make the Home
A great and inexpensive way to decorate your home is to use your own family portraits and artwork.  Having them printed and framed in black and white is a great way to re live those memories.  Be it a grouping of pictures, or a collage of items from your wedding day, creativity will certainly bring satisfaction as long as your artwork is according to proper proportion and location. 

Travis Isaac's photostream

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I have a new addiction… Polyvore.  It is an online site that allows you to create and design anything from fashion to interiors.  Check out and try your luck as a designer.  Polyvore allows you to create a mood board or actual room using items that can really be purchased in online stores.  Too bad these aren’t available in our country, but just playing around with different colors, furniture, and accessories will get you hooked. 
I created three mood boards or designs that I hope you all will enjoy.  You’ll never know if you’ve got that hidden talent unless you try! 

Blue as Bianca is a combination of contemporary and playful design.  This will probably work for a condo unit.

Moroccan Whimsical denotes soft, feminine details.  This will be perfect for a girl’s bedroom.

Romantic Lemon is a combination of Mediterranean and old world design.  One can use this for a house with Mediterranean, Filipino or Moroccan themes.

Here are other Polyvore  entries by other users.  I haven’t really studied the whole thing thoroughly but I think you can use your own jpeg pictures of blank rooms and fill it up.

The nice thing about decorating is that there are no rules.  I’ve learned by browsing magazines, and studying design books.  Although innate taste is an advantage, decorating can be acquired and developed.  There are so many items to choose from in Polyvore, I simply type words like “furniture” or “lamps” in the search bar and a whole galaxy of items come out.   I hope you all get inspired to create your own design and try your hand in decorating.  As for me.. I’ve got another Polyvore project to finish.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Creating a Cozy Guest Room

Where I come from,we love to entertain or to crash into friends and relatives homes.  It's in our culture.  Providing an awesome experience for your guest should be complimented with a relaxing guest bedroom.  You may not always have enough space for them but creating an ambiance of comfort is all you need to be a fantastic host.  Here are a few tips:

Give them a bed you would actually be comfortable sleeping on.

Fresh smelling linen guarantees better sleep.  I’ve stayed with relatives, that didn’t bother to change the sheets for me, I was appalled! Even if your guest room hasn’t been used in awhile, the linen can still smell of dust or mildew.  Provide freshly washed sheets, and go the extra mile by spraying it with lavender water, or any linen spray you might have. Be hygienic by throwing pillows into the dryer or having them cleaned.  I like using antibacterial and mite resistant pillows, and have thrown away old ones made of foam or filler.

Test the bed mattress yourself.  Check for bed mites and other foul odors. Thin bed mattresses that you can drape over an original bed mattress can be bought for instant comfort.  Air mattresses are fine for young guest, and those staying for a few nights. 

Make sure the room and bathroom are clean.  Cleaning it two weeks ago won’t cut the deal.  Dust and cob webs accumulate in days.

Make the room guest friendly.

Remove unnecessary furniture and equipment that will make the room crowded.  Clear some closet space for the guest so that they can unpack their belongings.  Provide hangers for their clothes, and clear tops of dressers and tables for personal items.  Provide a night lamp by the bed and even a flashlight or hall light if they have to walk down the hallway to the bathroom at night. 

Decorate your guest room with a purpose by providing a clock, some artwork and a mirror they can use when dressing up.  Make sure windows are covered with the proper window treatment for privacy.


Put together a welcome basket.

I like to make guest feel at home by adding a welcome basket placed at the foot of the bed.  These can include towels, shampoos, soap, toothpaste, candles, and even a book that you think your guest will like.  If you know you will be busy at work, providing travel maps, and a list of places to visit, eat in and see around town would be nice.  Furnish your guest with important phone numbers like your office number, mobile, doctors, or hospitals in case of emergency.


It doesn’t matter who your guest is.  They will surely appreciate your efforts to make them feel at home.  Your guest room is a reflection of who you are.  A sloppy guest room made without effort spells a lousy home keeper too busy for her own family. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

KISH is on sale

My very first job as a designer was working as part of the sales and decorating team of KISH, a locally well- known store that caters to everything about design.

From January 28 to 30,2011 everything will be on sale.  Get your favorite art pieces and the furniture you so covet for as low as 50% off!  Here are some of the items you'll find on sale:

KISH is located at

2nd Floor LRI Design Plaza
210 N. Garcia St., Bel-Air
Makati City 1209
t: 02.896.8366
f: 02.896.8367