How does one transform an empty shell of a house into one’s own chic and presentable dream home? I set out on such a project a couple years back for a young couple with (then) three kids. They had just bought their very first townhouse. Prior to buying the unit, they’d been living in a small apartment that was becoming too cramped and too old for their growing boys. I worked mainly with the wife, who also ran her successful business from home.
The Interior Design Brief
Space: A brand-new, empty, four-storey townhouse with no interior finishes (no flooring, no paint, no ceilings)
The residents: A young couple with three growing boys
Goal: To transform the empty house into a chic and contemporary home
Side note: The wife didn’t want the space to feel too masculine just because she was outnumbered, and wanted to inject a little feminine touch without making her boys go “ewww” (What is it with boys and their aversion to pink? …haha.).
Everything was concrete, the walls were only finished with primer, and there were no ceilings.
The Design Pegs
As with any project, we started off first with some design pegs. (All following photos were taken from Google and Pinterest.) My client wanted something clean, bright, and contemporary—with emphasis on the first two, as she was just tired of living in a messy, cramped space.
We needed to bunch the kitchen, dining, and living areas on one floor, so we went with an open-plan layout.
Living room peg: All light and bright, with nary a Victorian curlicue in sight
Living room peg: The open-plan space required furniture that doubled as “dividers”, like a sectional or L-shaped sofa.
The Mood board
I had moodboards for every room and floor, but for purposes of brevity, I’ll just post my overall mood and materials board for the entire home.
Back then, I wasn’t equipped with tech tools and skills (aka I drew and drafted everything manually!) so I enlisted the help of fellow interior designer Julienne Hidalgo to come up with rendered drawings of my designs. She makes amazing renderings which almost always fools clients into thinking that her drawings are actual photographs!
The Final Product
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. You may have already seen these on my Instagram account (if you haven’t, just click that link and give me a follow!). All photos below were shot by Paulo Valenzuela for Working Mom magazine.
The media cabinet was my design, and built into the wall. We painted it a lovely gray color from Nippon Paints.
After several iterations of the boys’ room, we eventually settled on one queen-sized bed with a pullout, as my client’s kids were all still very young and wanted to sleep together in one bed. This allowed them more room for play. The cubby shelves and table are from Furniture Source, while the bed was custom-made by Donna Rivera Furniture. The shades were also customized by Shell Canvas.
There you have it! I hope to be able to shoot more photos of clients’ homes (something I have been completely remiss in doing!), and share them with you here on the blog.
Do you have areas of your home that you want to style, furnish, or renovate? Get in touch and let’s set an initial consult!