What do you do with an old but recently gutted and renovated condo unit? You’re single, finally moving out of your parents’ home, are excited to decorate your home in your own preferred style—yet need to incorporate hand-me-down stuff from your parents. As in, vintage, Oriental stuff. Large prints and artwork. Vases. Apothecary cabinets. Large ceramic figurines.
Work with what you have and make it gorgeous.
I’ve posted so many times about this 3BR condominium on social media and even here on this blog (mostly with photos taken on my outdated phone), but it was only recently that I got to shoot it with my usual pro photographer.
What got me so excited about this space was that I could really flex my design muscles. Color. An eclectic mix of old and new, vintage and contemporary. Despite my client initially wanting a clean, bright, light space, I was able to convince her that adding more hues into the mix will help her parents’ things blend in with a vibrant, more youthful-looking environment.
So here it is, the complete reveal of my client’s Chinoiserie-chic, three-bedroom condo!
The Interior Design Brief
The space: A recently gutted and renovated three-bedroom condominium unit, but with very little architectural highlights
The resident: A young single professional with three cats
Goal: To make her home a reflection of her vibrant style, while incorporating pieces inherited from her parents
The condo had light oak-finish flooring and plain white walls. The moulding was pretty basic, in its classic Georgian profile.
My client had a previous contractor install a dividing wall between the rooms and common area, creating a hallway of sorts leading to the bathrooms and bedrooms.
She already had big pieces of furniture, like a three-seater sofa and beds, but needed my help incorporating Oriental items, like this beautiful red antique Chinese cabinet.
While the unit was recently renovated, it lacked much-needed character—something that would make my client enjoy coming home to and invite guests over for.
The Design Pegs
I also came up with furniture boards for my client, so she can see all the elements and furniture pieces together. These boards helped her better visualize my design intent for her space.
These are actual furniture pieces from retailers and local suppliers alike, so we were able to pin down what actual items to purchase or have custom-made.
The Final Product
We worked together mostly online—through Viber and email—while I did regular site visits at her home while she was at work, throughout the course of the entire renovation. Then when the reno was done, we worked on getting additional decor and home accessories to spruce up her space.
The following photos are mostly shot by Toto Labrador.
I told my client to wrap her entryway walls in this beautiful blue color: Cape Cod Bay from Boysen Paints Philippines. The darker than usual shade cocoons the entryway, allowing anyone who enters to pause and recollect one’s self, and regard the environment around him or her. It also visually separates the space from the rest of the common area.
The Chinese lacquer armchairs, apothecary cabinet, and round red box were part of the haul my client brought from her parents’ home. We purchased the floor lamp from Habitat Manila and the gold metal leaf installation from Mav Furniture. I placed a faux orchid from Our Home on top of the cabinet, as this spot receives very, very little light, and a real flowering plant wouldn’t have bloomed.
Right in front of the armchairs is this full-length mirror, which we bought from Our Home. I love how it reflects the entryway vignette. It also allows my client to primp and preen before leaving the house.
The Dining Area
Here’s a BEFORE view of the dining room:
This striking Ang Kiukok painting graces the wide wall that comprises part of her common area, which is largely an open-plan space. I put the mother-and-child painting there to help define my client’s dining area. Without it, the dining table would have floated aimlessly in the space without a focal point to separate it from the rest of the living room.
Here is a more complete view of the buffet cabinet by Donna Rivera Furniture.
We went through numerous tables in retail but my client couldn’t lock down on something she really, really liked. So I designed a long, eight-seater table with metal legs brush-painted in gold, and had my design executed by Dekko Furniture.
The upholstered gray chairs are once again by Donna Rivera Furniture. That gold pagoda lamp from Lumina Concepts was part of the inspiration for my design concept, and while it was a bit on the expensive side, I really loved how it punctuates the design style we went for.
Here’s a view from the dining room, looking out to the whole living area. There’s a slightly blank spot between the dining and living areas, which is actually walk space leading to the hallway and rooms. I decided against filling up the space because that would have only made the common area feel cluttered. We need negative spaces to let the eyes rest, so now, you are able to clearly define the dining space from the living space, without suffering from visual fatigue.
The Living Area
Let’s sit over in the living room now, shall we? Here’s what it looked like before we embarked on the project:
This is what it looks like now:
While the entryway and dining spaces had a much cooler feel, the entire color palette I planned for the unit comes into play in the living room. This is why I kept the walls mostly bare and off-white: I wanted to inject more colors in other elements, like textures, fabrics, soft furnishings, and decor.
The navy blue Chevron-patterned rug is actually something my client bought from one of her grocery runs at S&R. It bridges the blue from the dining area and entryway, together with the throw pillows. If we had added more blues, that would’ve been too much already.
The red Chinese cabinet functions here as a side table, and acts as the main red element in the living room. We repeated that same hue in the lumbar pillows. I then used a lot of golds to make the space sparkle and shine: through the gilt mirror I found buried in one of the boxes of stuff that cluttered up my client’s library, tabletop decor like the gold pineapple from Mav Furniture, and the glass coffee table. That coffee table is actually the super affordable Ikea Vittsjo nesting table, which is locally available at Furniture Source. I just had it spray-painted gold by my contractor (which is D.M. Lorenzo Builders, by the way. They’ve been my go-to contractor for the past three years.).
I designed the media cabinet myself. I wanted it to tie in with the blue buffet sideboard in terms of form and shape, but I left it in a natural wood stain because I didn’t want to add more blue to the living area. It was also customized by Donna Rivera Furniture.
The shelves are also custom-made: The brackets were made by Art Steel, a wrought iron company based in Pampanga, which I actually found on OLX. I simply asked my contractor to supply the 2-meter-long wooden shelves and had them install it too.
The space between the dining and living areas is only defined by this seating arrangement. The Chinese nesting tables are from my client’s parents, while the chairs are extra dining chairs we had custom-made. When my client has more guests, they just pull up these chairs toward the dining room.
I thought long and hard about the wall in the dining area that led to the hallway. It was empty and my client didn’t have enough artworks to put on it. I initially proposed wallpapered areas sectioned off by wall trim, but my client wasn’t too keen on the wallpaper. We eventually agreed on leaving it just blue; the color was more than enough to catch attention, and the wall trim added more than enough interest.
For the hallway, my client wanted to use wallpaper to make it stand out enough without having to furnish it. We used this wonderful geometric print from Wallcrowne. What’s great about the wallpaper is that the gold geometric lines are also textured in a kind of sandpaper-y finish. It’s gorgeous IRL.
The common bathroom was already renovated with floor to ceiling marble-patterned tiles and a new white sink and cabinet. All I did was to decorate and organize the space.
The Master Bedroom
Before I came in, this is what the bedroom looked like:
And here it is now:
My client’s bedroom is actually the one room in the condo unit that I feel best reflects her own personal style. She loves cute Japanese characters, the Greek Key and lattice patterns, and has a soft spot for furry friends (stuffed and living alike).
She already had the upholstered bed and those bedsheets when I came in, so I added to the bare space with bedside tables (again custom-made by Donna Rivera Furniture), lamps from Mandaue Foam. The lattice-patterned rug is from Deco Living Manila, while the arm chair is from Habitat Manila.
View from the other side of the bed:
There was an extra room sandwiched between the master bedroom and the guest room suite which my client decided to use as a library/home office. Prior to our project, it just acted as a storage room for all her and her parents’ things.
She had a framed black-and-white photo that her brother took, which I decided to use as inspiration for this space. The photograph has a very contemporary feel to it, so I went with strictly modern pieces and materials—steel and chrome, glass, and white-painted wood. We added texture to keep the monochromatic palette a little more interesting through a honeycomb-patterned rug from Carpetworld at SM Store, throw pillows with black and white embroidery from Our Home, and a faux sheepskin rug.
I love how the shine from the steel table legs reflect much of the light in this tiny room, and really makes the desk a focal point. If we had gone with ordinary wooden legs, it wouldn’t have stood out as much.
Here’s a photo of the artwork that inspired the library. Underneath it is a loveseat that my client already had. All the pillows and faux sheepskin rug are from Our Home, as is the floor lamp.
The Guest Room Suite
My client’s parents live abroad, and often come visiting for months at a time. The guest room is their home away from home, so we had to keep it sparsely decorated, but still guest-ready.
Our inspiration piece for this space is the large Egyptian print that my client’s mom hand-carried from one of her many trips. Most of the other furniture pieces my client inherited were the really heavy Chinese chest with intricate pearl inlay, an Ikea highboy cabinet, and those ceramic Chinese figurines.
Here’s what it looks like now.
The bedside tables are the same as the ones in my client’s bedroom, while the rug is also from Deco Living. I wanted to bring out the more lively colors in the large Egyptian print and saw that it had bright aqua and red. I “pulled” these colors out by bringing in throw pillows in these shades.
Because the guest room already had a few visually heavy pieces—like the black drawers, the artwork, and the Chinese chest—I kept everything else white, light gray, or in a light wood finish. The armchair in the corner is from Mandaue Foam, while the lamps are from Lumina Concepts. My client bought potted plants on her own to make the space feel even more lively.
The bathroom in the suite was also clad in the same marble-print tile as the common bathroom. We added an Ikea shelf beside the toilet as it was quite empty without it. We then used these shelves to add a few decorative elements.
And there you have it! This is, by far, one of my favorite spaces to date. I would love to do more homes like this—are you looking to style or decorate your new place? Just let me know by getting in touch here!
Once again, with feelings:
Thanks for dropping by!