Who doesn’t love a good before and after story? Check out how we organized and decorated this condo after a months-long renovation, and get lots of useful tips in making a formerly cluttered and cramped home look more spacious, much neater, and more enjoyable overall.
I’m so excited to reveal this condo that we recently shot and styled. This project has not been without hiccups—like reaaaally annoying hiccups—but I’m glad with how it turned out!
Before the Reno: “Help! We Need to Organize our Condo”
My clients live in a three-bedroom condo unit, and before we started the condo renovation, I immediately noticed that:
- They have a lot of things (can relate).
- They have a lot of relatives (can relate!)
They impressed upon me that they are never without guests. With two very young kids (and their toys) ruling the roost, they also frequently had relatives staying over. Apart from the couple and the kids, they had helpers, a sister, and a cousin all living under one roof at that time.
You can see how a spacious, 65-square meter, three-bedroom condo could immediately feel cramped and chaotic.
The Interior Design Brief
The space: A 65-sqm, 3-BR condo unit housing a young family of four + 1 sister + two helpers + XX relatives + senior dog
The goal: Bring order and aesthetic back into their home (and lives), but still be able to fit an extended family.
Feels like a tall order when you look at all the before-condo-renovation pics, but I knew we only needed a few (major) tweaks here and there to get their place looking organized and decorated.
We immediately focused on the kitchen, because apart from all the clutter, the cabinets needed replacing from previous leaks. The layout also wasn’t ideal because, I soon discovered that the extended family didn’t really eat a lot of meals together. They all ate at disparate times due to my clients’ irregular work schedules, and on weekends, they simply ate out.
It was an arrangement that they were willing to keep, so I knew we had to reorganize the kitchen in such a way that we could have more storage space for their things, and still allow them to freely eat meals whenever they wanted (or needed) to.
Rethinking the Condo Layout for a More Organized Flow
The living room was also quite disorganized because of plenty of furniture pieces that were either too dark and imposing or not in proportion to the size of the room. Initially, my clients thought that a big couch would help accommodate everyone—residents and guests alike—but it became too big for them to be able to move around, and ended up weighing the space down.
One common mistake I find people making is that when storage is needed, we immediately purchase case pieces that look nice at the store, but do not fit into the environment as soon as they arrive home.
I knew that their TV cabinet needed to go, mainly because it was dark, and it didn’t really serve its purpose of keeping and storing all their bric-a-brac. Though it was initially in our “Furniture to Keep” list, I was able to convince my clients that a custom-built media cabinet would fit best into the space.
There were three bedrooms—the master bedroom, a second bedroom, and supposedly, a nursery. But this nursery was so tiny (5 sqm, yo), it only became a “walk-in closet”—a.k.a. bodega or storage room.
So my client wanted to take down a wall and combine the two smaller rooms together, and fit guests, kids, and yayas alike in one room. My design direction for the combined room? “It has to have pink in it. My daughter loves pink.”
As for the master bedroom and both bathrooms, storage was a must, as their current closet and cabinets were not sufficient.
Before We Reveal: A Tip for Getting Your Home Organized
Now here’s one thing we all need to remember (and I tell myself and most especially my husband the same thing). If you want a more organized home, you’ve got to let go of a loooot of things.
Whether you you use the Konmari style or some other home organization method du jour, it goes without saying: Decluttering involves letting go of stuff.
Those little things that we tend to hang on to and all the items we often feel we cannot live without (like your recent TV-shopping purchases) will only end up forgotten in some corner or drawer or cabinet at home.
No amount of renovating or decorating will make your space feel less cluttered if you don’t, well, remove the clutter.
That said, an impending renovation could be the key to getting everyone in the house involved in a massive cleanup.
Packing all your belongings up will reintroduce you to things you thought you’d lost once upon a time. Putting them back into fresh new cabinets will make you rethink if you still need them or not.
This is exactly what happened to my clients, and while they still do have a lot of things, I can safely say that they were able to somewhat reduce the clutter they had previously been living with.
My Rendered Designs for This Condo Renovation
Check out a quick video view of my rendering of their open-plan kitchen and living area:
I went with a dining bar, because it gave them additional cabinet space and a place to prepare and have their irregularly timed meals.
I also suggested to switch the refrigerator and the oven range, so that the kitchen would feel and look more open and spacious.
I designed several custom furniture, to maintain simple and clean lines, as well as to provide the storage solution in their small space.
The bathrooms mimicked the same, streamlined Scandi vibe, with handle-less drawers and cabinets.
In the bedroom, I designed two closet systems: One for the headboard, so that a new upholstered bed would be eased into the space and give a sophisticated, built-in look; and another to serve as a desk and closet system, which meant more storage for clothes and belongings.
After the Condo Renovation: The Home Reveal!
Enough with the yakking! I promised a home reveal, and here it is. I don’t even want to go into detail about all the problems we encountered during the renovation.
(TL, DR: Never get a contractor you’ve never tried or whose work you’ve never seen for a major full-condo renovation. It will only end up giving you lots of headaches.)
To organize and decorate this formerly cluttered and cramped condo, I went with a neutral Scandinavian look, as this style is perfect for a young extended family.
It’s also a design style that allows one to easily decorate confidently with color. The white and wood accents are more than enough design feature that lets them add touches of color via small, vibrant items.
The newly revamped kitchen and dining bar
Before the renovation, we had a brown backsplash, cabinets in a sort of orange, a folding table that served as prep island/eating surface.
After the renovation, we now have white cabinetry with Shaker-style doors populating the kitchen. White makes the entire space seem lighter and brighter. While we seemingly blocked off the small open space with a dining counter, more storage underneath meant that my clients could effectively stow away all loose belongings, which only aggravated the already cluttered look.
A new dining bar with bottom cabinets replaced the old foldable table that they previously used as prep and eating surface. This now stores additional pantry space and keeps the LPG tank safely tucked out of sight.
Check out the pretty glass globe drop lamps from Home Cartel!
I opted for white subway tiles to replace the outdated brown backsplash of the prior kitchen. The subway tiles remain a classic look (despite what all the naysayers say), add just the right amount of texture without littering the view.
That white tray and ceramic canisters with chalkboard labels are great buys from Crate & Barrel.
A stainless steel farmhouse sink from Vintage Hardware Manila is a great investment, as it is deep enough to wash the many kitchenwares that this extended family often uses.
I also suggested moving the oven range here, where the refrigerator used to stand. This keeps the visual sight line low near the dining counter, making the area seem more spacious.
The spice racks from Ikea (locally available for now from Furniture Source) over the wooden counter serve a dual purpose: to store spices and/or decorative objects, like plants.
An Organized Entryway
We initially wanted barstools with backrests for the kids, but couldn’t find the right stool for the custom bar height. These adjustable screw-type bar stools from Mod Living are the next best option.
The large wall clock from Dimensione was also a great find, as it matches the clean Scandi look that we went for in the condo.
Check out Gustave, so comfy in his dedicated spot.
As is common in many Filipino homes, my clients needed a space near the door to store their shoes and slippers. We bought these inexpensive shoe cabinets from Dimensione and “upgraded” them with metal cup handles—also inexpensive buys from Wilcon Home Essentials.
A colorful Scandinavian living room
In place of the huge, leather three-seater couch, we ordered a light gray sectional sofa. The great thing about this sofa is that apart from providing enough seats for guests, it also serves as a sofa bed (with its pullout trundle) and additional storage. My client stores linen and pillow cases under the lounge seat.
The wooden nesting center table from Urban Concepts is a hit with the kids, who often use it to eat on, write on, play on, sit on, lie on!
To add color to the neutral space, I asked my client to have colored photos printed (instead of the dark, B&W photos they used to have up on the walls). The white frames keep the look clean and uniform.
Since my clients also liked different colors (their combined color preferences included pink, purple, green, and orange), I decided to have them all there. You would think these colors would clash with each other; but because they’re all in muted, pastel tones, they all go well together in a complex complementary scheme.
The throw pillows from SM, framed photos, and even the book and flowers on the coffee table all bring out the colorful tones, but don’t overwhelm, thanks to the grayish white walls, light gray rug, and warm light wood in the background.
We went with creamy curtains with sheer panels, since we didn’t need blackout curtains and wanted more natural light to flow into the space.
Find the hidden Gustave!
The media cabinet I designed for them houses a lot of things, including a foldable bench press, cleaning equipment, books, and toys.
The aquarium on the right side has its own light and plug access.
The wide space in front of the TV is actually valuable play space for the kids. On a regular day, they have a small kiddie table set in front where the two girls can set out tea cups and pots, eat snacks, or watch TV.
The Clean and Streamlined Bathrooms
White cabinet doors surrounded by natural wooden sides is a typical Scandinavian feature. Mirrored cabinets above the sink hide the mess of toiletries of other bathroom implements.
Plants in the bathroom add life to an otherwise sterile space, and also filter the air of toxins and bad odors.
For the master bathroom, I went with all-white cabinetry and marble-print tiles, to give off a relaxing, spa-like vibe.
For the fixtures, we picked stainless steel or brushed nickel, to keep within the cool white and gray palette of the master bath.
The Combined Guest and Kids’ Room
What used to be two separate but cramped rooms, the combined kids’ and guests’ room is now a long and narrow room housing two custom bunk beds.
The bunk beds are sturdy enough to allow both kids and adults to sleep in; the floor height of the bottom bunk is also a safety feature for the young girls.
Note the cute cloud-shaped ceiling light fixture—a great find by my client from shopping portal Shopee!
Long white drawers provide sufficient storage for the young kids’ and my client’s sister’s clothes. Pink bedsheets and the pink kitchen play set add more than enough, well, pink to the space—my client’s daughter’s request!
A cubby shelf with baskets store their belongings, and together with the bare wood of the beds, add a natural textured element to the space.
A Calm and Serene Master Bedroom
The tiny master bedroom used to have lots of clutter and empty walls. This time, we used all the vertical space by enclosing them in built-in cabinets.
We housed a new split-type AC and an upholstered queen bed (with drawers, of course!) into a headboard-and-cabinet system, still with the same clean Scandi lines as the other cabinets in the unit.
I had pinlights placed above the head of the bed, and each side has its own switch and outlets, so that my clients could read and charge their phones by their bedside.
And that’s it for this home reveal!
What was your favorite part about this before-and-after condo renovation? Would love to hear what you think in the comments below!
If you want to read more about fixing up your condos, check out these easy, no-reno design tips for your studio.