To say 2021 has been a challenging year is an understatement. While it’s true that nothing can top 2020 as The Year That Really Sucked, the follow-up to the pandemic year was not easier for everyone. 

Everyone in the home and interior design industry definitely saw an uptick in inquiries, because now more and more people are finding flaws in their homes and want to upgrade, improve, remodel. But our industry was no less impacted by the pandemic—delays in shipping of construction materials and furniture, increases in costs, workers and staff getting sick…Murphy’s Law was the law that ruled the land. Sh*t really hit the fan this year. 

That said, we soldiered on, as did everyone else. Despite the risks of going out and meeting clients and crews, we kept on working, because, well, our lives depended on it. And we are extremely grateful for having been given the opportunity to help our clients who trusted us with creating homes they really and truly love.

Because of the community quarantines, we could not hire our usual interiors photography team to take photos for our portfolio. So most of the photos you will see below were taken by our team (some from only our mobile phones). I still hope to be able to have some of these projects shot professionally some time in the future. 

Anyway here is a look back at Gal at Home Design Studio’s portfolio for 2021. Part 1 of this blog post will be a recap of our Remodel projects, while Part 2 will show our eDesign projects for the year. Our clients have come from all over the metro: Quezon City, Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, and even as far as Mindoro, Florida, and Sweden. Thank you to our dearest clients, for trusting us, and allowing us to survive in the second pandemic year. 

Gal at Home 2021 Remodel Projects Portfolio

Remodel of a two-storey, 1980s house in Calapan, Mindoro

This client had been following us on Instagram for a while now. When they had a chance to purchase this old, abandoned house in Calapan, Mindoro, they immediately contacted me in 2019 to see the property.

With our partner-architect, Arch. Howard Lorenzo of DMLorenzo Construction Corp. and After 7 Architects, we went to see the house for ourselves and knew immediately it needed a lot of work. Initial construction work was ongoing when the first lockdown was announced, so we had to finish this through several lockdowns and multiple delays. 

BEFORE

Because of the pandemic, our team could no longer go back to style and decorate the home, so the AFTER images below show our clients after they moved most of their stuff into the house. 

Still, there’s been major improvements and upgrades to the house, and our client seemed very pleased with the outcome! That’s already a big win for the team!

AFTER

Remodel of a small, one-bedroom condo in Quezon City

We worked on this tiny studio unit that had been converted into a semi one-bedroom condo in Quezon City, even though our client was based in Florida, USA. We only met with him once at the project site, when we discussed his needs and preferences, but for the most part, we had to coordinate with him virtually.

He wanted the unit to feel a little more cozy than its basic, builder-grade look, so we picked a casual coastal style for the unit. This way, we could still use light, neutral colors accented with azure tones, without making the space feel smaller.

BEFORE

We were hampered once again by the lockdowns, but luckily, with our teamup with DMLorenzo Construction, we were able to pull the project off. Many of the furniture pieces were purchased, and the only items we had customized were the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. We also had faux shiplap walls installed to add texture to the vertical surface. 

AFTER

More photos and details about this project over in this blog post!

Remodel of an old, dilapidated '70s duplex in Mandaluyong

This was our biggest project to date, and because it was in a residential area and not a building, we were able to continue in spite of the lockdowns. Our crew had to be “isolated” in the project site during the ECQ, and other challenges we experienced were shortages and delays in construction materials. 

BEFORE

All furniture pieces were new and client decided to forego having custom cabinetry made for the sake of budget. Although towards the end of the project, she did mention that her total expenses for all the purchased furniture was almost the same with the cost of having everything customized. That said, the duplex was completely transformed. And even if this supposed three-month project extended into seven months, client was very happy with the outcome!

AFTER

Remodel of a one-bedroom condo in Mandaluyong

This was one of the projects we began in 2020, but was only able to commence renovation in the middle of 2021. It’s a one-bedroom condo unit where client only needed to add certain appliances, a sliding balcony grill door, and assembled furniture for herself and her four cats. 

BEFORE

It would have been a quick, one-month project, had we not experienced delays with building admin approvals (due to so many changing COVID restrictions and renovation guidelines), and shortages in many of the selections we had initially recommended client to purchase. But despite the minimal change, we finally wrapped up the project this year. 

AFTER

Redesign of a downstairs T&B in Marikina

This was supposed to be a quick renovation project of a small downstairs bathroom that badly needed upgrading. Because it was such a narrow space, client had the idea of bringing out the lavatory sink to create more space for the shower area inside. 

BEFORE

However, due to lockdowns and budget changes, client decided to take our designs and have her own contractor eventually implement it once they were ready. But still, she was happy with how the designs turned out, and she was able to purchase most of the selections we had recommended for her. 

AFTER

Remodel of a studio condo unit in Makati

This project was a spinoff from an eDesign project we had in early 2020. After client implemented our eDesign plans for their studio condo, they decided to have our team help them with completely renovating the unit. 

Again, we had help from the architects and crew of DMLorenzo Construction to revamp this condo into a minimalist-industrial style space. 

BEFORE

Again, lockdowns and shortages in manpower and materials stretched this project into six months, but we finished just in time for Christmas break! Clients were very happy to be able to spend Christmas holidays in their brand new studio. We hope to come back in January 2022 so we could take more professional-looking photos of the space. 

AFTER

Remodel of a dirty kitchen and outhouse in Marikina

This client also found us in Instagram, and requested us to turn their dirty kitchen and outhouse into their main kitchen and laundry room. It was a very narrow space and everything needed to be completely gutted and renovated, but it was so satisfying to see the changes take place. 

BEFORE

We were able to incorporate clients’ existing appliances, but had to change as well the ceiling and roofing. Clients eventually requested our contractor to repair the roof of their main house, and the architects and engineers of DMLorenzo Construction also designed and built an outdoor lanai trellis roof. See below for photos of the project while it was being renovated! We also finished the project just before the Christmas break, and hope to be able to take professional photos after the new year. 

AFTER

Check out the Gal at Home eDesign Portfolio in part 2!

We couldn’t have done all these projects without our partners:

We have more Remodel projects currently ongoing and others planned for 2022, but do check out part 2 of this blog post for a look back at our 2021 Gal at Home portfolio of eDesign projects!