A pair of Pekingese dogs greeted us as we entered the home of Blake Go and Divine Lee-Go for the photoshoot, excitedly sniffing at our feet before running across the black tiled floors. “He’s my eldest son,” Blake jokes as he reaches out to scratch the head of Pompeii, the older pet.
Cute as the canines are, the real superstar of the house is clearly baby Baz. Despite being just a few months old at the time of the shoot, he looks up at us with adorable wide eyes. “Having a baby really changes everything,” Divine says with a laugh. “We were lucky we got this place cleaned up in time for the shoot!”
Any apology the couple might have offered for the clutter was completely unnecessary—a sleek stroller was parked at one corner, but all in all, the residence remained a chic and cosmopolitan abode in the middle of Cebu City.
The home is done in shades of dark neutrals, with some bare concrete walls to perfectly showcase their art collection. “Our inspiration for the house is very modern, very hotel-like,” Divine shares. “Technically, I wanted a blank canvas, and we just put a lot of accessories to liven up the place.”
The young couple did most of their furniture shopping in Manila at such stores like Furnitalia. Most lot of the design elements were Divine’s choice as her way of coping with homesickness when she moved to Cebu. “If people see my house in Manila, it’s basically the same thing—the same materials, the same color palette.” She continues by saying, “For me, there was an adjustment period. So this made me feel like I was still home in Manila.”
Their unit enjoys an open layout, which allows the sunlight from the large glass windows to fill the interiors and create a sense of airiness. However, this wasn’t always the case. “We had to tear down some walls,” Blake reveals, sharing that the kitchen had been enclosed when the unit was turned over. Now, their open kitchen features a long counter and sleek cabinetry.
Just off the kitchen is the dining area, where one mirrored wall gives the illusion of even more space. There are sculptural benches interspersed with single-seater chairs to accommodate more people when they entertain. Choosing the dining table followed the same thought process—the glass-topped table extends on both ends to seat four more diners. The chandelier above it is definitely a conversation piece as Blake demonstrates how the lighted beams can be moved around to create a different design.
Strategically placed alcoves and cabinetry were installed to address the need for storage. The largest wall of the room, though, is covered in a beautiful tile that the couple imported from Europe and was the most difficult item to bring into the unit. “It wouldn’t fit in the elevator,” Blake says about the large slabs. Instead, they had to install a crane system in the stairwell so they could bring it up all the way from the ground floor. Admittedly, the work was worth it, considering the subtle but sophisticated touch it adds to the space.
In the living area is an oversized L-shaped sofa, the lightest piece of furniture in the room. It is punctuated by black and white patterned pillows, textured throws and rugs, and a rich butterscotch-colored leathered seat. “This is my favorite space in the home,” Blake reveals, “because I like to sit here and watch the Golf Channel and Formula One.”
The entire area is illuminated by something Blake admits he’s proud to have, a Zaha Hadid Aria chandelier. Its cascading fins cast a soft glow, while its sculptural shape and distinguished pedigree add a touch of luxe to the space.
Against the home’s subdued color palette, the greenery of the balcony and the view beyond are particularly striking. Aside from being in a building already perched high on Cebu’s Nivel Hills, the Gos also live on the top floor of their tower. Needless to say, the sweeping views of their surrounding vista are unparalleled.
The couple decided to echo the greenery from the outside into their own little outdoor space. A plant box lines the railings, while leafy vines climb up the far wall. “It’s not much because we live in a condo, but we thought it would be nice to still have an area out here where we can sit and get some fresh air,” Blake says. “Plus, the dogs love it.”
The master suite had been two bedrooms, which they combined to make room for his and her walk-in closets and a more spacious sleeping area. The signs of being parents to a newborn are particularly evident here, and somehow bring an approachable charm to the space—the crib in the corner, a collection of toys on the bedside table. The whole space is kept neat though and enjoys some pretty great bones, like the clean-lined bed and the large corner windows.
Baz, of course, has his own room, a nursery that the then-expectant parents had excitedly and stylishly put together before he was born. “It was very arranged—I had toys, books and even plants on display,” Divine shares, laughing. “But when Baz was born, everything got rearranged!”
Despite the lifestyle changes that came with having a new baby, it’s clear that Blake and Divine are near-blissful in their home. With Baz, the pair of pooches and a constant wave of visiting family and friends, this chic residence certainly feels like a home—if only for a few more years. “We’re definitely going to move into our own house, especially when Baz gets bigger,” says Blake. “Maybe in two or three years.”
Whenever the move will be happening, one thing’s for sure—the Gos will be enjoying a truly stylish and homey residence until they do.