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The Homes of Zee

Cabin Fever

Destiny, or so it seemed, is how this massive wooden house on a hill came together. Almost by pure chance—according to the homeowners—the buying, the water sourcing, even getting their architect, all felt like a series of fortunate events. Though their original house in the city had so many advantages, there is nothing like realizing a dream home, and to this day, the homeowners and their children have no regret of moving up to the heights of Busay hills.

Destiny, or so it seemed, is how this massive wooden house on a hill came together. Almost by pure chance—according to the homeowners—the buying, the water sourcing, even getting their architect, all felt like a series of  fortunate events. Though their original house in the city had so many advantages, there is nothing like realizing a dream home, and to this day, the homeowners and their children have no regret of moving up to the heights of Busay hills.


A good forty-five meters of ragged terrain were sliced off the hilltop to provide a flat area where this 1,000 square meter, six bedroom, six bathroom house now stands on its promontory, 300 meters above sea level.  The homeowners’ love for natural materials triggered the use of wood all throughout construction. Narra, magkuno, tugas, and pine were brought in from Dipolog, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, and even as far as Papua New Guinea.

On a fateful social event, Architect Tessie Javier also offered her services, feeling challenged by the unique idea of having this log cabin aesthetic in Cebu, and wanted to help them maximize the potential of their design. By fusing nature with technology in a simple tasteful style, the architect extended the rooms from their original sizes; framed the breath-taking surrounding scenery with nearly foot-to-ceiling corner windows; and took full advantage of the already existing spaces by installing gigantic all-natural two-storey magkuno wood pillars all around the house. This is also the architect’s favourite feature, “the first and probably the last I would do in Cebu. It is very unique in Cebu home design,” she says. “Every time I visit I am still awed by these columns.” The architect and homeowners also rave about the towering solid narra main door, made from one huge piece of plank wood almost five centimeters thick, opening into a huge open encompassing the living room  and the dining area flooded with natural light from the expansive glass windows specially cut by Kenneth and Mock’s plant in Manila.

The whole family was heavily involved from the concept to the completion of this dream home. The four children designed their rooms together with the architect. The result are expansive walk-in closets with gigantic mirrors, narra “floating” beds, space saving German-technology sliding screen doors also by Kenneth and Mock, accented by furniture pieces from Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma.  In a separate section, the two boys share a huge room with a bath room that open with glass doors on three sides, and a rain shower that falls on river stones.

To make part of the exterior walls they simply veneered the on-site rock that was excavated, and integrated several pre-war wood planks for the dining area ceiling. Designed and made by the man of the house himself were several outdoor seating sets, and his favorite is a huge magkuno tree root that he turned into an outdoor table. The house is very far from the city, but it is closest to nature with its countless organic and natural facets. This is also generally one home without much fuss. The utilities closets were integrated into the walls through secret push-open closets. Most of the furniture is also new, including architect’s picks of a shell Carlos Lanuza bedroom lamp, Vito Selma dining chairs set against a family-designed lazy-susan from a sawn-off magkuno tree trunk, and the woman of the house’s favorite item, a Maitland-Smith sitting frog tissue dispenser.

Architect Tessie Javier is happy with the outcome of this home, and she hopes that this will become a benchmark for unique residential design in Cebu. Surely wood is difficult to manipulate, the hilly terrain a real challenge to develop, and even sourcing the water at such a raised area presented many hurdles, but these were collective struggles that produced a sweeter, dearer yield. “I feel good that the home owners are happy with my participation,” added Architect Javier. “The house gives me the same pride it gives the owners.” And the family also admitted that the completion of this home has made them feel closer as they all want to spend more time at home. Their lifestyle is more relaxed as the elevated property also promises security and privacy. “Thinking about it makes me feel really blessed,” exclaimed the gracious woman of the house—it’s like just as they say, the higher the “hill” the closer to God.

by IAN E. BAOL photographer GENESIS RANA

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 4

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 4:  Upgrade your Choices

A.  Create different moods with lighting. The use of warm colored indirect lighting such as lamps, colored LED back lights, or even string lights can create a cozy and relaxing vibe after a day’s work.

 

Beautiful lighting can transform a small modern apartment.

 

B.)  Convert to smart home systems. From door locks, CCTV cameras, you’ll also be able to control and turn on lights, appliances even if you’re away from home. All you need is a wifi connection and the applications on your mobile phone.

Smart phone apps can also control lights and home appliances.

C.) Hire a professional interior designer. We always get an impression that hiring a professional would be expensive, but they actually help you make the best choices and save you from making bad purchases.

Go over design options and your color palette with a professional interior designer to get better results and save more.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

 

 

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 3

Trendy Home & Condo Renovation Tips. Part 3

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 3: Maximize Impact of Small Spaces

A.)  Storage spaces. You can go with concealed storage systems such as built-in cabinets on walls, under the bed or seating. Keep the items that you use often more reachable than the occasional ones. Choose what works best for your space and for your convenience.

There are many affordable storage options to de-clutter your room.

B.)  Showcase your collection of interesting conversation pieces, like items you acquire from past travels, an artwork, an heirloom, coffee table books or a collector’s item. Make sure to save a special place for them in your home.

Your personal collections can be nice decorative pieces.

C.)  Move things around to attract renewed energy into your space. May it be moving a sofa to the adjacent wall, creating a dining nook near a window, shuffling your accessories on to a different shelf? Little efforts go a long way.

Update your living/family areas with bright color accents that complement the dining area.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

 

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 2

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 2:  Create Visual Interest

A.)  Update your space with a fresh coat of paint. Some would love the white / minimalist theme, but one must also not be afraid to make a bold statement and have an accent wall, or even a wall mural.

A new coat of paint can add that bold accent to your kitchen or room.

B.)  Mix materials and textures to create depth and contrast. Wallpaper is an amazing decorative material that you can use for an instant upgrade. Another inexpensive approach is to use patterns and texture on soft furnishings such as curtains, pillows and sheets.

A right mix of fabrics and textures gives an earthy color palette that sophisticated feel.

C.)  Setting up a coffee station, bar carts, vinyl corner, or workstation seems to be a trend to the young professionals nowadays.  Add functional pieces that serve as décor at the same time.

Your personal work space can show off your favorite items and will be your inspiration to be productive.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

Continue Reading

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