It’s all too common for childhood dreams to fade away in the wake of adulthood, but one tends to remain: the dream of building one’s own house. Many of us had visualized this house on lined paper as kindergartners, often with emphasis on size. When we got a little bit older, we progressed to vision boards created with magazine cutouts, or Pinterest. This iteration would include details about location and interior design. By the time the law of attraction works its wonders and we begin to build, or design—if the structure already exists—our dream house, we’ll have realized that there are many other variables to consider. A good flow is one, the market is another. How do we move through the space? What pieces of furniture fill the space? Where can we buy highly durable and aesthetically pleasing furniture?
Shirley Go found the answer to the last question the hard way. When she built her house in 2010, she struggled to find furniture in the city that doesn’t sacrifice the quality and comfort that she wanted. This frustration brought her to Manila, where she discovered Modernbrands Inc. and met its Assistant General Manager , Anne Young.
Modernbrands Inc. is a lifestyle furniture company that curates products from nine brands from Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. Their collections feature kitchen, wardrobe, furniture, and home decor pieces. Each possess the three qualities that the company looks for in a product: it looks nice, it provides its function, and it lasts for a long time. Together, these qualities drive the company in its pursuit to offer the everyday Filipino the satisfaction of tasteful living, which Anne defines as “the feeling of delight, joy and excitement of going home to your private space.”
Having been living a tasteful life since then, Shirley felt the need to introduce the brand to other homebuilders and furniture shoppers in Cebu. She explains that “the price is not that cheap compared to China, but reasonable enough for what you get […] As I always say, you don’t compare an Apple with a China phone; you don’t get an Apple product with a China price.” It just so happened that the brand had already been thinking of branching outside of Manila. So, when Shirley approached her friend Anne, things immediately took shape. Anne’s team went around Cebu to research the market. And in April 2019, Modernbrands Cebu opened the doors to its new home on the second floor of the Design Center of Cebu along A.S. Fortuna in Mandaue.
The opening of Modernbrands Cebu cuts out all the hassle of having to go to Manila and spending tons on freight transportation. Shoppers now have more options to choose from. In terms of product line-up, however, the branch believes that less is more.
“It’s a usual thing when you go to a furniture store [that] everything is too much. So, sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s like–” ”Nevermind,” Anne finishes Shirley’s sentence with a ‘what can you do’ gesture with her hands. “Nevermind. You don’t need that much choices,” Shirley says. “You just need good ones,” Anne adds. The seemingly effortless way that both women complete each other’s thoughts tells me how well they know each other. There is something heartwarming with a partnership built on a friendship like theirs
Modernbrands Cebu houses collections from two of the company’s brands: Innovation Living and Novacucina. The former is a renowned Danish sofa bed specialist. Its product line-up boasts designs that are nonconformist and space-optimizing. The branch’s sales representative and designer demonstrated how to convert the sofas to single or double beds, which highlighted the multifunctionality that is true of the brand to everyone who attended the open house on July 18, 2019. Unlike other furniture stores, the team encourages people to sit on each sofa. So, potential buyers would know whether a certain sofa fits their needs and preferences. With Innovation Living, the risk of buyer’s remorse is never in the picture.
Novacucina is an Italian brand that specializes in modular designs for the modern kitchen. Collections have yet to arrive in the showroom when we visited, but considering the company’s approach to brand curation, there’s no wonder that this brand will also deliver and impress.
When asked which piece from their opening collection is their favorite, Shirley immediately responded, “It’s the bragi.” The Bragi lounger sofa is convertible into a chaise lounge (it only takes three steps), and offers an optional headrest and integrated side table. Its high resilient mattress has a pocket spring core, which means that the mattress holds its shape and support better over time.
Anne, on the other hand, chose the Splitback. “It’s designed 15 years ago and it never goes out of date. It’s truly a timeless design piece. It’s also one of the most flexible sofa beds available in terms of design and function,” she supplies.
The question of longevity is one deciding factor in shopping for new pieces of furniture. After all, a furniture is an investment. Anne’s favorite piece, along with the others in the collection, is proof of the forward-thinking nature of Modernbrands and the brands it houses. Its entry into Cebu’s furniture design and shopping scene will surely help solidify the province’s status as a global furniture hub.
And if you’re wondering what to do to turn your vision board houses into reality, at least interior-wise, Anne says, “Do [your] research. Check the materials and craftsmanship then invest on furniture pieces that would look good even after 5 years.” Furniture pieces are expensive but if you’re going to spend for one anyway, you might as well get something—and more—out of it. Shirley adds, “Don’t settle for what is just enough for you. You have to think long-term because at the end of the day, it’s your house, [and the furniture is] something that you will sit on every day.”
As our conversation came to an end, my mind conjured the image of my favorite piece in the collection, the Filuca, and I thought, “That is something I could sit and sleep on every day.”
Visit the Modernbrands Cebu showroom at 2/F Design Center of Cebu, A.S. Fortuna corner P. Remedio St., Banilad, Mandaue City. They are open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Bunny Pages’ Classic Modernist Home is a Beauty
Cebuano businessman Bunny Pages has a lot of food brands under his belt. His hectic schedule had him wishing for a peaceful and uncomplicated home.
Living life on a full and hectic schedule, the owner of the house, restaurateur Bunny Pages, wanted to create an oasis where he can relax and pursue his love for cars. The outcome was an uncomplicated and compact house in collaboration with architect Ed Gallego.
On a steep slope in Maria Luisa Estate Park, the four-level home was cantilevered to conform to the contours of the terrain. Ceilings and doors were built tall, perhaps as the homeowner himself is on the towering side, and an open design was used to maximize open space, much to his liking.
The architecture of the house is classic modernist with touches of industrial. The view from the windows of the house, the ample ventilation, and a healthy dose of monochromatic colors make it breathe. Sliding glass panels blur the line between the interior and exterior.
The living room spills out into the dining area and the kitchen on one side. At the opposite end, the master’s bedroom directly adjoins the lanai and a den with a most advanced movie projector. The home theater system in here can actually rival a hi-tech movie house in terms of audio-visual equipment and acoustics. The lower levels contain the guest rooms for Bunny’s visiting children, as well as extensive area to house his growing car collection.
At the west end of the property, a soaking pool was built for one to enjoy the view of the city. It also overlooks the nearby island of Mactan. “This is where I have coffee in the morning,” enthuses Bunny. “And when the sun is down and the lights of the city come out, the view looks great.”
“The most interesting aspect of the house,” says Architect Ed Gallego, “is the garage located in the lower level to indulge the owner’s obsession with cars.” Indeed, Bunny Pages also often plays host to fellow car buffs in a comfortable lounge, which opens to the garage. On the same level, a huge room connects to a gym complete with state-of-the-art fitness equipment.
An Exclusive Look at 856 G Gallery Founder Annie Chen’s Artsy, Indochine-Inspired Home
In designing her home in Cebu, 856 G Gallery Founder Annie Chen wanted to create something that would give her comfort with a bit of pared-down luxury.
This story is taken from our archives. Originally published in Inside Cebu.
By profession Annie Chen is a jewelry designer as well as an art gallery owner in Cebu. She divides her time between her home in Singapore where she lives with her three children, and this home in her native city of Cebu. In designing her home here, Annie, wanted to create something that would give her comfort with a bit of pared-down luxury.
When the owner of this house decided to renovate the interiors, she specified to the architect that she wanted to bring the Indochine theme, which captivated her during a trip to Hanoi; there that cultural hybrid is quite evident. The entrance to the house is a barely perceptible gate in a cul-de-sac dominated by tall fences and breathtaking views of the Alta Vista Estate. Inside, however, the house speaks loudly of its owner’s artistic sense. She has had her house built as nothing more than walls to display art, thus, the interiors are pointedly stark, with bursts of color coming mainly from framed paintings, wall décors, vibrant-color fabrics, and rare antique pieces displayed quite imaginatively.
An avid collector of what could only be described as art exotique, Annie Chen has taken advantage of her many trips abroad to amass a wonderfully unique and diverse art collection. A pair of eclectic montages flanks the entrance door, radiating texture and immediately capturing the visitor’s interest. There are unglazed terra cotta jars and wood sculptures by Jet Florendo.
Many of the paintings are by Nepalese and Filipino artists. Complementing the gallery feel of the house, designer furniture is used in functional precision, as revealed by interior windows and thick-lattice wood-screens. A massive wooden table dominates the dining room as well as a Kenneth Cobonpue two-seater upholstered in bright silk. Most passages are discreet and set in playful floor patterns, but a wrought-iron spiral staircase with solid wooden steps leads down to the more private spaces— three bedrooms, particularly—all furnished and accessorized with natural vibrancy.
“I required romance in the interiors, but I was not also afraid of simplicity,” says Annie. The classic modernist architecture was designed to maximize open space. Says Architect Arsenio D. Abella, “A renovation is an update on an existing building. The architect’s duty is to link his discipline with the client’s dream, passion, and love of life.” And this he has done with remarkable results.
Quick and Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Love
Going back-to-school means excitement for kids but can be stressful for busy moms. Make life easier with these quick and healthy school lunch ideas.
School season is here! Going back-to-school means excitement for kids but can be stressful for busy moms as meal planning comes into play. Preparing baon for your kids can be a struggle considering both their picky tastes and the nutritional content they need to grow strong and healthy.
Check out these recipes from the Electrolux Life App to help spark ideas for healthy and delicious baon for your kids.
Cheese it up!
Since a lot of kids are not fond of eating vegetables, this Kid-Friendly Chicken & Broccoli Quesadilla recipe is a great way to add veggies in a way kids will enjoy. Start by placing Flour Tortillas on a plate, top it with cheddar cheese, add chicken and broccoli florets. Top it with another layer of Flour Tortillas then place it in a toaster oven at 350ºF and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cut the quesadilla using a pizza cutter, wait for it to cool and it’s ready to be packed!
Potatoes are usually a crowd pleaser so why not make the most of your leftover mashed potatoes by making Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes.
Simply mix together the egg, frozen spinach, seasoned salt, onion powder and ground black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, and fresh chives. Mix it well until breadcrumbs have been absorbed. Form a scoop of the potato mixture into patties and fry the patties in a non-stick frying pan until golden brown. For the sauce, stir together sour cream and fresh dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the dip alongside the cakes!
Bring a Japanese flavor to your kid’s lunch with Teriyaki Pork Rolls with strips of green beans and carrots. In a pot of salted water, bring to a boil the thin strips of green beans, sliced carrot, and bell pepper for 2 mins. Once cooked, strain and dry with paper towel then set aside.
To make the sauce, mix soy sauce, white granulated sugar, and water in a small bowl and set aside. Take one of the thin pork cutlets and dust it with all-purpose flour on both sides. Add three of each of the green beans, carrot slices, and red bell pepper slices on the cutlet, season it with salt and pepper to taste. Then roll the pork and close it with toothpicks. Fry the pork until golden brown and remove toothpicks. Add the sauce, continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes until sauce thickened and all sides of the pork are coated.
Put a new and healthier spin on your kid’s snack time with this recipe of Baked Zucchini Fries!
First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut zucchini into fries-like size, no need to peel them. In a medium bowl, combine panko, parmesan, salt, paprika, and pepper. Place whisked eggs in a separate medium bowl, and the flour in a third medium bowl. Dip zucchini pieces into the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Dip zucchini pieces into the flour, then egg, then the panko. Once all zucchini are breaded, bake it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crispy. For the sauce, just combine the yogurt, cheese, mayonnaise, and chives to a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Preparing your kids’ healthy and tasty baon is easy with Electrolux kitchen appliances, like the Electrolux NutriFresh™ Inverter Refrigerators, which come with new features to keep produce fresh for longer. The new Electrolux NutriFresh™ Inverter French Door Refrigerator (EHE6879A-BPH) allows you to go from chilling the food to cooking them in minutes. With its special UltraChill -2ºC feature, it preserves the texture and nutrients of meat and fish for longer without having to defrost it.
Different food types require unique storage conditions to stay fresh and the new NutriFresh™ refrigerator comes with a FlexFresh drawer, an optimal storage compartment with five temperature settings (-23°C to +7°C). This enables you to store all types of food – from cheese and wine, meat and seafood, to cold drinks and frozen items – at the temperature they need to remain fresh.
To help retain the juiciness of produce, the NutriFresh™ Inverter French Door Refrigerator also comes with a TasteLock Crisper with AutoHumidity Control which automatically adjusts humidity levels depending on the contents of the drawer. The AutoHumidity Control releases excess moisture from the compartment to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh for up to 7 days. It also has a TwinTech Cooling System that cools the fridge and freezer compartments separately, so food stays fresher and odors don’t mix.
If you are looking for a cooking range, check out the Electrolux Cooking Range with Induction Cooktop & Electric Oven (EKI64500OX). It not only comes with a spacious layout to help you prepare multiple dishes at once, but also has powerful induction zones for speedy cooking and precision heat control that allows you to accurately set your desired flame for perfectly cooked dishes.
To get the full recipes of these dishes, download the Electrolux Life app on the App Store or Google Play store and click the ‘Recipe Finder Powered by SideChef’ within the app to access thousands of global recipes from SideChef’s database.
For more information on Electrolux and its products, please visit www.electrolux.com.ph and follow @ElectroluxPhilippines on Facebook and Instagram.
Bunny Pages’ Classic Modernist Home is a Beauty
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An Exclusive Look at 856 G Gallery Founder Annie Chen’s Artsy, Indochine-Inspired Home
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