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The Homes of Zee

Liz Garcia’s old-world home is a refreshing break from the city

Liz Garcia’s hilltop residence marries rustic charm and nostalgic sensibilities in a home that’s well-lived.

“It’s the white house with the red tile roof.” That was the very specific description to finding Liz Garcia’s home in one of Maria Luisa’s steeper roads. Its white stone façade seems to gleam in the bright afternoon sun, already picturesque as a striking contrast to the thriving foliage surrounding it.

The house's L shape is arranged around the backyard and the pool, with many of the living areas opening up to the outdoors. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The house’s L shape is arranged around the backyard and the pool, with many of the living areas opening up to the outdoors. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The foyer's high ceilings give guests a grand entrance, and its neutral walls serve to ground the collection of antiques and furniture. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The foyer’s high ceilings give guests a grand entrance, and its neutral walls serve to ground the collection of antiques and furniture. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

Our hostess welcomes us, ushering us through the entrance’s antique double doors that were bought in Manila. Beside her a large dog named Emmy gives its own greeting before running across the tile floor to the patio. “This is why we have these floors,” Liz explains as Emmy frisks from room to room. “These tiles are nice and cool, and they can survive all the dogs running around.”

That practicality seems to be the underlying philosophy throughout the entire residence, where Liz, her husband Montito, and two sons have been living for two years. The family used to live in a smaller place in the city until they decided it was time for a change. “Traffic had been getting really bad, and the city started to feel crowded,” she admits. “We thought it would be nice to have a place away from all of that.”

Consulting with architect Pilar Streegan, Liz was clear on the feel she wanted for the place. “I didn’t want it to look like a showroom, like you weren’t allowed to touch anything,” she recalls. “We wanted to go for a Spanish mission-style home, because I wanted that welcoming old-world feel.”

That old-world feel certainly permeates through the house. The foyer enjoys a high ceiling where exposed log beams are a rustic accent to the chandelier. The stairs curve around the wall, the red tiles giving way to more colorful patterns for the risers. “The clay tiles we’d just sourced locally, but the colorful ones are from South America,” Liz points out.

This hat rack that belonged to Montito's mother is a focal point on the landing. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

This hat rack that belonged to Montito’s mother is a focal point on the landing. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The rooms are furnished with various pieces that have been collected through the years—a mirrored hat stand on the stairs landing that once belonged to Montito’s mother, the patio’s round wooden dining table that were bought from an English couple living in Cebu, and even some Restoration Hardware pieces that looked like it had some history to them.

Among the vintage items in the home, the most remarkable is Liz’s collection of linens she had amassed from estate sales, fairs and other sources. “That’s why I have a linen closet—I have so much to store,” she laughs. From delicate lace tablecloths to the patterned quilts in the bedrooms, they are thoughtfully scattered throughout the residence to add an nostalgic touch to the rooms. “I buy them from different places and then restore them,” she says, sharing in a few tips. “I’ll wash them then put them out in the sun, because that helps linens become white again. In fact, what’s even better is to lay them out on the grass. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the grass and the sun that causes a reaction in the linens. That’s why in the more earlier periods in Europe, you’d see linens laid out all over the meadows.”

Here, they serve as delicate accents to the weathered wooden furniture and earthy tones of their home. The tile floors continue throughout the first floor’s common areas, making for a seamless transition through the entrance’s arched doorways and into the patio. An iron chandelier watches over the outdoor furniture, while the tiles eventually give way to the vibrant green grass that leads to the pool. At the other end sits a cabana, where the yellow wall is punctuated by a mural of a horse. “My husband loves horses, so there are elements of that around the house,” Liz explains.

The living room's paneled wooden walls are complemented by white furniture and the greens of the outdoors. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The living room’s paneled wooden walls are complemented by white furniture and the greens of the outdoors. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

Tucked behind the open air sitting area by the pool is a bathroom shower, and rock garden. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

Tucked behind the open air sitting area by the pool is a bathroom shower, and rock garden. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The dining room is a chance for Liz to display her collection of antique jars and lace, complimenting the larger furniture pieces. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The dining room is a chance for Liz to display her collection of antique jars and lace, complimenting the larger furniture pieces. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The patio is adjacent to an indoor sitting area, which opens up to the outdoors on two sides. Here, there’s a slightly more masculine feel with its wooden walls, plush sofas and a pair of leather chairs, although it never feels overwhelming. A nude sketch by Ben Cab hangs on one wall, flanked by photo prints of different cities.

Next to it is the dining room, where a large table sits amidst antique furniture. One armoire holds a collection of jars, its doors draped with one of Liz’s vintage linens—this one is delicate lace in shades of white and powder blue. The kitchen follows the country theme, with wooden stools, decorative plates and paneled cabinetry.

On the house’s other wing is the more private master’s suite, beginning with Liz’s office. A secretary desk sits in one corner, looking beautifully weathered. More feminine elements can be found through the room—from the delicate crystals that seem to drop from the chandelier, to the religious figures in various corners.

The guest bathroom's all-white palette is given a rustic touch with wooden accents in a natural or weathered finish. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

The guest bathroom’s all-white palette is given a rustic touch with wooden accents in a natural or weathered finish. (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2015)

This leads to the master’s bedroom where wooden shutters give its occupants the option of opening up to the backyard or keeping the view private. A delicate Japanese screen is folded into a corner. Here, Liz proves it’s all about the details—one night table is a converted Singer sewing machine for that quirky touch. The bathroom is spacious, with a wooden vanity decorated with accessories, old photographs and even a vintage brush and mirror set.

Upstairs, the bedrooms have their own personalities. A study is converted into one son’s bedroom whose focal point is an antique wrought iron bed that was bought from the same English couple they’d gotten the patio’s table from. The other bedroom has a freestanding tub in the bathroom that looks out onto the sweeping views behind the house. A four-poster bed sits in the guest bedroom with a faux fur carpet from Ikea that come together for a take on luxe country living.

“I really can’t live in a very modern house,” Liz shares later while enjoying merienda and a fresh mountain breeze. “Different people will like different things. For me, I like having old things and some history. It makes everything interesting.” Judging from the incredible number of photogenic corners throughout the residence, we definitely agree.

 

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[unitegallery LizGarcia]

photography John Ong

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for your Home or Condo.

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 1: Plan the Space to Suit your Needs.

A.)  Decide on a theme that reflects your personality. You can start by browsing through the internet and make a mood board on the colors, patterns, furniture and accessories that you love.

Create a mood board based your preferred colors, theme and style.

B.)  Work on your budget. This is essential to any renovation project. You can start with window shopping and scout for the key pieces and compare prices. You can also browse home products and purchase them online.

Do your homework online and window shop for key furniture pieces.

C.)  Invest in good and durable pieces.  Start with the big items that you often use. Your mattress tops the list as this is where you rest and recharge. Big items such as sofas and dining sets should be durable enough to withstand the everyday wear and tear. Choose a design that can easily go well with your space when you redecorate.

Choose a bed that works for you and becomes the focal point of your room.

 

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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The Homes of Zee

THROWBACK THURSDAY. Discover Why This Airy, Modern Structure in Busay is Called the Sky House

The Sky House is a truly modern structure, with straight lines and boxy shapes.

Defying Gravity

YKC Premier’s first venture in Busay floats over a cliff and introduces a new brand of living in Cebu.

by Shari Quimbo photography Ezekiel Sullano

 

YKC Premier’s first venture couldn’t be more aptly named—Sky House was spot on—the airy, modern structure that juts out of a ridge in the Busay Highlands couldn’t be called anything else. The drive up the hill levels to a short plateau right before the entrance of the village, allowing ample time for everyone to look up and admire a house that seems to be in defiance of gravity.

“When I saw the property, it was everything you could ask for, and it’s in limited quantities so we wanted to maximize all its assets,” says Victor Consunji, one-third of the group behind the project. “The problem was the land is narrow. Since we have the experience and capability, we thought, why waste all the good things about this property by just building on the ridge? Why not build over the ridge?”

The house, as viewed from the street.

A textured carpet sets the living area apart from the dining, but the palette of grays and light-washed wood carries on even into the kitchen. The room is framed by two art pieces: a rattan sculpture called “Love Locks” by Selina Romualdez, and a painting from young artist Tzaddi Esguerra.

Slater Young and Stephen Ku complete YKC Premier, a group of men who have come together to redefine the art of living with a view in Cebu. “Slater and I have been friends for a while, and I bumped into him at a wedding here in Cebu,” Stephen recalls. “And then we were talking about businesses that we could do together, and he mentioned that he had a nice piece of land that he wanted to fix up. He showed me the place, and I thought it was beautiful. On the way back to Manila, I thought about Vic because I’m also working with him on his project in Manila called Mahogany Tree.”

The trio of Twist lamps over the dining table add an organic, but dramatic flair.

A sunroom off the deck is converted into a cozy breakfast nook, where another of Vito’s lamps adds a touch of whimsy.

Once the three sat down to discuss the venture, Victor was immediately interested and, in fact, already had a vision for the house’s design in his mind. The partnership played up each one’s individual strengths and backgrounds—Victor comes from the family behind DMCI Holdings Incorporated, which have constructed Philippine landmarks such as the Manila Hotel and Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort; Slater has a background in engineering and his family is also in construction; while Stephen is at the helm of Eventscape Manila and is behind some of the hottest restaurants and nightspots in the Philippines. “Victor would be the CEO, the visionary. His expertise is what we brought in here,” explains Slater. “And since I’m also in construction, I was sort of his eyes here in Cebu. I’d be the CTO, Chief Technical Officer, and Stephen would be the CMO, marketing.”

The Constella lights hang over the spiral staircase.

A pair of Vito Selma Paisley chairs are arranged in one corner of the master’s bedroom.

Although YKC Premier already has three strong personalities behind it, the guys decided to bring in another design visionary to help them complete the look of the Sky House. “The Sky House is unlike any other home in Cebu, and it was a designer’s dream to be part of it,” says Vito Selma, who brought in his iconic pieces, along with some custom-made furniture to complete the look of the Sky House. “Given its location and the abundance of windows, I wanted the home to feel just as light and airy—to simulate the feeling of flight. And to stay true to my brand, we just wanted to bring nature into the home, which can be seen in the materials, textures and colors in the space.”

The Arata chair serves as a sculptural accent in one of the bedrooms.

The look is relaxed but sophisticated, with many art pieces that Vito had commissioned especially for this project. “The installation in the entry is by me,” he says of the large textured slab with pieces of wood in different finishes scattered on it. “I made it in a way that when someone walks in the house, they see a reflection of that piece and its materials in other areas of the home.” Other notable pieces are in the living room: a large rattan sculpture of interlocking loops by Vito’s sister Selina Romualdez, and a long painting with strokes in various shades of gray by Tzaddi Esguerra. “I love working with her for all our projects,” Vito admits. “We tell her what colours to work with, and she makes the magic happen.”

With the house finished in just over a year, the guys are looking forward to constructing seven more houses to complete the project, offering a lifestyle that is incredibly appealing. “Young, hip urbanites. Young families. If they’re young, they at least feel young,” says Stephen of who they see living in the space. “People who want to balance work and play, because this place is like a residence and a resort at the same time.”

Victor’s family background and experience in construction came in handy when building the house over the ridge.

“Nowadays, with the way things are going in the Philippines, there is a focus on taking vacations, but not everybody has that chance. Not everybody can just take off whenever they want,” Victor adds. “I really don’t believe that a home is just your home, your vacation spot is just your vacation spot and your work place is just for work. I think you can have the best of all three, and this design incorporates that.”

“It’ll feel like you’re going home to a vacation every day,” Slater adds.

A pair of lounges by the pool makes for a perfect spot to enjoy the fresh mountain breeze and the unobstructed views.

Although these gents are focused on the Sky Houses for now, they look forward to bringing more of this brand of living to other locations. “We’re just looking for the right project, but I think the boys are in agreement that we really want to explore Cebu, particularly because this is the emerging market we want to be in. We just need to look for the right spot, and the right design,” Stephen says.

More than just creating modern and luxurious properties, YKC Premier hopes to change the perception of what living in Cebu can be. “That’s what we want to bring to Cebu,” Stephen shares. “I haven’t seen a development like this in Cebu, and a lot of the times I’d ask Slater, and he goes, oh no, the Cebuanos wouldn’t want to spend for something like this. I kept telling him that if we build it, they will come. Cebuanos are ready for something edgy and daring, and I think this project will be a testament to that.” With the first house already sold, that’s certainly been proven true. After all, with just one visit to the Sky House, it’s hard to imagine a better place to live.

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s February 2016 Real Estate Issue, “Defying Gravity” on pages 68-73.)

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The Homes of Zee

LOCKDOWN FUN: Whose Crib is This?

Here’s one way residents of Cebu’s exclusive villages created their own fun during zoom parties — guessing each other’s home! Of course, you need a smart mastermind to curate the photos to make sure the homes of each of the amigas are not easy to guess.

So, here’s a short tour of homes that was paraded during this very fun game. Homes are located in Maria Luisa, Northtown Homes, Beverly Hills and a beach house too.  Oh, and one came all the way from Scotland.

We hope your zoom parties are just as fun!

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