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The Homes of Zee

Perl and Meyrick Jacalan’s Mediterranean-Inspired Home is Gorgeous!

Perl and Meyrick Jacalan’s advertising background had given them a strong grasp of design, something that the couple used to their advantage in creating their family home.

From the woody elevation of Northtown Homes, Perl and Meyrick Jacalan live in a comfortably stylish residence, filled with design details that showed off the amount of thought that went into creating the space. Of course, this isn’t very surprising, considering the couple is the duo behind ASAP, an advertising agency in Cebu. Much like the work they do for their clients, the home is a collaborative creative effort that exemplifies good taste.

“We built this house from scratch. It’s a labor of love, mostly by my husband, who was very hands-on with the design and construction,” Perl shares about the Mediterranean-inspired house, which the couple and their five children have been living in since 2002. “It was particularly modeled after the hacienda-style homes in Spain—red tile roof and sunny yellow exterior.”

It also helped that their architect, Perl’s brother Ulysses Arienza, had trained and practiced in Italy and Spain. “We worked with him on the space planning and design of the house,” she recalls. “It was a perfect fit, since we knew we wanted a Mediterranean-style house with a resort feel. Our line of work is very stressful, and we wanted our home to be a haven—an oasis we return to after a hard day’s work.”

The design details followed in the hacienda theme. “Our interiors featured heavy wooden doors, arched windows and openings, rustic beamed ceilings, columns and terracotta tiles that we indent-ordered from Italy,” Perl describes. “True to the Mediterranean style, we had wrought-iron balconies and corridors, and an extensive outdoor living area. We wanted huge open spaces—we even did away with a gate, and instead have a fountain out in front of the house.” Attention was also given to the lot’s landscaping, which added to the concept.

Of course, since its construction, the couple had worked on some upgrades to the structure. “Our design sensibilities changed, and we also wanted our house to be distinctive from the other houses in the area, as majority were of Mediterranean design,” Perl shares, adding that a drive through Tuscany had brought with some new inspiration. We really loved their rustic, sunbaked look. We repainted the exterior with a rustic Tuscan color palette that leaned heavily on earthy hues.”

The couple took it further by adding stone inlays that evoked a Tuscan hillside home, and grew vines to twist around the entrance columns. “It gave our front porch some rustic charm,” Perl adds.

The interiors, although also seeing some furniture updates and paint changes, remained mostly the same. “It’s rustic yet modern, sort of eclectic,” Perl describes. The couple had collaborated on the interiors themselves, finding their background in design a great starting point for conceptualizing. “We drew our design inspiration from a mix of diverse resources, and when it comes to our pieces, less is more.”

This curated take to decorating allowed the home to grow and develop a character on its own, something that Perl and Meyrick wanted. “It’s informal, cozy with a very lived-in look. It’s definitely not a display showcase.”

A pair of imposing Grecian columns greets guests in the main hallway, immediately creating an air of spaciousness with its high ceiling. “We made it this way, as we think the hallway décor was the right place to begin—it set the tone for our home,” Perl says.

Further into the home, there is an interesting mix of new and old pieces, grounded with various wooden accents that celebrate the earthy tone established by the interiors. “We like pieces that are effortless and have a lighthearted appeal, yet with character defined by quality craftsmanship,” Perl continues. Many of the pieces were custom-made, mostly from narra, while some were retained from the couple’s previous home. Additional accents come in the form of designer pieces, such as a pair of Yin and Yang armchairs and a Yoda chair from Kenneth Cobonpue.

Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

Art also comes into play in the home, with pieces from Filipino artists like Ang Kiukok, Malang, Michael Cacnio, Antonio Mahilum, Norma Belleza, and Manuel Baldemor, among others. There are also pieces acquired from the couple’s travels—a travel nook allows them to display souvenirs casually, while a custom-framed magnetic world map is a creative way to showcase the destinations they’ve visited.

Although the interiors seemed to have come together quite naturally, there were some complications that came with building a house from scratch. “We found that space planning was the most important, and very challenging part of the design process,” Perl admits. “We had to analyze and think about our habits and routines in order to define how each space is to be used, and how we move through each part of the house.”

However, that all pays off once the whole house actually comes together, and Perl finds great pleasure in seeing how their home has grown to be. “When you see that the pieces are working harmoniously, that’s when it becomes enjoyable. Like a puzzle, you can almost see it form, and it becomes easier to put pieces in place,” she shares. “To see it completed and your family happily living in it, it’s so fulfilling.”   

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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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The Homes of Zee

Seashore Seclusion: A Beachside Abode in San Remigio

A cozy family getaway in San Remigio epitomizes the charm and simplicity of living by the sea.

by Shari Quimbo
photography Ezekiel Sullano


Admittedly, there are some challenges that come with living in Cebu; but having pockets of paradise being only a few hours’ away is an upside that’s hard to beat. One such paradise is San Remigio, a town that sits on the northwest side of the island, which means its serene shores are kissed daily by an amazing view of the sunset. Sure, you’ll run into some traffic while driving out of the city, but what awaits you makes the drive up north an easy challenge to live with.

A walkway leads into the house’s main living area, which enjoys an open floor plan for a relaxed and communal atmosphere.

When a chance to visit one family’s beachside getaway landed on our laps, we couldn’t pass it up. After a brief struggle with Mandaue City traffic, we were soon cruising through the towns of the north while the crystalline blue waters of the ocean peeked through every few kilometers.

It wasn’t long after when we found ourselves going up a pebbled driveway where a bamboo gate opened up to a footpath that led to the house. “We wanted to keep it simple,” the owner explains, sharing that he came up with the design while going through photos of houses online. With a thatched roof, rounded columns and a grooved concrete fence, the space is cozy and informal—a place that definitely exuded a laid-back beachside feel.

The living areas integrate into each other, with casual dining set-ups arranged around the open space, while oversized couches surround a solid wood coffee table. There’s a communal vibe that’s slightly deliberate. “We have a lot of friends and family that come in during the weekends, so we created a space that’s ready for that,” says the owner. “We didn’t want anything too formal. Some beach houses make you feel embarrassed to come in with your wet, sandy feet. We want a place where everyone would be comfortable moving around.”

Natural tones are complemented by richly colored fabrics

That said, the concrete floors, made for walking around barefoot, lead to the manicured grass where the infinity pool looks like its about to spill out into the beach below. The blues of the sea and sky complement the more natural tones of the house’s wooden furniture pieces and painted white walls. Pops of color come in with the throw pillows, hammock and matching bright orange lounge chairs that are around the pool.

As if keeping with the house’s casual vibe, the owner’s trio of dogs roams freely around the property, curiously coming up to us for attention. “They just showed up one day,” he laughs when I ask where he’d gotten the dogs, named Beer, Tequila and Scotch—perhaps giving proof of how fun weekends here can be. A bar sits by one of the dining tables and further cements this theory, as does the homemade lamp made from a bottle of Patron.

Off to the side of the house are the bedrooms, which are simple but spacious. “It’s so there’s space on the floor to bring in cushions for when we have a lot of people over.”

The house’s infinity pool seemingly spills out into the ocean, and is one of the best locations on the property to watch the sunset.

The beach house took just two months to construct about two years ago. “Weirdly enough, we built this house while I was still living in Malaysia,” shares the owner. “My sister manages a construction company, and I would just email them instructions and photos of what I wanted. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy.”

The bar is stocked with a wide array of liquors, and is proof of the residence’s festive spirit.

Of course, when typhoon Yolanda hit northern Cebu, the house saw considerable damage. A quick browse through his photo gallery showed the roof completely ripped off the structure. “I came back the weekend after Yolanda. It took me almost a whole day to get here because we had to clear the road as we went,” he recalled.

Repairs to the house took a backseat as the family helped residents around the area before they moved to reconstruct their own house. “It took a month or so to fix the roof and everything else that was broken,” he says.

When lit up with candles in the late afternoon, the walkway takes on a cozily intimate vibe;

Long benches flank the dining table to accommodate plenty of diners.

Now, the house is as inviting as ever. We spent the minutes leading up to sunset drinking beer by the pool. A few fishing boats float off the shore, with many locals walking through the beach. “I like the idea of having no fences and having people passing through,” the owner shares. “I like that it’s open. It makes the house feel more alive.”

Sunsets by the beach are priceless.

That, in a nutshell, describes the beach house. With its cheerful, casual corners, it surely feels lived in—as if remnants of the happy moments people have spent there still hang in the air and even add to its personality. It’s not hard to understand why the owners look forward to the two-hour drive up on the weekends—if we had a space like this, we’d be heading north more often too.


(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s April 2016 Travel Issue, “Beach, Please” on pages 98-101.)

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The Homes of Zee

Idyllic Isolation: The La Mer Veille

French architectural duo Humbert & Poyet create La Mer Veille in the Italian Riviera, a seaside cabin that has its fair share of charm.

by Shari Quimbo
photos courtesy of Alexandra Public Relations


With the azure sea on one side, the verdant mountains on the other and picturesque towns in between, the Italian Riviera is certainly a dream destination. More than its natural beauty, the region seems frozen in another time—a simpler one, when the days seemed long and the people keen to enjoy the moments.

It is here that La Mer Veille sits, a beachfront cabin that epitomizes the simple summer escape. Nestled between Bordighera and San Remo, its stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea are complemented by its predominantly white palette, down-to-earth décor and delicate materials.

The house is the creation of French architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, the personalities behind the firm Humbert & Poyet. Since they decided to collaborate in 2007, the firm has worked on various projects around the world—the Wine Palace at the Monaco Yacht Club, the curated fashion store 55 Croisette in Cannes, and fashion designer Alexis Mabille’s first shop in Paris are just some of the projects the two have worked on together.

“We communicate constantly throughout a project,” Christophe explains. “Our symbiosis forms the foundations of our projects and ensures the space that we’ve imagined works.”

The result is elegant and timeless spaces that meticulously bring together various design elements—the choice of materials and lighting, for example, are carefully thought out to make the most of a space and to ensure the client’s needs and personality is reflected in the final design.

It’s understandable then why La Mer Veille sits at a perfect vantage point where it surroundings can be admired. The seaside cabin is simple and relatively small, but is put together to exude an unassuming luxury that dares not to compete with the views outside.

The living area, shared with the dining room and kitchen, is done in shades of white with earthy tone accents. The Carrara marble counters are complemented with brass fixtures, including a brass sink that was custom-made by Humbert & Poyet. The firm also specially constructed the sofa that sits opposite the wooden table, a find from a market in England. Straw-wrapped lighting, an old-fashioned fireplace and a brass backsplash for the stove just add to the overall rustic appeal.

The bedrooms also have that effortless charm, with various nautical details to remind its occupants they are by the sea—just in case they forget the views beyond the picture windows. The master bedroom features a mattress sitting on an elevated wooden platform, topped with an Ancient African throw purchased from an antique shop.

“We communicate constantly throughout a project,” Christophe explains. “Our symbiosis forms the foundations of our projects and ensures the space that we’ve imagined works.”

La Mer Veille is a space that celebrates its location, and its location is best enjoyed from the terrace. The creamy white palette is carried over to this outdoor space where distressed wooden floorboards and a cushioned seating area invite you to put up your feet and settle in. The mood is set even further with a hammock chair from Etsy hanging easily from the ceiling and some relaxing music from the piano.

Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet

Beyond its architectural details, it is the finishing touches that give this dreamy cabin its character—bunches of baby’s breath and other flowers tucked into pitchers and vases in various niches around the house, wooden stools with rounded seats, antique-inspired knickknacks like an old fan sitting on a shelf and a swinging love seat. These details make the house come to life in an interesting way; and with a view such as this, what a life it is.

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s May 2016 Home Issue, “By the Sea” on pages 72-77.)

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