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The Homes of Zee

Tess and Herve Lampert Open Up Their Stylish Home at 32 Sanson

As the creative force behind international furniture brand DEDON and with a rich experience in designing spaces, Hervé and Tess Lampert welcomes us to their latest collaboration—a chic city home in the oasis that is 32 Sanson by Rockwell.

Dressed in a white peasant top and high-waisted flared jeans, Tess Lampert is the gracious host as she ushers us into their new family home at 32 Sanson by Rockwell. At the moment, she explains, her husband Hervé is going through the rooms of the two-bedroom unit with the workmen, taking note of any additional work or finishing that needed to be addressed. “It’s a little hectic,” she explains, sharing that she had bought additional accents for the home that very morning. “The unit is still really a work in progress.”

Of course, it’s completely understandable that some final aspects of the project might have gotten left behind—since the unit was turned over in January, the couple had been flying regularly between Cebu and Europe. Thankfully, the couple’s strong background in design means they had a vision for the space that made decorating it seem almost natural.

As the managing partner of DEDON, Hervé is savvy to the world of sophisticated furniture design, while Tess has had a strong hand in designing many of the family’s personal spaces and the ultra-chic DEDON Island Resort in Siargao. “I think this is my sixth time working on interiors,” Tess shares, naming the different properties the couple had acquired over the years. “This time, it was a lot easier, especially when I saw how 32 Sanson had come alive this past year. I can’t really say how much French, German or Filipino sensibilities came into play in this unit, but I must say a lot of it was inspired by Rockwell’s style.”

That’s certainly true—the experience of visiting the Lampert’s new unit really begins with walking down the landscaped paths under 32 Sanson’s completed Gmelina tower, its sleek and modern façade softened by lush greenery. Glass double doors lead into the lobby, which was created by Rockwell’s regular collaborator Butch Valdez. An oversized painting anchors a casual sitting area, dictating the color palette of rich oranges and earth tones.

The colors become a more subdued composition of blue and gray as you make your way into the hallway that leads to the unit, something that Tess further employs into their own space—being the first unit from the entrance, the seamless transition from the public areas into the private makes their home feel more spacious than it already is.

A mirrored wall that runs the length of the unit’s living areas further enhances the feeling of airiness, as does the three meter ceiling height. Gray, deep blue and white furniture is a sophisticated way to add details while avoiding the visual clutter. “I had just finished dressing up our Saint-Paul-De-Vince home,” Tess shares, referring to their family home in the French Riviera. “I think I still have a bit of a hangover from the French gray colors.”

Aside from picking up on tones from Rockwell’s own color palette, Tess used a painting she had found at Pottery Barn in Manila as inspiration. The abstract watercolor has various shades of gray that fades in subtle oranges. “My rule of thumb, whether in cooking or designing interiors, is to gather materials first. In cooking, that my ingredients; in designing, it’s the furniture,” she reveals. “Having this strategy cuts your stress in half—you don’t have to spend so much time trying to find the pieces that match your plan. It’s especially useful when you’re living somewhere like Cebu, where options and sources can be limited.”

The rest of the living room is kept minimal. A glass-topped round table completes the dining area, while a graphic rug is a soft dividing feature that defines the TV area. A sofa from Dimensione is the focal point, with pieces like the Scandinavian-inspired side and coffee tables complementing the clean and contemporary feel. Personality comes into play with interesting lighting fixtures, such as the chandelier from Ilaw Atbp. in A.S. Fortuna. A console table stands across the sofa, and is one of Tess’ favorite pieces in the home. “It’s from Ito Kish,” she explains. “I just fell in love with the color—how it has shades of white and gray. I also really like its nod to modernism.” Potted greens from Our Home give the room a breath of life, and mimics the greenery of the outdoors revealed by the large sliding glass doors.

The terrace almost runs the entire length of the unit, which allows the residents to enjoy the lushness of the trees and creek behind the property. Right now, a round outdoor table from DEDON stands atop the bright grassy space, although Hervé admits this might see a lot more changes in the future. “We have a lot of outdoor furniture,” he says with a laugh, referring of course to DEDON’s extensive collection. “We might put in some lounge chairs here, so we can entertain more outside.”

That’s not to say, though, the couple had been entertaining a lot recently. Because they had just moved in, the home hasn’t seen too many guests. “But family and friends who have seen it tell us that they love everything about it,” Tess adds.

There was certainly a sophisticated but approachable charm that permeated throughout the home. The bedrooms feature upholstered headboards, made less formal with cool gray hues and lighter-colored linens. Key pieces like mirrored drawers and a sleek secretary added to the space without creating clutter.

One of the most charming features in the home, though, are the bathrooms, which were filled completely with shiny mosaic tiles in different shades of gray. “They’re just from Cebu Home Builders,” Tess says about where they had gotten the tiles. “Hervé was wondering if it was a bit too much, but we love how it ended up looking. It still feels cozy, but with a lot of style.”

The home is clearly a collaborative effort between Hervé and Tess, and it’s lucky they have the taste and know-how that allowed them to really create a space that reflected the life they wanted to live. “There were some negotiations, but at least our preferences weren’t too different from each other,” Tess admits with a laugh.

At the end of the day, how the 32 Sanson unit came together shows off how well Tess and Hervé collaborate in life and on spaces. By bringing together their tastes and working with the pieces available to them, the couple was able to create a homey but chic residence that works for their lifestyle. That, Tess feels, is something that’s particularly important. “It’s all about the feel,” she shares. “The design aesthetic of the space has to create an atmosphere and energy that you like being around in. That’s what transforms a house into a home.”   


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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