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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.”   

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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