Connect with us

The Homes of Zee

The five stylish inspirations for your space

Stylish inspirations for your space

From designer accommodations to dining destinations with distant characters, this batch of spaces range from various personalities and aesthetics, their common factor being an undeniable sense of individual style.



District on 53rd (Photography by Ezekiel Sullano/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

District on 53rd (Photography by Ezekiel Sullano/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Already well-known for their inventive food concepts, Marco and Kate Anzani take Cebuano diners on a culinary journey at DISTRICT ON 53RD. A culmination of 53 dishes from different world cuisines, the restaurant brings together a variety of flavors from Asia to the Mediterranean.

Meant to be casual and industrial, District on 53rd is inspired by warehouse and fish markets in Europe—although Kate reminds us that the location in fact has some history, being the location of the old Cebu City jail. The space has a quirky personality that’s approachable but stylish. Rich wooden tables, expansive wine displays, chalkboard menus and chandeliers made from mason jars create an interesting feel.

The couple also adds something new to the dining experience when they set up District on 53rd as a food hall with a wine bar and demonstration studio. Diners can go up to the counter to make their choices among the freshly made dishes on display, or choose to go about the traditional restaurant set-up and order a la carte. If you’re curious about what’s happening behind the scenes, the kitchen is separated from the dining area with just a glass partition to allow a peek.

All District on 53rd wants to do is express creativity in food, embrace Cebu’s new vibe, and introduce new flavors into the local restaurant scene. (by Gab Arcenas)

Cyberzone by Filinvest
Cebu IT Park, Lahug
6332. 261 7212 | Facebook



Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Seven years after it first opened, CANVAS BISTRO BAR GALLERY reinvents itself with an intimate yet industrial setting that highlights modern Australian dishes served in signature artistic flair.

The modern Australian cuisine restaurant haS relocated to a quiet nook along the Maria Luisa Road in Banilad. Save for the huge sign announcing the restaurant’s name, the façade of the new Canvas is understated, with floor to ceiling picture windows allowing a full view of the interiors.

While interior designer Sheila Solon and owners Chef Steve and Eya Shrimski utilized the existing materials from the previous restaurant, the unfinished industrial look is stronger in this reincarnation. Warm lighting complements the minimalist décor, while the eclectic mix of light fixtures evoke the feel of a gallery, highlighting both the restaurant’s food and the paintings hanging on the walls. Just like its former outlet, the paintings are by featured artists and are for sale.

As for the food, Everything is, of course, served with flair, making for quite the Instagrammable food shots. With the ever-changing selection of interesting artpieces and stylish-looking yet delicious food, it’s clear to see that Canvas truly lives up to its name. (by Patty Taboada)

One Paseo, Maria Luisa Road, Banilad
6332. 416 0895Facebook | Instagram



Scape Skydeck (Photography by Philip Lapinid/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Scape Skydeck (Photography by Philip Lapinid/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

With the ever-growing opportunities for travel and leisure, the development of emerging trends is unstoppable. Thus, to meet the demand for exciting and new adventures, SCAPE SKYDECK shows a different angle of Cebu.

From Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island, Scape Skydeck towers at the topmost floor of Azon Residences Condominium near the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. It offers the most beautiful view of Cebu’s skyline.

Surrounded by green and modernized rustic features, dining at Scape Skydeck is mostly al fresco, giving its visitors a clear view of the Mactan Channel and the city’s skyline. For private functions, Scape also has an indoor lounge with classic, saloon-like interiors. The best time to visit is right before the sun goes down—the evening crowd has yet to arrive, and the setting is perfect for a selfie.

Scape Skydeck promises a new side of the lovely Cebu, and a fresh take on flavors—the food is just as good as the view in front of you. This is the angle that Scape proudly gives locals and visitors, an angle that rekindles your appreciation for the Queen City of the South. (by Philip Lapinid)

Azon Residences
M.L. Quezon National Highway, Lapu-Lapu City
6332. 494 0898 | Facebook | Instagram



BRIGHT Academy (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

BRIGHT Academy (Photography by John Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

“You know how, back in our time at school, visiting the principal’s office used to be so scary?” Cheryl Pages-Alba asks. In all fairness, the statement is pretty accurate—back in the days at the academia, being called into the principal’s office had its share of anxiety that comes with thinking you’ve done something wrong. Cheryl laughs at the thought. “Yeah, well that’s exactly what we didn’t want to happen here.”

A relatively small school with a very tight-knit community, BRIGHT ACADEMY is dedicated to preparing students for the real world with a well-rounded curriculum—extra-curricular activities and values education is just as important as scholastic ability. The teachers and administrative staff are notably approachable, which makes it easier for the students to go up to them with concerns.

The BRIGHT offices are able to embody that outlook with its bold color schemes, playful furnishings and glass partitions. Cheryl worked with interior designer Gerald Monreal for the layout, but had a hand in picking out the items used in the space.

BRIGHT Academy encourages play as much as they do learning, and it’s that spirit that they were able to embody in their administrative offices. Students are constantly making their way into the office to talk to teachers or just hang out. That certainly says something about how much the space has contributed to its sense of creativity and community. (by Shari Quimbo)

Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad



Mandaue City Treasurer's Office (Photography by Ezekiel Sullano/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Mandaue City Treasurer’s Office (Photography by Ezekiel Sullano/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

It was like stumbling into a treasure cove—a comparison perhaps befitting, considering it was the MANDAUE CITY TREASURER’S OFFICE. It’s definitely unlike any other local government institution you’ll find yourself in, although Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva is quick to point out that the place used to resemble the stereotypical office before he took over. “[It was] drab. It was devoid of color and style,” he recalls.

That was six years ago. Today, the City Treasurer’s Office inspires awe and amazement among visitors because of the interesting selection of classic and eclectic pieces and warm lighting complementing the wooden accents. The design is a collaboration between Regal, his interior designer sister Jul Oliva, and Marylou Ngo-Ang of Magna Crafts and Interiors, the latter of whom offered to make Regal’s office a showroom for her panel board products. The ceiling and three sides of the room are decked in polished dark wood, creating an old-world homey vibe when coupled with the warm recessed lights.

The office’s pièce de résistance is the pair of green Kenneth Cobonpue Yoda swivel chairs situated right in front of the desk. Used during last year’s APEC, the seats are Regal’s favorite items in the room. “The world leaders sat on these,” he shares. “I can see power emanating from them every time I look at them.”

With a distinct selection of furnishings, the Mandaue City Treasurer’s Office reinvents the typical government office and stands as a reflection of the furniture and accessories capital of the Philippines. (by Patty Taboada)

Mandaue City Hall


Edited from the originally published articles in Zee Lifestyle‘s May 2016 Design issue.

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!

Continue Reading

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.)

Continue Reading

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.)

Continue Reading