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The Homes of Zee

House Tour: A Modern Bohemian Apartment with a Twist

A mix of cultural pieces, colorful artwork and interesting furniture can be found in designer Lani Pasquet’s chic residence.

“Eclectic glam,” the photographer Maitina Borromeo says about the flat Lani Pasquet shares with Jay Chiongbian before the day of the photoshoot. It’s something said with some backing, considering Maitina is a close friend of Lani and had actually offered some insight into the home’s final look. “I couldn’t find the words to really describe it, but that would be it. I looked it up online, and it’s actually a thing.”

As it turns out, the description is pretty accurate. The two-bedroom apartment is a play on textures, colors and materials that came together for a sophisticated, wordly aesthetic. It shouldn’t be a surprise really, considering Lani’s family’s La Galuche brand is known for their shagreen-lined quirky-chic pieces.

“It’s really mostly whatever Jay already had in his house, and the pieces that I had gathered through the years,” Lani says, laughingly admitting that she really didn’t have a specific look in mind at all. “I just put them all together and gave them my bohemian twist. It still keeps on changing, depending on what I have in the warehouse.”

For his part, Jay jokes that he didn’t get to have as big of an input in the home’s design. “I didn’t have a say in this at all. She’d ask me what I thought and I’d say something, and she’d do the exact opposite. But that’s how women are, right?” he adds in jest.

Located in an older condominium building, the flat is considerably larger than some of the places available in the market today, although Jay admits it was partly through their own efforts. “We changed a lot of things to make it more spacious,” Jay explains, pointing out some alterations—the door was moved further into the hallways for a more spacious foyer, they tore down the kitchen and service kitchen walls for a more open floor plan, repositioned the bedroom doors for a more optimal use of space, and closed off parts of the balconies. “This was actually a three-bedroom unit, but we took down the wall between two of them for a bigger master bedroom.”

The careful consideration given to maximizing space makes an incredible impact, giving the living areas an airy feel that’s further complemented by the view—the 18th hole of Cebu Country Club’s golf course. The large open area next door often brings with it a cool breeze, along with a few stray golf balls that are “courtesy of Bob Booth and Jiji Gullas. That’s why we have the screens,” Jay laughs, referring to the windows’ protective covers. “But it’s also nice because we see a lot of our friends play through.”

Inside, the open space gave Lani a blank canvas to bring in her pieces. She begins talking about the stories behind some of the items in the home—a red coral that had been given by a friend who moved away, African pieces that her grandfather had acquired from when he’d lived in Nigeria, a basket designed by Marguerite Lhuillier, some Chinese pieces that had belonged to Jay’s family. 

What’s noticeable though is an abundance of lamps. “She loves lamps. Every time she goes somewhere, she brings back a lamp,” Jay says. “I don’t think she realizes it.”

Apparently, she does. Some of the lamps had been acquired from traveling, like the orange one with the Vietnamese figure, and the bedside lamps that she’d bought in Bali. “A lot of the lamps are from Bali. One time, I went into a store to look at one lamp, and I came home with a whole container full of lamps,” she laughs. The others come with their own interesting backstory—the capiz lamp had been a gift from a friend after a large capiz order, the shell ceiling lamp in the terrace was bought at a neighboring booth from Bacolod during a Cebu X furniture show.

The word eclectic comes to mind again, when going through the different rooms of the house. The living area is marked by a zebra hide, giving a touch of whimsy to the more classic pieces like the low dark wooden coffee table that had been in Gilt, a bar that Jay used to own, and the purple sofa with colored throw pillows. A pair of white armchairs frames the space—sitting next to a window is an oversized one with a gilded frame that had been a gift from furniture designer Carlo Cordaro, and the Detalia Aurora chair that Lani had customized with ostrich skin sits in the middle of the room. As a playful touch, a hippo peeks out from the tableau.

Just off the living area is the dining table, which sits on a woven area rug that dogs Java and Candra like racing around on. Off to the side is an antique buffet that had also been in Gilt. “Maitina had actually found it, in Carbon, and it turned out the place wasn’t even an antique store,” Jay laughs. “She, Lani and Delphine (Delorme) had been antique shopping, and they were going from store to store. The next one, where they found this, was actually just someone’s house.”

The kitchen, with its sheer black paneling and spacious counter was the only thing that Lani had been particular about. “I love to cook. I cook everyday,” she explains, adding that she had designed it after an Italian kitchen. “I wanted to have a wide enough space so I can entertain on the counter, because I love having my friends over, and we can talk and eat while I cook.” 

The bedrooms also have their own character, beginning with the spare bedroom that Lani had previously used as a yoga studio. “But when Gilt closed, Jay started using it as a home office,” she recalled. Now, one wall is covered completely by a Delphine Delorme painting that used to be at Gilt’s entrance—the striking pop-art piece is complemented by minimal furnishings for a maximum effect.

After its expansion, the master’s quarters is considerably spacious, with enough room for a boudoir and vanity, as well as a small nook that had previously been a balcony and where Lani now does her yoga. Artwork and Persian rugs come in as accents to the furniture pieces. A walk-in closet and bathroom are equally chic, with stone tiles for the walls and floors in the shower area, a cone-shaped shagreen sink with a mother of pearl basin, and gilded details on the closet doors.

“I spend most of my time in the kitchen,” Lani admits when asked what her favorite corner in the house is. “But I also like the bedroom—lounging around and reading in bed or the boudoir, and enjoying the breeze from outside.”

Probably the most notable thing about the home is how it all comes together with an air of insouciance, as if everything had just casually fallen into place—something that could probably be attributed to Lani’s French side. 

In any case, Maitina remains correct in her initial depiction of the place—eclectic chic. She adds later, “It’s very grown-up,” and that’s true as well. The home represents a woman with an eye for design, an appreciation for the finer things in life, and a whole lot of personality—and in the end, the woman who lives there is exactly that.    


Photography by Maitina Borromeo

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, Dec-Jan 2017

The Homes of Zee

THE HOMES OF ZEE: A Cosmopolitan Life

A home for a young couple that mixes tradition and modernity.

By Eva Gullas  photography Pablo Quiza

If Colin and Araminta had a penthouse in Cebu, this would be it. This 15-storey buiding in the heart of Cebu’s financial district is easy to spot but not many people know that its top floor is actually home to a young couple and their toddler son. And a huge King Shepherd dog, Vesian.

After years of residing abroad, the prospect of building a home from scratch, or in this case, the carcass of a whole floor of an unfinished building, is anything but easy. Having to transform more than a thousand square meters of open space into a family home is a daunting task that takes a lot of imagination and is not for the faint-hearted. It didn’t start that way, of course. The original plan was to construct a house in one of the city’s gated communities. But it wasn’t too hard to convince the man of the house that having a home in the city center would give him the ease of being close to the business and a garage big enough for his car collection. “Being born and raised in Hong Kong and having the city below me was something I got used to,” he quips.

First on the design plan was to ensure a double-height ceiling fronted by a wall of glass that would give clear views of the sky, the city’s business center and Mactan Island beyond. The partitions came next. For this, the home-owners, Martin and Claudia Yeung, consulted with Arlen de Guzman, the Manila-based interior designer whose discipline comes mostly from working on projects involving the hospitality industry. Arlen spent 20 years working for HBA in Hong Kong, including the design for the Grand Hyatt Hotel, before setting up his own shop. 

The mutual respect shared between the client and Arlen has made this home the way it is.  As expected from someone who moves in and out of some of the most stylish homes and hotels, Martin has a very particular taste. With his direction, the decorator executed most of the division plans, including a space for a gym and a pool table, and the master’s bedroom with a loft TV room and a huge space for the closet area and en suite bathroom. In the loft area, the most private sanctum in this home, a highly coveted collection of Hollywood memorabilia is on display. The treasure trove features Achilles’ helmet worn by Brad Pitt in the movie Troy, the Lannister mask from Game of Thrones, and the Roman cuirass used by Maximus played by actor Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator, among others. “It started as a hobby, but now it’s turning into a good investment as well,” Martin laughingly adds. Prices for these items bought at auction have more than doubled in recent years.
Entry to this private residence goes through a series of security checks, from guards and protection details at the lobby level, to the many cameras that are strategically positioned. If that doesn’t deter unwelcome guests, the ginormous size of 200-pound Vesian should stop anyone in his tracks.

 The very essence of sophistication meets guests the moment the elevator doors open. At the entrance, a large rococo framed painting against a wood paneled wall, a modern glass chandelier and dark hide floor covering set the tone for things to come. Tall wooden doors on both sides of the elevator serve as access to the apartment. Stepping inside, the expansive view and the sheer enormity of the living and dining areas that almost spans the entire width of the building is something you don’t often see unless you check in to a luxury hotel like an urban Aman or a Four Seasons. 

An open kitchen of wood and black glass anchors the far side and is equipped with a built-in refrigerator, ice-maker, freezer and storage cabinets hidden below the counter while behind its wall is the service kitchen. On the opposite end of the kitchen is the powder room, concealed neatly with 2 sides of exposed glass walls overlooking more city views.

The open floor plan has several seating arrangements—dark leather sofas and club chairs with Italian tables, a dining table made of solid hard wood with 14 seats and a bar filled with bottles of single malt scotch. Lighting is a big deal as well in this home. Several easel lamps and dark wrought-iron chandeliers play a huge role, but it’s the hidden ceiling lighting fixtures, with its various mood-changing combinations activated by remote control, that truly add to the drama. Set against a backdrop of glass and bare cement walls, leather and fine wood carpentry, the lighting effects evoke a welcoming luxury and a refined urbanity with the cityscape sprawled before your eyes. The layering of different styles is the main point in the over-all design. “I would think that it’s a good balance of tradition and modernity,” Martin sums it up.

If there’s not enough space, one floor up is the rooftop deck which provides more entertaining room. Furnished with outdoor sofas and added dining areas, this is the perfect venue for a good party on any given night.

As the only son of an industrialist family, Martin is actively involved in moving the family corporation forward. He is heavily invested in tourism with the company’s real estate portfolio including some of the most desirable beach properties in Cebu. The first premium resort he developed is the posh resort of Kandaya in the north. He’s currently developing an expansion that would offer an alternate lodging that is more affordable.

“Cebu is home to me and my family now,” admits the itinerant gentleman who is well-loved by his employees. “There’s a lot of potential here, and we would like to be part of the growth of this country.”

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Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 4

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 4:  Upgrade your Choices

A.  Create different moods with lighting. The use of warm colored indirect lighting such as lamps, colored LED back lights, or even string lights can create a cozy and relaxing vibe after a day’s work.


Beautiful lighting can transform a small modern apartment.


B.)  Convert to smart home systems. From door locks, CCTV cameras, you’ll also be able to control and turn on lights, appliances even if you’re away from home. All you need is a wifi connection and the applications on your mobile phone.

Smart phone apps can also control lights and home appliances.

C.) Hire a professional interior designer. We always get an impression that hiring a professional would be expensive, but they actually help you make the best choices and save you from making bad purchases.

Go over design options and your color palette with a professional interior designer to get better results and save more.


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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Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 3

Trendy Home & Condo Renovation Tips. Part 3

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 3: Maximize Impact of Small Spaces

A.)  Storage spaces. You can go with concealed storage systems such as built-in cabinets on walls, under the bed or seating. Keep the items that you use often more reachable than the occasional ones. Choose what works best for your space and for your convenience.

There are many affordable storage options to de-clutter your room.

B.)  Showcase your collection of interesting conversation pieces, like items you acquire from past travels, an artwork, an heirloom, coffee table books or a collector’s item. Make sure to save a special place for them in your home.

Your personal collections can be nice decorative pieces.

C.)  Move things around to attract renewed energy into your space. May it be moving a sofa to the adjacent wall, creating a dining nook near a window, shuffling your accessories on to a different shelf? Little efforts go a long way.

Update your living/family areas with bright color accents that complement the dining area.


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.


Continue Reading