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The Homes of Zee

Inside Cebu: The Velavana

In the 22 years that Zee has been around, countless homes have made it to our glossy pages, and as we turned digital, on our screen—but there’s nothing quite like the Velavana, a whimsical bahay kubo crafted from bamboo. 

Velvana Cebu Facade - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

The facade of the Velavana. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

In the 22 years that Zee has been around, countless homes have made it to our glossy pages, and as we turned digital, on our screen—but there’s nothing quite like the Velavana, a whimsical bahay kubo crafted from bamboo.
Literally translating to “cube house”, the bahay kubo often serves as an icon of Philippine culture, and is mostly found in rural areas. It’s seen in many artworks that depict bayanihan, a Filipino value that refers to communal unity or a joint effort to achieve an objective, where a group of people are seen carrying the bahay kubo to transport it to a new location.
There aren’t many of these houses left standing in the urban sprawl of Cebu City; concrete is the preferred material for building properties, and contemporary architecture takes the lead. Although, that’s not to say that the bahay kubo is outdated in any way, as its architectural principles gave way to many houses and buildings that rose after the pre-colonial era, and even until now.
Velvana Cebu Interior - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

The open area and high-ceilinged foyer easily allows the breeze to pass through. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

The Velavana proves that the bahay kubo is a beautiful remnant of the past. Its location makes it doubly precious—built atop a hill in Cebu’s most exclusive gated community, the Velavana sprawls across a half hectare property surrounded by native foliage such as trees of banana, coconut, and bamboo—the last one doesn’t come as a surprise, seeing as Velavana is a combination of the Sanskrit words vela and vana, which mean “bamboo” and “house”, respectively.
Velvana Cebu Foyer Lamps - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

In the foyer, lamps made from rattan and bamboo hang overhead. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

Its owner, whose identity we shall keep under wraps for their requested privacy, built Velavana for them and their family to hang out. For them, it’s the best venue to relax and unwind.
“The design was visioned in my brain, executed by two carpenters,” they share. “[It] Did challenge my artistic skills to the test. The end result… [is] Pure joy in my unicorn—rare and highly-valued— hideaway.”
Velvana Cebu Stairs - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

Before entering the house, guests must take off their shoe use the handwoven slippers at the entrance. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

When you step inside, its chic and airy interiors might throw you in for a loop. Nearly everything is made from organic materials—the furniture, the tables, the hanging lamps, the decor. In the foyer, bamboo vases filled with large glossy leaves of the philodendron and bright white orchids sit atop a glass table with intricately-woven wooden legs.
Velvana Cebu Dining Area - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

Velvana’s open air dining area. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

To the right is the open-air dining area, with the table and chairs woven from rattan. The same material is used to weave the charger plates and napkin holders, adding a native touch to the table settings.
Velvana Cebu Sungka Flowers - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

Photo by Oliver Echevarria

Right in the center of the table lie a variety of Filipino elements. Green tundan (a variety of banana found all over the Philippines), along with white orchids, sungka boards and succulents are lined up to keep with the rustic theme. Hanging above the table are a swanky mishmash of white bougainvillea, ferns, leaves, more orchids, and succulents in terrariums.
Velvana Cebu Living Area - Zee Lifestyle Cebu

The living area makes for the ideal place for a nightcap. Photo by Oliver Echevarria

On the left of the foyer is a living area, filled with the similarly-themed furniture. Clean white linen furbishing are offset by the woven elements, and greenery liven up the space. Sitting on the couch here gives you an unobstructed view of the city skyline, up until the sea surrounding the island. Everything about the Velavana screams serenity and relaxation, as if you’re on a retreat in tropical paradise.

Design

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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Design

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.

 

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 2

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 2:  Create Visual Interest

A.)  Update your space with a fresh coat of paint. Some would love the white / minimalist theme, but one must also not be afraid to make a bold statement and have an accent wall, or even a wall mural.

A new coat of paint can add that bold accent to your kitchen or room.

B.)  Mix materials and textures to create depth and contrast. Wallpaper is an amazing decorative material that you can use for an instant upgrade. Another inexpensive approach is to use patterns and texture on soft furnishings such as curtains, pillows and sheets.

A right mix of fabrics and textures gives an earthy color palette that sophisticated feel.

C.)  Setting up a coffee station, bar carts, vinyl corner, or workstation seems to be a trend to the young professionals nowadays.  Add functional pieces that serve as décor at the same time.

Your personal work space can show off your favorite items and will be your inspiration to be productive.

 

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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