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The Homes of Zee

Modernbrands Inc. Brings Novacucina to Cebu for You to Pursue Tasteful Living

We talked about being one step closer to your dream home before. Now that Modernbrands Inc.
has a home in the Queen City of the South, the lifestyle furniture company is set to make your
dream home a reality. It provides you with tastefully-curated brands from Europe, Asia, North
America, Australia, and Asia.

Modernbrands Inc. showcases different ranges of collections and design frameworks of home
items; to mention a few, these include: furniture, kitchen solutions, wardrobes and all other
accessions and accessories to achieve your highest satisfaction of comfortable and aesthetic
living. Only months after their opening, Modernbrands brings to Cebu more home solutions that
help Cebuanos pursue everyday tasteful living.

Modernbrands brings Italian Kitchen Brand Novacucina to Cebu!

Novacucina has been creating designer cutting-edge kitchens since the year 1990. In the
Philippines, it is officially and exclusively distributed and advertised through showrooms by
Modernbrands. Its elegant showrooms are located across key cities of Makati, Mandaluyong
and Cebu.

Its brand philosophy centers around flexibility and modularity. Novacucina speaks of flexibility,
evident in their designs, which cater to the varying needs of the target clientele. At the same
time, Novacucina adopts modularity, as the different classes of framework designs in their given
space functions as a self-contained component and works independently from the other.

As you go over to the brochures, you will be drawn into the aesthetic themes of the different
sets of kitchen and its kitchenwares together set up to make it pleasing to the eyes and to get
that feeling of suitable beautiful living inside your home.

What is your Ideal Kitchen?

We are one in gesture when speaking of an ideal kitchen. For sure, we want it to be spacious,
clean, and inviting to the senses.

Novacucina shows that she is sophisticated and chic when it comes to her choice of designs
and functionality of each and every component of the kitchen. Whether you choose to be a
discrete cook or opt to portray your inner chef, Novacucina has something to offer to the table.

Novacucina is all about how you see yourself in the kind of kitchen you choose for your home.
As to the materials, colours and finishes, it offers a wide range of options to choose from to suit
one’s style: from cement resin, to painted oak to cutting edge marble designs. All varieties are
prepared through showrooms for the interested market. Customization is also possible as one
desire some sort of distinct feature in their homes.

Modernbrands has an in-house team of professional, licensed interior designers to create style
and fashion to your space and put innovation in the dimensions of your dwelling. Modernbrands
offers a 3-year warranty to all projects. So do not hesitate to visit or contact Modernbrands for
further concerns or inquiry.

The ideal kitchen would be that impression you will get from family or guest when they enter
your kitchen: “Just so you know, I’m so much privileged to be one of your invites!”

The Big Reveal

Everyone had a smile on their faces as they entered the main door and greeted each other ‘hi,
hello how are you, how have you been?’ The official recognition of Modernbrands as the
provider of Novacucina in Cebu was announced by host Jiggy Junior of Y101 FM.

In a short segment, Jiggy invited Architect Buck Sia and Interior Designer Holly Dychango to
join him for a couch talk. Between now and the past five to ten years in Cebu, design has
changed drastically.

“It is something that is very important to me, so I have been proud of lineage of Cebu
modernism from the 70’s all the way to the present,” Buck replied. “We have a lot of identified

arts and architecture creativity. We have a very bright force in field modernism and that is how I
traded my path in terms of my practice. We are working towards a very progressive architecture
and I know it has influenced a lot in terms of how these all help a lot in developing architecture
here in Cebu in general.”

Further to this question, Jiggy had to ask Buck: “Do you impose on your design sensibility or do
you get most of your designs from influence from your potential customers?”

To that, Buck chuckled and replied, “I really have a specific direction in terms of what we do and
because of that I have gathered a nice clientele who understand and support my vision, so there
is a lot of trust between me and my clients. A lot of the times when they approach me, they
know who I am and when I start to do the design process, it is as if a discovery for me of who I
was before.”

Jiggy moved the coin to Interior Designer Holly Dychangco and asked, “If a client were building
you a new home, what would be the areas you focus on?”

“Coming from an interior designer’s point of view,” Holly began, “I’m very big on user
experience. So I actually did my masters in Design Management in User Experience—I really
have to understand what the client needs.”

“For me, depending on your client, say he’s a chef or a cook, the kitchen has an important
aspect however, or if your client likes to entertain guests, the living space and the communal
areas are very important. ” She continued. “And of course, the bedroom. This is your sacred
serene place. It is something that I take as an important place for your home. It is like a heart of
your home as well.”

Holly shared that some clients have astounding requests, which border on crazy ideas, but she
does her best to fulfill the client’s needs in the way she sees best.

“I have this client who asked me to turn his urban house into a “jungle” with a dancing pole,” she
recalled, laughing. “And that’s pretty crazy.”

Cebu’s top personalities in the design industry were all in attendance, which enriched the whole
experience. Guests of Honor include Asia Sales Head, Andrea Reicherl, of Novacucina and
Asia Pacific Sales Manager, Peter Bach, of Innovation Living.

In an exclusive interview with Zee.PH, Andrea talked about Novacucina’s edge over its
competitors. “There are some few points to take in, one is—this is crucial—prices,” He began,
“Which are competitive in the market and which is what the end users are monitoring. The other
one will be on materials, also the end users can be on them, and the last one will be flexibility.
Novacucina caters to the market’s needs.”

When it comes to design, Andrea shares that the brand’s creative process differs every time.

“Designing kitchen for me is preparing a dish, but not Carbonara, which you already know the
ingredients of. Every design is a new dish. The question is how will I combine together?” He
said, and divulged three things: always listen to the client, design the layout, and finally, select
the finishes. “Together, I always trust teamwork; together we experience the process, and we
deliver the right product to the client.

With Peter Bach, we had to ask what he thought was the ultimate goal in interior design.

“The ultimate goal is to make the client happy,” Peter said simply. As a Danish brand,
Innovation Living embodies Danish values—most of which center around minimalism.

“Danish people do not go out too much,” Peter divulges, “so Danish people invite their friends at
home and when they look at your home—specially your kitchen—you are being judged with that
to some degree. If you have a beautiful home, a smart home, an innovative home, all will think
that you are doing well. So, to be able to display a home to which there is a sense of beautiful
design, one must be smart and being smart does not necessarily mean being expensive. “

With the wide range of offerings to choose form, there’s no doubt that Cebu’s homes will have a
piece from Modernbrands Inc. from now on.

Modernbrands Inc. is located at 2/F Design Center AS Fortuna St., Mandaue City. Or, for more
details, click here. Start your innovative living with Modernbrands today!

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