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Ready, Set, Go

A starter home for a young starting-up family balances aesthetic, practicality, and good vibes and serves as a canvas for a modern yet sentimental setting.

A starter home for a young starting-up family balances aesthetic, practicality, and good vibes and serves as a canvas for a modern yet sentimental setting.

by Ian E. Baol photography Genesis Raña

The house’s façade by itself already sticks out like a sore thumb in the Mahogany Grove urban village in Talamban, and if one took into consideration the other houses of a similar aesthetic, you’ll get an entire hand.


Architect Buck Sia’s own starter home maximizes 145 of the 150 square meter lot and extends skyward, enough to tower over many other houses in the neighbourhood. The brown tile landing gives a preview of what is to be expected inside the house: organic, streamlined design this young architect is known for. “The house attempts a more international style with planes creatively stacked. It also mixes color and texture with the massing and planes,” noted Buck, of the major influence of linear and planar architecture in the house’s over-all design.


A Dedon phoenix lounge set and orbit daybed greet one upon entering the hardwood door that faces the north-west, which, in Feng Shui, is believed to be advantageous for the family’s head: where the flow of energy is said to add to one’s leadership qualities, and to reinforce trust and respect in the house.
In the daytime the house is easily flooded with natural light, maximized by the use of numerous clerestory glass-to-glass corner windows and the use of sheer roller blinds that keep the interiors well-lit while protecting everything within from prying eyes. The raised ceilings also help circulate a maximal amount of air that smoothly flows from one room into another.


The kitchen, although actually quite narrow, appears wider, with the absence of walls. The kitchen was blended with the dining area, both sporting very modern settings: the kitchen holds a mishmash of Electrolux, Vitamix, Cuisinart and Excalibur appliances, and immediately unfolds into the dining set of a Clayton Tugonon table and Dimensioni chairs. Buck avoided the use of swinging doors and instead used sliding ones to maximize more of the limited space of such a start-up house and to be able to divide and blend the rooms effortlessly. The sliding magkuno door reveals a convertible corner, which for now holds some house utilities, and leads to a powder room. From the glass-to-glass corner window one is brought to look upon a miniature bamboo and kamuning garden, landscaped by Jaime Chua, sporting only two elements of stones, plants: very Zen, which also perfectly fits Buck’s signature aesthetic of elegance and practicality through simplicity.


Connecting both floors is a “floating” landing (that was the architect’s desired intention) whose illusion of lightness is magnified by smooth white stones underneath. The “floating” concrete landing supports an LED-lit cantilevered stairs with stained-wood steps that leads to the second floor—where more magic happens.


Three bedrooms and the master’s bath follow after one is greeted by the family’s “faith corner” at the top of the stairs. High ceilings also maximize the deluge of natural light on the second floor, also brought about by corner glass-to-glass windows and special glass panelling, of about six inches in width, between the walls and ceilings. The master’s bedroom is admittedly not very spacious, but Buck saved space by building the closets and some shelves into the wall. The bed was of Buck’s own design, and like the cantilevered stairs, has a floating effect. Lighting fixtures secured from Bionic Builders, wedding gifts, and some of Buck’s own design light up the master bedroom at night. The adjacent bathroom has a simple, utilitarian design using Toto fixtures, a Moershu enclosure, and APE ceramic tiles. Of the three bedrooms on the second floor, one is also soon to be converted to a nursery.


The walls in general, though still a bit stark, will soon be filled with photographs. Buck says the décor will always be a work in progress as they just do everything themselves, and noted that they are inspired by one thing or another over time. This starter home is like the starter couple who will soon be joined by a new member of the family. Just as this young architect mentioned: everything is a continuing work in progress.

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