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The Homes of Zee

The Bare Necessities

Practicality does not have to compromise style. This home in the Talamban hills shows how.

by Ian E. Baol photography Genesis Raña

Even before construction, this couple already knew what they wanted for their second home: not much. They were specific, thorough, and practical, which resulted in a well-scaled, low-maintenance abode.

From the onset, Boyet and Chinky Bacalso provided the architect and contractor with the materials and requested that they work with them.

“You can say I was a bit obsessive compulsive about it,” kidded Chinky, an entrepreneur and mother of three. “Even down to the bathroom fixtures, and drainage systems, we chose everything beforehand.”

Meticulous as she was when it came to these things—although the house took just one year to finish—the family already moved in during construction, precisely so they could supervise.

Made up of three levels, the house stands on almost 400 of the lot’s 430 square meters, maximizing the use of the available land. On the owners’ instruction, it has a lot of wooden features even as it is basically made of steel and concrete which are longer lasting and easy to maintain.

The design keeps only the essential elements of a home. The young architect, Jhoanne Rafanan, who is now based in Singapore, carried out unobstructed connections through the living, dining, and kitchen areas, avoiding the use of doors. Five bedrooms, six toilet and baths, a separate dirty kitchen, the laundry area, and the maids’ quarters complete the house’s vitals. A pocket garden of bonsai and santan shrubs sit snuggly decorating the house’s façade, done by a close friend of the homeowners, a professional singer who happens to garden for a hobby.

Inside the house, the color palette is a salient characteristic of modern design—whites, grays, beiges, and browns. Counters and cupboards sit quietly in clean lines. Interestingly, however, sudden bursts of red in furniture accents snatch one’s gaze from the spare walls. Inspired by the red details on the kitchen counter that Chinky had secured from Everything Timber, the couple mixed Detalia Aurora end-tables of the same motif, in the living room.

These, in turn, match stylish but moderately-priced bowls and other home accessories. “Aside from the basic furniture, we didn’t want to put anything too expensive lying around so we don’t have to worry if anything gets broken,” says Chinky. Granted that peace of mind, they could thus let their active four-year-old run around freely.

That the air in the house “flows freely” is Chinky’s favorite feature and, just as the architect does, the part that she loves most is the veranda facing the east.

“Not only is it the perfect place for a quiet breakfast or a lovely late merrienda,” she says, “but opening the glass divisions blend the veranda with the dining room, expanding the entertaining area.”

Going up the magkuno (iron wood) stairs then through a hallway and the family room, we find the bedrooms. I notice something beside the narra master’s bed and point at it: it’s a sofa bed.

Chinky laughed. “My littlest one refuses to sleep in her own room and so we have her makeshift bed here.”

The house has already been lived in for three years, but the couple feels that it’s not yet entirely complete. “Just a painting and it’s done,” says Chinky, glancing at the bare walls while laying down some cloth napkins on the antique, solid narra dinner table that she got from her grandmother.

The streamlined Zen style of the house reflects the homeowner’s Montessori convictions, one of which is of being at peace with one’s self and with the world by creating a peaceful and relaxing environment at home: clutter-free and with everything in their proper place which in effect reflects their desire for it to be “a refuge and a space the family can enjoy.”

This same inspiration has also lead Chinky to develop Smart Owls Children’s Workshop, her Montessori-discipline school for children aged one and a half to two for toddlers, then up to five for pre-school, and then children aged six to nine for primary school, centrally located in Lahug, Cebu City.

The house’s architect’s adopted Asian Contemporary style also easily carried out the homeowners’ visions but Architect Rafanan is reluctant to already commit to a firm design mantra at only 30. She wants to use her chances for growth and self-discovery by dealing with building guideline variations, regulations, and different systems handling projects abroad.

“Knowing the homeowners’ taste and personalities was an advantage in planning out what we envisioned, but it was their selection of furniture and accessories that added the charm,” shared Architect Rafanan of her experience.

I stay a little longer and the home makes me think of the homeowners once more, and how they are not afraid of stripping down to what’s most important, what is essential—the foundation of family.

Smart Owls Children’s Workshop is at 2 Torralba Street, Lahug Cebu City. Call (032)236-5605 or visit www.smart-owls.com for more information.

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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.

 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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