Design Thought | What Else Michelle

Archive of ‘Design Thought’ category

Going Crazy Over Patterned Tiles: A Glimpse of How Baldoza Tiles Are Made

I have known these Spanish-looking patterned tiles ever since I was young because my grand aunt used to have them in her house where I was a constant dweller. I really didn’t have much appreciation for old-fashioned materials until I became interested in decorating. So when my client showed me a photo of a kitchen with colorful patterned backsplash, I told her that it was Machuca tiles that she wanted. I was hesitant at first, but immediately searched online, found their website and inquired about the tiles. It turned out that these tiles are made-to-order and I need at least 100 pcs to get a good price. (I only needed about 84 pcs but I planned to frame the others for the bathroom.) The price was waaaay beyond our budget but the client really wanted to push for it and so I ordered. Unfortunately, it will take 21 working days to fabricate the tiles or 14 days for rush job. We’re already done with our first week in construction and even if I had them rushed, we would be almost done with the construction. I asked another company but the best they could do was 10 days.

We were ready to find another alternative when she learned somewhere online that Machuca Tiles sells overrun/rejected pieces for P60 each (almost 75% off the design she wanted). Pretty good deal, right? The catch? You have to go through this lot to find the ones you can use. Good thing I had my anti-histamine the night before. Hehe!machuca-tiles8Since I was already in their factory, I decided to just take a mini educational field trip for myself and for everyone interested in how these tiles are made. I found out that Machuca is actually the surname of the owner who pioneered in making these tiles here in the Philippines. The correct term is baldoza tiles.

These hand-made tiles are made from compressed cement that is about 3/4″ thick. There are steel plates and molds to begin with as seen the pictures below.machuca-tiles3First, special pigments are poured into the steel mold followed by the cement.machuca-tiles4The tile is then pressed by the huge rotating machine and the tiles are left to cure for 9-15 days.machuca-tiles5For more information, you can visit Machuca Tiles FAQ page.

machuca-tiles7What I love about these tiles is that the colors don’t fade easily since they pigment is about a quarter of an inch thick. The can be polished like regular cement flooring too using wax and your good old polisher.

Here are some ideas where you can use assorted Machuca tiles in your home.louisville-tile-Eclectic-Bathroom-Designs-London-660x600 a60926c0f6b5ddcc85b8c2d7ac34f665

What do you think? Are patterned tiles old fashioned or modern quirky?

For more ideas, you can visit my Pinterest board. 🙂

How About Neon?

Admit it. No matter how traditional or conventional you are, neon will always have a positive effect on you. That instant pop of color may be enough to bring a surge of bliss in you. Of course, I am not talking about loud, tacky, outrageous and hideous plastic neon outfits but rather just a hint of it. Think, neon green toe shoes, a small tangerine purse, hot pink stilettos and little black dress…

And since this year’s new year’s resolution is to add more color in my designs, here are a few ideas on how to add that pop of neon into your home without going overboard.


If you’re commitment-phobic like me or you’re living in a rental house/apartment and are not allowed to paint over those boring white walls, then adding neon artwork can make your living space a bit more interesting. Don’t go overboard by making your pillows too bright though. Still pick colorful ones but in deeper color shades. Love that yellow chair too!


Or paint your baseboard neon rather than an entire wall and then pair it with same color accessories to pull the look together. Simple and for commitment-phobics too.

Adding a pop of neon in a baroque style bedroom or living room is possible too. That neon green louis chair takes the room to a different level, from classic elegant to fashionably quirky! neon-curtain-trim

Teens, fret no more! Add posh and girly glam to your room by painting the bottom of your curtain apple green and hot pink.  Those gold cart and floor lamp made the space look sophisticated rather than childish.neon-shelves

Would you not love to cook and have breakfast in this cheery kitchen? It still feels homey despite the ultra modern look and layout of the kitchen.
neon-throwsIf you’re current living room is all taupe and beige, add more life to it by bringing in some hot pink throw pillows and colorful abstract artwork (you can even DIY the artwork).

What do you think? Would you incorporate neon in your home?

Check out some more inspirational photos in my Houzz Ideabook.

Design Thought: Incorporating Bamboo Sticks in Your Interior

Bamboo is beautiful and versatile. But since I live in the Philippines, the abundance of bamboo makes it look like the cheaper option when used in interiors. It is often associated with bahay kubo, our native hut, which you can usually see in rural areas and never in classy metros.

We have quite a lot of bamboo sticks in various sizes because my mom-in-law decided to trim off all the bamboos in the front yard. So I’m thinking of ways to use them in our house. Here are a few ideas on how to use bamboo without making it look cheap and without over doing it.


As a closet door or room divider. The woods used here are actually birch but they kinda look like bamboo in this picture. The trick to not going bamboo overload, making your home look like a local resort, is to choose your furniture wisely. Although the table and benches were hard wood, the high back chairs in chic color, modern bubble chandelier and bright graphic artwork give the room a nice elegant contrast. I always love the mixture of rustic and modern pieces.


Alternative roofing for patios/deck. If our house were minimalist in design with clean lines and smooth walls, I would have layered our polycarbonate roofing with bamboo sticks.

As a wall art. This bamboo looks really nice against the teal wall.


Bamboo doesn’t always have to go on your walls bare. I love these painted metallic bamboo art. Gives me another DIY idea! Hehe!


As a room divider or accent piece. I just absolutely fell in love with this idea. It’s a subtle way to use bamboo as room divider, and paired with white pebbles, it’s just perfect.

bamboo-decorAnd last but not the least, as a vase filler. If you have a modern living room with designer pieces, using bamboo for your over-sized vases is a way to finish the design with very minimal extra cost. But if you have a bamboo sofa set or bamboo bed, then I guess you should forget adding extra bamboos as decor.

By the way, these are just my opinions.Feel free to add yours. 🙂 For more bamboo ideas, you can check out my idea book in Houzz.

1 2