What Else Michelle - Part 2

Travel-Inspired Unit for a Young Family of 3

When the client approached me via email, I knew this was going to be a fun yet challenging project. First off, they are based in Dubai so we had to communicate through Skype/Viber/Hangouts. Dealing with clients online isn’t new to me since I worked as a freelance graphic artist for years with most of my clients based abroad. But interviewing a client via video chat, instead of comfortably seating face to face in a coffee shop, made me feel a bit self-conscious (I can see my face in the screen while I talk, haha.) I also needed to have their unit ready by the time they come to Manila for a 10-day vacation. Since they wouldn’t have time to buy the things they need, I had to buy everything from kitchen utensils to having the beddings laundered. It was like preparing a hotel room! How fun is that! 😀

Anyway, a little background, the clients are husband and wife with a cute boy who was about to turn one that time. Both of them are flight attendants and have shared a lot of travel memories together, so I thought a travel inspired theme would be perfect for them. The wife loves fun and light colors and specifically asked for a barn door. Here’s the initial moodboard that I came up with.

moodboard-jan13Travel inspired themes don’t have to include a world map or a collection of globes in the design which I often see when I search the net for inspiration. It’s too blunt for me. I want something graphic yet discreet so I based the color scheme on the typical world map/globe: pink, light blue and ochre.

The couple’s requirements were: 1.) happy colors 2.) storage for their luggages since they will stay in the unit whenever they visit Manila 3.) change the tile flooring to something warmer (granite tiles are too cold for the feet) 4.) barn door for the lady of the house 4.) subway tiles 5.) glass kitchen cabinet and 6.) Eat, Pray, Love wall art.

beforeThe unit is fully furnished and had built in partition, making it hard to play around with layout since there was already a cabinet installed. I had to remove the partition and start from an open plan layout.

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Since the owners will not be living here, just staying for 10 days or so twice or thrice a year, I opted for a bar type dining table to create more space for family gatherings and for their little one to play around. They can change the photos in their mini gallery every time they come back home and write freely on the chalkboard wall.living-area2 (1)

This sofa can be unfolded to create a bed or a larger floor seat. Hehe!IMG_3729 (3)

We replaced the PVC bathroom door with custom barn door as per client’s request. IMG_3705I had the “bedroom” part of the floor elevated to create very deep drawers for their luggages. These drawers are about 90cm deep, a small person can even hide in there. Haha! The stair is also a storage for random items.IMG_3693 (3)The back of the partition is their closet and a built-in platform style bed. bedroom-storage IMG_3744 (3)

The old black kitchen countertop was replaced by white granites tiles.bathroom (3)

I also had the wall mounted lavatory removed to build a new countertop. Now, the bathroom has extra storage under the sink, a huge mirror and a place for toiletries. eat-pray-love

The custom-made, hand-lettered Eat, Pray and Love wall art! sofa

I actually had a hard time finding the right artwork for this wall. I initially wanted an oversized black and white art print but it needs to be something that has meaning to them since I really want this unit to be very personalized. They will only get to stay here for a  few days and so I want them to feel like they have come home to their very own special abode. I asked the client to give me 15 places that are memorable for them and turned it into a print. 🙂

The canvas art is also another DIY. Did you notice that there are lots of triangular elements in the unit (the pendant lights, wall art, painted bedroom wall, corner, etc)? Because both are flight attendants, the triangles came from the airplane wings and tail. See, discreet travel inspired theme… Haha!storage2 (1)

sofa-bed (4) bedroom


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Break the fast in style in the new B & P Cyberscape Alpha Outlet

Lately, I’ve been craving to stay in one of Tagaytay’s bed and breakfast boutique hotels. The past weeks have been very stressful due to several on-going projects. I honestly never thought that my passion for interior decorating would turn into a full time job. So, thank you very much to all who appreciate my design. You made my career change possible. Haha!

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Drama aside, I still want a break but I can’t. Working at home is a challenge because when I work, I want to finish it in one seating as much as possible, so the chains of thoughts and ideas wouldn’t be disrupted. But having two kids in the house makes it quite impossible so I’m constantly looking for a coffee shop where I can spend a few hours in solitude with earphones glued to my ears. So when I found out about B&P last Saturday, I was ecstatic! The cozy interior, comfort breakfast food, quality coffee and most of all free WI-FI! Heaven! 😀 B&P Ortigas (2)As soon as I entered B&P, l instantly felt right at home. The first thing that caught my attention before being led upstairs for the bloggers’ event, was the huge upholstered booth divider which I later found out, were actual headboards! How cozy is that! It reminds me of The Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Tagaytay. I think I can stay in one of the booths all day, if only they would let me put my feet up. Hehe!

B&P Ortigas (5)Of course, being into interior decorating, it’s the cool and hip design that interests me more than the food whenever I come into restaurants like this (so that I can steal ideas for future projects, :D) The restaurant is actually the latest design project of Francis “Nix” Alañon, interior stylist of FTA Design and currently editor in chief of My Home magazine.

Putting together a lot of interesting patterns, colors and textural elements, the playful mix-and-match heightened the style quotient and added as well a cheerful welcoming appeal to the dining place. “I envisioned a bright, friendly haven for guests. I also combined interesting elements into this space without it feeling too overwhelming,” he said. B&P Ortigas (1)Being an all-day breakfast place located within walking distance to business, commercial and BPO offices, Nix said that imbibing a cozy after-office ambiance is the most important aspect to consider in designing this restaurant.

“I took the breakfast in bed inspiration literally to make B&P laid-back, casual yet classy and remarkably designed for its market. This is why we have these comfortable plush seats with huge backrests, which are actually headboards, to make the dining experience like actually enjoying a leisurely breakfast in bed.” B&P Ortigas (9)“To further enhance the lounging experience so as to promote B&P as a perfect place for casual conversations over coffee and great food, we added custom-made tables and chairs. I also thought of adding quirky egg prints on the walls to give the dining area bright, eye-popping visual details,” he added.

Lastly,  to give B&P a charming rustic edge, Nix used wall sconces for moody lighting, floral design accents, as well as geometric-patterned wood flooring.

Of course, there’s more reason for me to go back here and stay even longer because of their menu line-up that encompasses breakfast classics, snacks, and lunch-style dishes both healthy and sinful. We got to try almost everything from the menu and I should say that I already have some personal favorites.

Burrito Omelette
My #1: Burrito Omelette (P230)! It is crispy bacon fried rice wrapped in scrambled eggs, served with tomato salsa. I love cooking so whenever we eat out, I always try to order something that is not typical and is bursting with flavors, preferably with various spices. We all know that typical breakfast menu consists of “si-log” meals (Tapsilog, longsilog, etc.) and they are all just the same. This one has egg and fried rice too, but the salsa and the rich flavors of the rice makes it worthy of being a new favorite breakfast meal.

For lighter meal, I’d definitely go for Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich (P225). Don’t worry, the tomato soup isn’t sour at all. I actually dipped the bread there because I thought it was a dip since it seemed too thick for a soup. But try dipping it too. I think it enhances the sandwich’s flavor better. 😀

Beer Batter Buttermilk ChickenHonestly, when they served this Beer-battered Buttermilk Chicken (P450, half chicken, good for sharing), I wasn’t too interested. Probably because I was already full and I thought it would be like any other breaded chicken fillet. I have high standards in terms of deep-fried food because I know that it’s the batter and marinade that would make or break it. But this dish is surprisingly good! I prefer it without rice though, just the french toast and gravy served with it is already perfect.

Primera TapaOf course, good ol’ classic tapsilog will forever be in my favorite list. B&P’s Primera Tapa (P295) consists of prime Angus beef tapa topped in adobo rice with choice of egg and pickle relish. The serving is generous enough for one, big, hearty breakfast or lunch or dinner…. 😀

Baby Back RibsTheir fork-tender Baby Back Ribs (P475) is a must try too and so is their creamy, linguine Carbonara (265).Triple DeckerI wasn’t able to try their Triple Decker (P250) because really, I no longer had any room in my tummy although it looks so tempting! This is three layers of fluffy pancakes, smothered with generous serving of your choice if spread (peanut butter, Speculoos, coco jam, dulce de leche or Nutella) topped with caramelized banana. I surely will get this one next time.

Junior Corporate Chef Angela VillaromanIn the months to follow, guests can expect more palate-pleasing additions to the menu, courtesy of its Junior Corporate Chef Angela Villaroman, a young and very promising graduate of CCA, Manila.

Caffeine fans are also offered with many options to brewing their cup of joes — via alternative brewing methods like cold drip, siphon, aeropress, and V60 pour over. Add to these the Specialty Coffee Mixes that are available at B&P Ortigas only: the Mocha Shot (a mix of espresso shot, condensed milk and chocolate) and Mindblower (which is a combination of condensed milk and espresso shot).

Open daily from 6 AM to 10 PM, start the day enjoyably right at the following B&P All-Day Breakfast Restaurant outlets: Cyberscape Alpha Ortigas (997-3218), 515 Shaw Boulevard (631-3252), Il Terrazzo Tomas Morato (374-7730), and Science Hub 3 McKinley Hill Taguig (833-0440). For more updates, like its Facebook and IG fan pages (BNPhome).

Industrial + Glam + Barcelona For A Young Couple (Turn-over Photos)

I haven’t been able to post anything for the past three months due to three simultaneous interior design projects plus a whole lot of graphic design works. It’s not that I’m complaining but I’d really like to have some extra time for blogging and DIY projects. Maybe someday…

Anyway, I realized that I haven’t posted pictures of the units I have done prior to owners moving in. So now I am sharing the first of the three projects in its turnover state. 😀

Just a quick background on the couple’s requirements:

  1. Since they were just married early last year, they needed a lot of storage for all the kitchen appliances they received as wedding gifts.
  2. A bar counter where they can regularly eat. The dining area will only be used when there are guests.
  3. Lots of storage in the bedroom especially for the clothes that need to be hanged.
  4. Brick wall
  5. A blue sofa and touches of blue all over the place.

floor-planSince this is also a unit in Kamala Building, Royal Palm Residences in Acacia Estates, I did something similar to the other Kamala unit that I designed for my friend but with a lot more storage room. I simple love sneaking in extra storages everywhere. Haha! I’ll explain the storages when you see the actual pictures. 🙂

The client really wanted this specific blue fabric for their sofa so she patiently browsed through Larry’s swatches and settled for Merino Niagara, a water-repellant fabric (P675/yard). We had the sofa custom-made since the sofa needed to be 70″ in length to perfectly fit the space. The accent colors were inspired by Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain, which was part of their honeymoon tour.

As usual, I don’t like being too strict in design. As much as possible, when I finished an interior, the client can still inject their own personal touches without having to rely too much on my design decision. The end result is like having a home which they DIY/designed themselves. So for this unit, I had  the walls painted white and added touches of black, a color that would pull all those reds, blues and greens together.


Here is the moodboard that I did. 😀 The client originally wanted that patchwork Eames chair to go with the blue sofa. The one from SM didn’t feel comfortable enough so I suggested the cube pouf instead. We still have to wait for a new stock or better yet just have one customized since it would be a lot cheaper.

tileWith the blue sofa and patchwork chair, I knew these clients would go for something bold. So instead of having subway tiles for the backsplash, I suggested this bold black and white 20×20 tile which I rearranged to come up with the pattern in the kitchen moodboard. Our carpenter/mason probably hate me for messing up his mind and sight. Haha!

moodboard1The idea is for the unit to be minimalistic in terms of number of furniture and accessories but not minimal in design that it ends up looking bare. It has to be very low maintenance too because both have full-time jobs and would love to spend their weekends just relaxing instead of doing major cleaning work. Also, they are now expecting their bundle of joy so the unit really needs a lot of space for dumping random baby clutter (i.e. stroller, toys, etc.) The solution: every item should be chosen carefully so that they are both decorative and functional.

living-dining1Still missing the TV, photos in the frames and the patchwork pouf. 🙂
diningI originally wanted a sputnik chandelier (see moodboard) for the dining area but I can’t find anything that is less than P30,000. This one from Mandaue Foam is pretty and unique enough to be a decor itself.

The initial proposal for the dining chairs was the white and black Eames chair. But then I found these chairs from Mandaue Foam and we saved almost P7,000! Yay!dining-livingThat framed turf on the right is another DIY that serves two purpose: 1) To cover the electrical panel box and 2) A place for the couple to hang their souvenir plates and photos from their travel. I can’t wait for them to fill it up.dining-kitchenThe view from the corner of the living room. I am so in love with my new wide angle lens! Hahaha! Although I know I have yet to improve my photo qualities. Where’s the tripod?!

Instead of having a built-in seat with a rectangular dining table, I opted for a floor to ceiling mirrored storage. I don’t have a photo of the inside but there are no shelves there yet so they can store large items in there. Having a round table with skinny base made the unit seem more roomy.

barcounterInstead of having a long bar counter that seats two side by side, I used half of the space to build a floor-to-ceiling pantry for their kitchen appliances.kitchen-insideIt has cubby holes on the side for the coffee maker and other breakfast paraphernalia. The pantry is basically divided into half. The front half has adjustable shelves while the back is the storage for their water dispenser with a hole carved in front of the cabinet door so they can still get water without having to open the door. I personally hate seeing water dispensers because it screams office pantry for me.

kitchenMy favorite is the kitchen! Love, love, love how the backsplash turned out and the mismatched cabinet doors. By the way, we replaced the doors of the overhead cabinet and just repainted the ones at the bottom. I also love their fridge because it goes so well with the theme! Love these clients! 😀 I wish that little vertical garden on the left has actual herbs. Hehe!

bedroom1Like the other Kamala unit, the master bedroom has an annoyingly huge beam over where the headboard is. (See before photos here) To make it “disappear”, I had cabinets built on both sides of the bed with cubby holes as their “side table.” Again, extra storage space + less maintance and clutter. The bed is quite high, about 30″ including the mattress. That allowed us to have two levels of drawers on each side.bedroom2The other side is the back-lit wall for the TV. Oh, I also love the custom-made curtains. 😀

bathroomFor the bathroom, we removed the existing lavatory with hideous granite countertop and replaced it with a basin-type one. We added storage underneath too for the cleaning materials. The mirror is actually a 3-door cabinet for their toiletries. There is also LED lights running along the top and bottom of the cabinet for added ambience. I’ll take a photo next time. 🙂

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