Travel-Inspired Unit for a Young Family of 3 | What Else Michelle

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.

IMG_3717 (3)

IMG_3700 (3)

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 (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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11 Comments on Travel-Inspired Unit for a Young Family of 3

  1. avatar
    Freelancer Rene
    August 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm (1 year ago)

    this is beautiful… wow! got some design inspiration for my dream house…

  2. avatar
    September 10, 2016 at 10:46 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Michelle. Is this a Jazz unit? Thanks

    • avatar
      Michelle Rinosa Sy
      September 10, 2016 at 11:39 am (1 year ago)

      It’s in Grass but has similar floor plan as Jazz.

      • avatar
        Angelica Joven
        March 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm (11 months ago)

        Hi Michelle, may I know how big the unit is?

  3. avatar
    September 10, 2016 at 10:46 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Michelle. Is this a Jazz unit? Thanks

  4. avatar
    Andrej Jawein Cacao
    October 14, 2016 at 1:51 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi Michelle,

    I tried sending you an email and a query here on your blog, but I haven’t received any reply 🙂 hope to here from you.. I need your expertise. thanks

  5. avatar
    December 30, 2016 at 8:44 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi Michelle! Nice designs. Just wondering how much it will cost for interior designing a 29sqm condo. Thanks in advance.

  6. avatar
    Joanne Tan
    January 10, 2017 at 11:04 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi Michelle,

    I am very impressed with your work.

    I have a unit at Light Residences, just a small 1br unit w/balcony, which I am considering to have a little touch-up. However, due to my limited budget, I am planning to start with the living room area for now.

    Would you be able to advise how much is your professional fee for a simple interior design of my living area, just a ballpark figure will do?

    I look forward to your response.

    Thank you and more power!

    Joanne Tan

  7. avatar
    February 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm (12 months ago)

    Hi Ms. Michelle!

    Where can I purchase that sofa/bed similar in your design?

    Thank you. 🙂

    • avatar
      February 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm (12 months ago)

      And how big is the unit? Thanks again. 🙂

  8. avatar
    August 15, 2017 at 7:33 am (5 months ago)

    I love your designs.
    i have a small-size condo which will be turned over soon. Im thinking of furnishing it for an air bnb purpose. If i do the design myself, it might not come out impressive. I can’t miss with my limited budget. Just for curiousity sake, may i know how much do you charge for your wotk? let me see, if i can afford.
    It’s a 1 BR unit in Grace Residences. The turn over will be probably September.


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