2008 posted in Home Finds by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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JAB fabric at Rubenni’s

Lovely eggplant shades and tweedy textures by Designers Guild

I dropped by a delightful fabric store yesterday—Rubenni Textiles. It’s hard to find at first, since it’s a tiny shop tucked unobtrusively on the ground floor of a building that’s a bit off the Kalayaan Avenue area in Makati. But once you get to find it, you’ll be rewarded with rows upon rows of fabulous interior fabrics in its barebones but absolutely cozy showroom.

For starters, they have exceptionally beautiful, designer-looking fabrics in rich colors like eggplant, mustard, and teal in reasonable prices—they have one line that ranges from P100+ to P550 a yard (mostly 60-width). I especially like the cherry blossom-damask fabric Wasabi, in a beautiful sage green, which goes for only P300/yard.

But the best part is that unlike other fabric stores that are strictly high-high or low-low, Rubenni also carries JAB Anstoetz, a line of luxurious, mostly classical European fabrics that are still used in houses of royalty. I remember using JAB working on a home of a certain billionaire prince of an oil-rich Asian country way back then. They also have the bright, candy-colored collections of UK fabric line Designers Guild by Tricia Guild. This is Designers Guild’s Taillandier fabric on the cover of the French home magazine Maison Française:

Maison Francaise Jan/Feb 2008 cover

It was all so sosyal Coni and I were still talking about it while eating lunch in the turo-turo right in front of the shop. :)

Rubenni Textiles is located at Eduque cor. Salamanca Sts., Poblacion, Makati City. Fabric photos by At Maculangan.


What happened to design for design’s sake?

2008 posted in Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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Allow me to rant (for those who don’t like long entries, skip to the next). Late last week, I got a call from style editor Gwyn about a particular designer furniture store that shall remain unnamed. Gwyn simply asked the storekeeper if they were getting directly from the actual furniture company abroad, or if they ordered from the local distributor of the same furniture brand. The storekeeper explained that this local company was never the official distributor of this prestigious brand of popular design classics.

Gwyn and I were both confused, because we knew that the local company in question was indeed the official distributor of this brand for the past decade or so. I had worked with this local distributor when I was still designing, and I got only the most professional service from them. A year ago, we emailed their main office for fact-checking purposes, and they did confirm the local company as the official distributor. Perhaps distribution did recently change hands, but I now have mixed feelings about what eventually happened to this brand.

A few of these “lifestyle/designer” stores are kinda like a double-edged sword. On one side, you can see it as democratic and convenient—anyone who can afford it can walk in and buy whatever they fancy off the floor. On the other side, if the homeowner is just hunting for the goods herself, there is the absence of an actual interior designer who, if purchasing these same designer goods from a store that caters to the trade only, would actually recommend the right pieces and the right places to put them in.

I hate it when I see unused designer furniture in the houses I see, especially those iconic mid-century modern ones. They’re the most comfortable furnishings around, they last a lifetime and never go out of style, because these designs have been studied and tested on end over a few decades. Oftentimes, the furniture manufacturer would improve on an already popular design every few years, so the older the design, the better the performance.

These pieces cost an arm and a leg; they should be collected carefully, placed carefully, and be used as real furniture in everyday life—not displayed as status symbols like the latest It Handbag. Rant over.


Tips for Real Makeover Hopefuls

2008 posted in Promos by Tisha, Real Living Managing Editor.

Every month, we go through piles (and files) of makeover entries to pick that one lucky winner. Contrary to popular belief…

  1. We don’t just pick people we know. A few makeover winners have actually remarked, “Akala ko pinipili niyo lang mga kaibigan niyo, kunwari lang na may nananalo.” Nope, the people we’ve picked so far were all complete strangers.
  2. We don’t have a tambiolo system. This is not about luck–we don’t just pick a random letter out of a dropbox. We really do go through each entry, read the letters, look at the pictures, and deliberate.

Given fact number two, there are certain things a makeover hopeful could do to up his/her chances of being picked. Before you decide to take a few, unfocused pictures of your room and type out a two-page letter, please take note:

  1. When we say “50 words or less,” we mean 50 words or less. Please don’t send us a lengthy letter–we’ve got other stuff to do to get your favorite home magazine on the shelves on time each month. The makeover, while one of the best parts of my job, is not the be-all and end-all of it, so we have to spend time on other tasks. If every letter were two pages (or even just one page) long, we might as well be reading a novel. (I’m not exaggerating here.) I’m sure your room has an interesting story behind it–the key is to be concise.
  2. Don’t send us a picture of an empty room. We used to get letters pretty much asking us to furnish an entire room. We file these under “blank space.” There is a difference between a makeover and a kabuhayan showcase. As much as possible, we look at a room’s potential–if there’s a workable piece or two in the room, then better.
  3. Don’t mess up your room for our sake. This is bound to backfire. Some makeover hopefuls seem to think that the messier their room, the better. They are so misguided. Sometimes we take a long, hard look at a photo and think, “They just need to clean up, and the room will look loads better.” If, after cleaning up, you believe your room is still in need of help, then you can take a picture and send it in. When we see a messy room, we tend to think the person himself/herself is messy–and that he or she will simply allow a made-over room to turn into another war zone eventually.
  4. Take clear pictures from different angles. We’d like to see what your entire room looks like, as much as possible.
  5. Include a back-up contact number. A couple of times, we were set on awarding a makeover winner–only to find that we have no way of reaching the winner! Please keep in mind that it may take many, many months before we contact you, so the numbers you send us should still be accessible within a year. If you’ve got a text-stalker and are thinking of changing numbers, include your sister’s/husband’s/mother’s number so that we’d still have a way of reaching you. If not, you may just miss out on the room of your dreams.

Good luck!:)


Cubao Thingy

2008 posted in Arts And Culture, Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

Artwork by HushxHush, one of the exhibitors

Pablo at Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao is going to have this big event/exhibit/DJ-thing on May 3, Saturday, from 6pm to 11pm. They’ve invited 45 artists from California, and various parts of Asia to participate in this event, and…um… the press release was too long, I didn’t get it (sheepish grin) so read it all here.


Much Ado About Nothing

2008 posted in Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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Thank God this won’t push through

I posted something about the Eiffel Tower’s new 120th anniversary “addition” by Serero Architects a few months ago (click here). Well apparently, there will be no new addition to this iconic tower.

What happened was, this group of architects had prematurely sent out press releases to various design and even popular online news agencies, when in fact,  this strange Eiffel Tower “skirt” was merely their suggestion and that this design was never approved.

Read the whole story about it here.

Thank you Lex, for the info :)


Exhibit Season

2008 posted in Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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Lamp Design by PWU graduating class 08
I love—and hate—student exhibits. I love student exhibits because they show the design potential and design personality of each student (yes, you can tell, even early on). I hate student exhibits for the mere reason that I went through one myself, and it was rather unpleasant—and quite expensive to produce!

Exhibits are an inescapable rite of passage for every design student. I’ve recently attended Sining Adlikhain: Creating Visual Arts for a Greater Goal, the exhibit of the graduating classes of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) for 2008, held at Tiendesitas in Pasig. Now PWU has a very intimate number of design students compared to those of larger universities, but therein lies a big advantage—teachers and professors pay more attention to each student, resulting in more focused instruction.

This year, exhibits by the advertising classes were merged with that of the interior design class. The advertising class focused on specific aspects of social relevance, while interior design students worked on both residential and commercial spaces. Here are some of the exhibits:

Booth by the Advertising Department

“Sanctum of Tranquility” bedroom by Ivy Mortera and Diane Contreras

A detail from that booth

“Avant-Garde” bar by Oma Briez and Ivy Protomartir (Best Booth winners)

Now let me go back to the topic of student exhibits as a whole. Other schools have eschewed the booth-style of exhibit and have opted for doing actual renovations for public schools, hospital wards, and other institutional establishments. I believe both exhibit styles have their advantages and disadvantages, but I do believe that in a few years, student exhibits need a mild update. They can retain the social relevance, but there still has to be a few elements of sophisticated design—because in reality, it is still mostly sophisticated design that clients look out for. And of course, at less cost to students! Not all kids have enough money to produce and have those booths built—and the construction costs are killer! More support from sponsors, perhaps? :)


New place, new look at FAME

2008 posted in Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

I visited the April leg of the Manila FAME design fair yesterday. This is the first time I’ve attended it outside the World Trade Center. It’s now in the SMX Convention Center right next to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. If you’re a devotee of FAME, I’m sure you’re used to its traditional setup in the World Trade: Furnishings and accessories are in the main hall, handicrafts in the next, health and wellbeing products towards the rear, and then a shuttle bus will take you to the Christmas Village and fashion accessories.
Manila FAME April 2008
This is what Manila FAME looks like in the main lobby of SMX. It has a dramatic floral setting done by designer Al Caronan:

SMX Lobby

Setting by Al Caronan

Now FAME is more compact, but with almost the same number of visitors; furniture on the first floor, handicrafts, fashion accessories and health products on the second. No need to go to another building; which sort of made a few visitors before miss out on the other exhibits before, though I do miss riding the bus to Philcite :) This is a preview of the furniture exhibit hall:

Furniture and accessories exhibit hall

I saw few neo-Baroque pieces, unlike in the recent years where tufted/squiggly/damask-upholstered stuff proliferated the exhibit floor. This time, I saw a lot of pieces with organic forms, materials in its raw, freeform state. Ron said there’s a lot of eco-conscious recycling going on. Check out Tes Pasola’s recycled newspaper “tentacles”:

Tes Pasola paper “tentacles”

Here’s the fab “runway” with dresses by the likes of Jesus Lloren, Puey Quinones and Vic Barba on the second-floor fashion accessories hall:

Fashion and accessories special setting

Personally, I miss the humongous Special Settings of yore, though. I love Special Settings, especially those group-designer-collaborated ones. You can all still check it out, it’s open to the public tomorrow, April 18, 10am to 5pm. Log on to www.manilafame.com for more details. Photographs by Ronald Gonzales. (Thanks Ron, Tita Desi :) )


Change of venue

2008 posted in Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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Manila FAME special setting in 2007

If you’re going to attend Manila FAME this April 15 to 18, don’t even think of going to the World Trade Center, because they’re now exhibiting at the SMX Convention Center near the Mall of Asia in Pasay.

Bigger exhibition space means bigger and better exhibits. I’ll be going there tomorrow, so I’ll update you all the next day. April 18 is open to the public. Click here for more info on FAME.


I feel paint

2008 posted in Home Finds, What's In The Mag by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

I’ve been seeing a lot of painted furniture lately. Case in point: Coni’s Steals for the April ish’s Get the Look section:
Faux Chippendale Chair, P6,750, The VillageBirchwood end table, P5,600, The Village

I’m also seeing a lot of painted furniture with quaint, naïve-style doodlings and patterns on it. Here are some of Magara’s handpainted furniture:

Magara nesting tables, small, P3,000, big, P4,000

Magara nesting tables, big P4,800, medium P3,800, small P2,800

The nesting tables are also multi-purpose. The smallest one can be a side table, the next in size can be a small writing desk, while the tallest and the skinniest can be a console that’s good for tight spaces, i.e. condos.

Aside from these, their footstools are so cute! Don’t you just love footstools? I think they’re so decadent, because you don’t need them everyday, and it hints at a sybaritic sort of lifestyle. Here are Magara’s tiny footstools:

Magara upholstered footstools with wooden base, P2,500 each

Designer Grace Moslares makes the furniture. She also did our makeover for May! :) Contact her at: 0921-361-3098. Contact The Village at (02) 817-6447.


RL’s Palawan Sojourn

2008 posted in Behind the Scenes by Coni, Real Living Assistant Stylist.

For this month’s summer issue, four of us – Ms. Rach, Carlo, Gwyn, and I plus our ever game photographer – Mr. Ocs, traveled down south to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. As you’ve seen in the mag, we shot three distinct provincial houses, a feature on weaves, and this month’s shopping story. It was a grueling four days but we still tried to have a wee bit of fun.

Again, special thanks to our lovely hosts – Bong and Arlene Maslog, Christine, and Rolly Banzuela, and Congressman Tony and Mrs. Melanie Alvarez.

Here are eight photos taken while we were shooting or just taking a breather. They’re in need of captions, so why don’t you help us out? I’m thinking for image #5, “Makuha ka sa tingin.”

photos by Ocs Alvarez and Gwyn GS Guanzon

At Kamarikutan Kapi at Galeri







On Pandan Island, Honda Bay