Sniff, sniff

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

Bungalow no. 9 scented collections

My friend gave me the challenge of finding a home scent for guys that wasn’t too gay. My answer: Bungalow no. 9 scented candles. Now before you protest that candles are more Martha Stewart than manly, these come in unusual scents that are a far cry from your usual My Shaldan. Also, if you’re too embarrassed to light your candles out in the open, stoke it beforehand, and stash it in a discreet spot in the room—just remember to put the flame out when seduction time is over.

Most manly is their cedar, amber, and slate scent; it’s earthy, but very subtle. Another good one is their hazelnut and espresso candle—light it up and it smells like something’s brewing in the kitchen. A big plus: the candles are made out of soy, so it burns slower, and it’s vegan.

You can find Bungalow no. 9 locally at Adora, Greenbelt 5, Makati City


This is where old houses go to die

2008 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

I used to love going to the Vito Cruz-Taft area because of all the old houses. Now I have no reason to anymore—they’re all gone! My favorite Art Deco house, the grand one that used to stand at the corner of Gil Puyat and Taft, was torn down five years ago and a girly bar was built in its place, now recently demoted to a talyer. The rest have suffered similar fates. How absolutely sad.

“Recycled” old houses

My friend Marco emailed me this, Malatumbaga, a dealer of wood and other materials gleaned from ancestral houses. Though the site is still under construction, they forward an e-newsletter with updates of their stocks. This is the place to get those now-extinct massive hardwood planks, piedra china slabs, and more. Wait a minute—I believe I shot the house in their website five years ago! Shoutout to the owners: Are you the ones living in Alabang 400? :)

I have mixed feelings about ancestral houses for sale, though. I know we’ll be saving trees by using recycled wood, but I do wish that they’d use these materials wisely—and tastefully. And those who are buying entire ancestral houses, I hope they will be faithful in their use of the old building techniques, and respectful in maintaining the original flavor of the house.


Indie Art/MDM

2008 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

I spotted MDM paper products one lazy afternoon at Fully Booked, Powerplant Mall. I really love ‘em because they’re very New Pretty without being saccharine, and they’re done in beautiful, muted colors like celadon, cinnamon, and dusty rose. Best of all—they’re affordable and locally made/designed! Gift tags go for as low as P29 each, pencil cases and catchall boxes are P195 up. Our contrib Ianne Evangelista included them in the Handy Hints section of Real Living’s June ish, it’s the turquoise blue box at the right hand corner of the drawer:

MDM pencil case, Handy Hints, Real Living June 2008 ish

And Ianne transformed the pencil case into a DIY makeup palette (photos by Miguel Nacianceno):

Indie art/MDM pencil box used as makeup palette

MDM actually stands for Marge Defensor-Manalaysay, and these are her illustrations. One of her new creations, the Children’s Journal Book, a hardbound journal of blank pages interspersed with her lovely, delicate illustrations, benefits the Yamang Isip foundation, so it’s prettiness for a cause. You can buy it online here for about P595.

MDM Children’s Journal Book


Lighthouse family

2008 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

I love lighthouses. They’re such beautiful structures and romantic symbols, made even more romantic by the fact we hardly need them anymore. Here’s one of my favorites, the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Ilocos Norte, more than a hundred years old and still standing.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Ilocos Norte

Well, I’ve been seeing a trend lately. Hurricane candleholders and outdoor lanterns that are lighthouse-inspired, or look like the vintage metal lanterns carried by sailors of yore. Take a look at a page from the June/July 2008 ish of Domino magazine:

“Nesting” section, Domino magazine, June/July 08

I also got this in my mail; there’s a guy who sells lighthouse lamps online. Elmer, I took the liberty of posting some photos. Check it out here. My only comment: Elmer, please make more!

Lamp 2 from “Shabby Lighthouse”

Lamp 1 from “Shabby Lighthouse”


Color theory

2008 posted in Others by Tisha, Real Living Managing Editor.
no comments.

I found myself at a pretty cool website called COLOURlovers. You could come up with all these different color combos, paint some pattern templates, name new colors, and generally just play around with the entire color spectrum! People get to vote on your creations, too.

Their website says:

“COLOURlovers™ is a resource that monitors and influences color
trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color – whether for
ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification -
a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit
news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews.”

I fiddled with a paisley pattern (guess which one’s mine!), and even named a new color. I’m raring to name a dark gray hue “dirty blackboard.”

Try it! It’s fun!


All saints

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

Hagia Sophia as seen from Sultanahmet Square

As promised, here are my touristy Istanbul photos. I thought of putting in all the places I visited, but I decided to narrow it down to just one—the Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya).

Hagia Sophia interior. The Ottomans added the Islamic signs after they conquered it in the 1400s.

No matter how much you read about it, nothing prepares you for the real thing. It was quite special for me (and my brother, who bugged me via cellphone) because we encountered it on the pages of our History of Architecture books in college. Even the noisiest tourist groups fell silent when they entered the main door—Hagia really leaves you speechless. Even its ongoing interior renovations didn’t dim its grandness. What really strikes you at first is its size; several football field-dimensions in floor area, it takes quite a bit of energy to run through its many apses, naves, and halls…

One of the naves

Second thing that strikes you is that the interiors are breathtakingly beautiful. Its Byzantine creators really meant it to be admired from the inside, and with its gold mosaics, painted vaults, and heavily decorated columns, and it was definitely meant to make its mark as the symbol of one of the richest empires in the world back then. The noontime sun was sweltering outside, but it felt incredibly cold walking through the bookmatch-marble hallways.

I believe we tried sketching this in college—then I saw it right here!

An itinerant crow on one of the centuries-old chandeliers

Lastly, the place is really old—1,500 years old, to be exact. The stone steps leading to the gallery upstairs is worn from millennia of use. The amazing thing is that it is still standing as a whole, functioning structure after all these years. Hagia has been through a lot—once a church, then a mosque, surviving countless earthquakes, uprisings, and a fire that caused molten lead to leak from the dome, damaging many of the mosaics. When I peered through one of the windows of the second-floor gallery and spotted the Bosporus and the rest of Istanbul, corny as it sounds, it was like I was seeing history itself.

The Deesis mosaic with the Virgin Mary, Christ, and St.John the Baptist. A little trivia: the Virgin Mary’s birthplace is actually in Turkey.

The Comnenos Mosaic with the Virgin Mary, Emperor John and Empress Eirene—I believe it was OK to combine religious icons and royals in that day

After thirty minutes I stopped taking photos, sat on the base of a thousand-year-old column, looked up and just took everything in.

(Read more about Istanbul and its rich culture in a future issue of Real Living)


Koz and effect

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

One of the best seminars I’ve attended at EVTEKS was that of Turkish designer Defne Koz. The same designer of lighting, furnishings and consumer products for Foscarini, Leucos, Alessi, Cappellini, Vitra bathrooms, Guzzini, Casio, Sharp, and others started out in Domus Academy in Milan, and then was mentored by iconic 20th century designer Ettore Sottsass of the Memphis design group.

When we finally met her in person, Defne was such a sweet, good-natured, and open person. I liked her from the get-go. Plus, she’s always in head-to-toe black.
Defne Koz and me after her seminar. Idol!
She even took pictures of us along some of the Japanese journalists during the gala dinner!

Gala dinner during the Bosporus tour. Defne is fourth from right.

But the best thing about Defne is her philosophy about design. Her talk was entitled “Shadows.” This is an excerpt from her talk:

“The shadow of an object is more important than the object itself.
A shadow is the trace left from an object. These objects leave traces of their designers.
Furniture becomes a part of the family. They live with us and they die with us. [Design] is like a theater stage, it reminds us of our past, they have an impact on our future. Products [that we design] are like shadows of the scene.”

The seminar, Defne talking about her massive but sensuous marble seat

She is, at heart, an emotional designer; meaning she designs objects not merely for aesthetics and plain use—instead, she draws from her past experiences and the end user’s potential experiences while using this object. She explained that when she designs a breakfast set, she will immediately think about how a couple would use that breakfast set—their interaction with one another, their conversation, the morning light streaming through the window. This also shows in her new take on the hammam (Turkish bath), a spa project called “Mystic”, where the bather sits on a sensuous cloud-shaped marble slab, and a sheet of water coming from the ceiling envelops her. Lovely.

And all the pieces that she designs are clean and familiar; and all have star quality that is basically, its beautiful simplicity. Here are some of them:

Nest Fruit Bowl from Alessi—it uses flat wire, but has a voluminous shape

These tiles for Vitra bathroom are inspired by traditional Iznik tiles from Turkey

Vague cake/fruit stands for Alessi, used both ways

Her talk moved me so much that I felt wistful about abandoning my job as a full-time designer eight years ago. It’s like she reminded all of us that our job as a designer is not to become some superstar but to inject a part of ourselves into other people’s lives. This is what Defne said in the end:

“I want to create objects that are fragile, that will add some beauty to our daily lives. I want my designs to be delicate, and respectful. My designs will be as light as a shadow, but my shadow will be in my designs.”


pulling through pull-outs

2008 posted in Behind the Scenes by Gwyn, Real Living Style Editor.

“Pull-out” is one magic word in the life of a stylist (be it a fashion or a prop stylist). It means– to borrow (with or without a cash bond/promissory note/collateral/sell-your-soul/reputation/body-to-the-owner-thingy) an item or product from an establishment/store/brand/home/office/garage to be used in a shoot and be eventually featured in the pages of the magazine.   

The usual process in pulling out an item is very simple– 1. We see the item in the store that fits our requirement; 2. We write a letter to the owner/manager of the store that we want to borrow the item; 3. If the owner owner approves, we schedule a date to pull the items out to be delivered to the studio or a given location (using our own vehicle, almost always). If the owner disapproves the request, we appeal to shoot it in the store if its feasible; 4. Shoot the product; 5. Return the items in the same condition and appearance as we got them. If the items are damaged, we pay for them.   

Yesterday afternoon, the magic word almost became a nightmare. Coni called me on the last minute (it was three in the afternoon and the shoot was scheduled to start at about that time too) that a certain store refused our request and suggested that we just buy the product. The store is a once lights store now claiming to be an importer of fine furniture pieces in Cubao. It has been a practice that once we borrow an item from them, a bond should be given to the store equivalent to the price of the product. When they got the check, they suggested that we just buy the product since we have to money for it. I told Style Assistant Coni Tejada that it is not the practice of the magazine to purchase big items for the magazine since we don’t have any use for them after the shoot. Besides, they will be given credit for the product complete with contact information– meaning free advertisement.   

The process of puling out an item from a store is very simple. It is beneficial to both parties involved. The magazine needs the products to complete the given look of the photos in an article, while the store gets free mileage. A common practice abroad is for the store to send the newest products to the magazine with the hope that it will be featured. That rarely happens here, and it is understandable primarily because most stores don’t have the budget for this, except maybe for small items. It is the job of the stylists to scour the entire metro (and beyond) to look for the most suitable pieces to come up with a tasteful feature article.    

As I was about to succumb to stress before the shoot, I was looking for reasons why a store will not allow us to feature its merchandise. There are some products that are too delicate to handle so it is understandable if the store can not lend it to anybody yet there are stores who would actually send their own people to handle such items themselves. There are some products that are too expensive that the store would actually send security guards with the items. But yes, there are some products that are not supposed to be on print because of some legal reasons– infringement of patent laws, perhaps.    

Maybe I should not fret after all. 


Want your home on the Real Living cover??

2008 posted in Promos by Real Living.

RL Best Home Promo

The Contest: Real Living’s Best Home Contest

The prizes: The Grand Prize winner’s home gets a cover feature on Real Living’s October issue and brings home over P160,000 worth of products, furniture, and gift certificates! Two Runners-up each walk away with over P40,000 worth of products, furniture, and gift certificates!

How to join: 5 simple steps

1. Send in photos of these three major rooms in your home: living, dining, and bedroom. If you’ve redesigned your kitchen and bathroom as well, you may send in photos of those too! Include your name, age, home address, contact details, and occupation with your photos.
2. Send your entries via any of the following ways:
a. EMAIL: [email protected] with the subject heading: Best Home Contest (Make sure those photos are 500KB or higher!)
b. MAIL or HAND CARRY: Real Living’s “Best Home Contest”, Marketing 2, Summit Media, 7th Floor Cybergate Center Tower 3, Robinsons Pioneer Complex, Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City
Incomplete entries will be disqualified.
3. The promo will run from June 1 to July 31, 2008. Deadline for submission of entries is on July 31, 2008.
4. Real Living, together with an Interior Designer, will choose the winners based on the following criteria: creativity, aesthetics, efficiency of space, and cost-effectivity.
5. Real Living will choose one winner and two runners-up based on the set criteria by mid-August 2008. Selection of the winner and runners-up remains the exclusive decision of Real Living.

Real Living’s “Best Home Contest” is open to all non-professionally designed homes located in the GMA and CALABARZON areas. Professionally designed homes are not eligible to join.

Employees of Summit Media, including relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, are not qualified to join the promo.


Visit these stores now!

2008 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

First Midland Building…don’t tear it down!

I always pass by First Midland Building on my way to my dear friends’ offices along Gamboa Street in Makati. I love the area—the lush park, the late-afternoon joggers, the walk-able, quiet street that is so near busy Greenbelt—and I absolutely love the building, with its standout 1970-ish façade of cobalt-blue tiles.

Midland houses two interesting home furnishings stores, namely the sophisticated Indigo (Shop of the Month RL January 2008), and charming iiideas right above it. Unfortunately this street is being marred by unsightly constructions (a building there collapsed just recently!), and I believe these two stores are moving shop really soon (I’ll update you on their future addresses). So I definitely recommend you all drop by and visit them now! Our ed assistant Kathleen made a recent, unpublished writeup about iiideas. Here it is:

iiideas home store and cafe—small but beautiful!!!

Spelled with three I’s—Inspired, Interior, Ideas—iiideas store and café shows that a compact showroom can pack up a few surprises

Like a well-guarded secret, iiideas isn’t out in the open. To get there, one must pass through another fab shop, Indigo, where a narrow flight of stairs leads to this space.

But surprises await visitors upstairs. Owned by Singapore-based Filipino designer John Paul de la Rosa, the nearly one-year-old shop is a more of a well-edited lifestyle store than your usual furniture showroom. The unassuming but cozy store has an inventory of sleek, modern-Asian pieces such as vases and trays made out of pressed leaves and bamboo, and elegant slipcovers from Singapore, where the mother branch of iiideas is located, wooden furniture mostly from Surin and Munggur in Indonesia, and luxurious rugs made out of cowhide and leather strips from the Philippines.

Lacquered bowls, lamps, pillows

This lifestyle shop also serves as a café so visitors can take a bite while browsing through the merchandise-John Paul says you can “coffee all you want”-he wants to promote the Barako blend, so you can freely ask for coffee refills within the store. But here lies a cheeky twist: while cashew caramel and blueberry cheesecakes slices flank one side of the shelves, you’ll find on the opposite side mock cakes which are actually soap blocks that come in “flavors” like pear, coffee caramel swirl, and roses, sold at P225 per slice. Standing between real and faux desserts are shirts by filmmaker Elvert de la Cruz Banares, one of the artists the store supports.

Artwork by Loven Ramos

But what surely command attention are the artworks by Cambodia-based artist Loven Ramos. His all-Filipino subjects—jeepney, tricycle, Calle Real—were rendered vivid in UV links color print with archival silk, beads, and generous servings of hues. Others like the “Window Vigan” and “Sta. Ana Cathedral” are embellished with Cambodian lace trimmings. IIIdeas wishes to support these young artists and designers, in their quiet café-store, up that secret flight of stairs.—Kathleen Valle (iiideas photos by At Maculangan, styling by Coni Tejada; Indigo frontage photo by Jun Pinzon)

iiiDEAS is located at 2/L Unit 102, First Midland Bldg., Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, tel. (02) 817-3424
email [email protected]