It’s here! Real Living’s 30 Beautiful Homes

2011 posted in Others by Katherine.
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Been wondering what makes a home beautiful? Real Living‘s latest book, 30 Beautiful Homes, shows you that whatever the style of your home is, you have the power to make it beautiful.

It features the homes of different homeowners with different personalities and decorating tastes. So whether you’re partial to a tropical Filipino home, or an eclectic one that is a charming mix of your travel finds and knick-knacks, you’re sure to find an inspiration in the book. It’s also easy to translate the different styles to your own homes with the book’s Get the Look pages.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy now for P250. It’s available in bookstores nationwide. :)


Handy Hints book is out!

2010 posted in Decorating Tips, Others by Hannah.

When we talk about home makeovers, the first two words that come to mind are ‘expensive’ and ‘time-consuming.’ But with Real Living’s Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers book, you can give your space a picture-perfect look without spending too much of your well-earned money and without consuming much of your treasured time.

RL Handy Hints Book

This must-have book will show you how to makeover your home at your own pace by breaking down the grand makeover to smaller projects –this way it’s more achievable as well as convenient. The 35 home projects are easy to do; you can choose a number of projects you can accomplish every weekend and your home will be clutter-free and pretty in no time! Aside from being an instant makeover guide, this book contains a handy list of must-have household products for your home.

It’s now available for only P120 in bookstores and newsstands nationwide! Grab your copy now. :)


I want to go back to (design) school :)

2010 posted in Arts And Culture, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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A few weeks back, me and my friends Carlo, Jenny, and Coni attended RL creative director Gwyn Guanzon’s play for the College of St. Benilde’s Technical Theater class (yes, Gwyn can act too), and we got an additional treat right after the show—an up-close look at St. Benilde’s beautiful building


I wish all design schools looked like this! (And not that I’m complaining about UP—still love my school) It was designed by modernist architect Ed Calma, right at the height of his PRC licensure controversy (FYI it’s over, Calma is now a licensed Filipino architect). The deconstructivist/modernist building is an amazing example of how good design can make the most out of a tight, crowded area—in this case, right smack in the middle of downtown Manila. Upon approach, its facade’s sharp creases and folds open to reveal a dramatically airy space. And I like the fact that it’s peppered with amazing artwork in the lobby…


And the students’ exhibit of miniature chairs just took me right back to my college days!



To date, the college is beefing up its design programs, offering more intense courses on industrial and interior design, architecture, multimedia, filmmaking, even production design. Students are encouraged to take a more hands-on, experiential approach to learning, which is definitely good. For more information on the college, click here.

While we’re on the topic of design education, SOFA (School of Fashion and the Arts) recently opened its School of Interior Design, offering courses on Visual Editing, entertaining, and renovating on a budget among other things.  Interesting—but do take the basic design classes first! For more info, call the academic and marketing officer at (02) 892-8807.


My first year in RL

2010 posted in Others by Katherine.

Today marks my first RL anniversary (hooray!). Wow. I can’t believe it. Time sure flies so fast. I can still remember my first day at work. I got to the office at 9 a.m. for a briefing at the HR Department, then Ms. Genie from HR toured me around the office and led me to my desk. Then, at 10 a.m., members of the RL staff started coming in (“Hi”, “Hello”, “So you’re the new EA”, “I’m Katherine”…). And then, Ms. Tish discussed with me my assignments, our lineup, turnovers, and other RL stuff, and Kath explained to me the ropes of being an EA.

One year in RL and I’m enjoying it! Awesome! I love the pretty things I see and pull out for our shoots. I love meeting homeowners, listening to their stories, and writing about their homes. And I love how we work together to come up with a lovely issue every month.

As I turn a year old today in RL, let me share with you some of my notable firsts in this magazine:


The very first shoot I assisted in. Get Inspired for Aug. 2009, with assistant style editor Coni Tejada and creative director Gwyn Guanzon. Photo by Ocs Alvarez


My baptism of fire (Decor Ideas: Scents and Sensibilites shoot for Sept. 2009), wherein I failed to pull out some important items so I panicked and cried and I was so sorry…


…but the RL staff, being the nice people that they are, told me it’s okay, and everything turned out well.

ricky ibe house

My first home shoot (Room for Drama, Real Home, Sept. 2009). Photo by Jun Pinzon


And of course, my first out-of-town shoot with the RL team (and my first time out of Luzon ever! Haha!). Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

So it has been a year of sourcing, shooting, writing, and pulling out for RL for me. And along the way, I’ve met and worked with interesting people, been to various parts of the Metro, and had fun while working that sometimes, I feel I’m not working at all.

So cheers to a successful and memorable year for me in RL. May more lovely years come not just for me but for the whole RL team, and I hope you, our dear readers, will continue to be with us along the way. :)



2010 posted in Others by Katherine.

A shop full of notebooks, journals, and stationery is heaven (or should I say, a black hole) for anyone who loves to write, whether those writings consist of daily ramblings and musings or little notes you leave on someone’s desk. It’s even more fascinating if these writing materials come in different designs and sizes, such as those that are available in Papertrail.

Located along Arnaiz Ave., Makati City, Papertrail is a stone’s throw away from Greenbelt. It is a charming, little shop with equally charming merchandise. Check out some of them:

Some notebooks, pencils, and erasers. Be sure to take a sniff of their smencils, gourmet-scented pencils.


The store with its merchandise lining up the shelves.


Oh so cute! I wanna take them home.


Desk notes (at the bottom) and more journals I wanna take home.

papertrail bags

Pretty bags! :)


Jot down your ideas and make your lists on those pocket notes.

Papertrail is located at Unit 201 La’O Bldg., 1000 Araniz Ave., Makati City. You can contact them at (02) 403-752m or email them at [email protected] Check out Also, read more about this store in the Shop of the Month section featured in the June issue of Real Living magazine.


Accept your Quirks

2010 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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I’ve been loving the stuff that specialty home accessory shop Quirks has been putting out recently. Most are on-spot with the cute/flora/fauna trend these days. And almost all are very price-friendly. Case in point, tweet-tweet…


This adorable Hook Sparrow costs a mere P545. And what about when Autumn leaves begin to fall (sorry I can’t help it)…


They’re actually door stoppers, P550 each. These came in the nick of time when interiors have begun slipping from “New Pretty” to just plain droll. Visit Quirks at Stall 320-a, Level R3 at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati.



2010 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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We’ve been loving all things from Negros recently (you’ll see why in a couple of weeks), so it’s no surprise that Negrense online store Domesticity caught our eye. Aside from selling very tasteful Asian-inspired home accessories and furnishings mostly made of woven pandan with cute clay accents, they run a politically correct business too—Negros-based Domesticity employs the wives and family members of their sugar workers. Here’s a sampler of the (very reasonably-priced!) goods for sale:

They have few pieces of furniture, but most of them I like! Esp this Retro Stool (P5,500) in gold pandan and faux leather. Very 1940s-Hollywood! It’ll look good paired with a vintage dresser :)


…their home accessories are amazing, such as the tableware, like these disco-fab Warhol Coasters in gold, nice price too (only P55 each)…


…ditto for the silver Warhol Tray (P700)!


And I so love their charming selection of gifts, such as these Pandan Notebooks (P370) with Oriental cabinet accent…


…and their romantic Tassel Bookmarks (P105 each), which remind me of stuff I’ve seen in tiny Shanghai shops.


They sell spa kits and oriental tea, too. Click here to see more Domesticity products and to order online. (Images from the Domesticity website. Thank you, Tish, for the lead.)


Laya, Laya

2010 posted in Behind the Scenes, Others by Tisha, Real Living Managing Editor.
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Happy Easter!:)

I had so much fun working on this month’s Entertaining section, “The Grill-out Project”! Summer is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate these sunny days than with a good old-fashioned barbecue?


When we were trying to figure out where to shoot this section, I immediately thought of Laya Personal Dining, a by-reservation-only resthouse-turned-restaurant in Antipolo.

I first heard about this lovely place from photographer Miguel Nacianceno, who wrote about it for I decided to celebrate my birthday there a few months ago, and had been raring to go back. This shoot gave me the perfect excuse!

Laya, owner Irene told me on my first visit, used to be the family’s rest house. “But it didn’t make sense because we live just five minutes away!” she said. They thus converted Balinese-style house into this wonderful restaurant. Chef Ricci comes up with different set menus every so often, and you can enjoy the sumptuous food in the midst of a relaxing setting.



Imagine sipping some hot tea at that cabana (above) after a six-course meal!

They’re open every weekend, and the place can be reserved for a private group. Laya is located at Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo. For more details (including the latest menu), click here. For inquiries and reservations, email [email protected], or call or text 0917-846-4322.

Photos by Miguel Nacianceno


Lovin’ Lavender

2010 posted in Home Finds, Others by Katherine.

Since I recently got hold of a bottle of lavender fragrance oil from a home scent shop, I decided to perfume my office cubicle. Thank God for reed diffuser sticks, I don’t need to have an oil burner (and trigger the smoke alarm in the office) to enjoy lavender’s sweet and subtle scent.

The scent has been on my desk since yesterday, and I’m loving it. It’s relaxing. Our art director even said that the scent makes her want to sleep already. Which tells me to keep it during our turnover nights, or else we won’t finish the magazine. Hehe. Maybe you can try putting lavender scent in your bedroom too, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night.

My fascination for home scents has just begun. I’ll look for other scents that I can use for my office cubicle. Maybe I should try citrus scents like lemon or grapefruit for a tangy burst of energy.


An afternoon at Eric’s

2010 posted in Home Finds, Others by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
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I occasionally drop by designer Eric Paras’s home store/lifestyle place A11 (at 2680 FB Harrison in Pasay) unannounced, just to take in the beautiful settings and see what’s new. There’s always something new—new furniture, new artwork, or stuff that’s simply moved around, the mere move making it look fresh. I must say, even his cats are stylish! They go well with the decor.


Just like Trini, the itinerant cat that almost made it to our March 2009 cover…


When I stopped by late last week, that same spot was transformed—not entirely different, but different in a very dramatic, still-life sorta way…


Belated Happy Birthday, Eric. So sorry dear, I am forgetful. :-)