A 75sqm Loft Shared By Sisters

Secondhand furniture, Filipino items, and Asian pieces make up this comfy home for two

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Paolo Feliciano Styling: Tala Singson and Dagny Madamba

The Kintanar sisters, Karmeli, a headhunter by profession, and her sister Kara, a producer for a TV and movie production company, moved from their old house to a 75sqm loft for two. "The unit was ready for occupancy, in a good location, has a high ceiling, and it’s only on the sixth floor,” says Karmeli.

Over the years, Karmeli and Kara have accumulated items, mostly secondhand, from popular homeowner haunts Barangay Bangkal in Makati, Dapitan Arcade in Manila, and Cubao X in Quezon City.

“The first things we put in place were the couch in the dining area, which I always wanted to put by the window, and the blue couch in the living room. The bed I share with Kara is the same one we had before. The rest, we fixed over time,” says Karmeli.

They upcycled a vintage sewing machine and it now functions as a console table between the living and dining areas. A large mirror is sits prominently in the living room, atop of a wrought iron bench. “Since I design clothes on the side, my clients sometimes do their fittings here kaya kailangan ko ng malaking mirror,” Karmeli says.

The predominant colors in their home are pink and blue, while vintage items range from Filipino to other Asian pieces. The secondhand items and their mementos collected over the years give a cozy character to their shared loft.

Read the original article ("Lofty Dreams") in the August 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

Living Area

The living room is brightened up by the blue couch and pink trunk. Select pieces add character to the space.

Living Area Detail

Collected over time, secondhand items in the sisters’ loft make their shared living spaces cozy. The treasure chest that acts as coffee table was bought during one of their many shopping trips at Cubao X.

Dining Area

The white walls are a great canvas for the sisters’ eclectic pieces. The dining table used to be their old computer table. Karmeli repainted it pink. The couch is part of a set bought on sale at a department store. They had a slip cover made for it, too.

Upcycling Tip

The Kintanars upcycled a vintage sewing machine as a console table between the living and dining areas. Some of the pieces found on the table include a Matryoshka doll with the other dolls nestled inside, a Boho glass fringed lamp, and a framed print of Van Gogh's "Almond Branches in Bloom."

Design Detail

Memories are reflected on the framed photos and variety of books. The old cabinet was from an aunt which Karmeli painted white.

Design Detail

The high ceiling makes the shabby chic space airy and sun-drenched.

Decor Detail

These tableware finds are from flea markets and budget stores.

Decor Detail

Bottles of various shapes and colors provide vintage accent.

Decor Detail

This body form shows off Karmeli’s designer philosophy with the colorful beads and handwoven bag.

Decor Detail

A corkboard encased in transparent frame is used to post memos and other important documents. It sits atop a vintage oriental box.

Decor Detail

Books are kept in order using a pair of rustic bookends found during one of Karmeli's trips to Dapitan.


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