Building & Renovating

Build Your Own Modern Minimalist Home

We caught up with architect Agatha Rodis for a few expert tips on how you can achieve your dream space

Photography: Jilson Tiu Architect: Agatha Rodis

When we published the 450sqm modern minimalist home in Cainta, many were immediately captivated by its imposing façade that showcases wood, cement, and glass. Beyond the front door, well-thought-out areas can be found. A high ceiling defines the living area, a cozy outdoor nook invites guests to relax, and impressive works of art complete even the smallest of corners. A project by architect Agatha Rodis, the three-storey property was finished in collaboration with Minimalist Manila (interiors) and Western Engineering and Industrial Supply (contractor).

From the materials chosen to the clever use of space, this house has everything the owners wished for in a space. If you’ve been dreaming about building something similar, you may want to start with inputs from an expert. “For us, minimalism is a discipline, not a style. The design focuses on the functional elements and excludes all the inessential. A simple and clean design is derived from this discipline, and as the saying goes, ‘less is more,’” says Agatha. The architect also shares a couple of key points to remember when working on a modern minimalist haven: 

1. Choose materials based on function and make sure these adapt to our tropical setting.

In this property, wood, cement, and glass were used as focal points—creating a modern meets minimalist look. The wooden touches balance out the raw finishes and give the property warmth, while the glass windows let in plenty of natural light.

The doors and windows were chosen to provide security, while matching our country's weather. Adding plants by the home's entrance not only gives it a refreshing feel, it keeps the look from being too stiff as well.

Since the common areas are found on the first floor, Agatha and the design team had to make sure that the flooring can withstand heavy foot traffic. The concrete-looking tiles not only work well with the home's palette, it's also easy to maintain.

RL Tip: Don't forget to invest in high-quality furniture pieces. Aside from making sure each piece matches your home's overall look, you also need to check if it can provide the comfort you deserve.

Find similar tiles at Wilcon Depot.

2. Keep the lighting simple.

Once you enter the house, it's easy to notice that there weren't too many lights turned on. The secret? Natural light streams into the space—thanks to the glass windows and high ceiling.

In the living area, the wood lighting pieces hanging from the ceiling double as decor and accents. "Simple lighting focused on the functions required for the space [is ideal]," says Agatha. Whether it's task lighting or mood lighting, make sure that it serves a purpose in your space.

3. Work with a flexible layout.

"There is no standard layout for modern spaces. Modern spaces are flexible and adaptable. They [can have] an open layout or not," explains the architect. As in any other space, a flexible and functional layout is important. When arranging your furniture, make sure there is enough space for people to move around freely. Meanwhile, an open layout not only allows you to keep the different areas accessible, it adds to home's light and airy feel, too.

READ: 4 Ways to Arrange Furniture in a Small Space

4. Keep nooks functional.

Whether it's in a condo or a multi-storey property, every inch of space counts. If you can squeeze in a reading nook or a tiny sitting area without making your space cramped, feel free to do so. According to Agatha, functional and flexible spaces make a modern minimalist home successful. In this home, instead of keeping corners empty and plain, they added works of art and seating pieces, too. Aside from staying true to the gallery-like feel, it gives the owners special spots where they can read a book and enjoy some quiet time.

RL Tip: You don't need to buy a new piece to furnish plain corners. See if you can refurbish an old piece from your previous home or upcycle a garage sale find.

5. Connect the house to the environment.

A green corner or an outdoor sitting area can give any property a calm and reinvigorating appeal. Investing in a wooden bench or a set of colorful chairs can turn the space into an extension of the living area or a prime spot for entertaining guests. Don't worry about the plants you can add, too! You can work with affordable green wonders and other picks that can survive in the city.

READ: How To Build A Pocket Garden for P5,000 or Less

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with architect Agatha Rodis through e-mail: agatharodis[at] 

Watch the home's video tour below:

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