Building & Renovating

How an Architect Renovated this Dated Bungalow

This 1970s house in Pasig boasts of rustic details, tropical-inspired elements, and Scandinavian-inspired furniture

Photography: courtesy of BRIOArc Studio | Jilson Tiu

Working on this cul-de-sac in Pasig is a milestone for architect Pierre Briones of BRIOArc Studio. It’s not only his first project as an architect, it’s also a collaboration with the owner who happens to be his cousin. The renovation project involved giving the house an overhaul, which covered its exterior and interiors.

From having an ordinary-looking façade and dated interiors, it now has a captivating aesthetic defined by wooden touches, raw finishes, and a fine selection of furniture and accessories. How did Pierre, the BRIOArc team, and the owners accomplish such a feat? We list down some of the processes they went through to help you manage your own home improvement project, too:

1. Have a vision for your space.


What does your dream home look like? Do you want your home to be cozy and inviting? Picture the space and have a list of what you want to achieve . “For this home, we wanted it to look warm, light, and fresh using a neutral palette and some basic pieces,” shares Pierre.

2. Assess the different areas and identify the major changes needed.

Coming from the home’s original look and structure, the architect noted the areas to be improved. After assessing each area, they noted if everything needs to be replaced or if they can retain some features. “Sinasabi namin sa owner kung pangit, aalisin. Siya din sinasabi nya sa amin pag may ayaw siya,” says Pierre. To improve the layout of the home, one of the major changes done in the space involved turning one bedroom into a toilet as it required checking the plumbing and other connections.


In photo: The home's facade before renovation.

In photo: The renovated facade has rustic, minimalist, and tropical elements.

3. Finalize the look.


Once you’ve envisioned your space and noted the major changes to be done, you need to pin down the look you’re going for. In renovating this property, the owners and the design team worked on Scandinavian meets Japanese look with rustic elements. The beauty of wood can be seen on the façade and the living area, too. 

4. Take into consideration the location of the house and how you can incorporate a Pinoy touch.

The house stands out because of its captivating façade showcasing raw finishes and wooden touches. They didn’t add a fence to make it look bigger and more open. Since we live in a tropical country, they made sure that plants share the spotlight, too. A towering tree and a couple of chosen plants provide privacy while complementing the materials used in the home.


In the living area, Pierre wanted to achieve cross-ventilation. To do this, they had to remove the ceiling, add a window to let in natural light, and installed wooden beams the work as support and accents. With the high ceiling, air can circulate freely, giving the home a light and spacious feel.

5. Visit different stores when shopping for furniture.

Whether you’re building or renovating your home, make sure you visit different stores to find what you need. It’s okay to have a go-to supplier, but look around and don’t settle. To complete this home, the owner dropped by stores like Habitat, Crate & Barrel, and MOs Design, to name a few. One of the pretty cabinets in the space even came from S&R!

6. Showcase the personality of the owners.


In photo: The living and dining areas pre-renovation.

In photo: The dining and kitchen areas look homey and inviting.

“This house is very adaptive and Filipino. May common areas, may tropical-inspired design. It’s also responsive to the local environment,” shares Pierre. The owners love to entertain and invite friends over for get-togethers. To make sure they can have a good number of people inside and more outside, the house has an open layout connecting the living, dining, and kitchen areas. You’ll always stumble upon a spot where you can sit and have a drink.


Ang daming sitting areas, di ba,” exclaims the owner. Aside from the lounging in the living area, guests can relax in the open space between the living and dining areas that’s defined by designer chairs. The garden can be transformed into a whimsical event venue, too.

7. Follow the rules, but don’t be afraid to break some of them.


“Don’t be afraid to explore. Don’t rush buying stuff. Minsan kasi pag tapos na, ‘yung iba iniisip, tapos na, eto na ‘yun or sige ito nalang bilhin ko para tapos na,” says the owner. Some homeowners rush furniture shopping and settle for pieces they won’t be happy with after a few months. Spend time sourcing and be open to bringing home items from your travels.

Once the project is done, you shouldn’t stop improving and maintaining your space. Look for areas you can spruce up and regularly check for leaks and other possible problems. Stick to tried-and-tested ideas but don’t hesitate to experiment. Look for hacks that work for you and your space.

To learn more about this home and to see more photos, click here.

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