Building & Renovating

Build Your Cozy, Earth-Friendly Home Using Recycled Wood

A dream home built on a limited budget using repurposed wood from Taytay, Rizal

Original Article: Gabby Reyes Libarios Photography: At Maculangan Pictorial Direction: Nat M. Clave Architect: Felix Zabala

To create the house of your dreams on a limited budget, find a design expert and work on the project in stages. For her Balinese-inspired house, Monette Flores turned to architect Felix Zabala for help and slowly built the house using recycled wood.

Workers from Camarines Sur installed 200 recycled wood planks for the flooring of the first floor alone. The wood planks came from a demolished old school in Taytay, Rizal and were sold by the people from the community. Monette shares that more than five families were able to set up their own sari-sari stores from the money they earned from the construction of the Flores’s family home. Now that the house is finally completed, its clean lines, white walls, wooden details and furniture, and Asian touches make the structure stand out.

Original article by Gabby Reyes Libarios. Pictorial direction by Nat M. Clave. Photographed by At Maculangan.

Read the original article ("Tropical Retreat") in the July 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The double doors are made from different pieces of reclaimed wood. The doors can be locked with a plank (seen below right) slipped into two wooden slots on the doors.


Clear glass windows provide Monette’s family with an unobstructed view of the lush and beautiful garden that surrounds their home. The wooden furniture pieces are made special by the intricate carvings and the white upholstery.


The square dining table with a glass inlay is from Orientique Furniture and Carpets, a furniture shop that sells pieces from Indonesia. (Orientique can be found at 2 Pines St., Mandaluyong City)


A printed throw pillow makes the wooden chair more inviting and adds a pop of color to the dining area.


The sliding door that opens to reveal Monette’s private study is adorned with a painting entitled “Bituin sa Lupa” by Edgar “Egai” Talusan Fernandez. The masterpiece is Egai’s gift for the couple on their 25th wedding anniversary.


Sliding glass doors in Monette’s private study lead to a small sitting area near the backyard. The space is enclosed with large wire-screen panels to keep insects away.


The wooden console cabinet with a weathered finish is from Thailand.


The second-floor hallway leads to the master bedroom. Frosted glass panels let light in while maintaining the privacy of the space.


The multi-layered chandelier is from Azcor, a store that imports and exports lighting fixtures. The details complement the modern tropical feel of the three-storey home.


In the master bedroom, the four poster bed is also from Orientique. The wooden chest with mother-of-pearl inlay at the foot of the bed was purchased in Zamboanga in the 1970s.


Linens are kept neat and organized in a wooden cabinet.


An ornate mirror adds character to the clean, streamlined master bathroom.


To save on space, Monette suggested a special kind of staircase. The alternating steps should be taken on one foot at a time, with a left-right, left-right pattern.


The master bedroom opens to a balcony that has the same resort-like feel.


The backyard gazebo is something that Monette has always dreamed of. The flooring is made from mahogany planks that were not cut or modified in any way so that Monette's daughters can recycle them again someday.


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