A 28sqm Condo Unit In Taguig With Fun, Industrial Touches

A writer fills her one-bedroom pad with nifty, space-saving ideas and quirky decorative accents

Photography: William Ong

If you have a background in design, worked for a popular shelter magazine, and currently write for an international home website, who do you turn to for help when designing your first condo home in Manila?

For Karla Rey, she looked up her good friend Twenty Muñoz of Bespoke Design Studio. Karla, a Sydney-based market coordinator who has a landscape architecture degree and who is also a contributing writer for popular shelter website, describes her style as “vintage industrial.” She communicated her style wishes with Twenty in the early stages of her condo’s design.

It was RL-inspired!

“I actually sent Twenty images from some Real Living features on small-space condos and told her what I liked about them,” Karla shares. “[It’s] noteworthy that she [Twenty] wanted to infuse some ‘soft’-looking elements kasi masyado daw pang-guy yung style that I tend to favor.” She trusted Twenty with her suggestion, adding: “As someone who has a landscape architecture background, alam ko yung feeling na lahat dinidikta…eh sana ’di na ako naghire ng designer, di ba? Haha.”

Industrial theme for a technical problem

“The initial brief was to create, in Karla’s words, ‘an androgynous look,” which was consistent with her personal tastes, but also because the design had to appeal to both men and women, since it was going to be rented out,” Twenty explains. “The decision to go industrial was pretty much influenced by a problem with the AC…the method of installation, as required by the developer, would result to having drainage pipes being on the inside of the unit, rather than outside on the balcony.”

Another challenge was to keep costs down, since Karla’s intention was not to spend too much on the unit, so she could lease it out at a fair rental price. The end result is a cozy condo unit with well-planned, multi-tasking spaces, such as the living room that can be converted into a dining room. There are many industrial touches throughout the unit, as seen in the lighting and furniture, but there are enough charming and quirky accents to temper the style. “I kinda like to describe it as some sort of dialogue between masculine and feminine,” says Twenty. 


Living-dining area

Karla Rey wanted to maximize every bit of space in the condo unit, so the living room could be turned into a dining room, and if needed, an extra sleeping space. Twenty, the designer, explains: “If we decided to stick with the conventional space planning, where you provided a small living area, a small dining area, it didn’t leave any more room—no pun intended—for flexibility.”

Most of the furniture pieces in the unit are affordable finds. “The sofa bed was bought from Home Factory, the side table and ‘bulb’ lamp are from Our Home,” says Twenty. “The throw pillows were bought on sale at The Stockroom at UP Town Center—from their original price of P800 they were discounted to P400 a pop!” 

The “spider” chandelier—a staple of industrial-themed interiors—was DIY’d using thick, black electric wires and ordinary lightbulbs. A drop-leaf console table can be pulled towards the sofa (and the ottoman stools can be pushed aside) to transform the living area into a dining area. A mirror installed on one wall makes the space appear bigger. 


The console table can pushed to one side of the kitchen when not in use. The industrial-theme sideboard next to it was also customized. When asked what space-saving features she likes, Karla says: “The built-in shelves/cabinetry and the custom-built furniture like the folding dining table, the height of which is adjusted to the sofa of the living room…the ottomans na ang heights ay adjusted to the height of the table para they double as chairs for the entire dining set-up.”

Chalkboard wall

One entire wall of the kitchen is covered in chalkboard paint. “I always liked this idea kasi mahilig ako magsulat ng lists, ’tsaka mag-draw ng kung anu-ano,” says Karla about this design feature. “’Tsaka para naka-assign na din ang wall na pwedeng sulatan ng mga bata at isip-bata. Haha!” If you look closely at the lighting fixture on the ceiling, it is actually a colander that Twenty DIY’d into a lamp. 


Twenty explains that the unit had an existing MDF partition that did not go up to the ceiling. “We retained the said frame of the partition, and simply inserted ribbed acrylic panels…it was one of the considerations Karla gave—to maximize natural daylight in the unit.” Karla adds: “I liked how were able to let some natural light in by ‘fixing’ the wall that separated the bedroom from the living space, kasi the windows are only at the end of the entire unit.”

A blue-gray accent wall adds to the soothing mood of the bedroom. One of the standout pieces here is the customized bed frame made out of pipes. “We had the pleasure of collaborating with a manufacturer we found on Facebook [Neo Craftsmiths] who specializes in industrial-style furniture,” says Twenty. Neo Craftsmiths also customized the drop-leaf console/dining table and the kitchen sideboard. The marquee “Love” sign—one of the designer’s favorite touches—is a P500 find from SM. 

Even the night table in the bedroom is industrial-themed; it is another DIY project using a pair of plywood panels that were attached together using slotted angle bars from the hardware store.

To contact Twenty Muñoz, email her at twenty [at]

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