A 37sqm Scandinavian-Inspired Studio Unit

A much needed renovation helped open up this compact space and give it a bright, airy new look

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela Architect: Ian Palad Interior Designer: Denise Guieb-Palad

Those who plan on having their homes renovated must note two important things before getting to work—finalizing the overall look of the space and identifying the key areas for improvement. In this studio unit in Makati, the owners were set on having a Scandinavian design and they wanted the living, dining, and kitchen areas redesigned. With these vital inputs, architect Ian Palad and interior designer Denise Guieb-Palad of Project 1212, Inc. began transforming the home. The husband-and-wife tandem envisioned it to be modern in style, and filled with functional pieces and light colors.

After the renovation, the owners were more than happy with the result. From a plain high-rise space, they now have a welcoming abode that’s not only well-maximized, it’s cozy and pet-friendly, too!

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with Project 1212, Inc. through their Facebook page.


White is the dominant color in the unit as seen in the faux brick wall, dining set, and select furniture. Ian and Denise retained the existing wood laminate flooring as it was still in good condition. Upon entrance to the space, guests can see the common areas.

The foyer features a shoe cabinet from Furniture Source, a round mirror from John Lewis, SM Makati, and various decor pieces from AllHome.


A few steps from the door on the right is the compact kitchen. According to the design duo, retrofitting the kitchen was the biggest challenge during the renovation period as the area didn't have a window. To turn things around, they chose a white granite countertop and paired it with white acrylic cabinets for a light, airy, and streamlined look.

To provide contrast to the white countertop, a green backpainted glass was chosen for the backsplash. Additional niches and cabinets—like the ones below the induction cooker, were added to make the most of the space and prevent clutter. Three DIY chalkboards were also installed on one wall to serve as a special place where the owners can write notes, reminders, and grocery lists.

Dining Area

The dining area someohow serves as one of the unit's highlights as it showcases Scandinavian design. Tom Dixon lamps from Luxen accentuate the space while the built-in cabinets with sliding doors on the side serve as storage center for toys, belongings, and other collectibles. The designers added mirrors to make the area seem bigger and brighter.

The dining table with white tabletop and wooden legs was bought in CW Home Depot while the chairs were from a store in Greenhills.

Built-in TV Console

The entertainment corner near the dining area allows the family and their friends to watch TV while enjoying good food. It's in a light wood finish to echo the overall look of the home. Extra compartments and an open shelf were added to give the owners a spot for their collections.

Living Area

Given that the common areas in the unit share one big window as source of natural light, additional LED lights were installed to keep the home well-lighted while saving on costs. Aside from touches of white and neutral shades, the unit also makes use of hints of green as accent color to give it a fresh vibe.

Living Area

Since the owners take care of two cute cats, they wanted a special place where these furry buddies can rest and play. Instead of additional shelves, a cat ledge was installed above the sofa complete with a short flight of steps. Ian and Denise consider the cat ledge as their favorite element in the home. 

Living Area

To complement the color scheme, the design duo chose a light gray sofa from Blims as main seating piece. Completing the cozy setup are throw pillows spruced up with covers bought in Landmark and a green patterned carpet from Mandaue Foam. Cove lighting helped set the mood in the space as well as highlight the white faux brick wall.

Home Office

To make the living area extra functional, built-in work desks cladded in light wood laminates were added. An overhead cabinet is the best storage solution to avoid clutter in the space. Notice the extra seating pieces in the middle of the living area? Those are actually customized toy chests for the owners' child. They gave the chests a whitewashed wood paint effect then had it upholstered to serve as additional seating when they have visitors.


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