A 46sqm New York-inspired Space

This bi-level condo unit has a Brooklyn feel and a DIY personal touch

Original Article: Katherine Lopez Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Styling: Dagny Madamba and Paula de Guzman

When homeowner Bien Po acquired this 46sqm bi-level condo unit, he decided to give it DIY Brooklyn-style interiors after a visit to the New York City borough. From the subway tiles to the brick walls, raw interior finishes to repurposed decor, the space is rich in texture and reminiscent of the laidback and eclectic design aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Big Apple’s hipster haven.

It also helped that the owner has a skill for DIY. With creative hobbies that include custom calligraphy on wood panels or repurposing plumbing pipes to lamps, it’s no surprise that he designed most of the furniture pieces in the unit. He also built some of them himself, like the frame of the slim dining table. He designed the multipurpose kitchen island-cum-bar-counter and the beds upstairs as well.

What he didn’t change was the layout of the condo—he left the kitchen where it originally was and kept the downstairs area simply as an open space. “What I like in this unit is every time you’re here, it feels like you’re not in the Philippines,” says Bien. “You feel like you’re somewhere else. You’re relaxed. And I always go here when I want to get inspired."

Read the original article ("Brooklyn on my Mind") in the September 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

Bar/Kitchen Area

This is the view from where Bien likes “to hand around” so he can see the kitchen, the stairs, the plants, the TV, everything around him.

Dining Area

A heavy-duty dining table goes well in a bachelor’s pad. Check Crate & Barrel for some impressive options.

Dining Area

No uniform-looking dining sets for the Brooklyn-inspired style, which for Bien meant a dining table he partly built and mixing it with furniture he mostly got from friends and family. 


The kitchen is clad in subway tiles in keeping with the Brooklyn look. Find handmade subway tiles at RockStone or at @vintagehardwaremanila.

Kitchen Detail

These calipers bought at a flea market in the US were turned into kitchen décor and mounted on a magnetic strip to add to the rough, unfinished aesthetic.

Decor Detail

Repurposing old items like pipes and turning them into something new and unexpected like a lamp allude to the Brooklyn style. You can get fiberglass pendant lamps that look rock-solid or cement-style lamps at Wilcon Depot, Wilcon IT Hub, Makati City.

Decor Detail

Vintage-looking filament bulbs add further industrial and edgy style to the NY-inspired pad. Get LED bulbs from Philips at Wilcon Depot, Libis Quezon City.


To maximize the small space, Bien modified the width of the stairs—from 90 to 70 cm.

Storage Idea

The staircase also doubles as shelving. This is a great storage idea for condo dwellers! Use it to store books, collections, and other knickknacks.

Storage Detail

A Scandinavian space saver! The slim shelf is a storage idea that Bien got from hotels in Norway which aside from its shelving, also features a cabinet and a mirror.

DIY Detail

Metal gratings serve as additional storage space—allowing Bien to hang different objects on it.

DIY Detail

A DIY idea that you can also recreate: Bien turned a small piece of calf hide into a cabinet door handle.

Guest Room

As the unit is just two doors away from the first condo he bought, he turned the bedroom here into a guest room. Instead of forcing the space to be two tiny bedrooms, Bien simply placed two beds—these beds have storage space underneath.

Guest Room

The beds face the swing-type windows that let in a lot of natural light. The black window frames create an illusion of depth and a nice contrast to the white walls in the bedroom.


The bathroom retains the same raw and rough interior finishes that dominate the rest of the unit. Meanwhile, the subway tiles and skull accents in the curtain and décor provide different textures.

More on

A Contemporary Industrial Style for a One-Bedroom Condo

A Real Living Reader's 36sqm Ocean-Inspired Studio Unit

A 45sqm Scandinavian Style Condo Unit


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