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A 50sqm Quirky Condo For Sibling Students

His-and-her spaces, clever storage solutions, and whimsical décor create the perfect weekday study home for this brother and sister

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Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Styling: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson Interior Designer: Catherine Cena Yambao

Getting a condo unit to live in while going to school in the metro is a great idea—a way to skip traffic, gain more study time, and create your own personal space. But what if you had to share that space with a sibling—your brother, or sister?

Interior designer Catherine “Cathy” Cena Yambao was faced with this dilemma when confronted with a 50-sqm unit that was to shared by college student Nikki with her brother Ben. How would she maximize the small area, all the while making the décor gender-neutral but stylish? Cathy recalls upon turnover of the bare unit, she had to redo the layout of the home since she was working with two combined units. “I wanted the living, dining, and study areas to have the most natural light, so I situated them near the balcony,” she says.

Nikki and Ben’s mom also requested to have lots of storage spaces and a large study area. To answer the need for storage, Cathy found as many enclosed storage spaces as she could: in the hallway, above the desk, in multitasking furniture pieces, and closets in bedrooms. Because it is mainly a weekday school home, the study area extends to the living and dining areas. In the same way, the study chairs also serve as extra seating when they entertain visitors or have a study group over.

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But of course, university life is temporary, and when the time comes for Nikki and Ben to graduate, the condo will serve a new purpose. “I think the best thing about the condo’s style is that it’s easy to make small additions and changes,” shares Nikki. 

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