A 50sqm Whimsical Starter Home

This newlywed couple’s condo unit is practical as it is cozy

Original Article: Anna Felipe Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Pictorial Direction: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson Interior Designer: Vera Villarosa-Orila

It took them seven months to renovate their starter condo home, but for interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila and her husband Jek, focusing on what they can work on was more important, above all else.

Prior to the renovation, the couple discussed their non-negotiables. For Vera, two things come to mind: one, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, and two, a spacious bathroom. Jek, on the other hand, wanted a sofa bed and a customized console table for his PlayStation in the living room. With these requirements in mind, Vera had a 3D model of the unit made to take their design decisions and preferences into account.

The longer waiting time also meant spending a lot more. With that, the couple tapped into their practical side and took advantage of sales for bargain buys. Vera would also buy a piece or two when sourcing with a client, until they were able to get everything for their home.

The result was worth it—for Vera, the whimsical navy blue and gray space looks like them. Jek says it best: “Ang gaan ng pakiramdam na pag pasok mo pa lang sa pinto, you know you’re home."

Read the original article ("Balancing Act") in the June 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.


Upon entry, a wall filled with framed art and other knickknacks welcomes guests. This is one of the DIY projects in the home that made use of adhesive to stick the items onto the wall.

Want to get creative with hooks? Click here for ideas.

Living Area

At first glance, this wall sconce looks like it was bought as it is from a store. In reality, Vera got the bird décor from Dapitan. She then had A&F Lamps (located along Granada Street in Quezon City) to add electrical wiring and turn it into a lamp.

Living Area

The living area may have gotten smaller, but it serves the needs of the couple just right. The space also functions as their entertainment area for movie marathons or when guests drop by.

Living Area

In the living area, frames of varying sizes and other decorative pieces adorn the wall for a quirky touch.

Decor Detail

These sunburst mirrors from SM Home provide a shiny contrast to the living area’s dark blue wall.

You can also look for sunburst mirrors when you visit Dapitan Arcade, 37 Dapitan corner Kanlaon St., Laurges, Quezon City.

Decor Detail

The white pineapple was purchased from Singapore, surrounded by other decorative elements in blue to match the color scheme of the unit.

Dining Area

Banquette-style seating, paired with a huge bespoke table, makes this spot perfect for when guests come over. The tufted velvet navy fabric lends a cozy feel to the space, while the chairs blend well with the dominantly white space.

Find fabric options at Fabric Life by Larry's, 677 Aurora Boulevard corner Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City. Click here to learn more.

Dining Area

In the absence of a garden or a balcony, Vera decided to put up this accent wall of faux greens she got from Divisoria.

Decor Detail

Vera sourced this table lamp from a surplus shop and got it for just a thousand pesos. She then had it transformed into a ceiling light.


The kitchen is a collaboration between husband and wife, in which Jek selected the Spanish-inspired tiles, while Vera picked the accessories. Most pieces came from H&M Home and HMR, while the others were repurposed items from their wedding.

Master Bedroom

The highlight of the master bedroom is the ombré wall, which is tastefully done to ensure a relaxing space for the couple.

Home Office

Floating shelves and plastic organizers make up the storage options of Vera’s home office. The reupholstered and repainted swivel chair is another surplus shop find.

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