A Lighting Designer's Three-Bedroom Condo with a Relaxed Feel

After 15 years of living in other countries, homeowner Cristina de la Paz settles into her new home in Manila

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Paolo Feliciano Styling: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson Architect: Sean Dix and Gemmy Domingo

After more than a decade of living in California, Maine, and London for over a decade, lighting designer Cristina de la Paz returned to the Philippines and suddenly decided to stay for good. Her unplanned decision turned out to be a good call, as she now cherishes the simple joys of living in her own three-bedroom condo. 

With the help of her friend and Hong Kong-based architect Sean Dix and architect Gemmy Domingo, Cristina turned the empty unit into a cozy pad with a casual and laidback feel.  

Read the original article ("Homecoming Party") in the May 2015 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

Dining Area

Cristina shares that the living area used to occupy most of the space. However, she remembered that in her old homes, her guests would spend more time at the dining area. With this in mind, she decided to turn the dining table into the focal point of her new sanctuary. 

Her ten-seater dining table is now surrounded with different chairs from Restoration, Dimensione, and Crate & Barrel.

Dining Area

Cristina adds that it took a while to find the kind of lights that she wanted for the dining area. Thankfully, she found the perfect rustic farmhouse lamps at Craftsmith Living.

She also says that she initially planned to have a white brick or tiled wall but she realized that too many people already have something similar. To create a different look, she eventually decided to follow architect Gemmy Domingo's suggestion of creating a decoupage wall.

The home0wner made the decoupage using maps, drawings, hotel room keys, postcards from her mother and friends, and newspaper clippings of her late father.

Living Area

The living area is furnished with a simple L-shaped sectional sofa and a wooden coffee table.

Home Office

Looking for a great table for your home office? You may also want to turn wooden planks from an old staircase into a sturdy and interesting desk! 

Home Office

Behind the recycled desk is a window ledge lined with Stephen King books. In front of it is a cushy and inviting gray sofa.

Rotary Phone

Can you believe that this rotary phone still works? Cristina uses it as a literal "conversation piece" — as a tabletop decor and as a home phone for making and taking calls.


This charming chalkboard is used to jot down notes and keep track of her appointments. The metal hooks are also great for keeping bags and coats.

Guest Bedroom

The mere sight of the guest bedroom is enough to make anyone feel sleepy! We love the light-colored walls, drop light, bed, and decor in this private space.

Master Bedroom

Inspired by the bold hues of Doctor Who and Notting Hill, the homeowner chose eggplant-colored walls for the master bedroom. She says that it also counters the natural light in this particular space.

Master Bedroom

After fifteen years of sleeping on a dorm bed, other people's beds, and even a bed that she had to climb up on, it felt good for the homeowner to have an actual bed.

Beside it is a wooden side table topped with a red louvered panel that she can use for keeping notes, letters, and postcards.


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