Industrial Meets Quirky in this Out-of-the-Box Condo Unit

A box-type condo unit makes for the perfect canvass to reflect one’s personality

Original Article: Brian Adrian H. Borleo Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Interior Designer: Frenjick Quesada

Unlike most condo units, Chiqui’s two-bedroom halfway house is not the model unit with perfect pieces one would frequently see in any showroom. To begin with, it only had gray brick and very stark furnishings. But the lack of picture-perfect pieces was a boon for Chiqui, who wanted to put her personal stamp in her condo. “I wanted character, the whole unit should be a conversation piece,” she says.

She signed on her interior designer and friend, Frenjick Quesada, who welcomed the challenge and was also exhilarated that Chiqui gave him total design freedom and was in no big rush to see the finished product. “It was the kind of project you really set aside time for, because you get to express your creativity and push your boundaries,” says Frenjick.

The collaboration resulted in an industrial-themed condo unit. It’s certainly Chiqui’s style preference fine-tuned by Frenjick’s experience and expertise. “My first project with Chiqui was a very contemporary, very modern design,” says Frenjick. This time, he says, he was agreeable to be radical but didn’t want overkill. “I was actually toning her down because she wanted to go really severe industrial. We really didn't want to be too serious.”

Quirky, original pieces are peppered throughout the unit, as well as one-of-a-kind curios cobbled throughout the six-month renovation period. And the patience has definitely paid off, as Chiqui got a space uniquely her own, done in her own tastes and whims. “I like it that the whole unit became a conversation piece. I mean, my friends keep asking how we put everything together.”

Original article by Brian Adrian H. Borleo. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article (“Refined Rawness”) in the May 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The brick wall is far from being boring with interesting tabletop items and wall fixtures. A barometer and an old ship clock—both from Chiqui’s father’s collections—are bolted to the wall. But the eye-catching piece is a huge dark-blue safety pin that Frenjick found at Swapmeet in Kamuning. An industrial light bulb mounted on to the wall stays true to the condo’s industrial theme.

Space-Saving Tip

Wall cabinets are great space savers. A menagerie of curios adds a dash of personality amid the neutral background.

Space-Saving Tip

There used to be a wall separating the dining and living areas, until Chiqui and Frenjick tore it down. Doing so gave them more space and enough room to install the unit's most ingenious fixture: an LCD TV on a revolving mechanism. It’s a subtle makeshift divider that demarcates the two zones.

Living Area

Decorating trick: An oversized, hanging artwork is guaranteed to anchor any arrangement, no matter what pieces you surround it with.

Dining Area

The counter, which was purposely left cement-finished and has a tinted glass top, separates the kitchen from the dining area.

Dining Area Detail

The drop lights from Lights and Play add a unique twist to the industrial motif.


Stone-gray kitchen cupboards and cabinets and marbled counters are livened up with a splash of warm lighting and textured backsplash in light brown.


Photographs of San Francisco landmarks taken by Chiqui's nephew hang on walls using chains—a novel way of mounting pictures. Plastic, laminated tiles that mimic steel floors keep the cabinets from looking too blah. The custom-made, American-sized beds with drawers are discreetly adorned with monochromatic patterned bed linens.

Bedroom Detail

Another of Frenjick's quirky finds—an old car radiator turned into a lamp sourced from Resurrection Gallery—serves as the master bedroom's bed light.

Storage Tip

Wall shelves are your best alternative if there’s no room for actual bookshelves. In one of the condo’s two bedrooms, novelty bric-a-bracs sit harmoniously together. A potted plant lessens the space’s austerity.

Study Area

While the condo follows an industrial motif, creativity comes into play with patterns and prints. A framed aerial map of San Francisco—a city close to Chiqui’s heart—hangs on the wall adjacent to the study area. The patterned upholstered armchair and matching footstool and a bright red toolbox resting on one of the shelves are welcome colorful additions in an area that’s swathed in blacks, browns, and grays.

Mix and Match

Pops of color are occasionally seen in the space dominated by blacks and whites.


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