Japanese Aesthetic for a 198sqm Bachelor’s Condo

Chako Hirayama of Design Hirayama+Quesada finds a nice balance between ultra-modern and too-traditional in this space

Original Article: Camille Besinga Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar Interior Designer: Chako Hirayama of Design H+Q

Space is a precious commodity in today’s urban jungle. And what you do with that space is even more crucial and needs a lot of careful planning. That’s why when Chako Hirayama of Design Hirayama+Quesada saw the 198sqm condo of her bachelor client, she immediately knew that the large balcony would be the unit’s focal point.

Aside from that, Chako had the actual dividers—the kitchen countertop separating it from the dining area, for instance—torn down, in order to create a seamless flow from the kitchen and dining area to the living room and back. She also replaced the swing door and windows opening out to the balcony with sliding glass doors, allowing natural sunlight to swathe the unit—a practical way to utilize energy efficiently, but also a way to make the condo seem bigger. Finally, she converted the former two-bedroom unit into just one, merging the two rooms for a master bedroom and the two baths into one large master one, while tweaking the third bathroom into a small powder room for guests.

Original article by Camille Besinga. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno. 

Read the original article (“Room with a View”) in the October 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Living Area

Here’s a space-saving tip for condo owners and tenants: Use white or light hues for the walls to create the illusion of a bigger space. Chako’s client’s unit has low ceilings, so she made use of a light color palette to make use of all that natural lighting and add to the spaciousness of the place.

Living Area Detail

The abstract artwork adorning the white wall provides a nice contrast to the mostly neutral-colored furniture and other décor. Throw pillows in varying shapes, sizes, and shades coexist beautifully as well.

Reading Corner

Space is everything for condo owners, and here, Chako has created a small reading corner where her client can curl up with a good book. A wall shelf using panels is a clever way to maximize space, as actual bookshelves can be too bulky. It’s strategically placed right beside the sliding door leading to the balcony, to make use of natural daylight.

Breaking Barriers

There’s no need to put up room dividers to separate various spaces in a cozy condo. The shag rugs of the living area clearly mark the distinction between the living room and dining area, and installing furniture pieces that bear signs of the entire condo’s motif keeps the setup from looking disjointed.


“The [old] kitchen had some unfortunate-looking cabinets and a layout that cut off the kitchen from the rest of the common area, and with no counter space looking out into the balcony,” Chako describes. Now, it is laid out in a way that allows the homeowner to look out into the balcony while cooking or doing the dishes.

Kitchen Storage

To store kitchen essentials and other decor, a cabinet with shelves is added to the space.

Master Bedroom

The look is obviously masculine and modern, but the standout piece—an enormous artwork featuring a green banana leaf sandwiched between two table lamps—warm lighting, and fluffy pillows and duvets inject an aura of serenity and peace.

Wall Shelves

Wall panels and a desk mounted on the wall is a clever way of utilizing space within small confines.

Work Corner

Combining two bedrooms for one master bedroom means more space. Here, a work corner is added --- with the table attached to the wall. Additional shelves are added above for holding a couple of knick-knacks.

Interesting Detail

To add character to the space, a hanging piece is an interesting detail.


The master bath is outfitted with slate-gray tiles and chrome fixtures. The long mirror running the entire span of one wall is a great trick to increase the sensation of spaciousness.


The homeowner is able to enjoy his very own private park in the middle of a concrete landscape. Lush foliage enhances the coziness of the balcony, while a wooden bench with floral pillows and brightly colored makes for inviting patio seating, where one can indulge in intimate one-on-one talks.


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