The Beauty of Recycled Pieces Shines in this 22sqm Studio Unit

Interior designer Willie Garcia creates a coastal escape filled with handmade pieces, upcycled furniture, and eco-friendly materials

Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Styling: Kamila Arianna Garcia Interior Designer: Willie Garcia

After seeing the work of interior designer Willie Garcia on, the owner of this unit knew that she wanted to collaborate with the designer. “She knew that I’m into upcycling and green design. Our first meeting was in my booth at last year’s Manila FAME. She saw my product line and advocacy,” Willie recalls. Willie is the designer behind JunkNot Eco Creatives, a social enterprise that promotes and produces eco-creative products. These products aren’t regular pieces of furniture—these are made using plastic waste and other upcycled materials.

The owner gave Willie her complete trust and the transformation of the 22sqm unit went smoothly. Aside from maximizing every inch of space, the designer made sure that there’s enough storage and that the client’s old belongings were seamlessly incorporated into the final look. “She wanted to use her old sofa bed, the ref and the microwave [in the kitchen], and the vanity mirror in the bathroom. She also requested for a mirror in the main area to make it more spacious. She definitely read some tips about designing small spaces,” shares the designer.

Can you hear the waves crashing? The final look will remind guests of the beach. Willie chose a coastal theme to make the most of the huge window overlooking the Manila Bay. The chosen color palette also serves as an ideal background for the upcycled pieces and handmade accessories that make it extra special. In this home, every detail has a story and each piece is a treasure made from trash.

Open Layout

The 22sqm unit sports an open layout with the living area situated right next to the sleeping space. Natural light streams in from the single window. Though it’s small, it’s kept bright and refreshing given the white walls and accents in blue.

Living and Sleeping Areas

It’s easy to fall in love with the light, rustic finish of the bed frame and the bar counter. The bed frame with closet and drawers was customized by JunkNot! using reclaimed wood.

Can you spot the upcycled pieces made by JunkNot! in the living area? In the middle is Bangko with a serving tray on top, while near the bed is the Kursi, a Moroccan-inspired stool. The Kursi has an acacia frame and a seat of roped plastic waste in silver.

Living Area

The Bangko features a mahogany wood frame, while the seat was made using colored rope plastic waste. The tray has a tempered glass and can be used to serve drinks or display décor.

Living Area

The aqua blue sofa bed was one of the pieces that the client wanted to use in the space. It helped finalize the theme of the unit. To spruce it up and to match the theme, Willie chose sea- and nature-inspired pillows as furnishings. The pillows are hand-painted pieces by Art of Gold.

Living Area

“Every detail [in this home] has a story. I also support other local advocacies, handmade products, and upcycled pieces,” shares Willie. The carpet in the living area is made up of four cotton rugs that Willie personally sewed together.

Notice the wall behind the sofa bed? It holds Willie’s favorite pieces in the unit. “I was thinking of keeping them for myself,” she exclaims. The Serena wall art and scarf holder are prized finds from a thrift shop in Silang, Cavite.

Dining Nook/Bar Counter

A few steps from the door is the bar counter/dining nook where the owner can enjoy a few refreshments and snacks. It’s also Willie’s favorite spot in the unit. “You can see everything from there including the scenic view,” she shares. A wood pallet was turned into a shelving/dining unit to achieve the nook. The storage space underneath can be used to store books, magazines, and other belongings.

Dining Nook/Bar Counter

The Jeepney barstools in the dining nook are by made by JunkNot! Taking inspiration from the seat of jeepney drivers, it features a clever way or recycling plastic waste.

Dining Nook/Bar Counter

These captivating droplights made of old bottles and driftwood were purchased from Martha’s Handicrafts of Tayabas, Quezon.

Martha’s Handicrafts is located at #8 A. Dela Cruz Street, Tayabas, Quezon.


The kitchen is kept simple and neat to allow the owner to prep meals easily. The cabinets highlight a laminated finish, while a glass splashback protects the walls from stains and spills. Instead of having dinnerware and other accessories on display, Willie opted for plants.

Decor Detail

We can’t help but notice the details of the TV stand from Lucina Home. The colors help liven up the living area and give it a laid-back feel.

Some of the accessories on display were personally chosen by Willie. “Aside from [choosing] earth-friendly materials, I know in my heart that every piece will benefit the local artisans and provide livelihood to communitues,” she shares. The horse taka was purchased from Ang Buhay at Hugis sa Paete Woodcrafts and Paper Mache, while the mini blue palayok was from the Liliw, Laguna public market.

Lucina Home is located at at 2/L Solenad 3, Nuvali Evoliving, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Follow @lucina_home on Instagram for more details.

Living and Sleeping Areas

The main light in the living area is definitely a must-see. It’s made of sticks and will remind you of whimsical sea creatures.

Sleeping Area

The reclaimed wood bed frame gives the sleeping space an instant relaxing feel that will remind one of beach cottages. Meanwhile, the fish chime by the window is a special accessory made of scrap fabric.


Artificial grass or turf was used to liven up the walls in the bathroom. The pop of green allows the owner’s vanity mirror to stand out in the space.

Find a similar mirror at Jo-Liza Arts & Antiques, 664 Jose Abad Santos, Little Baguio, San Juan City.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Willie Garcia through mobile at (0917)-541-8886. You can also e-mail her at design[at] To learn more about JunkNot Eco Creatives, click here.

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