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A 139-year-old Ancestral Home Transformed into a Charming Bed-and-Breakfast

French, Indian, Vietnamese, and Filipino sensibilities mingle to form a cohesive mix of old and new at Villa Severina

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Original Article: Katherine Lopez Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Gwyn GS Guanzon

When architect Robert Arambulo acquired the Noble ancestral home in Taal, Batangas, he was determined to retain its Old World charm and elegance while infusing modern accents. “The inspiration here is the Singapore Black and White house [old colonial houses in Singapore, mostly made of wood, painted in its namesake colors],” he says. “The interiors are a blend of the East and West.”

While acquiring the property was relatively easy, the repairs and renovation proved to be a challenge. “One of the major problems that we encountered was the drainage. When the house was still what it was, there were no fences around, so the rainwater would just flow to the sides and out. After we had put the walls up, the water had no place to go so it flooded the house,” Robert relates. “We had to redo the drainage all around the house.”

Robert and his team also had to reinforce and re-strengthen the centuries-old house, which suffered from natural deterioration and wear-and-tear over the years. “We had to re-strengthen a lot of the foundations and add additional structures [like the] flooring because the [house] is old, [so it could] take the weight of more people," he says. Roof leaks had to be repaired and the problem of termites had to be addressed, as well as sourcing for wood that would blend with the house’s existing old ones.

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But Robert’s labor of love proved to be a worthy endeavor, as Villa Severina now features a French-Asian vibe, with its traditional bahay-na-bato shell and Old World interiors punctuated with vibrant pops of color. It houses four designer suites: the Paris and the Pondicherry Suites downstairs, and the Martinique and Hanoi Suites at the second floor. Each bears a distinct European elegance coupled with an Asian flair.

Original article by Katherine Lopez. Pictorial direction by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("A Villa Resurrected") in the April 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/real-living/id553158056?mt=8) now! Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details. 

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