A 1980s Pasig Townhouse Gets A Minimalist Modern Update

This 160sqm standard townhouse gets the designer treatment with iconic modern furniture and a clean, white palette

Original Article: Charmaine Baylon Photography: Rene Mejia Styling: Gwyn Guanzon

In a sleepy village in Pasig City, townhouses stand next to each other on both sides of the road, forming a cookie-cutter-type setting. But nestled amidst one of identical rows of residences is an unexpectedly chic home, a little white gem in this suburban subdivision.

An energetic young family lives in this gem of a townhouse. Looking at the home now, it is hard to imagine its former state—it had a pretty straightforward layout, a cramped staircase, and tiny dark rooms done up in a dated, 1980s style. The family called on modernist architect Ed Calma to redesign the space, and though the planning took six months, the renovation itself stretched over a few years.

Calma first opened up the cramped quarters by gutting out unnecessary walls and removing outdated bat windows, replacing them with aluminum-framed sliding doors that let in a lot of light. He then used a subdued interior palette of white, accented with black, camel, and dark brown, and filled it with iconic furniture that are known for their sculptural forms.

The stunning end result is an airy, clean-lined home that is practical and comfy enough for this family's active lifestyle. On the ground floor, there is an open-plan living and dining room now awash in natural light, and built-in units for entertainment and storage that disappear into the walls. The staircase is now a minimalist space that leads to the second-floor bedrooms. Calma also went through the homeowners' collection of art by contemporary Filipino masters and National Artists like Bencab, Jose Joya, and Ang Kiukok, and used their works as bright spots of color to punctuate the predominantly neutral home.

Now the homeowners admit looking forward to going home to this townhouse everyday. Who wouldn't, if you had such a white hot space?

Living area

This townhouse is all about light, the color white, and carefully chosen, sculptural pieces. In the living area, an LC2 sofa shares space with the only other seat: a Le Corbusier cowhide chaise. You can find original Le Corbusier pieces locally at MOs Design in Bonifacio High Street. The framed family photos at right are by Pixstation.

Dining area

This custom-made dining table designed by Ed Calma can comfortably seat eight. Built-in cabinets offer hidden storage for the small space. The blue pendant lamp is from the Conran Shop (get a similar lamp at Illuminati Technique) while the orange Lilliput salt and peppershakers are from Alessi (Greenbelt 5, Makati City).


A spare, almost industrial feel takes over the tiny kitchen with its metallic surface finishes and concrete countertop. Calma believes that the most practical design for a kitchen is to make it industrial in style. Storage is left out in the open with silver-finish shelves.


A single BenCab nude and a sculptural vase from The Conran Shop make an impact on the opened-up stairwell. You can get a similar minimalist vase like this from Umbra at Dimensione.

Master bedroom

The double-height ceiling of the master bedroom offers the owners the luxury of an office loft space, partially seen at right. Two paintings by Jose Joya hang above the bed, which has a cheeky “tonight, not tonight” pillow. The t3 lamps hidden above the exposed ceiling rafters provide indirect lighting.

The family usually hangs out in the sitting area of the bedroom. The Barcelona chairs, reupholstered in lipstick red, were inherited from the owners' parents. The Barcelona chair was designed by modern master Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe way back in 1929, and is considered a design classic.


Diamond chairs bask outside in the yard. The homeowners drink wine here, but sometimes guests use it as a smoking area. The Diamond chair was designed by Harry Bertoia back in 1952. You can get an original Bertoia at Living Innovations, Fort Victoria, 5th Ave. cor. 23rd St., Bonifacio Global City.

This home appeared in the original article "Neat Trick" in the October 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine.

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