A 200sqm Home with Asian Style Designer Pieces and Kids' Handiwork

A young couple’s starter home finds its rightful spot within a family compound

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar

Polly and Rina Avecilla, owners of Café Xocolate, and their daughters, disprove the myth that a family must set up their home away from in-laws. Rina’s in laws were only too happy to have the young couple do as they pleased with the family compound where they built their family’s starter home.

The 200-sqm home washed in neutral but cozy beige has an airy living room with a double-volume ceiling, an open kitchen and dining area, a den, and two bedrooms, filled with Asian-style furniture inspired by her time living in Singapore and Indonesia. Furnishings are an eclectic but lovely mix of investment pieces from The Tomlinson Collection as well as bargain finds from bazaars and store sales. But most importantly, the family’s love for art is well displayed around the house, primarily with the spattering of art pieces made by the children, along with arts and crafts materials, toys, and a craft space taking a prominent place within the home.

Read the original article (“Fresh Start”) in the August 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.


The Avecilla home belongs to Polly’s dad, who lives in the bigger main house within the three-home compound. The two other houses mirror each other into a U-shape, with a courtyard at the center where the houses’ sliding doors open during parties and get-togethers.


The sitting area gets a personal touch with the playful carousel atop the low table while the shawl adds softens and femininity amidst the hard, dark wood.

Living Area

The home is painted in muted beige with dark wood furniture taking center stage in the living room. The bench is from The Tomlinson Collection, co-owned by Rina’s brother, while the ottoman that doubles as a table holds the couple’s travel finds such as a quirky figurine from Bangkok. The wooden rocking horse reveals the home’s little residents and adds a personal and laidback touch.

Living Area Detail

From the living area, one can appreciate the vastness of space due to the high ceiling. The white paint adds to the light and airy feel of the space.

Dining Area

Inspired by the homeowner’s residence in Singapore and Indonesia, the home is furnished with Asian-Oriental pieces. The dining set from Rina’s parents’ house used to be red wood, and was later refinished into black lacquer. The Tomlinson Collection cabinet is a wedding present, while the light fixture is from Keystone Lamps. Animal prints from South Africa provide accent, while the rugs is from the homeowners' collection. The bright red wall stimulates the appetite, making this room enticing and inviting for dining and entertainment, while complementing the Asian theme.


Keep the kitchen organized by storing everything into built-in cabinets. The frosted cabinet doors keep the storage area private and accessible, yet it’s easy to spot its contents. Sheer roman curtains control the amount of light that goes through the windows, while the black marble counter top keep the kitchen looking neat and sleek.

Master Bedroom

The silver lamps on each side of the bed add a sleek and modern industrial look, while the black-and-white kimono prints from Bangkok adorning the wall behind the bed add visual interest. The textured bedsheets and pillowcases make the bed more inviting.

Master Bedroom

The room’s gray walls provide a neutral palette for big, dark wood bed from New Manila Living. The red floor rug is a lively accent as well as giving the kids a spot to play on the floor. 

Master Bathroom

The bathroom’s layout allowed enough room for a green-tiled shower room. A glass wall mounted with the beige sink cabinetry separates the shower from the toilet, and keeps the bath neat without being too stark or cold.

Kids' Bedroom

The kids’ bedroom’s loft design maximizes the room’s space and add storage space for toys, books, and crafts supplies, while the dainty pastels make it perfect for young girls. 

Decor Detail

The homeowners found more space for displaying their artwork by the staircase. The “tree of life” art piece by Israeli national artist Ilan Hasson was commissioned during their honeymoon and represents the couple’s marriage. Two framed mezusas on the landing are also from Israel – a lovely reminder of their love of travel.

Decor Detail

This whimsical carousel was a Christmas gift from Rina’s parents. Personal effects such as this add a youthful touch to the home, while at the same time, giving guests a glimpse into the homeowner’s personality.

Decor Detail

A simple clothesline and pins turn the kids’ artwork into pretty show pieces on a bare white wall. 

Entertainment Corner

With the TV set mounted on the wall, this TV stand doubles as a display shelf for travel mementos. The blue vase was a “save” from a garage sale, while the zebras are from a South African trip. Keep cords and wires organized and neat with a plastic tubing that can be purchased from hardware stores. The folding doors can be closed when the den is not in use.

Outdoor Detail

This water fountain in the courtyard was custom-made by Wind and Water. The pretty colored stones where the water trickle through create lovely, naturally relaxing sounds. 

Outdoor Area

The walkway connects the three houses together. Spruce up a simple courtyard or garden with trellised walkway such as this. 


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