A 40sqm Bungalow transformed into a Two-Storey Home

Husband and wife, architects both, Boyong and Rowena Aquino design a house that's dominated by light and air

Original Article: Amillah S. Rodil Photography: Jun Pinzon Styling: Issa Villar Architect: Rowena and Boyong Aquino

The minute you step into this home, you are instantly welcomed by an envelope of light—light streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows and light pouring in from the glass doors. When architects Rowena and Boyong Aquino decided to revamp their old bungalow, the first thing they agreed on is that it should feel light and airy; “maaliwalas” to be exact.

This they managed to achieve by making full use of each other’s expertise. Rowena took her years of experience working for an engineering company to design a definitively functional house, which maximized every available space. The neat freak in her also made sure that their house would be easy to clean and maintain. Her genius of a plan was complemented by Boyong’s minimalist aesthetics. Taking refuge in the warmth of earthy colors, Boyong proceeded to design the interiors with splashes of terracotta and green. Some of the walls he textured with stones and most of the furniture he designed himself. Completing the couple’s modern Asian home are artworks from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Original article by Amillah S. Rodil.  Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Jun Pinzon.

Read the original article (“Team Spirit”) in the January 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at 

Living Area

A variety of textures make the living room such a visual treat. Most of the furniture, like the sofa and ottoman, Boyong designed himself, and craftsmen from Pampanga made them by hand. A mirror (not seen in photo) adds another dimension to this handsome space.

Living Area Detail

Rows of sandstone provide a wonderful contrast to the wood veneer paneling on the adjacent wall.

Asian Touch

Artworks with an Asian theme are found all over the house. This artwork looks lovely amidst a tabletop filled with pottery and fauna with a tropical feel.

Dining Area

The terracotta-colored upholstered chairs, which are all custom-made, go perfectly with the textured wall. The lamps are made-to-order as well.

Dining with a View

The small outdoor space beside the dining area gives a cozy backdrop to happy breakfasts and romantic dinners.


The kitchen is a neat freak’s dream. It’s got rows and rows of shelving systems where you can stash away all your pots, pans, and condiments. A television keeps Rowena entertained as she whips up family meals.

Master Bedroom

Boyong, who works for a hotel chain, gave their bedroom a deluxe feel with the comfy linen and the divine bed. Brown and camel lend the space a rather formal feel. For the headboard, fabric from Shell Canvas rendered on a foam backing did the trick.

Daughter's Bedroom

You’ll know right away that a little girl lives here as it is pink, pink, pink all the way! Rowena’s daughter Regina loves her little space—whose accessories she chose herself—which is a stark contrast from the rest of the house. Love the bead curtains? They were scored in Quiapo!

Master Bathroom

That light and airy feeling continues on to the master bathroom. The window provides ample light, and the mirror makes it seem more spacious. The shelves are neatly installed by the mirror. Pebbles around the water closet give the space an earthy flavor.

Roof Deck

Though the Aquinos don’t have much of a yard, they do have a fantastic roof deck. With an amazing view of the hills, it provides another space for the family to dine and bond.


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