Houses

A Beautiful Dream House In Cavite That Was Decorated On A Budget

This sprawling family home with a fantastic view was surprisingly built on a tight budget and furnished with secondhand finds. It is solar-powered and eco-friendly, too!

Photography: Jilson Tiu Styling: Kamila Garcia

In the middle of a quiet suburban village is the Pita residence, a white and gray house that looks simple and unassuming from the street. But once you step inside the main door, a cool breeze hits you, and everything is washed in a beautiful, natural light. An elegant neutral-gray palette is used throughout, but the real stunner is the magnificent view—the main living areas overlook a verdant easement, along with vistas of Laguna de Bay, Makiling, and Tagaytay Ridge.


Designed by Mikko Yap of FOYA Architects, the 350sqm family house is the fruit of the hard work of Donna, a stylist, and husband Patrick, an engineer. It all started eight years ago, post Ondoy (the destructive typhoon that submerged Metro Manila in floods in 2009). “Hindi kami na-Ondoy but we wanted to live somewhere higher,” relates Donna.

“We weren’t going to look here [in this village] because it was out of our budget. Pero our agent said may client who was liquidating their properties because they were migrating.” Their real estate agent encouraged the couple to make an offer, and the seller accepted it. Donna and Patrick got the lot at a much lower price than the going rates of the village, and started building their home in 2016.

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In spite of its impressive interiors (and views), Donna admits that the whole project was done on a tight budget. “In fact, 75 percent of the furniture was hand-me-downs, or bought from secondhand stores,” she says, sharing that she scoured secondhand but stylish finds from Facebook seller groups, neighborhood Viber groups, HMR, and pamana from her parents and in-laws. Other pieces she DIY’d using a can of paint.

In addition to being beautiful, the Pita house is sustainable and “green” as well. The house runs completely on 100 percent solar power in the daytime (even the air conditioners and water heaters run on solar power), as Patrick had SolaX solar systems installed. They have a rainwater catch basin to provide water for laundering and watering the plants. And Donna’s sister helped plant a vegetable garden in their backyard. “Ang ultimate goal namin is puro sustainable, yung may edible garden kami. Ang goal din namin ay maging zero sa kuryente. We don’t turn on any lights during the day and mahangin naman. Super-tipid siya!”

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When Donna posts her construction and decorating progress on social media, she always tags the photos as The House That Faith And Grace Built. “This house wasn’t purely from our own efforts,” she explains. “May help from other people na mababait, and may help from ‘other powers,’ as well.”

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