A Clean and Bright Multi-Storey Townhouse
Addition by subtraction turns a cluttered townhouse into an inviting abode for a well-traveled family
For families that love to travel, finding space for souvenirs bought from their trips is a common problem. Before they know it, their house is overflowing with knickknacks brought over from different places, with mugs and other accessories invading every nook and cranny.
The owners of this three-storey townhouse watched helplessly as their home of five years slowly became a picture of clutter. "The things we collected over the years were just stacked over each other," the lady of the house said. "We would have cabinets in one area, then golf sets scattered in another. Then there are all the other stuff we brought from our travels." She found herself flipping through home magazines and books, wishing her family's house would be as tidy and stylish as the spaces gracing the pages. She eventually gravitated toward interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo for the renovation of the house, inspired by the "clean, timeless and fresh" feeling of the designer's work.
The homeowners' main request was storage, storage, and more storage. "They wanted every little space in their home to be functional and efficient," says Kristine. A modern and clean look for the interiors was chosen to accommodate the various styles among the family's collected items. By carefully curating which pieces should go in each area, Kristine and team freed up generous space in the house, turning the piles of furniture and trinkets into beautiful vignettes.
Kristine admits that determining which items should be displayed was challenging, but sticking to the ever-useful philosophy of "less is more" proved to be a wise decision. "Good design is like good storytelling. Even the best story can lose its impact if we use too many words," says Kristine.
Ground Floor Den
The den on the ground floor doubles as a guest room where visitors can sleep on the sofa. Though rarely used, the space is still furnished with trinkets from the family's trips and other unique furniture.
Ground Floor Den
The sofa, armchair and table are Kristine Neri creations, while the two cabinets were bought by the owner in the middle of the renovation. Sliding doors on one side open to a storage room where most of the family's things, like the husband's golf sets, are kept.
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Second Floor Landing
Kristine was given complete control when it came to the interior decoration, though she cautioned against going overboard. "Displaying too many trinkets or collections around the house could make for messy interiors, and the items themselves might not look as special anymore," she says.
Noticing the family's extensive collection of Japanese and African masks, Kristine hung a few on the wall facing the staircase to welcome visitors. A chest of drawers made of walnut, brought from Hong Kong, visually anchors the flight of masks.
The ascent up the staircase leads to the living area, where the family gathers whenever they can. Before the renovation, a hole looking into the ground floor occupied the center of the living area. The hole was covered up and other partitions were torn down to create a continuous space fit for get-togethers, something the family loves organizing. The space glows softly in the morning, thanks to the wide windows and the wooden screen doors leading to the study area, where sunlight filters in.
Several furniture were designed or customized by Kristine, including the blue tufted armchair and the sectional sofa, the latter an old piece reupholstered to suit the interior's aesthetic.
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The center table contains more proof of the family's wanderlust, with wooden Japanese swords from Baguio, clogs from the Netherlands, and an Indonesian wood mask among the items on display.
A wood shelf from Crate & Barrel broadcasts how well-traveled the family is with its display of matryoshka dolls, flagons, and glassware, all arranged by the lady of the house.
Japan is the family's favorite destination, so the house is peppered with several items brought from their trips there. A side table beside the living room sofa functions as a small shrine to Japanese culture, composed of a bell, kokeshi doll, and sword figurines.
Tucked comfortably in a corner, the dining area connects both the living and kitchen areas. Hovering over the dining table from Mav Furniture is a pendant light from Murano, a relic from their trip to Venice. The set of chairs circling the table was an uncle's birthday gift to the eldest daughter (eight chairs for her eighth birthday!), a peculiar gift that eventually proved a sensible fit for the dining area's look.
The kitchen is the husband's domain, as he loves to cook. Given the limited space, Kristine and team had to reorganize and maximize storage solutions to provide the husband with an efficient space to cook in. The built-in cabinetry was changed and more storage solutions were added to keep kitchen utensils organized.
The lady of the house's favorite space, the study area occupies what used to be the balcony overlooking the street. The room can seamlessly shift from a private space to an extension of the common areas simply by opening the wooden screen doors. "What I appreciate about it is how it used to be a space we never used, and now it's completely functional," she says.
The children do their homework here every night, on a desk designed by Kristine and swivel chairs from Pottery Barn.
At the back of the room is a metal shelf containing the lady of the house's favorite books. This corner is definitely a cozy reading nook.
Crowning the stairwell leading to the bedrooms is a sleek chandelier from Home Cartel.
The husband and wife's only request for their bedroom was to make it as relaxing as possible. Kristine and team took it one step further by turning the walls into cleverly hidden storage spaces for clothes, shoes, bags, and other daily necessities by the couple. The wooden chest guarding the end of the bed is a childhood possession of the wife, and provides a warm accent to the otherwise muted bedroom.
The eldest daughter requested to have a swing on one corner, which was problematic given the already cramped space. Neverthless, Kristine was able to fit a customized swing inside the room that hangs from the reinforced ceiling.
The bed, made by Ilokano craftsmen commissioned by the wife, originally had a four-poster frame, but the canopy had to be removed to eliminate the crowded feeling while inside the room.
The younger daughter's room has a darker color palette, accentuated by a mural of a crow perched on a branch. All the furniture had to be painted black to suit the theme, making for a cozy and meditative ambiance.
The Gothic-style cabinet, custom-made by Kristine, adds character to the room.
Ready to work on your own home makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo through email at kristine[at]kristineneri.com.
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