A Contemporary Asian Starter Home

Newlyweds transform a rundown house to a modern Asian home – all within a budget

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar Interior Designer: Chabby de la Rosa-Hortaleza

When this newlywed couple came across a rundown 1960s brick house by chance, they took it upon themselves to begin making it their dream home—even amidst wedding preparations! With a tight budget, the couple hired minimal help and got things done with some assistance from their family. They also shopped in Binondo and the Mariwasa factory frequently to make the old house their own.

With the help of the bride’s sister, interior designer Chabby de la Rosa-Hortaleza, the couple was able to complete the look of the house. The main living area highlights a white space that sparks a Zen vibe. The home also uses architectural details like simple casement windows with black frames, floating wood staircase, and huge windows to let light and air circulate. The areas are decorated with a distinctly Asian theme, all reasonably-priced or sent to them by relatives.

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Japinoy") in the October 2005 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details. 

Living Area An L-shaped beige couch from Bo Concept, another couch, and an ottoman, all bought on a bargain, make this space perfect for relaxation. The multitude of throw pillows and the bright light shining from the big windows immediately give an inviting feel.
Dining and Kitchen Areas A rectangular section, almost like a window, is cut from the kitchen wall, making the transition from kitchen to dining area seamless.
Décor Detail An authentic Japanese kimono, from an interior designer uncle, takes a place of honor next to the staircase. It is set on an old curtain rod against a richly colored piece of shantung silk.
Décor Detail A wooden carving of a Hindu god from Bangkok sits at the couple's landing, accentuated with a styled lamp reminiscent of shoji panels and dry branches in a dark vase.
Dining Area The dining area is a classic case of mix and match. The dining table from Blims was laminated into a darker shade, achieving an expensive look, for only P23,000. An antique 40-year old Russian rug from Kazakhstan completes the dining area.
Dining Area Even the dinnerware evokes an Asian vibe. A couple of accents was also added.
Staircase A floating wooden staircase leads to the bedrooms. Asian elements, like Bamboo branches and a paper lantern, decorate the staircase.
Master Bedroom The big planks came from the flooring of the original house. They were then sanded and polished. A Bamboo mat rests in front of the bed, with luxe pillows, giving the room a distinctly Asian feel.
Bedroom Detail A vintage Chinese top decorates the white wall adjacent to the couple’s bed. A bamboo stool, refurbished table, and mirror complete the space.
Patio A spacious patio lined with pebble-wash benches is preserved from the original house. The front entrance leads to the spacious second floor living and dining areas.

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