A Couple Upgrades Their Old Townhouse into a Laid-back, Beach-Inspired Space

This 10-year-old townhouse is transformed into a tropical Asian resort-style home

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Coni Tejada Interior Designer: Dina de los Reyes

One way to create a home that you would love to keep coming back to is to find the things you love the most and try to recreate them in a space that is ideally located and within sufficient space. A couple was lucky to find a 10-year-old spacious townhouse that they could renovate into a tropical Asian-style home with a resort vibe.

They began by gathering their travel photos and looking through them to see which styles and accents they liked from the various resorts they have been to, such as Balay sa Laiya, Anilao, and other Batangas resorts. With the help of interior designer Dina de los Reyes, the tired townhouse that needed a makeover became a streamlined space that was laid-back and relaxing, with a light and peaceful ambiance that made the homeowners and their guests feel like they are constantly on vacation.

The owners achieved this home without breaking the bank by choosing custom-made furniture over bargain or laminate pieces that wouldn’t last long or designer furniture that were too expensive. They scoured Greenhills, Tiendesitas, Komodo, and Gallery Kura – décor haunts that were near their residence to avoid wasting time, money, and gas.

Its palette of butter yellow and soft sage were paired with custom-made furniture, an outdoor veranda, and a rock garden that brought the beach to their home. Their collection of memorabilia from their various trips – Boracay sand in a jar from the 1990s, corals and stones from a beach in Batangas, a Lladro figurine given as a wedding present, and colorful old fashioned lamps, they built a home that was close to the resort lifestyle they loved. All this home needs are the sound of the waves and the ocean breeze.

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Pictorial direction by Coni Tejada. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article ("Home Work") in the October 2007 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 In keeping with the home’s resort vibe, the daybed (which was custom-made in Greenhills) was inspired by a couch they saw in Lonely Planet in Boracay. Their honeymoon find in Bangkok was a three-piece collection of carved wood from Chatuchak market which they bought for Php 5,000. They found similar pieces in Tiendesitas that were sold for Php 7,000 each. The open shelving allows them to display their other travel souvenirs, while woven baskets are used for additional storage.
Shelves The floating shelves where they display their treasured photos were bought in Bacolod Bazaar and inspired by Pottery Barn’s picture frame display. They secured the photo frames with double sided tape to keep them in place.
Dining Area The custom-made square, eight-seater dining table was specially made in Greenhills, and double duties as the couple’s workstation. They paired this with a bench against the wall, tall chairs with backrests, and a textured ottoman for a casual, eclectic look.
Dining Area Detail The mini console table fits a tray filled with scented candles, a sleek cylindrical vase with a large leaf, and the woman of the house's black-and-white photo. Despite its size, it adds storage space and keeps clutter at bay.
Dining Area Detail An old-fashioned book case is used as a display/storage area for dinnerware.
Kitchen The man of the house, who likes to cook, specified that the kitchen appliances should perfectly fit the kitchen counter to make the setup more efficient and organized. The mosaic border on the kitchen wall was assembled by the wife's nieces for a personal touch.
Staircase Detail The wooden screens were from a 1960s inspired look, while the shelves on different levels are used to display more of the couple’s photos and souvenirs.
Organizing Tip Apart from keeping their things neat and orderly, displaying their collection also doubles as a wall accent.
Playful Touch Photos are creatively displayed using clips and wire.
Outdoor Sitting Area The homeowners brought the beach to their home with this sitting area which reminded them of a deck by the beach. Just like in their rock garden, they used larger pebbles from Bulacan Garden that were cheaper than small pebbles which cost Php 600/bag. The polycarbonate roof made into a trellis and the roughly finished tiles completed the sitting area.
Outdoor Dining Area This expandable wooden table from Gallery Kura is perfect for barbecues and cookouts. They chose this outdoor dining set over plastic monoblock chairs that they didn’t find attractive.

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