A Grandiose Relaxing Dream Home

Lush greens, generous windows, calming water, and spacious rooms make a perfect first home

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar

Nieva and Michael Zullo wanted their first home, ten years after they got married, to be “a house relaxing to the eyes as it is to the senses.” Both retirees and finally settling down after years of traveling the world because of work (she was a United Nation’s Administrator and he a chef-business owner), this couple finally got the chance to build their dream home. After two years of planning and building, the couple finally achieved making a home where they could go on a vacation every day.

The façade of their home is a sight to behold, with plants blooming all around, landscaped pebbles bordering a unique carved double-door from Indonesia. A cantilevered concrete canopy stands over the entrance, like going inside will transport you into another world. Generous floor-to-ceiling windows adorn the walls, letting natural light in and offering an amazing view of the skies and garden from the living room. Inside, the interiors are eclectic, a classy mix of furniture and accessories the couple has collected throughout the years from the many countries they’ve visited. Despite not having a particular style or theme, it all ties in wonderfully, a home that is spacious, relaxing, and uniquely personal.

Original article by Amillah Rodil. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Good Life, Great Home") 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. 


Welcoming you into the home are carved wooden doors imported from Indonesia. Plants that surround the area, including potted plants on a concrete canopy over the entrance, keep the place looking welcoming and fresh.

Living Area (from the Entrance)

The living area walls are like works of art. The green speckles were made manually by using a thread. For the floor, a natural limestone finish gives it a contemporary rustic feel. They covered it with sealant to keep it from staining.

Living Area Detail

The classical bronze sculpture behind the sofa is an antique piece—it’s a 105 year-old lamp by French sculptor Julian Kauss.  

Living Area Detail

Around the living room, floor-to-ceiling glass windows let light in generously. While the furniture are made of wood and rattan, the cushions are all white, which contributes to the crisp and clean look.

Living Area Detail

Painted wooden glass add an interesting vibe to the home. It lets the light shine through, yet is still decorated, livening up the area without taking any extra space.  

Living Area Detail

Artificial bamboo and lilies give color to this pond, accompanied by Koi fish.


The living area doesn’t need much artificial light because of the windows. This spherical light is enough for the whole area.

Niche Detail

TIP: Display everything in your collection together. The well-traveled couple collected many accessories over the course of the years. Some of these are the sculptures displayed here, from Asia, Africa and the bronze sculpture in the middle is “Bow Girl” by Pierra Lefaquay. 

Décor Detail

More interesting sculptures decorate the place, like a head and armless statuette and stick-men sculptures. A glass frame holds a photo of Nieva from high school.

Dining Room

The dining room is spacious, perfect for entertaining guests. A chandelier gives an effervescent glow to the 12-seater teak dining set imported from Indonesia.


A canopy decorated with butterflies above the dainty blue and white bed gives the room a whimsical feeling. Shelves with lights are built into the walls, a great space saver idea. 

Outdoor Detail

The pool is located in their backyard, surrounded by tall walls, ensuring the couple’s privacy. It’s accessible straight from the bathroom.


The lanai is a fenced-off area, using tree branches. Rattan furniture with homey cushions give it a country vibe. 


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