A Modern Tropical House filled with Natural Elements

A child-friendly wonderland is created with forest trees, floor-to-ceiling windows, and well-appointed furniture

Original Article: Camyl Besinga Photography: Pat Martires Pictorial Direction: Joanne Enriquez-Bohol Architect: Kathleen Henares

From the outside, this house looks like a typical minimalist structure, complete with whitewashed walls and clean, straight lines. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Since the lot follows the curve of the street and has a lot of trees that the homeowners wanted to keep, architect Kathleen Henares and contractor Fidel Henares had to make several adjustments. Some walls had to be slanted while some rooms became smaller and narrower than others. The tree-filled property also influenced the design of the interiors, resulting in an easy, breezy modern tropical style.

Original article by Camyl Besinga. Pictorial direction by Joanne Enriquez-Bohol. Photographed by Pat Martires.

Read the original article ("Closer to Nature") in the April 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


Some rooms of this modern contemporary home are shaped at an angle and others are curved. "The shape of the house follows the shape of the street, and since our directive was not to chop down any tree, Kathy (the architect of the home) was forced to make the house narrow,” shares the owner.


One of the family pets, an adorable Pomeranian, stands near the side entrance where the home curves around an existing kalachuchi tree.


The animal-loving homeowners have other Pomeranians and sweet mixed-breed dogs, turkeys, rabbits, koi, and even full-grown pigs. Except for the pigs, the animals are allowed to roam freely in and around the house.


After owning a smaller, colorful home in the past, the couple decided to keep this house warmer and more nature-inspired. They went with all-white walls and ceilings, complemented with hardwood floors and cabinetry. In the living room, a baby grand piano sits right next to picture windows overlooking the pool. Behind it are other band instruments that the dad, kids, and guests play with.

Living Room Detail

The space is completed with colorful paintings by the owner’s daughter.


The formal dining room and many other areas of the home have great views of the tree-filled garden.


On the other hand, the focal point of the informal dining area is a wall of niches lined with araal stones.


Aside from being a great way to store and display the family’s belongings, the wall also adds another nature-inspired touch to the home.


For a laidback and relaxed feel in the dining area, the furniture is matched with antique accessories, including a cast iron for clothes used as a bookend.


The vintage ice shaver adds a nostalgic appeal to the space. The family still uses this kitchen tool to make iced desserts like halo-halo and mais con hielo.


From ground floor to the rooms upstairs, the walls are covered in books, family photos and various artwork by Jason Montinola and Lynyrd Paras. Both artists are known for their unusual and interesting portrait work.


In the boys’ room, store-bought bunk beds were deconstructed to create a work or play area underneath.


The homeowner shares that the boys leave the shades drawn so that they can see the blossoming kalachuchi tree before going to sleep.


In this master bedroom, a wall carving from Baguio used as a headboard reminds us the greatest pieces can come from unlikely places.


The personal space is furnished with a comfortable bed and side tables.


In line with the rustic feel of the home, the solid kamagong countertop was paired with woven baskets and a stool with a solihiya seat.


The family enjoys the cool breeze and verdant view from the comfort of their balcony.


There are two ponds with a water-filtration system built by no less than Cito Beltran, with one pond filled with giant koi, and another with freshwater tilapia, which the kids fish themselves.


Old forest trees provide enough shade around the periphery of the lot.


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