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A Relaxing Tropical Home With Asian Touches

An architect updates his parents' 1980s home into a modern, tropical space for his family

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Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: At Maculangan Styling: Issa Villar Architect: Mark Siapno

Built in 1987 by architect Mark Siapno's parents, the four-bedroom, two-storey house had few windows, and a deep floor plan that didn't let much light into the interiors. After more than 20 years, the design of the house had become dated.

Anna Siapno admits she wasn't thrilled when Mark, her then-fiancé, told her that they would be living in his parents' old home. "When we were engaged, he told me I was gonna live here. I was so shocked, kasi it was dark. He told me he was gonna renovate it, but I didn't think that it was possible...talagang ang dilim-dilim."

The house had a lot of good architectural elements though, such as the stairs, doors, railings, and cornices. Mark wanted to keep these details because they were made of narra, but Anna was a bit skeptical about the wood. "I know his taste: It's modern, Zen-type architecture. I was thinking, how can he incorporate a modern design with the old narra carvings?"

Everything in the house now feels sleek, updated, and polished. "I wanted clean lines, minimalist design," says Mark. Not only did he blend the old with the new, but he also created light-filled, flexible spaces that better fit their lifestyle. He also improved the flow of space. Upon entering, you see the staircase going up to the second floor, and a central hallway with a small receiving area beyond. From the central hallway, you can go into the living area and home office on the right, or the dining room and kitchen on the left. Huge sliding doors allow glimpses into adjacent rooms, making the house feel more open and spacious.

"We're homebodies. The house is perfect for us. It's a functional house," Anna says. Aside from being a great a new home for the couple, a bonus is that the house has also been good for Mark's architectural practice. "It's a good sales pitch," he says. "The moment I bring my clients to my house, it's a done deal." 

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