A Rustic-Contemporary Townhouse for a Family of Six

Quirky pieces and handpicked items turn this four-storey property into an ideal space for a happy brood

Original Article: Cecle Jusi-Baltasar Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Dagny Madamba and Kamila Arianna Garcia Interior Designer: Jen Sohu

When homeowner Jenny and Mike Sohu bought their four-storey, four-bedroom townhouse, Jenny already had an idea about the look. Lucky for her, her interior designer, Jen Sohu, who’s also her cousin-in-law (and her namesake!) got exactly what she had envisioned. “She told me, ‘I want something rustic,’” says designer Jen of the theme Jenny wanted for her home. “I told her, ‘Stop right there. Gets ko na.’” Thus was the beginning of their harmonious relationship and how the Sohu home came to be.

Upon entering, guests are greeted with machuca tiles on the floor, wooden planks with “laugh, say please, give hugs” printed on them, and a washed brick wall in the Sohu’s foyer.

The wall of washed bricks continue on to the second floor where it serves as an accent wall for the wide, open space. This is where the living area and the kitchen are. “From the start, I imagined the living room to be the center of our family bonding activities. That’s why the space was made open and free,” explains Jenny. To achieve this, they had to do a re-layout: build a powder room in place of the guest room, extend the main kitchen, and add a “dirty” kitchen.

Another flight of stairs leads to the third floor, where two bedrooms are found. The master bedroom, done in a relaxing palette of blues, whites, and browns, is the opposite of their son’s dark and cozy room. Like the second floor, this space went through a re-layout three times to accommodate a bigger walk in closet. The top floor of the Sohu home is where the girls’ rooms are. See how a delightful mix of colors and pieces can bring a property to life.

Living Area

The gorgeous washed brick wall in the living area entailed a lot of work and effort. According to Jen, the house painters couldn’t quite get the appeal of the unfinished look. “Mukha namang naaagnas na,” they told her. So instead of defending her concept, she showed them how it should be done—while heavily pregnant with her second child! “Tatlong ulit pa kami diyan because the painters just couldn’t get it,” Jen said.

Find a similar coffee table at Philux.

Living Area

Since Jen couldn’t bring herself to ask the homeowners for an exposed ceiling in order to achieve a more rustic look, she opted for a lighting system installed on metal racks that spans the ceiling.

Living Area

Jenny admits that decorating a rustic home is pretty easy what with all the accessories available in stores. “But having pieces that mean something to us—those with a back story—are more precious,” she says. These precious items can easily be found on display around the house, like this spot in the living room.

Follow Vintage Hardware Manila on Instagram to inquire about a similar shelf.

Dining Area

The Sohu’s dining area already had a dining table months before the house was finished. This is because Jenny knew exactly what she wanted: “an outdoorsy, picnic-type.” So when she saw one that perfectly matched what she had in mind, she immediately bought it. The table from Pottery Barn is an eight-seater that can extend to a twelve-seater. It complements the mismatched chairs added to the space.

Meanwhile, the blue chair is from Anna Banana Rustics, while the off-white chair was bought on sale from KISH.

The cabinets, despite being a little too modern for the rustic theme, still complements the home design thanks to Jenny’s research and keen eye for detail. She carefully picked cabinet handles and fixtures that balanced the contemporary look of the cabinet.

Check out Viro Casa Design for similar cabinets and Vintage Hardware Manila for the handles and fixtures.

Master Bedroom

Instead of having an ordinary headboard, Mike and Jenny's bed has shelves as part of a big headboard. It’s adorned with souvenirs from the family’s many travels, but not all are on display as there are plenty of them. Instead, they’re stylishly stashed in “invisible” storage nooks, like the wall panels behind the shelves that reveal cabinets when opened.

Maki's Bedroom

The darkest room in the house belongs to the eldest sibling who’s also the unico hijo. Being a basketball varsity player, Maki wanted a cozy bedroom perfect for a well-deserved rest after training. And he got it in the form of a rustic-themed room, which has a mix of brick, wood, and steel elements.

Find similar pieces at More Than A Chair, Sitio Libutad, Brgy. Sta. Maria, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Maki's Bedroom

Conveniently placed right next to Maki’s bedroom door are these pull-up bars. He’s a basketball varsity player, so it helps especially when he needs to be fit for his games.

Moey and Macie's Room

The youngest Sohu girls, Moey and Macie, share a room with salmon walls and emerald green beds. It has girly white chandeliers and a set of red drawers from More Than A Chair, among other pretty things. 

Moey and Macie's Room

Similar to their older sister Maddie’s room, Moey and Macie’s have typography and quirky accessories, too. These, for example, are re-imagined birdcage shelves from China. The knobs around them add pops of color and a fun aesthetic, too.

Find similar pieces at The Landmark, 6751 Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City.

Moey and Macie's Room

The girls share this desk and shelves with equal working spaces for each of them.

Maddie's Room

Interior designer/Aunt Jen’s favorite room in the house (aka Maddie’s room) almost didn’t turn out like this. Maddie originally wanted purple walls with a rock star theme but gladly changed her mind when she saw the pegs and ideas of of aunt Jen—a combination of green and purple shades, and a canopy bed to name a few.

Maddie's Room

Maddie’s room doesn’t have many shelves, so bag hooks like this purchase from China are helpful in keeping her things organized.

Maddie's Room

After three days of mixing and matching curtains and bed linen on the Pottery Barn website, Jenny and Jen came up with these tasselled curtains for Maddie's room.

Maddie's Room

These boho-chic hooks from Amazon work both as storage and design pieces in Maddie’s room. She uses them to hang her many bags.

Maddie's Room

Another one of Jen’s purchases from China is this yellow light fixture in Maddie’s room. According to Jen, Jenny is quite happy with this purchase, saying, “Siya lang kasi dito sa Pilipinas ang merong mga ganitong light fixtures.”

Powder Room

Believe it or not, this powder room got more attention from Jenny than the master bedroom, but for a reason. “Jen always said na ang powder room ang gastusan because this is what guests will see,” says Jenny who heeded her designer’s advice. Jenny also took it upon herself to make one of Jen’s lighting fixture pegs happen. Her DIY project now hangs from the powder room ceiling.

Powder Room

Jenny and Jen used subway tiles for the powder room’s wall and white tiles for the floor. Since they couldn’t find the perfect sink locally, they ordered a utility sink from the U.S.A.

Find similar floor tiles at Mozzaico, Libis, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City.

Shower Room

Although done in just one color, the all-white shower room highlights an interesting vibe with the play of shapes and textures.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Real Living Magazine.

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