A Warehouse Turned into a Bright, All-White Home
Interior designer Kimi Manuel created an inviting home with a picture-perfect kitchen as its focal point
It's normal for family members to drift apart as time passes. Either the children grow up and start their own families, or everyone becomes too busy with their jobs that quality time together becomes shorter by the day. This was a problem faced by Myrna M. See, as her three children are always preoccupied with various ventures. Making it worse is the house's lack of a common area so every family member holes up in their rooms, only coming down for meal times. Myrna's solution was to renovate the warehouse adjacent to their house into a space that would encourage her family to come together more often. "[The warehouse] used to be an empty, sad hole where we stored a lot of items from our businesses. That's why we just went straight upstairs to our rooms whenever we came home," says Marlowe, one of her children.
With the help of interior designer Kimi Manuel, the interiors of the two-storey warehouse were transformed into an all-white haven filled with several furniture and trinkets from Myrna's collection. The ground floor is an ideal place for gathering, while the rooms and a private office are found upstairs. "This house is really for [Myrna's] children, where they'd be confident to invite friends. They're very sociable, so there are always lots of people invited when there's a celebration. This house is all about supporting and strengthening that lifestyle," shares Kimi.
Renovating the warehouse was a challenge, especially with all the stored items that had to be moved. The structure was mostly kept as it is, with few walls being torn down and the columns remaining in place. Several exposed pipes had to be hidden, so the ceilings are uneven in places. Given all the changes and the welcoming atmosphere it has, the house has been getting praises from visitors, too.
Marlowe sometimes invites friends over for a jamming session, where they use the foyer. The foyer is spacious enough to accommodate his drum set while leaving enough room for his bandmates. The stairs were retained from the original warehouse, right down to the tile detail on the risers.
The stairwell houses Myrna's other collected items and creations, such as a wood beam from a sugar mill transformed into a wall installation.
Beside the staircase is a small setup consisting of furniture from Myrna's collection. "My mom loved buying furniture pieces and storing them in our old house. With Kimi's help, we were able to narrow down the items that would look best here," says Marlowe.
The Apeles children usually hang out here during their off days, either watching TV or playing games. A sectional sofa from Habitat and a center table from Triboa Bay Living are the area's main pieces, but the Thai console table and mirror on one side are the eye-catchers. Myrna found it in Bataan, badly in need of repair. "I've always wanted to preserve old furniture because my generation often forgets the importance of things from the past. They just throw them away, which is a shame," she says.
The dining area is inviting and flows directly to the kitchen. Before renovation, the space was used for dining as well. The table and benches were designed by Myrna herself, the wood taken from the fallen narra tree in the lot across where their new warehouse is. Myrna has an affinity with wood, trying to salvage as much as she can and fashioning them into usable items like she did with the table lamp beside the dining area.
Find a similar dining set at Komodo Teak, LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City.
These beautiful brass lamps suit the eclectic style present throughout the house while adding an undeniable elegant touch.
Find a similar piece at Azcor.
The kitchen is well-illuminated thanks to transom windows that make the all-white color scheme glow. Color is introduced through the Triboa Bay pendant lights, Sasson Home barstools, and Volakas marble for the backsplash.
For backsplash and countertop options, visit Kaufman Stone, Unit B, 865 A. Mabini, San Juan City.
The space is something of a crowd favorite as the children often invite friends over for a cookout. "The kitchen gives them a venue to prepare food together. It makes the house ideal for hosting parties," says Kimi. The space is even being rented out to a couple of ad agencies for food shoots, further proof of the space's good design and overall appeal. "That's something we're excited about. It was my sister's friend who first saw the possibility of doing a food shoot here, and from then on we've rented it out for other shoots," says Marlowe.
The powder room continues the house's overall aesthetic—all-white surfaces, with eclectic items sprucing up the space.
Interesting pieces and accessories add character to the powder room. A niche was built-into the wall to hold toiletries and other accessories, maximizing vertical space. A collection of magazines and a potted plant complete the inviting feel.
Ready for your own home makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Kimi Manuel through email at katharinemanuel[at]yahoo.com.
For inquiries about renting the kitchen for shoots, you may contact Marlowe Apeles through mobile at (0917) 806-2756 or send him a message on Instagram: @marloweee.
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