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An Old Bungalow Transformed into a Two-Storey Sustainable Home

After surviving Ondoy and severe flooding in their area, the owners decided to renovate the property into a space where they can welcome friends and nature

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Photography: Jilson Tiu Styling: Dagny Madamba Architect: Emerging Architects Studio

Found in a subdivision filled with contemporary-inspired properties, this house stands out because of its unique charm that’s reminiscent of vacation homes. From the outside, one can’t help but notice its structure defined by the timeless pairing of wood and plants. Five years ago, passersby wouldn’t give it a second look—it looks dated, gloomy, and one can easily tell that it has taken quite a beating after several storms. “The area is known for floods. The owners got in touch with us because they saw we were doing another project here. They wanted the bungalow to have a second storey and to change the look na rin. We incorporated our own suggestions to match the personality of the owners,” shares architect Don Sebastian of Emerging Architects Studio (EASt).

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After carefully studying the property, getting to know the owners, and taking into consideration the tight budget, Don, his co-principal architect Dean Michael Ramos, and the rest of the team at EASt worked on the renovation and dubbed it as “Project Wood Be New Again.” “We checked what we can retain, the old features, and the layout. Ang pinaka naging critical is the tight budget so our thrust was to salvage and get as much materials we can save and recycle. After the inventory, nakita namin na sobrang daming wood. We want the place to pay homage to a good renovation project. It gave us room for creativity with wood as the essential element,” explains Dean.

It was a hot day when we visited, but we can’t help but feel refreshed the moment we stepped inside the home. Open spaces, a skylight, and an indoor garden add a tropical flavor to the industrial-meets-rustic aesthetic of the home. “The owners wanted to have a home that’s airy, flooded with daylight, and to not use artificial light as much as possible,” he adds. Since the occupants love having friends over, traveling, music, and camping, subtle hints that represent these passions can be seen in the house. “From wherever you are, dami mong makikitang angles. Different groups of friends can take a spot. The house can be shared. We can have guests over na sabay-sabay,” says the owner. The architects noted how challenging it is to work with wood. “May hesitation dito sa atin kasi magde-degrade, ma-anay. But good design is a two-way street. There needs to be good communication between the architects and the users,” Dean says.

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