After Selling Their Property in Manila, This Family Moved to Laguna and Built a Black Farmhouse

They wanted to enjoy a simpler life and achieve a home within their budget

Photography: courtesy of Nice Sario Architect: Architect Neil Angelo Honorica of Minimalist Architects PH

During the first wave of the pandemic, Nice and her family decided to close their business, sell their property, and move to Laguna to enjoy a simpler life. Moving to a new place takes a lot of getting used to, more so if you’re also building a new house. Knowing the costs it will entail, Nice said they kept a few parameters in mind—they will look for a cheap lot, construct a house within their budget, and skip applying for loans.

READ: A Small Farm in Bulacan Becomes a Family's Safe Haven During the Pandemic

“The idea is for us to be able to sustain daily living without having to think of monthly recurring mortgage,” she shares. As if meant to be, the family was able to acquire a lot that not only falls within their means, it’s also sizeable enough for them to embrace the outdoors.


Taking inspiration from Studio McGee, a design studio based in the US, the owners focused on making their dream farmhouse happen where they can also grow herbs and vegetables they can use in their business. With the help of architect Neil Angelo Honorica of Minimalist Architects PH, their black farmhouse became a reality.

40 percent of the house focuses on outdoor living—with the homeowners having access to a veranda, a patio, outdoor seating nooks, and an open kitchen, to name a few.

Take a peek inside this black farmhouse in Laguna:


How often do you see a black-façade? The choice of color makes the house captivating and stand out amidst the greenery. According to the owners, the color palette of the home features earth colors, nude, and black to achieve a minimalist feel.

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Since the owners want to make the most of the outdoors, they made sure to carve out outdoor seating and dining nooks. In this part of the home, they can enjoy some snacks and refreshments during sunny afternoons.


Lounge chairs can also be spotted outside, allowing them to take a seat anywhere they like.

Open Kitchen and Patio Dining Area

One of the home’s distinct features is the open kitchen with a bar area. “One of our non-negotiables is a big foldable kitchen window with open bar. We want to connect the indoors and outdoors,” Nice exclaims.

Since the kitchen opens up to the patio dining area, food can be easily served during mealtime. The dining area is furnished simply with a table and six mismatched chairs.

With a kitchen as spacious as this, running their business from home can be a breeze. According to Nice, after closing their business in Manila, they started Fig Tree Café, a shop offering weekly healthy meal plans in the South. “A space amenable for heavy cooking is a non-negotiable to sustain our business because we gave up the physical store during the pandemic,” she shares.



The house follows an unusual layout, with the kitchen, the bedrooms, and a common bathroom located on the ground floor. “The house has a high ceiling with wooden beams as accent but it’s not really a big house,” Nice says.

Instead of a living or dining area, the front door opens to a full kitchen with a kitchen island and pantry which are musts for food preparation.

The kitchen island doubles as a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy quick meals and as storage for plates and other dinnerware.

To make the most of the space, built-in shelves hold small appliances to avoid clutter. “Everything should have storage. If we can’t hide it, we have to let it go. What makes a house a peaceful space is when there is no clutter,” shares Nice.

The cooking range is located in a corner beside the open kitchen. Having access to a spacious countertop when preparing meals is a must.



A sliding barn door conceals the pantry where ingredients and the family’s food supplies are properly stored.

Master Bedroom

To say the owners nailed the farmhouse aesthetic would be an understatement. The master bedroom evokes warmth and comfort—with its inviting bed and comfy accent chair. According to Nice, they get most of the décor pieces from Wilcon and Shopee while the soft furnishings were purchased from H&M.

At the foot of the bed is a dresser from IKEA. They made sure to create a compact workspace as well by pairing a sleek chair with a built-in desk.

Another sliding barn door reveals the walk-in closet where the vanity desk is also located.


A sliding glass door in the master bedroom opens to a charming setup where coffee can be shared or meals enjoyed in an outdoor setting. According to the owners, the landscape was done by Chel Shop’n Deliver.

Kiddie Room

In furnishing the kiddie room, the owners settled on a pair of iron beds and a low coffee table to separate them. Matching soft furnishings that go with the overall style of the home give it a cohesive look.

At the foot of the beds is the kids’ walk-in closet concealed by an accordion door.

Common Bathroom

The ground floor bathroom is sleek and modern—with dark walls, white subway tiles, and bath fixtures in black.



When it comes to storage solutions, every nook and cranny can be turned into storage nooks! In this home, the space under the stairs was converted into a nifty shoe cabinet.

Loft Area

One of the things the owners first noticed when they moved into the house is the amount of sunlight streaming into the space. The high ceiling allows air to circulate freely as well, minimizing the need to use AC units and fans.

Since they don’t have a living area on the ground floor, a TV area is a must on the loft so the family can watch shows and movies together. They completed the space with an L-shaped sofa and a wooden center table.

The owners only have one TV in the house which is this 65-inch TV they bought just for the loft. “We want to be able to sit together as one family,” says Nice.

Loft Bathroom


In contrast to the black and white ground floor bathroom, the T&B found on the loft features white and touches of blue, a brighter color scheme to match the view outdoors.

This private space has a jacuzzi where the owners can fully savor bathtime while admiring the view of the Laguna de Bay and Mt. Makiling.

Loft Lounge and Dining Areas

Completing the loft area is the balcony with lounge and dining areas. The owners also set up a compact gym with the equipment facing the mountain so they can see the view while exercising.

The owners also run their own resort in Laguna called The Bungalow Resort. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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