A Modern Tropical House Inspired by the Sea and Sky

Wood, stone and other natural elements add warmth to a two-storey home.

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Vincent Coscolluela Pictorial Direction: Dagny Madamba Interior Designer: Vivian Gacad

When constructing, renovating or simply sprucing up your home, personalize it with the things closest to your heart, just as Emily Crisostomo and Marla Guevara did when they built their own space. Since Emily’s family runs a shipping business and Marla is a Hong Kong-based flight attendant, they thought of a sea and sky theme for their two-storey house by architect Jeff Velasco and interior designer Vivian Gacad.

First, a modern tropical look is created with pristine white walls and floors and an open layout combined with wooden ceilings, dividers and furniture pieces. The sea and sky theme can be appreciated through the airy and spacious feel of the home and accessories like sailboat prints, fish and airplane structures, and even an aircraft-inspired lighting installation. 

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Pictorial direction by Dagny Madamba. Photographed by Vincent Coscolluela. 

Read the original article (“Sea and Sky”) in the August 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


Since Emily and Marla love to host weekly parties, the open living area was designed to seamlessly connect with the dining and kitchen areas, making it easier for them to entertain guests. Guests can move around and socialize freely because there are only a few pieces of furniture, including a pair of chairs and a low coffee table in the living area and an eight-seater dining table in the dining area. Keeping the space nearly bare is also in line with the modern contemporary design of the dwelling.


As Emily’s family has a music room where they gather to sing songs, it was important for her to have the same experience in the home she now shares with Marla. “Emily’s initial idea was to enclose the area with sliding glass doors, but we advised against it because loud music would cause a lot of reverberation,” Vivian explains. Instead, they used a padded sliding door to enhance the acoustics and the visual appeal of the room. In keeping with the theme of the home, the area is completed with a chair upholstered in turquoise, a color reminiscent of the clear blue sea and sky. To tie the look together, the color can also be seen on a tufted floor pillow with a damask pattern.


The breezy veranda seamlessly flows into the living space, offering guests a view of the backyard, the gym, and the interiors of the main part of the home. It is furnished with woven lounge pieces from Pampanga for a relaxing resort feel.


The home gym is found in a structure separate from the main part of the house. Just like the other parts of the space, the home gym has plain, white walls complemented with a wooden floor and ceiling. The wood slats on the ceiling add warmth to the space.


Outside the main house is a separate structure that is used as their home gym and service quarters and a three to five-feet lap pool surrounded by a manicured garden filled with fruit trees, flourishing herb plants and ornamental plants.


Since Emily wants to share their home with family and friends, she especially requested for two guest rooms that both have simple, neutral palettes that appeal to any of their guesrs. To add character to the spaces, they simply use various bed sheets with different prints and patterns.


With a full view of the green-tiled lap pool and garden, the master bedroom has a relaxing resort-type appeal enhanced by cove lighting, wooden furniture, and blue, brown and white pillows and sheets. To make the most of the space, the headboard of the bed is also used as a way to separate the sleeping area and the work area.


The wooden headboard in the master bedroom also serves as a work desk for Marla and Emily.


The walk-in closet closely resembles a swanky clothing store, complete with several generously-sized closets, a wall lined with shelves and free-standing cabinets in the middle of the space.


The attic is furnished with a whitewashed work desk.


The modern tropical style is also seen in the master bathroom which has an arresting accent wall covered in gray stones. More than being a decorative addition, the accent wall serves as a place for a rectangle-shaped mirror and matching sparkling white lavatories for Emily and Marla. Beneath the lavatories is a teak tray that can hold towels and toiletries.


The shower can be found on the other side of the gray slate wall. A niche in the wall is used to hold toiletries and grooming products. Other products are placed on a wooden stool on the floor.


The master bathroom is divided into three parts: the vanity, shower, and toilet areas. Just like the rest of the space, the toilet in the corner is also awash in white with wooden details. On one side, white bathrobes hang on wall-mounted hooks.


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