Wood and Stone change a Three-Storey Rest House in Tagaytay

Natural materials make a modern contemporary home seem warm and cozy

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Rachelle F. Medina Architect: Kathleen Henares

When siblings Tracy and Vincent Go decided to give their three-storey Tagaytay home a total makeover, they turned to husband-and-wife design team Fidel and Kathleen Henares for help. With the help of Fidel and Kathleen, the house now has a modern and angular look with clean lines. The streamlined style is completed with natural materials like wood, glass and stone to reflect the beauty of nature.

The property has also been divided carefully: Tracy took the top floor bedroom, while Vincent and his family occupies the bottom floor. The middle floor holds common areas like an unpartitioned kitchen, dining and living room, with enough extra space to house guests. The space is bathed in warm sunshine and filled with the cool breeze that Tagaytay is known for. It combines all that Tracy and Vincent wanted for the home—an unhampered view of the surroundings, natural light, and a feeling of spaciousness all around.

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Pictorial direction by Rachelle F. Medina. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("In the House of Stone and Light") in the April 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


This project required the vision of its two residents who shared mutual efforts to maximize space. In the end, only the foundation was retained. The rest was a totally different design produced through collaboration.

Facade detail

Due to a tendency for low-lying clouds to form in the high-altitude area, stone and glass were used against the formation of mold. It's vital to keep in mind the weather conditions of a site before deciding on your construction materials.


A colorful Doplon painting welcomes guests into the home, while windows bathe the entire foyer in unabashed sunlight. A classic Filipino bench with solihiya detail completes the space.

Living Area

In the living area, light gray walls provide contrast to the wooden furniture, flooring, and rustic décor. Fidel and Kathleen Henares decided on wide wooden floorboards and vast glass windows that enhance the airy feel of this modern home.

Living Area detail

Vibrantly-hued paintings of a cat and two dogs add a refreshing pop of color to the living area.

Dining Area

To make the most out of the space, no walls or partitions separate the living, veranda and dining areas. The open plan layout makes the place seem airy and spacious.


Interior designer Eric Paras made the kitchen. Black accents were envisioned as a perfect match for the gray walls. The openness of the space makes entertaining easy and hassle-free.


A mix of wooden furniture and home decor can be used to spruce up any corner of the home.

Second Floor Landing

A staircase landing on the second floor is transformed into a cozy nook. Such areas provide delightful places to display pre-owned finds, such as this wooden chair and glass house décor sourced from small furniture shops.


Since one can appreciate a full view of Taal Lake from the house, the outdoor seating areas are important.

Second Dining Area

For a more intimate dining experience, a second dining area is placed near the windows. The set-up is also perfect as a breakfast nook.

Guest Bedroom

In the guest bedroom, wooden day beds serve as comfortable options for friends and relatives of Tracy and Vincent. The high ceiling and the clerestory windows that allow more light to stream in make the space bright and inviting.


A traditional wooden seat is paired with an unconventional piece for a surprisingly stylish look.


In one of the bedrooms, a colored-glass screen provides a sense of privacy.


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