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This Pretty Studio Unit in Tagaytay Features Space-Saving Pieces

Don’t let its size fool you as 10 people can sleep in the 30sqm space

Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Dagny Madamba Architect: Ivy Tablante-Darilag of Structura Architects

Who doesn’t enjoy quick trips to Tagaytay? Whether you’re longing for the cool breeze, some familiar sights, and new things to enjoy—this famous spot never fails to surprise its visitors. If you’ve been thinking about getting a place in this cool city, this 30sqm unit may just be the inspiration you’ve been waiting for. Designed by architect Ivy Tablante-Darilag of Structura Architects, the unit will surely take the Tagaytay experience a notch higher. “The unit was designed as a second home, which the owner intends to rent out. We wanted to achieve a clean look with an inviting ambiance, with loft as design theme. The intent was to create an ambiance that mimics the feeling of being in an elevated space. [It needs to be] airy, light, and breezy,” says Ivy.

Completing the homey aesthetic are wooden touches and neutral colors with pops of green and blue. Since some vacations are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, it’s quite a challenge to make sure that the studio unit can accommodate around eight to 10 people. “The biggest challenge was having to design a limited space for 8 to 10 users. Our team had to be creative in thinking of ways to maximize the space, like designing a custom foldaway bed,” shares the architect.

Living, Dining, and Sleeping Areas

Natural light welcomes guests into the space, while the overall vibe can make anyone feel at home. Ivy and her team worked with colors that are easy on the eyes to achieve the inviting, straightforward, and cozy ambiance. The chosen colors also help create an illusion of a bigger, wider space.

Living, Dining, and Sleeping Areas

Surprise—the customized pieces transform and reveal extra beds to be able to accommodate around 10 people. Both the bed and daybed have pull-out beds, while a custom-made foldaway bed can be seen under the TV. These clever solutions make the unit ideal for big groups and families. “Some of the pieces in the space were fabricated by the construction team of Structura Architects,” says Ivy.

RL Tip: Shop for similar beds at Avino Fine Living. Consult with a trusted carpenter or handyman should you decide to have a piece customized.

Living Area

When not in use, the bed can be easily folded up like the small space-favorite Murphy bed or wall bed. “[We worked with wood] as it adds instant warmth to any area, which is especially important when the design uses rigidly modern materials like steel and glass,” explains Ivy. The space directly below the TV can be used as an ordinary shelf where décor, accessories, and other knickknacks can be displayed.

Sleeping Area

To make the unit look bigger than it really is, the design team also incorporated mirrors and horizontal lines into the final look. Instead of simply installing mirrors, Ivy made it more interesting with strips of wood—achieving a distinct appeal reminiscent of country homes. “Full-height mirrors instantly enlarge spaces when strategically placed,” she says. Placing the mirrors on both sides of the main bed also helps define the sleeping area.

Living/Sitting Area

This corner in the unit is undeniably cozy. Pillows in varying colors and sizes keep it snug and perfect for relaxing. Defining the area while adding a luxe appeal is a beautiful tufted wall.

RL Tip: To save on space, a small coffee table was placed in front of the daybed. It can be used to hold décor, snacks, and drinks during movie marathons. Find a similar piece at Urban Abode.

Dining Area

With the clever use of built-in furniture pieces, the 30sqm space still looks airy and spacious. The dining nook is defined by wooden posts with enough space in between each post to allow light to stream into the adjacent cooking area. Upon closer look, you’ll see that the dining table has no legs—it’s built-in and supported by the posts. Matching metal stools can accommodate around four people and when not in use, these can be tucked neatly under the table.

Find similar chairs at Match Contract.

Dining Area

Whether you have a big or small home, having enough storage options is important. To prevent clutter, Ivy included shelves and cabinets in the final look. In the dining area, a slim shelf can be seen—where accessories, baskets, and other dining essentials are kept.


The cooking area is compact and stylish. Aside from sprucing it up with cement tiles in a neutral color, Ivy also used a green glass splashback to tie the look with the rest of the unit. Overhead cabinets come in handy for storing ingredients and other supplies. According to IVY, they used a ¾”-thick plywood for all cabinets, shelves, and closets in the unit instead of MDF boards. “This is to ensure durability and structural integrity,” she shares.

For the countertop, the architect opted to use a ceramic slab. “We used a 1.20m x .60m ceramic tile slab instead of solid surface to cut down on costs. This also looks better and more luxurious than its 60 x 60 version,” Ivy adds.

Work/Reading/Vanity Nook

To maximize every inch of space, Ivy was also able to carve out a work/reading nook by the window. Another built-in wooden piece was used and paired with a metal stool to create a cohesive look. Since it faces a window and a mirror, it can also moonlight as a vanity area when needed. Two chic lighting pieces hang from the ceiling and match the overall theme.

Find similar lighting pieces at CW Home Depot.

Design Detail

An alternative to a gallery wall, this corner highlights a wooden frame, strings, and wooden clothespins where photos, postcards, and other souvenirs can be put on display. The overall setup adds a rustic charm to the unit.

Ready to give your home a makeover? Get in touch with architect Ivy Tablante-Darilag through email at ivy[at] Click here to learn more about Structura Architects.

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