A 132sqm One-Bedroom Unit with a Dramatic Feel

Former Real Living creative director Gwyn Guanzon celebrates the old world charm of his own private sanctuary

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez-Angluben Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Styling: Gwyn Guanzon

After living in four different places in four years, former Real Living creative director Gwyn Guanzon moved into a one-bedroom unit in 2010. Since the 132sqm unit is in an old building, Gwyn wanted to keep the vintage look and feel, while staying true to his own design philosophy.

In line with this idea, Gwyn decided to retain the worn wood parquet floors in all their raw, unvarnished glory. However, he decided to work on the kitchen, extend the bedroom, and add another bathroom. After a four-month renovation, the space has a traditional-meets-modern appeal complemented by Gwyn's impressive collection of elegant yet exotic pieces.

Read the original article ("Home At Last") in the December 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

Front door

A pretty white knocker from France on Gwyn's front door serves as a preview of what to expect inside. 


A sleek console table from Gwyn's former home stands at the entryway. It is topped with a pair of lamps, an oversized chess piece, framed photos, and a mini obelisk from Dapitan Arcade. The piece de resistance is an authentic signed Pablo Picasso print. 


“I really don’t know where I got the idea for this catacomb-looking wall. Para siyang columbarium!” quips Gwyn. The three identical light fixtures on the wall are from A&S Lamps and cannot be turned on at will. Gwyn explains that they’re emergency lights which only light up during blackouts. The wall beside it is covered in paintings by Gwyn's friend Riza Romero.

Living Area

The living area has a muted powder blue with wainscoting detail. Since Gwyn was getting tired of sectional pieces, he furnished it with a customized semi-circular sofa instead. He explains that he reserved 18 yards of fabric because he needs more printed fabric for upholstery to make sure that the patterns will align.

Living Area

On the other side of the living area are pieces from Gwyn's old homes. The space is completed with artworks by Riza Romero and a tufted gray sofa topped with a zebra-printed pillow and a pillow with damask print.

Sunburst mirror

In this corner, Gwyn adorned the gray wall with a white sunburst mirror. 

Powder Room

The common bathroom is a new addition to the one-bedroom unit. Like the kitchen, the space had to be raised to make room for new plumbing. An exotic Moroccan lamp emits a moody and diffused light while the walls are decorated with frame-shaped decals.

Dining Area

The most interesting part of the dining area is the lighting fixture, a cheeky nod to a ubiquitous feature in Filipino houses: the large wooden spoon and fork. He’s still trying to figure out a way to make posters with card-playing dogs more fashionable. In the meantime, he’s got a wall filled with artwork “on loan” from artist and friend Riza Romero. 

Light fixture

Gwyn pays homage to his Filipino roots with this whimsical, highly original light fixture: drop lights mixed with large wooden spoons and forks that have been spraypainted silver. 

Dining Area

The surface of the large dining table is made of cow leather—an unusual choice for a table top. “Gasgasin lang siya,” remarks Gwyn. “You just have to wipe it once in a while with English oil.” The table is surrounded by Louis Ghost chairs (a birthday gift from his mom) and benches from his former home. 


Gwyn had the whole kitchen redone; it had to be elevated to make room for new plumbing. He initially wanted the flooring to be made of bare cement but “maintenance is hard. Mukha siyang madumi.” His next option was metal, but it was too expensive. He eventually found a less-expensive option: vinyl tiles that look like metal. 


Gwyn extended the bedroom, taking up a part of the balcony. Since the old parquet tiles were no longer available in stores, Gwyn used the tiles from the old kitchen instead. He also used a headboard made from recycled wood from his previous home. 


At the foot of the bed is a country-style rug from an ukay-ukay shop in Antique.


This corridor within the bedroom leads to the walk-in closet and master bath on the left, and the home office on the right.

Home Office

In the home office, shelves and cubbyholes hold books, files, and framed pictures. Instead of plain and boring office chairs, Gwyn chose reupholstered seats for a playful look.

White doorknob

Instead of regular doorknobs, Gwyn chose unusual white pieces from Antique. 

Master Bathroom

Gwyn's master bathroom has luxurious features, such as a clawfoot tub and a flat-screen TV. 

Wall decals

One of the bathroom walls has been made interesting with charming blue bird decals.

Bathroom mirror

The generous vanity mirror has been surrounded with light bulbs. Apart from illuminating the space better, these bulbs also set a more dramatic mood.


The balcony is furnished with a pair of garden stools and a drum stool. It also has a few plants and a wrought-iron chandelier.


Latest Stories

This Art Festival In Pasig Is Free To The Public

The first ever Ortigas Art Festival features paintings, installations, and art classes all within a community mall

8 Things to Remember When Visiting Art Galleries

Make sure you turn off your camera's flash

This Online Store Sells Pretty Woven Planters and Handmade Items

The plus side? Buying a piece helps local weavers and craftsmen, too!

The Best Divisoria Shopping Tips for 2018

Here’s our ultimate, updated guide on how to navigate Divisoria, the best bargain shopping spot out there

5 Renovating Mistakes To Avoid

DIY can only go so far—sometimes, you need the help of a pro

Get Ready to Shop: MUJI Is Lowering Their Prices

It starts today so run to a store near you!

A 100sqm Coffee Shop-Inspired Home

To turn this home in Singapore into a cozy haven, designer Kuay Mei Yee of Distinct Identity perfectly mixed Scandinavian and industrial details

5 Household Uses For Silica Gel Packets

Those tiny things you see in boxes of shoes and new bags go a long way

Smart Tips For Styling Mismatched Furniture From A Decorator

Take a quick lesson on asymmetry with these tips

Bathroom Picks For High, Mid, or Low Budgets

Because you can have a stylish bathroom, regardless of the price points!

7 Resort-Inspired Design Ideas for Your Home

Turn your house into an idyllic escape with these simple but striking styling tricks inspired by the beauty of Bali, Indonesia
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!