A 150sqm Country Home with Filipino Heirloom Elements

It took the owners seven years to get their family home to a harmony of colorful cottage and Filipino heritage

Original Article: Camyl Besinga Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Dagny Madamba and Paula de Guzman Interior Designer: John Vigilia

With help from longtime friend and interior designer John Vigilia, owners Pong and Bonggay Villaroman renovated their two-year-old home in 2007. They replaced some of the sliding doors leading to the lanai and garden with walls and transformed the remaining metal framework into white, French sliding doors. The plain white cement walls, were improved with intricately carved crown molding and white wainscot paneling. The calming celadon green makes a cozy contrast with the red Vigan-tiled floor. Because of its relaxing and homey atmosphere, the living area is the couple's favorite area to lounge in.

Meanwhile, the Machuka tiles on the steps of the narrow staircase add vibrancy to the red tiles. In the couple’s bedroom, the walls are painted a deep, old rose, complementing the dark stain of the cornices and moldings. A dark wood queen-sized bed, a bureau, night tables, and a chest add to the earthy feel.

The owners reveal that the cottage is still a work in progress. But now, it is a hearth for the couple, their daughter Zita, and black Labrador Bacchi.

Read the original article ("For Love of Country") in the April 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.


The façade of the home is every bit the country cottage, with its gabled roofs, white picket fence, manicured hedges, and even an arc of greens.

Living Area

The front door opens up into a truly country hearth with Filipino pieces. Weathered wood panels suspended from the ceiling set the tone for other heavy wood pieces like the carved curio cabinet. It houses various ceramics and pipes. Household plants add a bit of living green to the scene.

Living Area

The living area is adorned with country-themed accents like a floral slipcovered-couch, distressed wood cabinet, and framed art. The celadon green walls contrast with the Vigan-tiled floor to create a homey ambiance.

Front Door Detail

Bonggay had her trusted carpenter spruce up the front door by simply "punching it out," creating beautiful patterns.

Living Area

This nook is a testament to Filipino old world flair: the old sewing machine upcycled as a table, the various balustrades, the antique lamp—and an accent piece, again, a framed nature-themed artwork. 

Decor Detail

A nod to French style, rather than having a simple key hook, this framed Arc de Triomphe print holds the household’s keys.

Design Detail

Combining strength and feminine grace, wrought-iron brackets subtly signal the division between the living and dining areas.

Dining Area

The hardwood dining set goes perfectly with the Vigan tiles. While the framed prints by Fr. Manuel Blanco, an Augustinian friar from the Spanish period who first documented flora in the Philippines, echoes the color of the walls. The sampaguita glass transoms complete the old-world look.

Dining Area

Glass and wood work off each other to make this sun-bathed dining room become vibrant in earthy shades of green and brown.


Machuka tiles in varying colors but similar patterns give the narrow staircase distinct character.

Lounge Area

Echoing the sunny yellow walls, curtains were custom-made to fit the dormer windows. The daybed with its cushioned seat and beaded pillows is perfect for reading or lounging in during the day.


The bedroom walls are painted a deep old rose to complement the dark stain on the master bedroom's wooden trimmings and furniture. The vibrant paintings by Filipino artist Robert Nubla that hang on the wall above the bed pop.


The hue of the bedroom wall blends with the dark wood of the antique escritoire. Additional elements like the capiz lamp and candles contribute to the Filipino heirloom feel. 


The bathroom is at once cozy and vibrant, because of the Spanish tiles that line the walls and countertop. The antique mirror and cabinet are a throwback to our colonial past. It is the only room in the house that plays with so much color.


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