A 75sqm Loft Shared By Sisters

Secondhand furniture, Filipino items, and Asian pieces make up this comfy home for two

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Paolo Feliciano Styling: Tala Singson and Dagny Madamba

The Kintanar sisters, Karmeli, a headhunter by profession, and her sister Kara, a producer for a TV and movie production company, moved from their old house to a 75sqm loft for two. "The unit was ready for occupancy, in a good location, has a high ceiling, and it’s only on the sixth floor,” says Karmeli.

Over the years, Karmeli and Kara have accumulated items, mostly secondhand, from popular homeowner haunts Barangay Bangkal in Makati, Dapitan Arcade in Manila, and Cubao X in Quezon City.

“The first things we put in place were the couch in the dining area, which I always wanted to put by the window, and the blue couch in the living room. The bed I share with Kara is the same one we had before. The rest, we fixed over time,” says Karmeli.

They upcycled a vintage sewing machine and it now functions as a console table between the living and dining areas. A large mirror is sits prominently in the living room, atop of a wrought iron bench. “Since I design clothes on the side, my clients sometimes do their fittings here kaya kailangan ko ng malaking mirror,” Karmeli says.

The predominant colors in their home are pink and blue, while vintage items range from Filipino to other Asian pieces. The secondhand items and their mementos collected over the years give a cozy character to their shared loft.

Read the original article ("Lofty Dreams") in the August 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.

Living Area

The living room is brightened up by the blue couch and pink trunk. Select pieces add character to the space.

Living Area Detail

Collected over time, secondhand items in the sisters’ loft make their shared living spaces cozy. The treasure chest that acts as coffee table was bought during one of their many shopping trips at Cubao X.

Dining Area

The white walls are a great canvas for the sisters’ eclectic pieces. The dining table used to be their old computer table. Karmeli repainted it pink. The couch is part of a set bought on sale at a department store. They had a slip cover made for it, too.

Upcycling Tip

The Kintanars upcycled a vintage sewing machine as a console table between the living and dining areas. Some of the pieces found on the table include a Matryoshka doll with the other dolls nestled inside, a Boho glass fringed lamp, and a framed print of Van Gogh's "Almond Branches in Bloom."

Design Detail

Memories are reflected on the framed photos and variety of books. The old cabinet was from an aunt which Karmeli painted white.

Design Detail

The high ceiling makes the shabby chic space airy and sun-drenched.

Decor Detail

These tableware finds are from flea markets and budget stores.

Decor Detail

Bottles of various shapes and colors provide vintage accent.

Decor Detail

This body form shows off Karmeli’s designer philosophy with the colorful beads and handwoven bag.

Decor Detail

A corkboard encased in transparent frame is used to post memos and other important documents. It sits atop a vintage oriental box.

Decor Detail

Books are kept in order using a pair of rustic bookends found during one of Karmeli's trips to Dapitan.


Latest Stories

You Only Need P5,000 To Work On These Home Improvement Projects

The best part? These can increase the value of your space, too.

What's Inside The Vatican Walls?

Aside from having one of the largest collections of art in the world, the Vatican holds many other treasures

Meet The Architect Behind This Industrial-Pinoy Home

Inspired by the Bahay Kubo, this architect worked with industrial details and affordable building materials to create an inviting space

Is It Possible to Paint Over Tiles?

No one likes the sight of lackluster tiles. Know what to do with these tips from an interior designer.

A Sneak Peek at the New Clark City

A Singaporean consulting firm has been tapped for the development project

You Can Use Wallpaper On The Ceiling, Too

Talk about having a one-of-a-kind accent in your space

Rockwell's Glasshouse Is The Chicest Restaurant Out There

Fashion retailer Harlan + Holden's response to the global trend of lifestyle dining is this airy and beautiful restaurant

6 Ways Wallpaper Can Enhance A Very Small Room

Wallpaper isn't just for huge, sprawling homes—the colors and patterns of this wall finish can visually enlarge a tiny space

Divisoria Home Finds You Can Buy For P500 or Less

Shop ‘til you drop at this bargain hotspot

Practical Tips For Collecting Art From An Art Gallery Owner

You don't have to spend a fortune to have a sizable collection

6 Places To Visit in Angono, Rizal This Long Weekend

Take a day trip to this artists' haven in Rizal and enjoy local art with a side order of culture and exotic food

Did You Know That Color Can Control Your Mood?

Believe it or not, your paint choices play a huge role in how you feel
Load More Stories

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