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A Colorful Condo in BGC With Playful Italian Touches

It may be only be 66sqm, but this exuberantly decorated condo unit feels like an Italian palazzo

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Photography: Yano Escueta

Condo developments are usually modern buildings with standard amenities of gyms and roof-deck pools. But this particular condo development in Taguig is different—the residential buildings emulate Italian palazzos with ornate moldings, courtyards, and Gothic-style details, while the adjoining mall winds around an actual canal, complete with gondolas.

It was this Venetian theme that had drawn Benjie Chua to take root in this condo. While traveling, the businessman fell in love with the architecture and art of Venice, Italy. And sure enough, he didn’t want a run-of-the-mill, model unit-style interior for his home. 

Benjie spotted Grace Moslares’ work in Real Living’s website, and soon contacted the decorator. “He loves Venice in general, which is the primary reason for buying this unit,” shares Grace. “I wanted to stay true to the architecture of the condo, and not make it modern. The Venetian design had to be reflected inside his unit.”

The main challenge was incorporating the classical design in a one-bedroom condo unit, but the renovation was done effortlessly. Grace’s concept was “‘Contemporary Palazzo,’ which was inspired by the traditional palatial design that you could see in the old structures in Venice,” she explains. “We created this look by mixing traditional designs with modern functions. We provided a lot of storage, such as the classical-style foyer cabinets which can actually store 50 pairs of shoes…we also maximized the small kitchen with new cabinetry in a classical style with a farmer’s sink, but it was fitted with modern inverter appliances.”

This contemporary-classical style can be found throughout the unit, which looks bigger than it is because Grace reconfigured the main living and dining areas. Jewel tones of turquoise, ruby, and sapphire blue dominate the palette in the accents and furnishings, but are tempered by walls in white. And the piece de resistance is the Venetian-style mural on the ceilings, created by artist and muralist Ricky Ambagan.

Grace reveals that Benjie enjoyed the renovation fully, and that she enjoyed the design process, as well. The final interiors give the feeling of la dolce vita, indeed. 

Foyer

Guests make a grand entrance in the turquoise-blue hallway lined with a built-in shoe cabinet that could hold at least 50 pairs. The X-ottoman was custom-made by furniture makers Luther and Lucio using fabric from Townes. The gold-plated pulls are from Vintage Hardware Manila. Find similar circular mirrors from The Pietro Collection. 

Gallery hallway

The hallway leading to the living room is hung with contrasting abstract artwork. The painting at left is titled “Gray Diaphanous” by Ramoncito Doplon, which Grace bought from Space Encounters Gallery. The paintings at left are by her team. “They depict the image of a golden entry in a palace,” Grace explains. The wall sconces are imported from Egypt. A classical archway, complete with pediment and keystone, leads to main living areas. 

Living area

A mural designed by Ricky Ambagan is the main focal point of the living room. Rich jewel tones are offset by a white, faux brick wall and simple drapery (all from Townes Fabric). The tufted sofa actually hides a trundle bed for guests. All furniture pieces were customized by Luther and Lucio. 

Mural detail

The focal point of the living and dining areas is the magnificent mural done in a classical style reminiscent of the ceiling murals found in old palazzos in Venice. The murals were designed by artist Ricky Ambagan and implemented by Mel Mancenido and his team of painters. 

Dining area

Grace decorated Benjie’s dining room in a rich, monochromatic palette of turquoise blue, from the walls to the mahogany-framed dining chairs upholstered in turquoise velvet from Townes. The only piece that stands out in the all-blue room is the ecru high-back chair for the kabisera; incidentally, it is the homeowner’s favorite chair. 

Kitchen

In stark contrast to the all-blue dining room is the white kitchen, which is accented with a bright yellow subway tile backsplash. Grace gutted out the old kitchen and replaced it with new cabinetry and countertops, and created a chimney-type rangehood to go with the old-world feel.  She found a retro-style farmhouse sink from Vintage Hardware Manila; the cabinet pulls and antique-style kitchen faucet came from the online store as well. You can find a similar large ceramic planter at the garden stores in White Plains, Quezon City.  

Bedroom

Having a four-poster daybed in a condo unit may be unthinkable at first, but Grace had Luther and Lucio customize a slim, gold-four-poster daybed to fit the bedroom. The study desk has a marble top, the same type of stone used for the countertops in the kitchen.

In one corner of the bedroom is a faux fireplace. “One of the homeowner’s requirements was to have a fireplace…sometimes he sleeps on the floor with the fireplace on,” says Grace, adding that they completed the fireplace feel by using T-10 lightbulbs to give the illusion of fire. In spite of the limited floor area, Grace was able to squeeze in a walk-in-closet for Benjie behind the faux fireplace. 

Bathroom

A scroll-framed mirror (find similar in The Pietro Collection), a cherry blossom painting, a mini-chandelier, and a delightful row of butterfly robe hooks complete the small but luxe bathroom. The mini-chandelier is a surprising find from IKEA. 

Contact Grace Moslares at magarainteriors[at]yahoo.com, or follow Magara Designs on their Facebook page. 

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