A Colorful Townhouse With Asian Touches

Sunny hues and kid-friendly spaces complete this contemporary family home

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar

When homeowners Alex and Joy visited one of the Philippine School of Interior Design’s (PSID’s) graduating class exhibits, they met Ann Katherine Dee-Santiago, the future designer of his home. “Siya lang kasi ang pumansin sa akin doon,” says Alex with a laugh. Two years later, they hired Ann to work on their townhouse, which boasts high ceilings and white interiors enveloped in a modern shell.

“We started first with the ground floor,” says Ann, who wanted to introduce reds and beiges to warm up the stark white of the living and dining areas. Flourishes of red are found everywhere-from the vivid accent wall to the graphic, scarlet curtains that highlight the large sliding doors, to the pops of color found on the throws scattered on the beige couch. A series of wall-mounted lights encircle the space, providing it with dramatic lighting perfect for the couple's nighttime parties and dinners.

When Ann hopped on board the project, the couple was practically newly married; and during the process of planning, designing, and building, Joy had gotten pregnant and had given birth to their first baby. "Halos sabay," Joy says, a little surprised at how she was able to pull off giving birth, building a new house, and moving in all within the year. Ann laughs at the routine she and the couple had created for themselves during construction.

The move, having coincided with the pregnancy, was serendipitous because their baby was able to have his very own room—a luxury the couple wouldn't have been able to offer if they had stayed in their small condo unit.

Entry Foyer

The living room is given extra oomph by the warm red accent wall that is a full five meters high—the bedroom hallway opens to it below. A small niche carved into the panel above the entryway holds rustic décor.

Living Room

In the living room, sunny yellow walls are highlighted by abstract paintings in shades of bright canary, lime green, and aqua. Filipino touches are scattered throughout, like an acacia console made in Pampanga, rattan pillowcases in bright orange and green, a sculptural basket from Market! Market!

Living Room

On a living room console, travel souvenirs like these Thai dolls mix with a tall vase from BoConcept.

Dining Room

The high ceiling on the ground floor allowed for taking risks with dramatic lighting fixtures. Ann custom-designed the sculptural lamp that hangs above the eight-seater dining table. Framed in black and white, and highlighted by a strip of damask fabric, the lamp plays up the deep red curtains that surround the dining area. Tall flower arrangements play up the vertical space, making the perfect setting for a party.

Master Bedroom

Nothing spells serene more than calming shades of sage paired with neutral tones and wood. The main feature of the room is the floral upholstered headboard, which is complemented by a custom-built bed by Focolare. "We didn't have any specific requirements, but we insisted on having lots of storage space," says Alex.

Master Bedroom

Smart storage solutions are drawers built into the bed, shelves built into the house's niches, and side tables with roomy drawers. Accessories like intricately carved lamps and candleholders (from PNKY at LRI Design Plaza) bring a unique Pinoy touch to the room.

Toilet and Bath

Major reshuffling was involved with the bathroom layout, as the original plan offered only half the counter space that now exists. Ann reworked the counter and toilet arrangement to provide the couple with ample space to keep their bath products and linens. Floating shelves were also installed to keep Alex and Joy's abubot in order.


Brightly colored stripes provide the baby's room with a signature playfulness only matched by a bold yellow daybed and fun toys scattered throughout the space. One challenge the room posed was the irregularly shaped windows that came as an integral part of the townhouse's design-wooden blinds can adjust to any height and width, and provide any baby's room with ample shade.

Read the original article ("From the Ground Up") in the March 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.


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