A Major Overhaul for a Standard Condo Unit

Neutral shades and modern fixtures exude the vibe of a posh and upscale hotel-cum-yuppie hangout

Original Article: Coni Tejada Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Issa Villar Architect: John Yuyucheng

Condo units are a dime a dozen in the urban jungle, and for the most part, condo tenants and owners have to bear with the developer’s design and furnishings. Not so in homeowner Fran’s case, however. This confident lawyer was very clear with what she wanted her personal space to be: “I wanted it mainly neutral, not colorful at all. It's just not really my personality. I am really more Asian-Modern, white, and wenge.”

Fran tapped architect John Yuyucheng to transform the unit and carry out her vision. Initially, John was hesitant. “He said everyone was doing it and I might regret it when it goes out of style,” Fran relates. But she stood her ground. “I said, [this is] what I want.”

And so, the unit underwent a major facelift: Save for the walls and kitchen, everything had to go. The ceiling was dropped to create a more intimate atmosphere, and furnishing and fixtures in various neutral shades were installed to reflect Fran’s no-fuss, no-frills personality. The result? A modern yet cozy hangout for Fran and her friends.

Original article by Coni Tejada. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

 Read the original article (“Good Clean Fun”) in the June 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Living Area The unit’s most striking space is the living area, something that Fran was adamant about. “I told John that I really want a really good entertainment system. I am a movie buff and most of my friends are.” Its centerpiece is the huge plasma TV that is wired to the LCD in Fran’s bedroom, so that “whatever’s showing in the bedroom is shown here and whatever's shown there is shown here.”
Living Area Detail A must in any condo, strategic storage spaces are important. A slim shelf is seen on the other side of wall which holds books and other knickknacks.
Den Take a cue from Fran’s den and infuse touches of colors to prevent your place from looking—and feeling—too stark and impersonal. The predominantly green abstract artwork, red catchall, and green throw pillow discreetly invigorate the space.
Living/Entertainment Area Roller shades cover the floor-to-ceiling windows of the living/entertainment area, making the space seem bigger than it already is. Statement pieces such as the L-shaped sofa from Roomscape and a Kenneth Cobonpue round leather coffee table augment the style and sophistication of the setup.
Living Area Detail The stone-tiled wall behind the giant plasma TV stands beside a white wooden shelving unit. The juxtaposition of two different elements lends a certain dynamism to an otherwise neutral setting.
Space Planning Tip Since Fran insisted on having a living room-cum-entertainment area, she was willing to forego having a dining room. “I told John that because of the lack of space, I really didn't want a dining table. With my concept of a home-theater thing, we are not really supposed to eat here. The idea is to eat then watch here. Snack, munch popcorn.” So in lieu of a dining room, the living/entertainment area was expanded to accommodate more “seating space.” A huge portion of the wall dividing the kitchen and the den was knocked down—a smart strategy to increase the sense of spaciousness. The dining table that folds into a console is the only concession for a makeshift dining area—and also acts as the border between the den and the kitchen.
Bedroom In keeping with Fran’s no-nonsense nature, her bedroom features a simple queen-size bed fronting the window and a TV. A closer glimpse shows that the walls are actually a subtle shade of gray—an interesting contrast to the dark wooden headboard and shelves bordering one side of the bed. That and the blue pillows are simple yet effective ways of tweaking solids to energize a space.
Bedroom Detail The shades of the curtains perfectly complement the color of the walls. Perfect for reading books before going to sleep, a comfy lounge chair was added to one corner.
Guest Bedroom Initially, Fran wanted to tear down a wall of the maid’s room in order to enlarge the guest bedroom. But John convinced her otherwise: “He said, ‘If you sell it later, they’ll need storage, a laundry area, and maid’s area.’ And now, I'm finding out that I do need storage.” With the light olive green walls, warm lighting, and dark brown wooden divider as a creative alternative headboard, this room is far from uninviting.

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