A Makati Family Home Filled With Scandi Pieces

Simple lines, color, and IKEA furniture fill this former Swedish ambassador’s home in the heart of Makati

Photography: Bahaghari Styling: Yuka

In most people’s minds, an ambassador’s residence must be formal and classical. It makes you think of heavy textiles, ornate furniture, even a Greek column or two—stately and official, so to speak.  

The home of the former Swedish ambassador to the Philippines, Annika Markovic, thus sets a pleasant surprise. It is airy and full of vibrant colors, vivid fabrics, and sleek furnishings that are modern yet comfortable. The Swedish government refurbishes their ambassadors’ residences every four years, and Annika made it clear that she wanted a design that was not only fit for official engagements, but for family life, as well.

For Annika, starting with very basic and traditional pieces is a practical way to let a home evolve. The furniture in the living room are classic examples of Swedish wood workmanship. “Swedish design is very simple and straightforward,” says Annika. “You’ll know it’s Swedish because of the straight and clean-cut lines.”

The Markovics may be miles away from their country, but Sweden is alive in their Manila home. “Swedish design is definitely down to earth,” she remarks. “Swedish designers stay true to the materials they use.” 

Living room

The Swedish government refurbished the former ambassador’s home. The pale wood, clean lines, and bold provincial floral prints are all typical of Swedish design. “The floral fabric of these pillows are a bit old-fashioned, as they follow the old styles that dominate the Swedish countryside,” says Annika.

The living room used to have a formal layout with the sofas set far apart, divided into conversational groups. Now the space feels more chic and modern, warm and homey at the same time. The paintings were from Sweden’s National Museum, which sends Swedish art to other Swedish ambassadors around the world.

“The ministry contacted me and asked me what I wanted it to look like,” explains Annika Markovic. “I told them that the house wouldn’t just be for official and representational purposes. I wanted it to show that I’m a young ambassador and I live with my husband and three kids. It isn’t just a house that shows the Philippines what Swedish design is like, but it’s also a house where my family can live.”

Dining room

The interlocking PS candleholders on the table and the white dining chairs are from IKEA. The Mod 2097 Chandelier is by Gino Sarfatti for Flos. You can buy Flos lighting from Steltz, at Shangri-la Plaza.

Official dinnerware

Even in a casual setting, former ambassador Annika used the official dinnerware, which bears the Swedish crown. The simple paper napkins depict the Swedish flag.


The natural-wood version of the IKEA chairs surrounds the white-tiled kitchen island.


Annika and Drasko’s three children at play in the garden. Bamboo fencing provides additional privacy.

Read the original article ("Swedish by Design") in the January-February 2005 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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