A Minimalist Yet Functional Three Bedroom Home

After much trial and error, a family settles down with a look that’s completely theirs—streamlined, yet utterly livable and full of personality

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Dairy Darilag Pictorial Direction: Nat M. Clave Styling: Dagny Madamba and Paula de Guzman

Husband and wife Nicolo and Amylou Jonsay admit that they struggled to come up with their three-bedroom home's current look. “’Yung inspiration mo is out of desperation,” Nicolo says candidly. “Initially, we didn’t have this design in mind. We had a totally different design. Pinagbasehan namin actually ng design before was kung ano ‘yung alam namin,” he adds of their previous minimalist home. He says the problem with being minimalist was that the space was not livable. “It was just good in pictures, pero hindi mo magamit! We wanted to have a design na kahit may mga bata, magulo man siya or magulo man ang furniture, same pa rin. We wanted a livable house na nagagamit mo talaga, hindi ‘yung nakikita mo lang na maganda,” he adds.

After working with several designers, the Jonsays were ready to concede defeat since none of the designs really clicked with them. Then, by pure luck, Amylou stumbled upon a11 owner Eric Paras in Real Living. “One thing led to another. Bumili muna kami sa kanya para makapagsimula. We asked him to furnish the living room,” she says.

Soon, the Jonsays found themselves decorating their space, one room after another. Taking their cue from a11’s pieces, the Jonsays are finally at home with a look that is personalized, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.

Read the original article ("Free Style") in the June 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.


The focal point of this area is the multi-drawer cabinet with tiny door knockers as pulls. This also serves as a display area for art by Rene Robles, and is flanked by metal-framed glass cabinets, with doors that are made from old windows. 


Framed prints and an elegant lamp top off this quaint tableau.

Living Area

A large couch, a long wooden coffee table that is not the usual height, and mismatched one-seaters take the attention away from the industrial pipes in the ceiling. A mirror framed in carved wood lends a personal touch, softening the space’s austere minimalist feel.

Decor Detail

A huge, quirky wall clock greets guests the moment they step into the Jonsay’s living room. It contrasts fabulously with the plain white wall. 

Living Area Detail

The living area overlooks the kitchen and dining area, and the functional, streamlined, and low-maintenance fixtures — such as the large windows and equally large mirrored wall — only add to the feeling of spaciousness in this area.

Dining Area

The eight-seater dining table, custom-made by a German friend of the Jonsays, is the lone furniture in the dining area. It’s kid-friendly, too — “This table has an iron pipe base. ‘Yung mga anak ko malilikot, kahit upuan nila ‘yung back ng chair, hindi ka mahuhulog,” says Nicolo. Various mismatched pendant lights hung low blend well with the home’s overall low-maintenance, minimalist motif.

Dining Area Detail

A magnetic blackboard wall accentuated by clocks that tell the time in different cities is a nice touch to personalize the dining area.

Dining Area Detail

Completing the industrial look is a vintage-looking lamp.


The words “rustic” and “vintage” come to mind when viewing the Jonsays’ kitchen. This is Nicolo’s pride and joy as he conceptualized the space himself. Brick walls add a certain charm, the refrigerator on wheels is both vintage yet modern, and open wooden shelves put everything within easy reach. Sleek, modular kitchen systems were eschewed for more rough-hewn, wooden cabinets.

Kitchen Detail

At first, their children didn’t understand why Nicolo chose steel office filing cabinets to store utensils. “There doesn’t have to be an answer, as long as I like it. Wala namang rules eh, as long as it falls under my design sensibilities,” he says. 


Amylou admits that their bedroom is still a work-in-progress. The look is simple, modern, and blends both masculine and feminine sensibilities, as seen in the dark neutral palette of the space.

Bedroom Detail

The bright blue “Garro Louie” chairs from a11 serve as eye-catching pieces in the lounge area. This is Nicolo and Amylou’s favorite spot. “Mahilig ako mag-lounge at humiga,” says Amylou. A riveted bookcase, also from a11, and a round table with a metal base complete the look.


Instead of the traditional door, a wooden barn-like sliding door opens up to reveal the bath’s interiors.

Bathroom Detail

Opting for sliding doors is a great way to camouflage the loo and style up the space.

Design Detail

The brick wall and exposed pipes add to the industrial vibe of the space.


Latest Stories

5 Household Uses For Silica Gel Packets

Those tiny things you see in boxes of shoes and new bags go a long way

Smart Tips For Styling Mismatched Furniture From A Decorator

Take a quick lesson on asymmetry with these tips

Bathroom Picks For High, Mid, or Low Budgets

Because you can have a stylish bathroom, regardless of the price points!

7 Resort-Inspired Design Ideas for Your Home

Turn your house into an idyllic escape with these simple but striking styling tricks inspired by the beauty of Bali, Indonesia

IKEA PH To Open Soon!

The Swedish furniture giant finally found a local partner

This Mom Built Her Kids a Tree House in Their QC Backyard

Read on to find out how she did it—you can do this, too!

You Can Earn An Extra P20K Every Month By Managing a Home

Discover how one Pinay does it

3 Bathroom Styles We Can Learn from Kris Aquino

From colorful to masculine—we’ve got looks that can spruce up even the tiniest of T&Bs

A Tiny Studio Unit Becomes A Hotel-Style Home

In another makeover marvel by Elle Uy, the decorator transforms a dark studio unit into a chic and airy space

Get the Look of Iza Calzado’s Bedroom

Give your sleeping space an easy, dainty makeover with the right pieces

5 Amazing Closet Cleaning Tips You Can Try

Achieve your dream wardrobe with these handy tricks

How To Vacuum Your Home Properly

Here’s how to avoid all the usual vacuuming mistakes. Plus, learn about a revolutionary new material that will help you bust all that dirt at home.
Load More Stories

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