A Modern Country Home That Was Done on a Budget

Department store finds and an artistic mom's DIY handiwork complete this delightful, country-style family home

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Dairy Darilag Pictorial Direction: Theodore Cruz Styling: Beam Mariano

When former Good Housekeeping Philippines art director Kara Ballesteros was growing up, she would spend her afternoons watching Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic on TV. The iconic TV show brought vintage, contemporary-country interiors to the forefront in the late 1990s.

Kara’s love for this interior style is evident in the three-bedroom townhouse she now lives in with her husband, Ace, and their daughter. But instead of sporting a purely vintage-country aesthetic, the home also has industrial touches and neutral colors to keep it from looking overly frilly and feminine.

Naging consistent na lang ako sa color palette na gray, white, black, and gold para hindi magulo,” says Kara, who also works as a visual merchandiser. The color scheme unites all the elements, from the massive couch (big enough for Ace, who is over six feet tall) to the customized console table to the whimsical accessories found throughout the home (owl figurines, a spray-painted dinosaur, a unicorn head).

While the home exudes casual elegance, the look surprisingly didn’t come at a hefty price: Most of the pieces are budget finds or a result of Kara’s handiwork. It’s proof of what a clear vision, an innate sense of style, and a little help from Pinterest can achieve.

The original article ("City Meets Country") appeared in the September 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines. 

Entry foyer

The couple decided to keep the cement floor bare instead of installing tiles. The console table was custom-made in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Kara just painted it herself. She also painted the gray and white stripes on the wall. The glamorous beveled mirror is a budget find from The Landmark department store, Makati City. You can find similar owl and bird figurines, as well as the basket, in Dapitan Arcade.

Living area

Kara patiently waited for stores to go on sale, and bought the large sectional for a steal from Our Home. The black chandelier is from A&S Lamps (CW Home Depot Ortigas, 1 Julia Vargas cor. Meralco Avenue, Pasig City). Find similar pillows at Robinsons Home Living.


The stainless steel counter is from Ace Hardware, while the wooden stools are from Handyman. A lot of the accessories in the kitchen were inherited from Kara’s grandparents. One of the clever touches in the kitchen is the blackboard wall, where Kara can jot down her weekly menus and reminders.

Daughter's room

Most kids’ furniture and storage are colorful, so Kara retained a neutral color palette when it came to her daughter’s room’s walls and beddings. The bed is made of solid narra, and was previously owned by Kara’s dad. The gold polka dot wall decals are from Cotton On Kids (SM Megamall Atrium, Mandaluyong City). School bags are hung on hooks installed on the side of a cabinet.

Here’s a cute way to display your kid’s projects and masterpieces: Stretch string or twine across hooks, and use tiny clips or pins (available in scrapbooking stores and National Book Store) to hang choice works of art. This is especially ideal for rented homes wherein the walls can’t be drilled, or for surfaces that can’t support heavy picture frames.

Master bedroom

Ace’s only request was for the bedroom not to be too girly. He conceded to having sheets in a subdued floral, toile de jouy-style print (find similar at Robinsons Home Living). Kara would next like to add an upholstered headboard, and paint the lyrics of their wedding song on the blank wall.

Kara’s dresser is dual-purpose: The cabinet underneath serves as shoe storage. You can find similar acrylic jewelry organizers and beauty canisters at Make Room.

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