A Modern Tropical House in San Jose, Antique

Former Real Living creative director Gwyn Guanzon welcomes us into his family home in the province

Original Article: Rachelle F. Medina Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions

In 2001, Simona "Monie" Salazar and her late husband Teopisto "Ben" Guanzon Jr., the parents of former Real Living creative director Gwyn Guanzon, started building their own family home with a budget of only P800,000.

To help them save more money for the construction, the couple decided to haul rubble and sand to make hollow blocks that they could sell for P7 apiece. The excess hollow blocks were saved for their house so that they would only have to purchase the cement, the roof, and the beams.

Monie explains that they also made the most of their money by recycling many things! For example, she purchased all of the stained glass windows for only P3,500 at the renovation site of an old mid-century church. 

Read the original article ("Fine Antique") in the April 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.


The bright yellow facade stands out in this sleepy Southern town in the province of Antique.


The lanai is furnished with a wooden bench that is completed with wheels from the old caro or carriage once owned by Gwyn's grandmother


The lanai is surrounded with blooming bougainvillea plants! Gwyn says that their collection started only with three bougainvillea pots. He adds that only 20 percent of the plants were purchased and the rest were simply picked by the roadside or given by their neighbors.


More bougainvillea plants are placed on the windowsill.


This outdoor space is completed with an actual bull's head from a nearby palengke and a resin gazelle skull from Dapitan Arcade. Beneath these animal heads is a bench with a bohemian-looking patchwork seat cover made by Gwyn's grandmother. In front of it is a coffee table made from a pig's trough.

Living Area

The stained glass windows that were once part of an old mid-century church can be seen in this living area. Except for the tumba-tumba or rocking chair, the furniture pieces were designed by Gwyn and built by Asian Tropical Lifestyle in Pampanga.

Living Area

A closer look at the details of the custom-built wooden furniture. These pieces were shipped by RORO from Pampanga to Antique.

Family Room

Since the family room used to be a dark area, Gwyn brightened up the space by installing a sliding door and bringing in new furniture pieces. He also provided more storage options by putting up more shelves and cabinets.

Dining Area

To make the area seem bigger than it really is, Gwyn opened up the ceiling and exposed the beams and rafters. The renovated ceiling is adorned with giant wooden spoons and forks

Dining Area

The dining area is furnished with a leather-topped dining table and unique dining chairs. If you look closely, you'd see that the dining chairs have no backs! 

Outdoor Dining Area

The old dining table and dining chairs have been moved to the outdoor dining area! This open space is the perfect place for appreciating good weather and enjoying the company of family and friends.

Pocket Garden

The dirty kitchen has been converted into a pocket garden! The wall is highlighted with different kinds of orchids. The space is completed with an outdoor furniture set. 


The garden is filled with coconut and traveler's palms, millionaire's vines, blue orchids, mango trees, peanuts, black tea plants, and assorted shrubs. Gwyn decorated the front yard with his own Verner Panton chairs (seen on the cover of the November 2008 issue of Real Living).

Gwyn's Bedroom

Gwyn's bedroom has a sleeping loft! There is a cozy study nook underneath the bed.

Gwyn's Bathroom

To improve his old bathroom, Gwyn removed the shower enclosure, painted the walls beige, and lined the walls with araal stones for a tropical resort feel

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is defined by the robin's egg blue walls and the wooden four-poster bed. At the foot of the bed is a long bench topped with rust and bronze-colored pillows.

Facade at Night

The facade of Villa Simona is even more enchanting at night! 


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