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A Nature-Inspired Home in Batangas

Blurring the line between indoors and outdoors, this tropical house welcomes sunlight, wind, and rain—as well as the occasional kingfisher

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Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar

For some homes, bringing the outdoors in can be a challenge. But in this property owned by architect couple Mandy and Myrna, it’s no problem at all. The enclosures were carefully edited out to achieve a unique outdoor vibe inside the comforts of the home.

Located in Batangas, the house seems to be an invitation to Mother Nature to come in and mingle with the occupants. Glass doors open up to lush gardens, shallow indoor ponds brim with koi fish, and even unroofed areas welcome both sunshine and rain showers right in the middle of the home. Evolving from six plans, the final version of the house features high ceilings and lots of airy, open spaces. As you are welcomed by the pond with large Vigan jars, you’ll see see the bridge leading to the other areas of the home. Find out why nature is only too happy to drop by in this series of open kubos.

Original article by Tisha Alvarez. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article (“Back to Nature”) in the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at https://summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living.

Facade

A garden can give an impression of what guests can further expect in a property. This garden with koi pond artfully gives a glimpse of things to come.

Living Area

A tropical house need not be rustic. As evidenced by high ceilings, big windows and well-appointed wooden furniture, this home in the province can be as refined as any in the metropolis.

Living Area Detail

Put two sofas across each other and frame a tableaux that opens to the lanai and beyond. Clearly, the bones of a home and its décor can be designed with the outdoors as a major influence.

Living Area Detail

Add high ceilings and create lots of airy, open space in a home. This house also cleverly incorporates a pond that runs alongside an uncovered walkway, cutting through the center of the house.

Walkway

The uncovered walkway leads to other areas, including a prayer room, kitchen and dining room that form a series of interconnected pavilions.

Kitchen

An abundance of natural light stream into the kitchen through the big windows. With storage and keeping items organized as two of the most important concerns in the area, kitchen cabinets are added below the sink.

Dining Area

The dining room is an open space with six wooden chairs surrounding a square table. To shield the area from the rain, colorful curtains are added instead of walls.

Staircase

Make a delineation between public and private areas of a property. On the opposite side of the walkway in the main pavilion are steps leading up to the second level bedrooms.

Second Floor Area

Artworks made by the resident line the wall in the second floor. Even here, the colors reinforce what was earlier seen in the garden and lower level.

View from the Second Floor

Touches of whimsy can be surprising. Being adventurous, the residents envisioned having a hanging bridge on the second floor.

Second Floor Detail

The koi pond and uncovered walkway can be seen from the second floor. Surprising design elements can further be reinforced by providing other points-of-view from which to rediscover them.

Storage Tip

To remain relevant and environment-friendly, a house can make use of a lot of recycled wood which can be turned into open cabinets. Travel finds adorn walls and nooks around the house.

Décor Detail

An unused corner can be made into a repository for something beautiful. A corner of a hallway was turned into a fabulous tableaux incorporating a Balinese mask, Indonesian wood carvings, and a signature designer chair.

Hallway to Bedroom

Create enclosures if the rest of a shelter has none. In the second floor, a bedroom unit can be enclosed from unwanted elements by tightly sealing a room's doors and windows.

Master Bedroom

A master bedroom can be a site where one may indulge a fantasy. Create the bedroom of your dreams by having a four-poster bed custom-made. For a fresh touch, drape a canopy over the bed. This also serves to keep mosquitoes out.

Bathroom

To create a spa-like feeling in the bathroom, it's opened up and highlights ample space between the toilet and shower area.

Bathroom Detail

Bring the outdoors inside the shower area by providing natural light and an indoor garden.

Bathroom Detail

The openness of a house and its floor plan can enable residents to commune with nature. In the bathroom, a bathtub was constructed to make the most of the natural light and air.

Garden

Bridges, walkways, and ponds cut through the lush foliage in the garden. One can never have enough greenery. It's an adage even minimalists will agree with.

Garden Detail

Experiment by bringing the indoors out. All bridges in the garden lead to other parts of the house including the dining area.

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