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

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Latest Stories

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.

A Cozy and Modern Family Home in Quezon City

Works of art, beautiful fabrics, and a mix of old and new pieces bring this townhouse to life

5 Things To Never Clean With Baking Soda

This finely milled powder has its downsides, too

There's An Affordable Way To Keep Your Home Smelling Good 24/7

Say no to artificial fragrances with this three-step hack

A KonMari Reality Show Is Coming To Netflix

Will de-cluttering diva Marie Kondo's new show spark joy?

You Only Need P5,000 To Work On These Home Improvement Projects

The best part? These can increase the value of your space, too.

What's Inside The Vatican Walls?

Aside from having one of the largest collections of art in the world, the Vatican holds many other treasures

Meet The Architect Behind This Industrial-Pinoy Home

Inspired by the Bahay Kubo, this architect worked with industrial details and affordable building materials to create an inviting space

Is It Possible to Paint Over Tiles?

No one likes the sight of lackluster tiles. Know what to do with these tips from an interior designer.

A Sneak Peek at the New Clark City

A Singaporean consulting firm has been tapped for the development project
Load More Stories

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