A Real Living Reader's 49sqm Condo in Manila

Interior designer Van Acuna decorates a college freshman from Cebu's home away from home

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson

Since her eldest daughter wanted to study in Manila, this mother from Cebu decided to invest in a 49sqm condo located a few minutes away from her child's chosen university. To make the unit beautiful and comfortable, the mother looked for the contact number of interior designer Van Acuna in her personal collection of Real Living magazines. She chose to hire Van because she already liked one of Van's makeover projects featured in the magazine.

The interior designer lived up to her client's expectations by creating a lovely and charming sea-inspired space. To remind the homeowners of the ocean, she chose blue walls, rustic furniture, and coastal accessories.

Read the original article ("Sea-worthy") in the November 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.

Living Area

The living area sets the mood for the rest of the 49sqm property. The area is filled with soothing shades that bring the ocean to mindblue and white to represent the water and cream to mimic the sand. This color combination lends a calm and relaxing feel to the space. 

White Chandelier

The living area is made interesting with quaint pieces like this white chandelier. The lighting fixture has a shabby chic appeal because of its distressed finish.


To improve the look of your living area, you can follow what Van did in this space. She made an accent wall by covering the surface with blue-and-white geometric print wallpaper. She paired the wall with more sea-inspired details like fishes, seashells, and capiz-lined picture frames.

Drawer Pulls

You can also personalize store-bought cabinets by replacing the old handles with new ones. This is also a great way to make sure that your pieces match each other and fit in your chosen theme.

Dining Area

Just like the living area, the dining area is furnished with rustic furniture pieces that could easily belong in a beachside cottage. The space is completed with a bead chandelier and a wall mirror that mimics the look of a French window.

Blue door

Since the homeowner requested for an altar, Van mounted wire-mesh shelves on one wall. These shelves are part of a space ideal for prayer and meditation.


A light blue door opens to reveal a bathroom completed with blue-and-white mosaic tiles. 

Master Bedroom

In keeping with the color scheme of the rest of the condo, the master bedroom is defined by serene hues of blue and white. The white pillows and sheets add to the tranquil feel of the private space.


A closer look at the bed shows the reading lights installed above the upholstered headboard. These lights are complemented by a group of cream-colored starfishes. 


One corner of the bedroom is completed with another white piece of furniture: a dresser topped with framed photographs and small buckets.


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