A Renovated Ancestral Home

Rich colors, abstract art and contemporary furniture bring this pre-war mansion into the present

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Carlo Vergara

Without a doubt, a little renovation can do wonders. In the case of this 1926 ancestral home, interior designer and owner Ricky David breathed new life into the structure with the goal of showcasing subdued colors, abstract art, and contemporary furniture.

The result is a house that feels intimate and personal, a quality not usually present in large ancestral homes. The secret is making good use of the generous spaces of the house and fill it with color – leaving no dark and unused spaces or empty, cavernous hallways. A staircase from the foyer leads up to the main living room which has purple and olive walls and comfy lounge chairs. To further maximize the space, smaller rooms surround the living area – each of which has its own function. The dark orange dining area is situated near the living area while Ricky’s office is found at the end of the hallway. The cozy den, where he entertains a couple of friends – connects the kitchen and the master bedroom, making it easier to find some quiet time as he can simply shut the door of the den to produce a compact unit.

Original article by Amillah S. Rodil. Pictorial Direction by Carlo Vergara. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

 Read the original article (“Designer’s Haunt”) in the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The nondescript Filipino-American colonial manse bears no hint of the changes that have been happening inside.


To create character, every nook of the house can have an artfully arranged tableaux, such as this entrance foyer brightened up by a Chinese folding partition and a console table with a porcelain lamp and Buddha figurines. The items in the foyer are gifts from family and friends.


This wooden stairway leads up from the foyer to the second floor, where the resident lives. Meanwhile, the ground floor is leased as a commercial space.

Living Area

The main living room on the second floor is the central area of the house. It is an inviting space with its purple walls and comfy lounge chairs. To create a contemporary vibe - cleaner lines, subdued colors, and more practical furniture pieces are incorporated into the decoration scheme. The dark brown color of the lounge sofas work well with the purple wall. The color also contrasts remarkably with the white matting of the artworks.

Living Area Detail

Smaller rooms surround the living area, each of which has a distinct character that reflects its function. A doorway to the dining room shows the color theme of the area. Complementary colors can be used to offset one room from another. Likewise, open doorways can lead the eye to interesting color contrasts.

Living Area Detail

A Tizio desk lamp provides accent lighting to a corner. Since purple is a dark and cool color that absorbs a lot of light, the ambient lighting of a room may not be enough to illuminate the space. Hence, additional lights such a track lights and desk lamps are needed.

Living Area Detail

A decorative vignette in the contemporary vein may include eclectic objects such as contemporary art pieces, books, paper weight, lamps, and a console table. Such vignettes allow for a repository of well-loved objects as well as breaks the monotony of a blank wall.

Living Area Detail

The lamp stand is made out of an intricately carved bone from Indonesia, given by a friend. The picture frame contains the cover of an old program collected by the owner's grandmother.

Living Area Detail

Space can be defined by the amount of light one lets in. A bamboo screen sets off an Asian vibe which is reinforced by contemporary Asian art and a classic table accent.

Living Area Detail

Framed old photos of the ancestral home adorn the wall.


The hallway contains artworks mostly from the Avellana Art Gallery. The resident encourages others to invest in art which may someday double or triple in price. The door at the end of the hallway leads to the den.


Cozy and laid-back, a den can function as a smaller living area. Here, more artworks hang on the wall of a room which is noticeably more casual in demeanor as compared to the living area. The resident plans to knock down the wall between the two spaces and replace it with sliding glass panels, extending the view of the space to the living room.

Den Detail

This room has doors that connect it to the kitchen and master bedroom. Whenever the resident wants to cocoon himself into a smaller space, he closes the door of the den to produce a compact unit that is sufficient for his needs.

Den Detail

The antique glass case is used to display a few collections in the den.

Dining Area

The elegant dark orange dining room contains a custom-made modern dining table and antique chairs that were spray-painted black. The wall is filled with artworks from nieces and nephews. Clearly, one can offset the ancestral vibe by placing objects of a contemporary nature that finds personal resonance with the resident.

Dining Area Detail

The other side of the dining table highlights a bench to accommodate more guests during meals.

Work Area

Compared with the other areas in the house, the work area highlights a lighter color palette -- perhaps to clear the mind and keep creative juices flowing.

Work Area Detail

Ricky's table faces the window to let natural light in as well as to give the owner a view of the outside which may lead to a couple of ideas, too.


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