A Renovated Old-fashioned Townhouse

Douglas and Marga Kwok give a modern makeover to an outdated space

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Jun Pinzon Styling: Issa Villar Architect: Ria Garcia-Malig

Updating a woefully outdated design is always a challenge. However, as couple Douglas and Marga found out, it could also be a bit of fun, especially when the results come out absolutely fantastic.

When the couple bought their townhouse, they were confronted with a string of design woes, from a winding staircase and wrought iron balusters to a fountain and a collection of bay windows. They ended up tearing everything down, adding room for a more spacious dining area, and painting the interiors in beige, brown, and cream.

Although they enlisted the help of architect Ria Garcia-Malig, the couple decided to work on the interior design themselves. The result is a house that’s spacious and simple, clutter-free and clean—qualities which reflect the couple’s organized life. Sliding glass doors and picture windows bring the light in, giving the house a cheerful vibe. Custom-made furniture by Allan Romera, including a cozy-looking sofa system and a resplendent dining set, ensure that each and every item stays faithful to the clean lines that the couple oh so loves. Because Marga and Douglas both work from home, they made sure that their house is both comfortable and functional.

Original article by Tisha Alvarez. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Jun Pinzon.

Read the original article (“A Beautiful Balance”) in the April 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Living Area

A sofa system, complete with chairs and footstools, dominates the living room; these were custom-made by Allan Romera. A large mirror makes the space seem bigger.

Living Area Detail

Glass doors let a lot of natural light into the area.

Living Area Detail

Most of the walls have been left bare; the couple hopes to fill them up with paintings in due time. Against the wall, a simple divan and side table with an Asian sculpture is seen.

Dining Area

The dining set was also custom-made by Allan Romera. Family and friends usually come over for merienda and cocktail parties.

Dining Area Detail

The dining area opens out to a rock garden.


Wooden stairs lead to the next floor of the house. Photos adorn the white walls adding character to the space.

Master Bedroom

The large custom-made bed was made by Allan Romera as well. It’s the kind that you’re most likely to find in a deluxe hotel, not an urban townhouse. It is here where Douglas, Marga, and their daughter Alexandra spend precious bonding moments together. The mattress was sourced from Ethan Allen.

Alexandra's Bedroom

Alexandra’s bedroom is cheerful and bright with colorful mats on the floor, pink Pottery Barn Kids curtains on the window, and a comfy chair.

Bedroom Detail

There’s no mistaking who own this closet! The letters were sourced from Jacadi, a retail company based in Paris specializing in children’s items.


The shower area is enclosed in glass; the other accoutrements are made of steel like the waste bin and hamper.

Bathroom Detail

Closets with glass and wood details are found in the bathroom as well.

Zen Garden

The garden may be accessed through the sliding doors from the living and dining areas. The ground is filled with river stones with a few potted plants providing cool spots of green.

The Owners

Douglas and Marga with their darling daughter, Alexandra.


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