A Stunning Mediterranean-Asian House By The Sea

This La Union home with Mediterranean, Balinese, and Filipino touches proves that you can live grandly by the beach

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Pictorial Direction: Nat Clave Styling: Dagny Madamba & Kamila Garcia

This family home by the sea holds a lot of surprises. Once you’ve gotten over the intricately carved, Balinese-inspired main door, you are immediately arrested by a sneak peek of the breathtaking view of the pool, and beyond that, the beach.

But it’s not just any beach; this magnificent home is right in front of a “point break” in La Union, where professional surfers flock to catch the waves. “The icing on the cake was the fact that we did not know this was a surfing area, and our house is sitting right smack in the action!” the lady of the house excitedly relates.

Guests are treated to a spectacular view of the infinity pool in front of the beach. 

The couple sought the help of the late architect Gina Vistan-Nanion, who happened to be a very good friend. Initially, the wife wanted a Miami-inspired house, “all white cement and glass windows because that was what I saw in magazines,” she recalls. But the architect dissuaded her, explaining that such style would not be suitable for the location. “Gina explained to me that these designs were nice, but would not do in a tropical country like the Philippines because it would be humid and I will be spending a lot for cooling the place.”

The architect imported a pigment from Italy to achive the brilliant yellow hue of the house. 

Because of this advice, the homeowners decided on a mix of Balinese, Mediterranean, and Filipino styles. Wood is everywhere—from the main door to the flooring and even wall accents. The homeowners scoured the northern part of the country, looking for old houses where they could salvage wood from. “We were able to buy three old houses, which make up majority of the wood you see here. The rest were bits and pieces we got from retailers.”  

This impressive home is a product of hard work and patience. The couple, who are entrepreneurs, started out with just a two-storey rental space, eventually moving to a bigger home as their family grew. There, they stayed for 23 years before moving to this beachside sanctuary last 2007. “We are proud of this because it represents our hardships and delayed gratification,” adds the lady of the house. Everything looks well thought of, and nothing seems contrived. Patience, indeed, is a virtue.



“Aside from the master bedroom where I really get to relax, we also love being out at our lanai. We have breakfast there, enjoy the view, watch surfers. That’s also where we entertain our guests,” says the lady of the house. It’s easy to see why this is the family’s favorite area: the trellis of greens contrast well with the mustard yellow exterior of the house. To achieve this bright hue, the family and architect Gina had to import yellow pigment from Italy, which was then mixed with cement. You can get a similar Moroccan-style lamp at My Ottoman Home in Makati City. 

Main Entrance

This huge, Balinese-inspired door clues you in on what to expect in this home: lots of wood and pieces that are carefully chosen to create a cohesive mix. These furniture pieces were collected through time, from various travels and shopping trips of the couple. Get an ornate door like this at Orientique. 

Living Area

The couple also made sure to use teak whenever they can, as it can best withstand the elements. Architect Gina also had a hand in designing the details. “We just got instructions and recommendations from her on what to buy, where to buy. Everything you see in the house is part of a collection of many purchases from all over—different stores, different countries—but somehow, they ended up working well together.” You can get a similar Indian-style screen like this at About Home Furniture, 412 Shaw Boulevard cor. Torres St., Mandaluyong City.

The furniture pieces in the living area are proportionate to the generous space. These were sourced from stores in Metro Manila, like Komodo Teak, Borders, and Jo-Liza Arts and Antiques. Complementing the all-wooden ensemble are Thai triangle pillows that provide extra seating and an Asian touch. Find similar pillows at Sifra Interiors and Objects. 

Dining Area

The family’s dining room has a formal, stately feel with its wood paneling recycled from old houses. “We wanted to have a traditional feel but at the same time express our personalities. Hence, we went for Murano chandeliers and chairs from Borders. We also recycled stained glass from the old houses we bought from Ilocos,” says the wife. You can order finely made chairs like these at Pacific Traders. 

Powder Room

By the stairs fronting the living area is the powder room. A huge, mosaic-framed mirror easily catches your attention. You can get a similar frame like this at Kultura Filipino, SM Makati. 

Guest Bedroom

A flight of wooden stairs leads to the rooms of the family members (the couple has three children), including a guest room, which features distressed antique doors that serve as wall panels. One of the rooms on the second floor is this guest bedroom, which boasts wall panels made of bleached narra doors given by architect Gina. The hardwood panels extend to the exterior of the room. 

Daughter's Bedroom

The couple’s daughter, who comes home occasionally, has this breezy room that overlooks the beach. The four-poster bed is in keeping with the theme of the whole house and is reminiscent of old-world Filipino houses. An inabel bed sheet from the defunct Union Crafts adds more Pinoy flair. (Inabel is handwoven textile from the northern part of the country.)

READ: Go On A Weaving Tour of Ilocos

Chandelier detail

You can’t help but notice these beautiful etched glass lamps dangling from the ceiling overlooking the living areas. Azcor made these lamps. You can visit Azcor at 4/L Sm Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Read the original article ("Beauty By The Beach”) in the April 2017 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

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