A Style Makeover for a 270sqm Townhouse

Bright pops of color provide a visual break for monotonous neutral shades in this family home

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Styling: Issa Villar and Dagny Madamba

After living with the in-laws for 13 years, the Gardoce family finally decided to have a house of their own. In the beginning, it was a nightmare, to say the least. “Parang wala kaming order! Hodgepodge lang lahat,” cinematographer Gary Gardoce laughs.

Even after two repainting jobs, Gary and his wife Riza still weren’t happy with how their brand-new nest looked. Then they chanced upon Real Living and saw the work of contributing style editor Issa Villar. With Issa’s experience and expertise, the Gardoce home got a breath of fresh air — and cheery shades that are a stark contrast to the house’s previous dark hues. Beige and white are the neutrals tempering the accents of turquoise, apple green, and red peppering the 270sqm home. The result is a harmonious confluence of colors, and a vibe that is both homey and happy — quirky modernism at its best.

Read the original article ("In Living Color") in the May 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

Issa helped the Gardoces streamline their home, starting with the living room. The perpendicular walls are a study of contrasts: A beige-toned wall proudly displays the TV, a sound system, a vintage turntable, and wooden shelves containing DVDs of Gary’s films, a clapboard, vintage cameras, and childhood photos of their daughter; while the turquoise-hued wall houses a white wooden asymmetrical shelf that houses various trinkets and shopping finds — both local and foreign.

Living Area Detail

A set of plastic stools painted in relaxing white and vibrant red provide additional seating in the living area.

Living Area Detail

Separating one area from another with the use of dividers or walls is not only space-consuming; it’s also boring. The bright blue wall not only gives a visual break from a sea of whites and beiges; it’s also a nifty way to segue from the living room to the dining area. Note the white asymmetrical shelf holding colorful knickknacks — the topmost left shelf prettily frames the wall clock from Dimensione. Nature-themed cotton curtains from IKEA sandwich this cheerful display. 

Dining Area

Riza claims that this space is her favorite area of the house, and is particularly enamored with the modern wooden table with a stainless steel base from Gus*. She also picked out the green and white bucket chairs personally, which mingle beautifully with the area’s bright blue wall. The dining area also leads to a balcony where Riza can easily step out into when she has to take a phone call.


Functional, modern, and streamlined, the kitchen’s stern utilitarian character is softened by small bursts of color, through the caramel and light green backsplash, colorful ref magnets, and hanging lights to give the space a warm glow.


The stairs leading to the second floor double as a gallery of sorts, with the walls displaying several artwork pieces such as the reproduction Andy Warhol Campbell soup can print and the cartoonish Roy Lichtenstein print. According to Issa, “They had a lot of artwork scattered around the place. It didn’t seem like people would focus on one, so I said, ‘Why don’t we do an art gallery-type wall?’ The wall color ties them all together.”


The spare room that used to house the family’s packed boxes was converted into a den where Gary stays when he needs to work on his computer. A wall shelf provides more storage space for small items and books, while colorful containers corral smaller tchotchkes. One wall is painted in a cheery green shade. 

Daughter's Bedroom

The home’s Crayola color motif inspired and prompted the couple's daughter to jazz up her own room. A smorgasbord of prints adds a touch of quirkiness to the loft-type bedroom’s walls, painted in a serene blue shade. A catchall bin multitasks as a bedside table, while the owl table lamp topped with a floral tiara is the perfect finishing touch.

Daughter's Bedroom Detail

The quirky lamp adds a playful touch to the space.

Decor Detail

A call to Gary's chosen field, a clapboard is seen on one shelf together with a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Decor Detail

A camera and mini tripod adorn a shelf.

Decor Detail

More knickknacks and catchy decor pieces were used to accessorize the shelves.


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