A Three-Storey Home Showcases an Asian Heritage

Antique heirloom pieces and masterpieces by seasoned painters find their modern matches in this family home

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Paolo Feliciano Pictorial Direction: Nat M. Clave Styling: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson

A way to honor one’s heritage is in filling the home with pieces that reflect your cultural roots. Such is the three-storey home of Manolette and Charlene Carlos. Charlene, one of the owners of premiere lifestyle store L’Indochine in SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City, is part Thai and part Chinese.

Despite the homeowners’ reservations about the house, they transformed the three-storey structure into a place worthy to raise their growing art-loving family. The house washed with white paint to turn it into a blank canvas where they can display the many artworks the family collected, created by various Filipino artists, as well as their own children.

With the help of Leona Lavina-Panutat, the homeowner’s sister-in-law co-owner in L’Indochine, and co-partner in website The Inspiration Seekers (, and ideas culled from an assortment of books, magazines, and blogs, an Asian-inspired home was created.

Original article by Sunshine Selga Funa. Pictorial direction by Nat M. Clave. Styling by Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson. Photographed by Paolo Feliciano.

Read the original article ("Culture on Display") in the December 2013-Janury 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. 


Door Detail

A forest green door opens to ornate chairs from Charlene's grandmother.

Living Area

The gargantuan capiz ball hanging from the high ceiling is from Quiapo. Homeowner Charlene Carlos bought this statement piece for less than five thousand pesos only.

At the center of the living area is a daybed by Budji Layug, and above it is an H.R. Ocampo painting that Charlene found at her grandmother’s house. “It was so destroyed by the rains. I had it restored.” 

Living Area Detail

Meanwhile, the pillows on the daybed sport Thai fabric. “I went to the Jim Thompson store and I chose fabrics. I was like a kid in a candy store!” exclaims the homeowner.


This vignette perfectly depicts Charlene's indiscriminate but disciplined taste in home decorating: an Orlina glass sculpture sits with a gold-plated vase from SM Homeworld adorned with a neckpiece from Cambodia. 

Dining Area

An eight-seater dining table in dark wood finds itself as the focal point in the dining area, while the modern light fixture’s sleek and modern design unobtrusively hangs from the semi-recessed ceiling. Artwork by Francis Nacion, the homeowner’s friend, adds color to the room.

An upholstered chair waiting at the corner is a narra piece revived from their grandmother’s home.

Dining Area Detail

The table holds a collection of candelabra -- some are gifts from loved ones while the rest were bought during the homeowners’ trips abroad.

Foyer / Entrance

Even upon entering the Carlos’ home, one can see the family’s love for art and the respect and value they place on the family’s ethnicity. Antique chairs from Shanghai inherited from the homeowner’s grandmother are matched with Gerrico Blanco paintings of the children as how they would want to be when they grow up.

Fun Friday Room

The room got its name from the children’s Friday TV watching schedule. With walls bathed in a muted yellow-cream hue, the room becomes visually arresting with its gray sectional sofa and ottoman-cum-center table – an ingenious idea for a family with growing children.

It’s easy to maintain and keep clean, while providing ample seating for the whole family. A black moustache pillow and a rocking sheep hand-carried from Thailand serve as playful touches. 

Plenty of family photos that you want to show off? Follow the lead of these homeowners and encase them in simple black frames in varying sizes.

Friday Fun Room Detail

Black-and-white pillows from A’postrophe, Our Home, SM Department Store, Dimensione, in various patterns and textures lend a chic vibe to the space.


This stairwell leads to the family's bedrooms on the second floor and the kids' playroom on the third.

Stairwell detail

The space under the staircase is used as additional storage that keeps clutter at bay.

Décor Detail

This wall art from Thailand is made of hand-painted lotus leaves attached on wood.

Décor Detail

Colors are injected in the living area by way of pillows. The rectangular one is from L'Indochine while the fabric of the bolster pillow is from Fabric Warehouse.

Décor Detail

Small useful pieces like this fine bone Chinese teapot may be used as accents to set off the home’s Asian heritage and add a touch of Asian flair.

Design Detail

Charlene saw the fabric she used to reupholster this chair in one of her Thailand trips. When she saw it again in Fabric Warehouse, she hoarded all colors since there were only a few yards left.

Girl's Room

The girl's room highlights a bed that's actually her mom's old wedding bed complete with a pair of side tables. The pieces were originally in wenge but they had it repainted. Aside from Macie's paintings, works by Francis Nacion, Migs Villanueva, and Carlo Ongchango are also on display.

Girl's Room Detail

In one corner of the girl's room, is an armchair in ikat print that serves as an extra seat. Beside it is an office chair from EDIA (SM Megamall) that Charlene had reupholstered for Macie's study nook.

Girl's Room Detail

Keep things in order with built-in shelves and drawers in white, then add a punch of color with happy pink pastels for a girl’s room. The square pouf is from L'Indochine while the round woven mat is from Kultura Filipino.

Boy's Room

Boys tend to gravitate towards blue for their bedroom, but it need not be bland. Yellow-and-white stripes painted on the ceiling add visual interest. The boys’ room is also adorned with paintings by Roel Obemio, Gerrico Blanco, Ivan Acuna, MM Yu, their sister’s own pieces, and one of the boy’s paintings of himself with his dad, a Father’s Day present. 

Boy's Room Detail

The yellow box shelf stores books while a muted blue lampshade with a curved stand adds softness. The square footstool in ikat print double duties as a table to pair with the bright blue couch. Someof the boy's artworks are also on display, most notable of which is a painting of one of the sons with his Dad which the boy made for Father's Day.

Study Area

Breaking the "boyish" hues is the ceiling painted in yellow-and-white stripes. This was done by the family’s trusted painter, Deody Pido (mobile 0927-762-6195). He also repainted and gold-leafed some of the bigger furniture pieces that were handed down to Charlene.

Master Bedroom

"This is like a central area. I work, the kids bring in their toys and play, we read there on the daybed a lot,” says Charlene of the master bedroom. Most of the furniture were designed by Nikka Santos and Crisanne Celdran, while the bed’s headboard is by Budji Layug. Adding eclectic flavor are the hand-blocked quilt from Jaipur, India, and pillows from Bungalow 300 and Jim Thompson (Jim Thompson fabrics can be found at Artemis, tel. [02] 867-2381).


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