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An Artist Couple’s Townhouse With Vintage Touches

This exuberantly fun home is an extension of a couple’s quirky personalities and their shared passion for creativity

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Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Joanne Bohol

Seeing this house makes it easy to tell what Bru Sim and Marcus Nada share: a love for the arts. Both are visual artists at the helm of the design studio called Electrolychee.

When Bru and Marcus aren’t occupied with their work, they’re busy with domestic duties and “parenting” obligations to their two cats. “Being a homeowner is a full-time job. We’re pretty lucky to have a shared garden that pulls us away from the computer. We also love having friends over, or meeting them at galleries, gigs, or markets, because real-life socializing is a lot more fun,” Bru relates. 

The creative couple collated pegs that helped them communicate their idea to their architect. “We showed him an inspiration folder we culled together,” she narrates. “It was a mix of tropical and modern. Likewise, we were inspired by Ray and Charles Eames’ house. But the interior design is solely Marcus and Bru. It freaked my dad out initially that we wanted a colorful house.”

Bru adds, “We really went around Manila (and outside) to source thrifted vintage items and gutted furnishings from old houses. We also looked into my ama’s warehouse and repurposed items from our old compound.” It took two years for Bru and Marcus to complete the look they wanted, and for the couple, working on their own nest has been a great experience that brought them closer. Bru adds, “We have to work together to maintain the house and coordinate its look and character. Volt-in kumbaga… the house is an ongoing project.” And from the looks of it, this creative cocoon can only look better through time.

Living and Study

Bathed in white, the walls of this townhouse are a blank canvas for the artists’ collection of art pieces (including those they created) and other random items they bought at galleries, thrift shops, or from friends. A small study area is incorporated into the space.

Lounge Area

A well-curated grouping of seemingly random items populates one corner of the living room studio. An old, wind-up Mickey Mouse toy looks perfectly at home in this ragtag group of curios composed of a robot, a bul-ol dressed in an orange garland, a measuring rod, a small painting of apples, a cactus-like totem, and ping-pong rackets. The huge floral orange-cushioned woven lounge chair is from Diretso, at 2/f LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia St., Makati City.

Lounge Area with Swings

When asked which part of the house is her favorite, Bru says “I love the swings and the floral orange lounge from Diretso, [because] it really invites people to stay and relax. And then the salon style/hodgepodge mix of artwork and ephemera we collected.” Aside from being perfect lounging pieces, the swings and orange lounge add just the right dose of playful color that makes this space more inviting.

Dining Area

The citrus-colored dining/kitchen took inspiration from an orange lamp, which can be seen on one of the shelves at right. Bru narrates, “It was the starting point for the orange-themed kitchen. But then we ended up not using it at all, because when we turned it on the light was too red, parang red-light-district.” The bright color was used discriminately and is offset by the white table, flooring, ceiling and walls so as not to appear overwhelming. Vintage gray chairs also temper the bright color of the area. The mugs are Pantone color mugs. 

Home office

Bru and Marcus are the artists behind Electrolychee, a design studio that produces graphic and product design. Both husband and wife illustrate and paint, participating in exhibits and illustrating for various books and magazines.

They say that creative minds are rarely tidy. Looking at Bru and Sim’s home office, one has to agree, but not entirely. This area could have easily looked messy, but as with the living area studio, the dominance of white creates the perfect balance between topsy-turvy and organized chaos. And even though the two artists have their own worktable, both furniture pieces are identical, making the space look pulled together.

Stairwell

A winding staircase leads to the upstairs bedrooms. The double volume ceiling allows for more artwork, in this case, a Luz.

TV Room

Marcus converted this spare bedroom into a TV/entertainment room. In his spare time, Marcus creates industrial-style furniture pieces for Ylaya Studio.

Climbing Wall

You know that this is an unusual townhouse when the gate opens to a custom-made climbing wall! This climbing wall also gives added privacy from the main street.

Read the original article ("The House of Creative Energy") in the June 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details. 

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