An Eclectic Industrial Starter Home

This newlywed’s one-bedroom unit is a feast for the eyes with its imaginative design and great use of available space

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon

The Magbanua family's 68sqm starter home is a feast for the eyes – from the heady mix of eclectic pieces, industrial elements, to the art that lines their walls. Yet it still has a surprising amount of practicality for such an inventively designed home. The space was decorated by Pat’s mother, Jo-ann Maglipon, as a gift to the couple.

The home’s overall design theme is based on a lamp from Amsterdam, made of metal, wheels, and wood with roots in modern art – a design that adapted wonderfully in their one bedroom unit. Around the home, metal pipes are exposed, giving the space an industrial and gritty feel. It’s then balanced by wood’s natural warmth in the furnishings to its storage spaces, with the added whimsy of eclectic art pieces – from murals on tanguile panels, commissioned wall sculptures, prints, and transparent metalwork. The end result is a SoHo loft combined with the unique quirky quality of an Old Manila home.

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article ("Gulong, Kahoy, Lata") in the June 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details. 

Entryway Detail

A blackboard door saves time and paper for the busy couple. Instead of post-it notes, they leave each other notes that won’t be missed – right by the door, where they’ll be able to see it all the time.

His Workspace

Immediately to the left of the entryway is the work area, hidden by a set of aparadors with wooden screens suspended on metal beams. The tanguile panel mural on Ian’s side was decorated by Collision Theory with an urban, graffiti-inspired mural depicting the couple's love for music.

Workspace Detail

The shelves above Ian’s workspace shows facets of his interests and personality. A car aficionado, Ian’s car collection is displayed on the shelves, including this gold Volkswagen figurine.

Workspace Detail

A Volkswagen fashioned out of wire sits amidst other model cars.

Her Workspace

Pat’s workspace, at the other end of the room, is lined with shelves to store her books. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling, a contrast to the metal beams, giving the room an eclectic vibe. Her side of the tanguile panel is decorated with a print series by Picasso.

Living Area

A flat screen television hangs in front of a repurposed damask sofa. Exposed shelving and pipes give the place a SoHo vibe, while loud art pieces decorating the walls give the place a touch of artistic whimsy.

Living Area Detail

Functioning as a coffee table, decoration, and storage space, this engraved antique baul takes center stage in the living area. From the couch, one can easily see both the kitchen and master bedroom.

Living Area Detail

This sun-like sculpture in wood, finished to simulate steel, was a commissioned piece. The material complements the visible pipes around the room perfectly.

Quirky Detail

A steel/resin sculpture-grill by Joel Ajero adds an interesting touch to the space.

Dining Area

A multitude of artwork from different painters – from Jason Moss to Danny Dalena – decorate the walls of the dining area. Three wrought-iron panels hang over the nook, creating an eclectic transparent divider between the living and dining areas. The intricate metalwork is lightweight and delicate, and helps frame the intimate space without overpowering it. An art piece by Joel Ajero that mixes metalwork with colored glass and graphic elements complements the panels.


Exposed shelving and pipes are both a design choice and practicality. The bare bones theme is a quick design showcase, with the pipes forming architectural shapes that give character to the home. At the same time, it’s easy to spot leaks and lessens the probability of vermin hiding in nooks and crannies.

Kitchen Detail

Unique shaped glass stems add a design element to the kitchen’s hanging shelves.


In an alcove above the bed, a painting in blues and teals gives the space an air of serenity. It also breaks the monotony of the wood, giving the room a larger-than-life illusion. The dark framed bed is flanked by floor to ceiling cabinets, giving the couple plenty of storage space.

Shoe Closet

You can never have enough storage space. A home with ample storage makes it easier to keep the surroundings neat and tidy.


Painted in a cement finish instead of laid out with ceramic tile, the bathroom ties in with the décor of the rest of the place. The yellow sink and toilet add a touch of vibrant color to the room, while minor details like the plumbing, towel holder, and metal trash bin tie in with the home’s industrial theme.

Master Bathroom

The sink is custom-made – molave was shaped around it and pipes were collected from junkyards to hold the couples’ towels. Even the shower floor uses garden tile materials instead of ceramic tiles.


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