Contemporary Filipino Furnishings Update a Bahay-na-Bato

Fresh new ideas complete the look of this classic space and strike a balance between the old and the new

Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon Interior Designer: Michelle Dumlao

A traditional architectural form such as the bahay- na-bato seems best relegated to the memories of the past. This is not the case for couple Lou and Danny who wanted a home that’s Pinoy but not old. Wanting a space that’s airy with Filipino accents and a large space where children can play, the couple decided to update a bahay-na-bato located in Southbay, Paranaque.

With the help of interior designer Michelle Dumlao, the upgraded home makes use of huge windows, modern capiz sliding doors, double-volume ceilings, and other contemporary design elements made of stone and wood to bring the traditional bahay-bato into the 21st century.

Original article by Kathleen Valle. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

 Read the original article (“Filipino Mod”) in the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


Modern updates to old formats can be found upon entering. One is easily drawn to the front door, an interesting mix of local wood such as kamagong and yakal.

Facade Detail

A nice touch: the doorbell is placed below an antique iron bell which may be tolled in case of brownout. This entrance also foretells the color scheme of neutrals, woods and earth colors found in the rest of the house.

Filipino Elements

Capiz windows are opened to let natural light in.


Beyond the entrance a traditional Filipino bench was placed as a foreshadowing of indigenous elements to come.

Vintage Accent

A Kulintang - a classic musical instrument can be seen near the entrance as well.


The entrance opens up to both den and living area. The den was eclectically decorated with Asian furniture as a respite from the all-Filipino treatments found in the rest of the property.

Living Area

Use an extra-high ceiling to add drama to a living room. Bigger expanses allow air to ventilate coolly. Filtered light emanates from Capiz sliding doors nearby.

Living Area Detail

European-inspired Filipino colonial furniture was paired with modern takes of the Capiz sliding door. Such nuances reinforce the Filipino character of the home.

Living Area Detail

Light colors of furniture come alive with diffused natural light from Capiz shells. For the sofa in the living room, the residents chose a set they acquired from MC Home Depot.

Dining Area

In the adjoining dining room, the look is more unified. The wooden dining set, with matching mirror and cabinets, is accentuated with coco shell husks. Indigenous materials can be used to unify furniture pieces with a certain look.


While a kitchen may exude the look of the traditional, everything in it can still be brand new. The choice of furniture, something traditionally Pinoy but made of lighter materials, helped in achieving a modern bahay-na-bato look throughout the property.

Second Floor Hallway

In the second floor, create a fresh take on the traditional Pinoy altar. This prayer nook is decked with religious figures set against a stone backsplash and driftwood detail. A multicolored banig provides a spot for intimate spiritual experiences and a speck of vibrant color.

Master Bedroom

Accentuate the design theme by making it more intimate for sleeping quarters. In the master bedroom, the Capiz windows were accentuated with custom-made beaded curtains. A no-fuss bedroom can reflect a resident's simplicity. A stack of tables create a headboard for the king-size bed.

Master Bedroom Detail

A corner of the room is accentuated with a wooden chair paired with a vintage-looking floor lamp. This is suitable for quick reading sessions before going to sleep.

Master Bedroom Detail

Create a window to peer into other windows of the house. A master bedroom looks into a room where the children congregate.

Walk-In Closet

Custom-made shoe racks were envisioned for the walk-in closet. Due to its utilitarian necessity, such a space was the most sparsely decorated among the house's rooms.

Kids' Rooms

Explore themes for the kid's rooms. The children's rooms can be a deviation from the rest of the house. A boy's room was modeled after the adventure of the Titanic.

Kids' Room Detail

One can go all out in searching for apt accessories such as boat-printed curtains, bed sheets with nautical details, and others. Even the lighting of a room can mimic that of a boat cabin.

Kids' Room Detail

An artwork depicting the Titanic hangs from the wall while a console on the foot of the bed is reminiscent of the majestic ship.

Kids' Room Detail

The other room highlights light hues paired with a patterned wall accent.


The old Filipino design scheme spills over to the lanai where a gallinera from Tiendesitas stands, fronting well-manicured greens and orchids.

Outdoor Accent

Found on top of a table outside of the house are vintage pitchers that give the space a hint of the old.

Outdoor Serenity

A couple of pieces are added just beside the garden -- providing a serene spot to help clear the mind. Light-colored furniture were used, accentuated by pillows in darker hues.

Sitting Nook

This area is perfect for some reading time. The shelves not just display trinkets -- it also gives extra storage space.


Create pocket gardens and trails to surround the house. These blanket the property with cool temperature as well as provide picture-perfect views seen from inside windows.

Garden Detail

You may seek professional help when it comes to landscaping the garden. In this home, the landscape was done by the Philippine Maintenance Group, the same professionals who worked on Bonifacio Global City.


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