Eclectic Asian Design Livens Up a Single Bedroom Condo

Varied Asian elements transform a typical condo unit into a well-coordinated home

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Issa Villar Interior Designer: Joel Navarro, Oliver Menor, and Charisse Puentespina

Businesswoman Mary Anne was eager to give her comfortable but generic condo unit a majestic make-over – so much so that she had no qualms about giving full creative control to her interior designers. With a generous budget, interior designers Joel Navarro, Oliver Menor, and Charisse Puentespina transformed Mary Anne’s space into a well-coordinated home full of character.

Inspired by heirloom pieces that Mary Anne owned, the designers chose an Asian theme for the unit. With an antique Chinese trunk and wardrobe as the starting point, the place that once had the usual beige walls, parquet floors and beautiful but mismatched furniture was transformed into a space of balance and harmony, infused with elements of Asian culture. Warm earth tones, unified dark wood furniture and wooden panels, accent colors, design pieces from all over Asia, like a bell from Burma and wood carvings from Chang Mai, all blended together to form a beautifully designed home fit for the owner of the space.

Original article by Amillah Rodil. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article (“Designer’s Choice”) in the March 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Living Area

The living area displays the unit’s strong sense of character. An antique Chinese trunk, the designers’ inspiration for the overall theme, rests next to a daybed. A majestic armoire from Thailand faces the daybed, with yoke-back armchairs from Indonesia, and custom-made Kang table in between. As accents to the dark-toned furniture, pillows and curtains are in green, gold, and red to keep the place from looking to dark and heavy. The living area is arranged to achieve a proportional and balanced look.

Living Area Detail

Given the space, the place doesn’t have much room for guests. A custom-made daybed, the size of a single bed, functions as a couch and bed for visitors. Pillows in gold and red accentuate the earth-toned sheets. The mirror above the daybed is framed by a latticework pattern from Indonesia.


The armoire serves not only as a design piece, but as a functional one as well. To save space and keep with theme, the TV is hidden inside the armoire. Its doors swing out and slide to the sides.

Asian Accents

Even small knick-knacks contribute to the overall feel of a theme. This wooden sculpture of a hand gesture found on the coffee table in the living area is a symbol of protection, peace, and disappearance of fear, representing the Buddhist Abhaya Mudra. Other details like a basin of smooth stones and a small plant give a breath of life to the area.

Throw Cushions

Throw cushions in gold and green with Thai elephant designs add a homey and cozy vibe. The intricate designs work well with the neutral rug and upholstery.

Dining Area

The dining area’s walls are painted red, giving the room a warm feel. To maximize the area, an elegant square dining table, made of glass and wood, replaced a small rectangular table. At the end of the dining area is a custom-made console table, decorated with a wooden sculpture, potted plant, and an artfully designed lamp, reminiscent of peacock feathers.

Dining Area Detail

A dark framed ikat weave adorns a simple white wall. The large piece contrasts with the narrow Komodo ledge next to it, making the room feel spacious. The weave’s colors match the dining area’s color theme, tying the elements of the space into a cohesive whole.


The kitchen area has ornate wood carvings from Chang Mai and Thai inset carvings on the wall above the bar counter. The wooden paneling accentuates and ties the white marble kitchen to the rest of the room. Three wooden stools are added to the bar, perfect for drinking with friends or as extra chairs for guests.


The bedroom walls are in green, keeping the earthy tones of the unit. Intricate carvings decorate the wall, providing texture against the smoothness of the wooden panels and paint. The carvings are not just pretty but functional as well – it acts as an overhang where you can add paintings.


Latest Stories

5 Secrets Of A Functional Kitchen

Are you dreaming of having the most efficient scullery? These tips might just do the trick.

11 Peg-Worthy Celebrity Christmas Trees

From showcasing dainty blooms to using quirky ornaments, these personalities have taken the decorating game to the next level

This Quiapo Day Tour Will Make You Love Old Manila Again

Go on a DIY Quiapo adventure and look beyond the vendors. Say a prayer, have your fortune told, take a peek at a mysterious pagoda, and visit beautiful ancestral houses from a more genteel past.

10 Ways To Make Your Shoes Last Forever

Show your favorite pairs some tender loving care with these tips

A One-Bedroom Unit Transformed into a Two-Bedroom Home

The designers of this 45sqm condo in Manila created a functional space with an urban contemporary appeal that’s perfect for its young occupants

Here's Why You Should Skip Bringing Your Phone To The Bathroom

Trust us, liking that photo on Instagram can wait for a few minutes

7 Planners For An Inspired 2018

Stay organized and keep your goals in sight with these picks

These Christmas Ornaments Will Make You Feel Like Dancing

Celebrate a yearly Christmas ballet tradition with The Nutcracker collection

15 Calming Photos of Modern Minimalist Homes

Because less is more

10 Life-Changing Cleaning Habits For Lazy People

We've got the strategies for keeping an impeccably clean house without losing your mind

Did You Know That Ellen Adarna Lives in a 1930s Apartment in Manila?

She has a fantastic view of the Manila Bay sunset, too

Neat Home Appliances You Need To Buy With Your 13th Month Bonus

It's okay to treat yourself with the best things money can buy—especially if it is for your humble abode
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!