Light, Air, and Space in a Family's Suburban Dream Home

Clean and simple lines amidst a white palette and stunning landscapes give this residence a timeless appeal

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar and Carlo Vergara Architect: John Pangilinan Interior Designer: Vicki Aldeguer-Pangilinan

As the city becomes more and more congested, the best decision is to move to the suburbs where space and fresh air are abundant. Vic and Maricel knew they made the right decision to move from Makati to Laguna when they finally completed their dream home.

The couple, along with their kids, were once city-dwellers who thrived on the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle. But the daily traffic jams, pollution and noise prompted them to move to Laguna where lush greenery, views of Mt. Makiling, and a golf course and clubhouse beckoned the family. Not long after, “The Nest,” as Maricel fondly calls their home, was created and the family lifestyle changed. Nowadays, the family spends their weekends at home entertaining guests, becoming healthier and more family-centered.

Their dream home was inspired by Maricel’s desire to have “light, air, and space,” and so with the help of her brother, architect John Pangilinan and his wife Vicki Aldeguer-Pangilinan, an interior designer, the family built a home that maximized the surroundings – its ample space, the stunning views, and lush foliage. The result is an airy, white house with simple lines, high ceilings, and picture windows that allow an abundance of natural light to stream in. The home is definitely a relaxing environment that is ideal for nurturing a growing family.

Original article by Tisha Alvarez. Pictorial styling by Issa Villar and Carlo Vergara. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article (“The Out-of-Towners”) in the January-February 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The house looks airy and spacious even from the outside.

Living Area

The Arenas couple wanted a high ceiling in their home, and the living area was the perfect place to highlight this. This allowed their architect John Pangilinan to create a reading nook for this family of book lovers. A La Marie chair by Philippe Starck for Kartell provides additional seating yet softly disappears into the background.

Living Area Detail

The double vaulted ceiling with sculptural details make for an interesting architectural design apart from creating an airy vibe in the living area. The high ceiling that Maricel specially requested has expanded the area into a much larger living space within the 240sqm home. The simple industrial style staircase adheres to the home’s clean lines and straightforward design.

Living Area Detail

The inviting 11-year-old Fred Astaire sofa is from Maricel’s sister whose husband owns a German furniture company ( A floor lamp from Locsin International and blue ceramic pots from Maricel’s mother-in-law add color and life to the neutral palette, while the clear Eros Swivel chair by Philippe Starck for Kartell adds a modern touch.

Design Detail

Glass windows with wooden slats create an interesting visual effect with a play on shadows and light. A creation by national artist Nap Abueva hangs in a corner. It was given to Maricel’s dad as a token for helping to fix the roof of the UP Chapel.

Dining Area

With a stunning view such as this, it’s not surprising that the Arenas home has become a favorite getaway from the city of family and friends. The home’s various picture windows boast of panoramas that show Laguna de Bay, Mt. Makiling, and even the Makati and Alabang skylines. The classic sofa and chair complement the more modern glass table and capiz dining chairs.


As the family’s weekend routine includes entertaining guests, it was a good idea to place a small counter fitted with an industrial range overlooking the dining area. This allows the homeowners to prep food and entertain guests at the same time. A telescope by the window is an interesting and useful feature in the dining area.


No space is left untouched, as even the space underneath the staircase is used as storage and becomes a sculptural masterpiece of sorts. Warm yellow LED lights create an illusion of a mock staircase that the homeowners wanted.

Reading Area

Maricel is a self-confessed bookworm, so naturally, this is her favorite spot in the house. Floating shelves give easy access to books, while a low chair in capiz and stainless steel and one of the classic sofa chairs scattered around the house provide comfortable reading spots.

Master Bedroom

Since the couple wanted a touch of Japanese inspiration in their dream home, they decided to use futons in each of the bedrooms of their residence. The low bed creates an illusion of high ceiling and larger space, while the long soft curtains add a touch of whimsy and softness to the stark white walls and simple lines of the room. Again, another piece of the classic sofa sets finds itself in another room of the house.

Julia's Bedroom

Julia’s bedroom, like her parents’, has a futon instead of a traditional bed. Perfectly positioned by the picture windows, it promises a goodnight’s sleep and a dreamlike ambiance with the midnight blue sky and starry night as the backdrop. Powder blue walls and long curtains lend a touch of femininity and softness to the room.

Outdoor Area

The Arenas’ dream home becomes the ideal weekend hangout for family and friends with its built-in barbecue and two tables perfect for outdoor entertaining.


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