Mexican and Mediterranean Influences in a Soulful Abode

With a bag full of global inspirations, this homeowner was able to create the home of her childhood dreams

Original Article: Kat von Einsiedel Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Coni Tejada Architect: Edward Gagarin

Being the daughter of an architect, homeowner Monnette had exposure to world design even at an early age. Even from childhood she always envisioned living in a Mediterranean villa or a Mexican casa. So when time came for her to design her own home, it came as a breeze to capture the villa she had always dreamed of. And with the assistance of architect, Edward Gagarin, it all came to life. Her vision involved having an open space that allowed every room to be seen wherever she stood. Not only did she aspire to keep the villa accessible, she wanted to be sure that no space would be ignored. There had to be a purpose for every section of the home. This way, each space would be fully functional and be put into good use whenever she and her family were home.

Lengthy glass doors and windows allowed Monnette to see all the way to the back of house and into the courtyard. And it’s easy to spot the Mediterranean and Mexican influences throughout the home. Multicolored, intricately-designed tiles and disheveled bricks are just some of the elements found in the villa to give it that rustic yet homey atmosphere she wished to capture. Most of the walls and ceilings were painted in shades of brown to orange, while a neutral color palette was chosen for the living area’s cozy seating. And to top everything off, the majority of the material used for furniture was wood. Although the spaces were hardly accessorized, the simplicity highlights the warmth and soulfulness of a home so dear to one’s heart.

Original article by Kat Von Einsiedel. Styling by Coni Tejada. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article ("A Villa of Dreams") in the October 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. 

Living Area

The living are is bright and cheery thanks to subtle yellow walls and the clay-colored tiles. The sofa is a reupholstered and came from Monnette’s parent’s home—taking on a neutral color to complement the colorful surroundings.

Dining Area

Monnette’s dining table was fashioned out of a big piece of narra found by her door supplier. She paired it with old chairs from her parent’s house. The Last Supper painting is one of the few art pieces found in the home. She purchased the unique piece made by an artist from her hometown of Bulacan.


Bright lighting installed around the kitchen brighten the space. Wooden elements work well with the color scheme.

Master Bedroom

Inspired by Mexican homes, a painter that Monnette had hired created the multi-tone effect of her bedroom walls by hand. A wooden sleigh bed from Ethan Allen anchors the room and creates a resort-like atmosphere in the space.

Girl's Room

Monnette’s daughter’s room is filled with stark white furniture to balance the bold purple walls on the other side of the room.

Girl's Room Detail

What was supposed to be crimson was made purple by a painter. Instead of having it changed, Monnette stuck with it and accented it with accessories.

Boy's Room

Of course, blue was chosen as the dominant color of her son’s room. The space is now filled with the teenager’s gym equipment.


A beautiful, tiled fountain sits in Monnette’s courtyard, a feature that could be seen as soon as you enter her front door.


Monnette had a little help from her architect dad on how to decorate the house—the brick detail on the lanai posts was an idea of his. It was while eating at a restaurant that Monnette discovered the rustic bricks she had used. The restaurant owners owned an antique business and sold the bricks from their store in Bicutan.


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!