Recycled Pieces fill a Modern Industrial Three-Storey House

A family home is defined by unique furniture, personalized details, and a fresh take on recycling.

Original Article: Reese Ferrer Photography: Vincent Coscolluela Pictorial Direction: Gwyn GS Guanzon Interior Designer: Mitch Shivers

Using old things in a new way for your own home is affordable, environment-friendly, and interesting. These recycled pieces are some of the reasons why the three-storey house of industrial designer Mitch Shivers is special. Even at the beginning of the design and construction process, Mitch and his wife Shelley knew that they would have a unique home, one that fits the small 140sqm lot that has an odd triangular shape.

The Modern Industrial house is filled with fascinating pieces made from old materials such as a house number from scrap metal tubes, a Mac G3 CPU tower used as a mailbox, a wooden gate and dining table legs made from train tracks (traviesa), and stainless steel fast food preparation tables now used as work desks. The new details of the space are also inventive and exciting. For one, the walls are made of Styrofoam and layered with wire mesh and concrete to keep the structure cool in spite of the intense Manila heat. Other energy-efficient green solutions include solar panels for electricity and to heat water, transparent glass ceiling blocks and huge windows for natural light, and the use of LED lights and inverter-type air conditioners.

Original article by Reese Ferrer. Pictorial direction by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Vincent Coscolluela. 

Read the original article ("Mindful Modern") in the July 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The bright yellow house number made from scrap metal tubes gives guests a clear idea of what to expect inside the modern industrial house. With its vivid hue and interesting texture, the number looks like a piece of art. The gate beside it was also constructed using old materials, specifically wooden train tracks or traviesa.


Instead of a traditional mailbox, the Shivers family uses a blue Mac G3 CPU tower embedded in a concrete post. The mailman can simply drop letters and bills through the disc slot.


During the construction of the 180sqm multi-level house, Mitch did not cut down any trees in the garden. Bamboo, snake plants, and tropical plants in the outdoor space are paired with blue Eames molded plastic chairs.


Mitch, an industrial designer by profession, actually wanted to use a bank vault door as the front door for his three-storey home. When he could not find one, he created a futuristic stainless steel piece studded with metal boltheads.

Living Area

The living area has a rustic brick wall adorned with a colorful Max Balatbat painting. A chocolate brown sofa has a modern capiz lamp and an antique wooden trunk or baul used as a side table on one side, and a narra round side table on the other side. A pair of leather director's chairs and a gray shag rug completes the space.


Since Mitch and Shelley followed the unusual terrain of the lot while building their dream home, the living area had to be located on a lower level.


A ceiling made from clear glass blocks in the U-shaped kitchen fills the area with natural light. The space is furnished with a stainless-steel countertop and range hood that were customized to suit Shelley's needs. The kitchen island that serves as a breakfast nook for the family is matched with shiny metal bar stools.


In the dining area, the leftover wooden train tracks used for the gate were used to create the legs of the dining table. It is paired with sleek metal dining chairs purchased in Pampanga. The neutral colors, sleek lines, and minimalist feel of the area are balanced with a sheet of yellow floral wallpaper that covers the main electrical panel board on one wall.


The staircase is also a sight to behold as it has cantilevered or floating steps fastened to the wall with metal brackets. Instead of the usual stair railing or banister, thin tension wires are suspended from the ceiling.


The space underneath the staircase is used to keep a DJ booth. Pulling out a large grill-ventilating panel reveals Mitch's spin table on wheels.


The home office is furnished with stainless steel food preparation tables from a Chinese fast food restaurant chain. Since the tables were damaged by flood and were no longer fit for their original purpose, they are now used as work desks. Important documents and personal belongings are kept in lockers bought from HMR. The space is completed with a colorful patchwork couch from Heima.


Upstairs, the master bedroom shared by Mitch and Shelley is defined by calming light blue walls. The soothing effect is also emphasized by the painting that hangs above the bed: an artwork by Mitch of a sleeping mother and child. In the center of the space, the bed is made inviting by blue and white pillows and sheets.


The most outstanding features of daughter Elle's bedroom are the bold eggplant hue on the walls and the chic black curtains with a chandelier pattern. These elements are stylish yet playful and age-appropriate.


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