Recycled Vintage Pieces and Quirky Finds for a 30sqm condo

Secondhand furniture, unusual pieces, and an impressive number of books complete this writer and poet’s personal space

Original Article: Thor G. Balanon Photography: Rene Mejia Pictorial Direction: Joanne Enriquez-Bohol

Even a small space should be defined by the character of the homeowner. In this 30sqm condo owned by writer and poet Mabi David, her hobbies and interests can be seen in every corner. She achieved this personalized look by considering her lifestyle – she writes a lot, reads a lot, never watches TV, and she enjoys entertaining friends and relatives. With her habits and preferences in mind, she designed her own place with the help of her friend and interior designer Wilmer Lopez.

From a bare and unfurnished unit, Mabi now has a contemporary bohemian home filled with eclectic finds. Her interesting pieces include a solid narra dining table from Bangkal St., Makati, old chairs from her mother that were reupholstered with new fabric, and an ornate mirror painted over with a bright neon hue.

Original article by Thor G. Balanon.  Pictorial direction by Joanne Enriquez-Bohol. Photographed by Rene Mejia.

Read the original article (“Turning A New Page”) in the June 2012 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


Since Mabi wanted a touch of industrial style, a cool gray shade was chosen for the accent wall in the dining area. The color is complemented by three Marc Gaba paintings on the wall. Aside from the dark colors and severe lines of the artworks, the homeowner was drawn to the largest painting because it depicts a part of Cubao, a place that she used to live in.


The dining area is furnished with an antique narra dining table from the 1950s. The piece is surrounded by mismatched chairs: a Wishbone chair topped with a Shakespeare pillow, two metal folding chairs with a houndstooth print and a plain red fabric, and a wooden solihiya chair painted bright yellow. A pair of vintage lamps hangs over the dining set.


The table is topped with framed photos and some of the homeowner's books.


A French partition separates the dining area from the bedroom. Since the translucent glass did not provide enough privacy, the divider was covered with bookshelves filled with Mabi's 886 books.


Aside from reading material, the bookshelves are used to display personal trinkets such as pottery, vintage trunks from Bangkal, and a Shakespeare Bobble Head aptly placed next to the Shakespeare titles.


For an eclectic look, books are kept alongside colorful pieces like necklaces and bracelets. An empty beer bottle can even be seen on the top shelf.


Guests are drawn to the refrigerator of the small and simple kitchen because of the funny magnets with statements in broken English like: "You are my love my angle. Don't treat me like potato."


Guests are welcomed into the 30sqm space with reusable eco bags with statement prints and bold colors on the wall. Wall-mounted hooks help keep the bags organized and also showcase the pieces for an interesting style.


In the bedroom, one is immediately drawn to the yellow and orange crocheted bedcover made by Mabi’s mother.


Hanging on the wall by the bed is another gift: a set of vintage hand-painted photographs from the turn of the century called Tipos Filipinos. The framed pieces were given by the homeowner’s publishing mentor, Sonia Ner.


At the foot of Mabi’s bed is a reading nook furnished with a purple wooden chair that has a solihiya seat. Beside the chair is a table lamp covered with a cherry blossom fabric that her sister, writer and editor Mabel David-Pilar, bought in Japan.


In the bathroom, the orange accent tiles are complemented by the orange paint that covers the upper half of the wall. An antique mirror is painted over with a bright yellow hue for a modern touch.


The balcony is now used as an herb garden and breakfast nook. Mabi explains that she wanted to freshen up the space and thought that adding plants would be the easiest way to do it. She says that while her basil did not grow, the oregano is thriving and flourishing. The potted plants are complemented with rustic touches like a teak bench, bird cage, and a quirky bird décor placed in a corner.


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