Shabby Chic style completes a 30sqm Apartment

Entrepreneur Beam Mariano fills her studio unit with sweet pastels, recycled pieces, and DIY touches

Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Vincent Coscolluela Pictorial Direction: Dagny Madamba

Working on do-it-yourself or DIY home projects can be easier than you think. More importantly, arts and crafts can brighten up any space, just as entrepreneur Beam Mariano’s own handmade pieces lent a personalized feel to her 30sqm bachelorette pad. Located on the top floor of a walk-up apartment building, she calls her studio unit a “labor of love” and explains that every nook and cranny has a story to tell.

The room was once rented by a group of male students that scribbled on many of the surfaces, much to the dismay of the neat and organized Beam. Once the contract ended, she turned everything around by giving the space a makeover and turning it into a second home and home office. Since she had to paint the walls, put up the wallpaper and apply the vinyl flooring herself, it took her four months to finish the renovation. 

Original article by Kathleen Valle. Pictorial direction by Dagny Madamba. Photographed by Vincent Coscolluela.

Read the original article (“Pretty Pursuits”) in the June 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Wall Hook

A cheap but lovely ceramic duck wall hook from Uniwide Warehouse Club is used to keep the homeowner's keys in place.

Living Area

To make the most out of the 30sqm floor area of the apartment, an open layout was used. The lack of walls in the space makes it bright and area. Instead of solid partitions, the areas are marked by painting the walls in different pastel colors. A tall white shelf is used as a divider between the living area and the sleeping area. The sleeping area is marked with a white shag rug that Beam got on sale from SM Homeworld.

Bookshelf Detail

The tall white shelf used to separate the living and sleeping areas serve a stylish and functional purpose. More than keeping Beam's bargain finds on display, the spaces are filled with books, magazines, and even dinnerware.

Dining Area

Open shelves separate the dining and sleeping areas and also provide extra storage space in this small space. The dining area is furnished with a secondhand dining table (with a white tabletop and pink legs) and a pair of antique chairs. These pieces were bought from one of the stores along Evangelista St., Bangkal, Makati, a place known for its reasonably-priced home furniture and accessories.


In addition to being the founder and chief designer of Artwine, an online craft shop known for its felt accessories, Beam is also a multimedia arts instructor and a contributor to local magazines. With her busy schedule, her work space becomes one of the most important areas in her bachelorette pad. Hanging above her generously-sized work table is a pair of identical whitewashed shelves that serve a functional and decorative purpose – the shelves hold her art and design books alongside cute home décor (many were bought from Divisoria and Uniwide Warehouse Club for less than P100 each) that keeps her inspired.

Craft Materials

Beam spends her free time working on arts and crafts projects.


The diminutive, watermelon-hued kitchen packs a punch of colors and surprising details. The teal-topped "counter" is actually another cabinet from a Japanese surplus shop. Beam shares that the stainless steel sink turned black when she cleaned it with muriatic acid so she painted it white. She also covered the interiors of the white overhead cabinets with patterned wallpaper for an unexpected girly touch.

Kitchen Wall

A framed floral print and a single photograph hang on one of the kitchen walls. Placing gift wrappers, wallpaper scraps, and other printed material in frames is an affordable way to change the look of any space.


A whitewashed wicker table with a pink metal handle is covered with a white doily. A woven basket filled with felt flowers and a few other accessories can be found on the table.


For her bedroom, Beam chose a headboard from her parents' house that had a dragon and phoenix carving and a rich, dark brown varnish. To match the rest of her furniture, she spray painted it with four coats of white paint and adorned the bed itself with mismatched pillows and throws, including vintage pieces from her Tita Beth. Four framed prints in soft shades of pink and blue hang on the wall behind the bed. These details are inexpensive but interesting.

Bedroom Chair

The wooden chair by the bedroom is topped with Beam's collection of fabrics in dainty pastel hues with gingham, polka dot, and floral patterns. One of her creations (a flower crown made from felt) is also used to spruce up the corner.

Bedroom Detail

A small bouquet of felt flowers is placed in a recycled aluminum can. The colorful blooms look adorable next to her beloved pet rabbit.

Herb Corner

All of Beam's clothes are kept inside a lacquered armoire from a Japan surplus store. The cabinet is topped with a mix of pretty pots that hold mint, basil, and other herbs. Rustic accessories like bird cages, candle holders and a charming wooden owl figure complete the mini herb garden.


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