15 Most Memorable Real Living Moments

What was the most dramatic Real Makeover? Our smallest home, ever? Find out and celebrate our 15th Anniversary with us in this special feature of RL's milestones.

Photography: Bahaghari & Jilson Tiu (Main Photos)

Ever since Real Living put out its first print issue in 2003, the title launched a lot of firsts in the local shelter industry: the first fully sponsored makeover (we still offer this!), the first furniture prize giveaway, the first budget-friendly home book, and more. We’ve had hundreds of memorable firsts over the years, but here are 15 groundbreaking ones:

1. The very first cover home

When Real Living launched its very first issue on July 2003, it featured a selection of unusual but cozy homes, and the one that landed on the cover was Mandala Spa’s Karen Reina, whose amazing tropical-Asian house in Boracay combined living spaces with her yoga studio. (It was also the first local magazine to put a person on the cover!)

2. Smallest home: 13sqm


We couldn’t believe our eyes, but yes, this condo unit homeowner was able to squeeze in living/dining/sleeping areas into just 13sqm of floor space with an ingenious layout and space-saving solutions!

READ: Take A Peek Inside This 13sqm Condo Unit In Mandaluyong

3. Biggest home: 1,200sqm

Even decorator and former RL creative director Gwyn Guanzon admitted that the sprawling, 1200sqm Batangas weekend house he was working on was so big, even when he added more furniture, “hindi siya napupuno!

READ: A 1200sqm Modern Weekend Home In Batangas


We can’t help but mention this runner-up to the biggest home, which is interior designer Joy Ejercito’s 900-plus sqm family house. It took stylist Dagny Madamba two full days to shoot!

READ: Retro Scandinavian Hip Defines This Alabang Home

4.  Cheapest makeover: under P5,000

Real Living was the first local home magazine to offer makeovers for free, but we all had to start somewhere, and the sponsored amount was a mere P5,000! What the homeowners got back in 2004 was a fresh coat of paint, brand new accessories, and an improved layout—not bad for less than P5K!

READ: What You Can Do With A P10,000 Makeover Budget

5. Most expensive makeover: under P400,000


Interior designer Van Acuña-Solana worked on this lucky lola’s makeover back in September 2016, and the sponsored total cost was P379,209.75 (designer’s fee not included). The family got totally revamped living and dining areas, bathroom, and bedroom in luxe finishes, plus brand new furniture from Blims.

READ: 7 Style Tricks From This Year’s Ultimate Makeover

6. Most-viewed makeover

Who could forget Kristine Neri-Magturo and Jean Paul dela Rosa’s total transformation of a 1980s Quezon City home that had seen better days? We still can’t believe the before-and-after photos!

READ: A Complete Home Renovation In Quezon City

7. Most dramatic makeover


Leave it RL Style Spotter and makeover maven Grace Moslares to work on the most dramatic and tear-jerking before-and-after. She made a complete home and interior makeover of the Jarabelo family, creating a comfortable living space for the patriarch, who was undergoing dialysis at that time.

READ: A Complete Makeover Of A Family Home

8. Best loved shopping stories

Whether on print or on the web, it has always been a toss-up between Dapitan Arcade and Divisoria (above). For the past 15 years, RL readers have always loved bargains, and these budget-shopping spots (and how the Real Living staff have photographed these shopping adventures) have never failed them.

READ: The Ultimate Dapitan Arcade Shopping Guide

9. Longest running section: Get The Look


Since 2003, RL has always featured a roundup of products that would help you cop the look of the Real Homes. We still do that, only online.

READ: Get The Look of Pia Wurtzbach’s Posh NYC Apartment

10. The first RL book

Real Living was also the first in creating a home and decorating book that was attainable and easy to read, and launched our first Real Home Ideas book in 2006. Since then, RL has published 16 home books over 10 years.

11. Bestselling issue: June 2014


No surprise here, as this issue was chockfull of tiny Real Homes and small-space solutions (not to mention, the cover was so cool).

12. Biggest event: RL Space

When more than a dozen designers come together to actually renovate and redecorate several model units of a real estate, you know that it’s an event unto its own. We’ve since launched multiple events for advertisers since the first RL Space in 2013.

13. Most people at a shoot


Although the RL team usually consists of three to four people at regular home pictorials, whenever the staff shoots the portraits of the 25 Creatives special, the studio normally crawls with 30 to 40 designers, makeup artists, and various crewmembers. The same also applies to our recent Style Spotters shoot.

READ: Meet Real Living’s Style Spotters

14. First time Real Living web went live


After waiting 11 years, finally went live on June 15, 2014, and we’ve been growing ever since.

15. Most viewed home

Even though we’ve posted homeowner Isagani Alcantara’s home online three years ago, readers still can’t get enough of this modern Bulacan home with a subtle, nostalgic, midcentury vibe.

READ: A Modern Family Home In Balagtas, Bulacan

Do you have a memorable Real Living moment, or remember an old article that helped you out at home? Message us on our Facebook page!

More on


Latest Stories

How to Correctly Clean Kitchen Counterops and Other Surfaces Your Child Touches

Your kitchen countertop is one of the dirtiest surfaces at home

Start The Year Right With These Decluttering Tips

Achieve a cleaner and brighter home with these handy hints

Sagada's Newest Art Hub Is a Sanctuary in the Mountains

It is called the Dogo Siwang Art Hub

You'll Feel Right at Home in This Hotel in Pasig City

We're definitely going back!

Welcome Prosperity and Positive Vibes Into Your Home with Feng Shui

Improve the positive energy in your home with these friendly reminders

Kids Can Enter Ayala Museum For Free This Weekend

Don't miss out on this!

Turn Your Bedroom Into A Comforting Space with These Colors

Sweet, calming, and neutral colors are our top picks!

Your Ultimate Guide on Choosing The Right Kitchen Tools

Shopping for appliances is really about making the right decisions

7 Beautiful & Peaceful Staycation Spots in Tagaytay

From cozy B&Bs to luxurious hotels, we give you a roundup of some of the best places to stay in for your next trip to this vibrant city

Family-Friendly Neighborhoods In and Around The Metro

These developments will help you make sure that you and your family live a peaceful lifestyle

How to Keep Your Sanity When Your Kasambahay Takes Time Off

Don't get overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done when your kasambahay is away!

More Neighborhoods Close to Schools and Universities

We give you a roundup of remarkable developments that will surely cater to your needs, but this time, they're all outside the Metro
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!