Ultimate Makeover

An Eight-Day Makeover for a Bare Concrete House

With a budget of P110,000, designer Aouie Lao was able to turn an unfinished property into a homey and relaxing haven

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Interior Designer: Aouie Lao

Life has a way of surprising us—sometimes, when we least expect it. Not winning an earlier makeover proved to be a blessing in disguise for the owners of this house in Makati as they were in for something bigger and better—an Ultimate Makeover from Real Living. To say that it’s well-deserved would be an understatement as they have been dreaming about completing their home that's in dire need of a new and finished look.

Prior to the makeover, the house was a concrete shell like its neighboring structures. It had thin galvanized iron roof covers, the facade was plain and bare, and an empty space welcomed guests into the home. “Yung pagtayo ng bahay na’to, patapal-tapal lang talaga. Walang exact na plan. ‘Pag may pera lang, saka dinadagdagan,” says the man of the house. Local carpenters helped build the house and to save on expenses, they personally had to do some of the finishing.

To improve the overall state of the home, designer Aouie Lao stepped in. Aouie not only stayed within the budget, she also delivered a brand new looking space in just eight days. After the overhaul, it has become a delightful sight in the community—with relaxing interiors that seem to invite you to relax and settle in. While it took a while for the makeover to happen, it’s definitely worth the wait. As the saying goes, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

From the outside, what was once a plain house now stands out and makes passersby stop. A bright color livens up the facade—matching the plants perfectly.


To improve the empty corner with dated curtains, Aouie created a functional foyer with elegant drapes, a sheer white curtain that lets in natural light, and a multipurpose cabinet. The surface on top holds photos and decor, while keys and receipts are found in the first drawer. Meanwhile, shoes are kept at the bottom and CDs on the side to maximize the piece.

The addition of a potted plant lends a soothing feel upon entrance to the space.

Living Area

A blank space used to welcome guests into the home—with the sofa facing the door. To give the owners privacy and to improve the layout of the space as well, the two chairs were fixed with the backs to the door, while the sofa was placed parallel to the wall.

The flooring of the living area was likewise improved. Since one side is an inch higher, a huge part of the budget was allocated for leveling and tiling. The new tiled floor looks better and matches the look of the house.

You don't have to limit your wall accent options to frames and works of art. Flat woven bowls and even baskets can make for an interesting statement. The woven textures work well with the colors of the wall as well as add to the calming, resort-like feel.

To remedy the absence of a proper ceiling, Aouie worked with cloth swags. An affordable alternative compared to installing a new ceiling, cloth swags can be easily removed and cleaned. It also adds a soft and charming touch to the space. Another plus? The swags serve as insulation from the heat radiating from the roof.

Since the homeowners installed some of the concrete hollow blocks on their own, having uneven walls became inevitable. To solve this, Aouie covered the worst section with plywood then painted it brown (to match with the blue walls) to create an accent wall behind the TV

Four colors complete the home's palette—blue, brown, orange, and green. Blue and brown dominate the living area and add to the refreshing ambiance. Meanwhile, orange and green were incorporated into the look through plants and accessories.


Aside from being refreshing, the colors chosen by Aouie also complement each other well. From the living area, one can admire the kitchen's orange walls, while from the cooking space, it's easy to be captivated by the living area's blue walls. This solution defines one space from the other as well as adds to the overall vibe of the home.

To save on costs, Aouie opted to paint the floor in the kitchen instead of having it tiled. The bright floors were completed using Sandstone Floor Paint from Handyman.

Dining Nook

The dark and cluttered kitchen made cooking difficult and enjoying meals seem impossible. To create a cheerful space, Aouie worked on a neon-orange theme. The kitchen and dining areas became more inviting and the owners will surely feel inspired to whip up delicious meals.

To define the dining area, the wall behind the dining table was painted light olive. The addition of a lighting piece above the table gives it an elegant vibe, too.

Kitchen and Dining Areas

To turn the once dark and cramped kitchen into an airy and spacious part of the home, Aouie had an extra window cut out of the wall over the sink. This new addition lets in plenty of natural light, and since the walls, floor, and ceiling were painted in light colors—light is reflected, giving the owners a well-illuminated kitchen that's suitable for different tasks. 

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with designer Aouie Lao through e-mail at: aouie[at]

Read the original article ("Making Miracles") in the December 2005 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

*Ed's note: Final cost does not include designer's fee.

How Much It Costs:

Fiberglass roofing (exterior) - P 700
Cement, sand, etc. - P 5,897
Door, windows, hardware, paint, paint materials, Tiles - P 34,173
Rough carpentry - P 9,713
Light bulbs, wiring, receptacles, coffee table, dining table, two dining chairs, shoe cabinet - P 14,006
Care Thrift Shop
Side table - P 700
Open shelves - P 2,399
Our Home
Two upholstered chairs, wall-mounted shelf - P 7,140
Slipcover and cloth ceiling - P 4,000
Various accessories—lamps, vases, bowls, picture frames - P 15,146
Labor - P 15,000
Grand Total:

More on

A Complete Makeover for a Family Home

A Major Overhaul for a Studio Unit

RL Makeovers: A Complete Home Renovation in Quezon City


Latest Stories

The Multitasking Kitchen Appliance You Need at Home

With this on your countertop, you can accomplish tons of tasks in a breeze

We’ve Discovered 5 New Stores for Your Plant Needs

Tap the Instagram icon on your phone and give these shops a follow

There’s More To This Mysterious Island Than The Moriones Festival

Many visit Marinduque for its famous Holy Week festival, but the MIMAROPA island is a treasure trove of heritage homes, artistry, and delicious food.

8 Cultural Spots in Negros You Can Visit This Summer

This Southern region holds many (sweet!) surprises such as a bakery in a centuries-old building and an art gallery in an ancestral house

Get Fresh, Tropical-Filipino Inspiration From This Store

These pieces will remind you of nostalgic summers in your lolo and lola's home

5 Ways To Redecorate Your Home Without Shopping

For starters, you can try these pro-approved tips

Avoid A High Electricity Bill This Summer While Keeping Your Home Cool

You don't need to leave the AC unit turned on 24/7

How I Moved Out of the Family Home and Survived Living Alone

A young photojournalist shares the triumphs and struggles of living independently

This House in Pasig Has Been Under Renovation For Years

Architect Pierre Briones transformed a dated property into a stunning home filled with wooden touches, designer pieces, and handpicked accessories

This TV Show Does Home Makeovers In 15 Hours

And some of the decorators (and one judge!) are Pinoy. Check out this amazing makeover show.

This Museum In a Bahay Na Bato Is a Lesson In Pinoy History

In photos: The Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros will delight your mind and eye, not only your tastebuds

This Elevated Walkway In Ortigas Makes Pasig A More Walkable City

The walkway is one of a series of new pedestrian areas rising in Ortigas Center
Load More Stories

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