Ultimate Makeover

A 1970s House Transformed Into a Modern-Minimalist Mixed-Use Space

Interior designer Jeselyn Chuan took on the challenge of giving an old structure a fresh and more functional look

Photography: courtesy of IDr. Jeselyn Chuan (Before) and OLA Interior Photography (After) Interior Designer: IDr. Jeselyn Chuan

When you have an old property at your disposal, would you rather knock it down to build a new structure or see if you can renovate it first and make it look brand-new? This is the same dilemma the owners of this 70s-80s house had.

“It has been uninhabited for years so when the owners thought of moving in, they contemplated between knocking down the entire house and building from the ground up or doing a major renovation. They ended up doing a major renovation because it would be faster and they can utilize the space sooner,” interior designer Jeselyn Chuan shares with Realliving.com.ph.


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Jeselyn has worked on numerous renovations before but this was the first time she worked on a structure this old. Since they no longer have access to the home’s architectural plans, engineers had to step in to reconstruct the plans. These plans helped them with the renovation, taking into consideration the structural elements of the house.

“We tried our best to work around the things that we can change to remove the dated look of the space and give it a second chance at life. We also updated its construction standards while allowing the renovated space to still have that connection to its past,” says the designer.

Aside from giving the property a major overhaul, the designer also had to factor in the owners’ request to turn it into a mixed-use space with offices on the ground floor. Having easy access to office spaces made it easier for them to get work done, maximizing efficiency, and eliminating the need to travel.

See the transformation of the old house below:


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In revamping the house, Jeselyn retained a few structural elements like the foundation, the stairs, roof truss, and some original terrazzo flooring.

The designer defined the new foyer with a feature wall with wood slats and a commissioned painting entitled “Synergy” by artist Ryan Uy. “It encompasses the theme of the space which is the co-existence of opposites like order and chaos, old and new, and lines, and shapes,” Jeselyn explains.

Taking inspiration from the terrazzo flooring that resembles the stone grounds of a Zen garden, the interior designer created a lounge area under the staircase completed with pebble-shaped ottomans, indoor plants, and a floor lamp that glows like a garden lantern.

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Would you believe this was the refurbished 1970s staircase? They had to retain it for structural purposes so Jeselyn had to modernize it. “We updated the staircase with a clean, curved side stringer, metal balusters, and a smooth wood handrail,” she shares.

Also serving as a sanitation station by the door are built-in ledges. The look is completed with a decorative mirror and accent lighting.

On the second floor, you can best appreciate the modern-minimalist look of the house. The refreshed window is simple and lets in plenty of natural light. Meanwhile, a striking lighting piece further highlights the house’s high ceiling.

Main Office

According to Jeselyn, the whole main office used to be the living and dining areas of the old house, with rooms and a T&B on the side. “We had to rethink the layout and align it with their business processes and needs since we’re repurposing the space for business functions,” she says.

To go with the modern-minimalist aesthetic, the overall look of the office is very linear, with prominent lines as the key element.


It’s important to create an office space where everyone can focus and collaborate. A glass divider separating the common area from the private offices serves as the focal point. “It acts as a distinct backdrop for the common area and a point of visual interest by being the only wall in a full-blown color,” explains the designer.

The layout of the common workspace is reminiscent of an open-plan co-working space. The main staff desk is oriented near the window, giving the staff a view of the outdoors.

At the far end of the work area is a round table for meetings and coffee breaks. Jeselyn also installed a glass board where the staff can write reminders or meeting discussions. “The storage center also functions as a display area that the team can fill with their brand’s identity,” she adds.

READ: This Couple Renovated a Foreclosed Property in 3 Months

Private Office 1

The design of the first private office is very linear, and in the words of Jeselyn, “gives off a strong and stable atmosphere.” Following Feng shui, the desk faces the window, giving the owner a view of the garden and a peripheral view of the common work area outside.


The feature wall instantly captures the attention of anyone entering the space. “The palette of the private office is calming with a mix of gray-brown wood, leather, and cool gray sandstones. The linearity is highly contrasted by the abstract wall art in the center,” Jeselyn explains.

Private Office 2

The second private office follows the look and feel of the first private office but has a lighter and more casual vibe for the creative executive. “Close to the viewing window, we also incorporated a display rack for studies, samples, and new collections,” she adds.

The office’s storage is a play on open and closed spaces, giving the user the freedom to style the shelf accordingly.



Jeselyn expertly transformed the dreary cooking space into a minimalist yet masculing kitchen with a dining nook. It’s completed with dark wood, charcoal grays, and a sandstone texture. “It’s a simple space with maximized storage for light preparations, basic cooking, and reheating of meals,” explains the designer.

The four-seating dining table is perfect for light snacks and meals. A combination of muted warm and cool grays in different textures make the space visually compelling in a subtle way.

READ: This Abandoned, 3-Storey Townhome Transforms Into a Scandi Dream

Master Bedroom

“The master bedroom is designed with a modern, minimalist bachelor in mind,” says Jeselyn. According to the designer, the room follows an asymmetric design – drama and a sense of flow can be seen from the droplight to the potted plant.

“The main headboard is designed using contrasting elements like the reflective gray mirror, matted wood cladding, and soft fabric headboard,” Jeselyn adds.


At the foot of the bed is a built-in closet and AV unit in one. Jeselyn used glass to add depth to the storage unit as well as to allow the owners to showcase their curated belongings. The designer was also able to create a reading vignette complete with a side table, a floor lamp, and a Slinky chair.

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Guest Bedroom

Designed with a minimalist chic persona in mind, the guest room has a light and toned-down feminine glam feel.

Jeselyn showcased lines in the room through the padded headboard, mirrored drawers, and closet. The round night lamps provide the needed contrast.

“We used silver mirrors and minimalist, fashion décor to give the space that chic character,” says Jeselyn.



Since the bathroom is narrow, the designer chose a simple gray sandstone with random patterns which works in contrast with the charcoal floor tiles, creating a clean and minimalist private space.


Interested to work with interior designer Jeselyn Chuan? You can get in touch with her through email at jeschuan[at]gmail.com or mobile number 0917-866-7015. You can also log on to jeselynchuan.contactin.bio.

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