Ultimate Makeover

RL Makeovers: A Bland to Beautiful Two-Bedroom Unit

Interior designer Kimi Manuel grants a homeowner's wish for a bright and happy space

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Styling: Dagny Madamba and Paula de Guzman Architect: Randy Crispino Interior Designer: Kimi Manuel

In order to take care of her parents, homeowner Amy Leal quit her job in Singapore and moved back to the Philippines. As she took on the task of looking after her mother and father, who each occupied her unit’s two bedrooms, Amy had to sleep on the couch.  And, even after they both passed away less than a year apart, Amy still spent her nights on the sofa out of habit.

To help heal Amy's broken heart and give her a new start on life, interior designer Kimi Manuel and architect Randy Crispino worked on the property together. Since the homeowner worked in Mexico for a few years, she wanted vibrant colors like red and orange. She adds that because she is in the fashion and garment industry, she was looking forward to more prints, patterns, and textures.

When Amy finally saw her newly renovated unit, she had to take a moment to let everything sink in. “It’s a blessing. Ang tagal ko ‘tong hinintay—two years!” she tearfully gushes. She adds that “RL means ‘Roberto Leal,’ my dad… Parang may coincidence 'ata. Thank God talaga, maraming salamat!” And as for sleeping on the couch? “Hindi na! Now that there are two new beds, I will be leaving the sofa behind, and alternate sleeping here and there."

Read the original article ("To New Beginnings") in the September 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

Kimi kept the old wooden table and used a new finish for a different look. She also updated the existing sofa with a custom-made red slipcover.

To complete the living area, Kimi chose throw pillows, an area rug, and curtains from Robinsons Department Store. 

Repainting a blank, white wall with a lively color is a simple way to instantly achieve a new look. To make it more interesting, Kimi went for patterns. “Though complicated, I knew it would give a lot of impact,” the designer explains.

However, many colors and patterns can make a space seem disorganized! To keep the unit from being visually assaulting, Kimi decorated only one wall. “Hindi ko binombard ng colors. I kept the rest of the walls off-white.”

Since the kitchen used to be drab, Kimi adorned the backsplash with subway tiles from Rockstone. The space also has a new sturdy faucet from American Standard and kitchen organizers from Robinsons Department Store.

Amy’s father used to stay in this room, which is now officially the homeowner’s private space. The area has shades of purple, violet, and seafoam green. The paints were all sourced from Handyman.

Kimi found the floral bed linens (a personal favorite), curtains, and bedside table accessories at Robinsons Department Store.

After Amy's mother passed away, the bedroom was left empty, except for a wooden settee, a plastic shelf with unused items in plastic bags, and a few random items. Kimi painted an old wooden side table white and created an accent wall with paints from Handyman.

Kimi pulled the look together with a table lamp, frames, curtains, and bed linens from Robinsons Department Store.

The old bathroom was functional but plain. To improve it, American Standard supplied a new Codie Plus Water Closet, a Neo Modern Wash Basin, Silk Towel Rail, Soap Dish, and a Tissue Holder. A rustic laundry bin from Robinsons Department Store is a fitting final touch.

There is also a new Kai Direct Mount Rainshower System from American Standard.

How Much It Costs:

Robinsons Department Store and Handyman
Décor, soft furnishings, shelves, furniture, and other fittings - P 90,000
American Standard
Bathroom and kitchen fixtures - P 39,673
Subway Tiles - P 15,200
Labor and materials
Labor, assorted construction materials, and other furnishings - P 50,000
Grand Total:
Ready for your own makeover? Contact interior designer Kimi Manuel at 0917-586-8214 or email her at [email protected]

More on

7 Inspiring Home Makeovers

RL Makeovers: A Dainty Bedroom for a Retired Government Employee

RL Makeovers: A Complete Home Renovation in Quezon City


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