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Ultimate Makeover

How an Interior Designer Converted a Boxy Condo into a Spacious Home

Walls were knocked down and areas had to be repartitioned to create the Japanese minimalist-inspired space the owners wanted

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

When this 78sqm condo unit was turned over to the owners, it came with the usual common areas, a powder room, a bedroom, a master bedroom with an en-suite T&B, and a maid’s room with T&B. It was quite spacious, to say the least.

However, because of the walls separating the areas, you cannot fully appreciate the spaciousness of the unit. In renovating the space, interior designer Jeselyn Chuan had to relayout the entire unit and turn it into a Japanese minimalist-inspired space with an open layout. It helped that the owners only needed one bedroom, and they specifically required bigger common areas.

"The clients requested to convert the two-bedroom unit into a premium one-bedroom suite that would fit their lifestyle and love for open spaces. To achieve this, we knocked down some existing walls and repartitioned the rooms," Jeselyn shares.


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The entire renovation was challenging because the designer also had to take into consideration the fire safety and mechanical allocations set by the condo building. To make sure they met the safety standards without compromising the design of the space, Jeselyn worked closely with the building’s professionals.

At the end of the renovation period, the interior designer was able to deliver the home the owners wanted and more.

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Check out the major renovation below:

Before – Foyer


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After – Foyer


Knocking down the walls helped make the unit look and feel more spacious. "Since the unit doesn’t have a designated foyer, we simply added a full-length mirror as requested by the client so they can check themselves before heading out," explains Jeselyn. The mirror is flanked by wood slats to help define it.

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Before – Kitchen


Prior to the makeover, the kitchen looked cramped because it was closed off from the rest of the unit.

After – Kitchen

The owners didn’t need the maid’s room, so they had the opportunity to extend the kitchen and make it more spacious. A door was removed and walls were knocked down to make the area as free-flowing as possible.

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Having an open kitchen layout allows natural light to reach the cooking area. Jeselyn opted for two-tone cabinetry with wood finishes for the base cabinets and a matte white finish for the overhead cabinets.

Before – Kitchen


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After – Kitchen


The Calacatta quartz countertop is captivating and gives the kitchen a luxe appeal. According to the designer, this material is durable and features anti-bacterial properties.

For the backsplash, the designer chose Kit Kat tiles not only to protect the wall from splashes and spills but also to give the kitchen a clean and streamlined look. There’s something about the thin and aligned tiles that’s captivating.

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"The kitchen bar makes it the perfect spot to still converse with guests while preparing food or washing the dishes. It also serves as a nook for snacks and drinks, as well as a serving point for meals," adds the designer.


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The extended kitchen also features an extra counter where small appliances like the rice cooker, the microwave, and other essentials can be kept. Jeselyn made sure there was storage below as well.


Click here to see more Kitchen and Dining Area Makeovers.

Before – Living and Dining Areas


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After – Living and Dining Areas


Without the walls, the living and dining areas look spacious, with natural light streaming in from the full-length windows. According to Jeselyn, they chose to keep the furniture and cabinets at a low height to avoid distractions as well as achieve a relaxed vibe.

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Before – Living and Dining Areas


After – Living and Dining Areas


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The entire unit features the use of oak wood flooring, furniture, and doors. Jeselyn explains that natural oak wood is a prominent element in Japanese minimalist-inspired spaces, so they made sure to showcase it in the home.

Before – Living and Dining Areas


After – Living Area


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The designer was able to bring in a full-sized three-seater off-white sofa. "We chose an off-white piece and accessorized it with textured pillows and a fringed throw blanket to give it that soft, cozy feel," adds Jeselyn. Another captivating piece is the natural oak coffee table, with its amorphous shape that adds an organic feel to the space.

The structural column in the living area was cladded in wood finish to create a focal point for the wall art chosen in the area.


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From the kitchen, the owners have a view of the living and dining areas. Doing away with the walls helped achieve the airy feel of the space.


READ: A Modern-Minimalist Makeover for a Bare 26sqm Condo Unit

Before – Hallway


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After – Dining Area


Knocking down the walls meant creating enough space for a dining area. "We created a low-key accent wall using white slat cladding to achieve an interesting play of light and shadow on the wall," Jeselyn shares.

The dining area is furnished with a semi-oversized ash dining table paired with matching wood chairs. Meanwhile, a pair of droplights that give the space a café-like feel also serve as an additional accent.To the right of the dining area is a vignette featuring a potted plant, a floor lamp, and a side table.

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Before – Master Bedroom


After – Master Bedroom


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The owners wanted the bedroom to be free from clutter and any form of entertainment, so Jeselyn focused on creating an inviting and restful space. Pops of dark denim spruce up the bedroom in the form of heavy drapes.

Opting not to have a hallway makes it easier to go from one area to another. The bedroom makes the most of the light coming from the full corner windows of the unit.


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READ: A Php500K Hotel-Like Makeover for a Bare 2-Bedroom Condo Unit

Before – Master Bedroom


After – Master Bedroom


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A minimalist work of art livens up the wall at the foot of the bed. Two doors on the left side of the room open up to the walk-in closet and master bathroom, respectively. The designer chose a sliding door for the walk-in closet to save on space.

"It’s a wood slat sliding door inspired by traditional Japanese lattice woodwork," says Jeselyn. The slats help keep the closet well-ventilated as well, since there are no windows inside.


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Jeselyn and her team designed a built-in desk for the owners since they requested a writing/computer desk. They opted to work on a mid-height piece to maximize the space and the view. "We paired the work area with a beautifully shaped desk chair that’s minimalist in form yet comfortable," she explains.

To make the bedroom more ideal for resting, the designer focused on the design of the headboard by using the same white slat cladding and adding uplights to add warmth to the space.


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"We completed the area with a king-sized bed in gray canvas fabric and built-in night tables with adjustable wall lamps that come in handy for night reading," adds Jeselyn.

READ: A Senior Couple Renovated Their Dirty Kitchen for Around Php270K

Before – Master Bathroom


After – Master Bathroom


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The master bathroom was fully renovated to match the Japanese minimalist theme. Jeselyn used natural stone-gray tiles for the walls and wood tiles as flooring to achieve a Zen-like vibe. You can also spot the Kit Kat tiles that somehow define the bathtub area.

Before – Master Bathroom


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After – Master Bathroom


The owners asked to have one of the lavatory units removed to create more counter space. Jeselyn finished the look with a Calacatta quartz countertop and a wall-to-wall mirror. "We also added niches near the bathtub to create storage for toiletries," the designer says.

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READ: A Contemporary Makeover for an Outdated Condo Unit in Ortigas

Before – Powder Room


After – Powder Room Transformed Into Walk-in Closet


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Jeselyn designed an open closet with more hanger space, which the owners prefer. There are also drawers for private essentials and open shelves underneath for shoes and storage boxes.


Full-length mirrors were incorporated on the opposite wall to visually enlarge and add depth to the walk-in closet. Using mirrors also avoids the feeling of claustrophobia.

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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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