RL Makeovers: A P150,000 Makeover for a 30sqm Townhouse

A modest home is turned into the perfect space for a single mom and her five kids

Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Pictorial Direction: Issa Villar and Dagny Madamba Interior Designer: Kristine Neri-Magturo

After nine years of living in this tiny house, Lariza Tangalin, a single mother of five kids, wrote to Real Living for help. The 30sqm townhouse-with-attic was bursting at the seams with the family’s many possessions. In the living room, books and other documents were carelessly stored in an open shelving system, plastic boxes were overflowing with old stuffed toys that her teenagers have long outgrown, and clothes were just hanging on pegs because there wasn’t enough closet space. There was also a beat-up sofa that doubled as Lariza’s bed, since the attic was already cramped as a bedroom shared by her five children.

Interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo of Abode & Co. stepped in, and her first task for Lariza was to donate or recycle the things that the family no longer needed. Since Lariza gave her free reign on the design, color scheme, and materials, the designer decided on a fresh, clean look. As it turned out, this total-home-makeover was more than just a facelift. It has become a turning point—a much-needed push to purge, clean, and organize for a better life.

Read the original article ("Family First”) in the September 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Since one of the five kids teaches violin and another is a budding ballerina, they needed a mirror to help them practice. The mirror was supposed to be one whole piece but it wouldn’t fit through the front door, so it was cut into three panels. Aside from helping Lariza’s kids in their ballet practice, the mirror also visually enlarges the small living area.

The old piano is paired with hurricane lamps and a glass vase. The window behind it is dressed up with curtains from Townes, Inc. Since the ottomans from Metro Gaisano were covered in dark fabric, Kristine customized light-colored slipcovers to match the new color scheme of the home. The corner is completed with a banig used as a rug. 

In the living room, the floor-to-ceiling shelves were covered completely with white Boysen paint. Kristine had doors built with unique handles made from leftover abaca ropes.

The royal blue upholstered sofa from Metro Gaisano is the perfect size for the tiny space. It also inspired the designer to choose a nautical theme for the home. The blue-and-white color scheme was complemented with beach-inspired details—natural fibers like abaca rope, banig, and lighthouse hurricane lamps.

The family’s old, drab dining set was replaced with a chic white-and-wood dining set from Metro Gaisano. Kristine dressed it up with nautical-inspired placemats.

Apart from the walls, the shelves and cabinet doors were also given a fresh coat of white Boysen paint. In the kitchen, she repainted the grout white -- this made the area look as good as new. 

While the sleeping area still has a nautical feel, it’s definitely more colorful than the other parts of the home. Instead of bed frames, the design team painted faux headboards on the blue wall to complement the beds. Colorful ikat-printed bed sheets and apple boxes used as bedside tables are fitting final touches. The designer also provided a chocolate brown zip-up cabinet from Metro Gaisano for storing clothes.

Instead of painting the walls with an accent color, Kristine used it for the ceiling of the attic. The walls are kept white to make the space seem bigger. 


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