RL Makeovers: A Rustic Pinoy Living Area for a Small Home

Interior designer John Vigilia creates a proudly Filipino space for a young couple

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Styling: Paula de Guzman Interior Designer: John Vigilia

As members of the University of the Philippines Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino (Kontra-GaPi), a group that promotes indigenous music, Joy and Reg Cruz were able to bring home a lot of ethnic musical instruments like a hegalong and a kulintang. Now that they are educators, they have also started accumulating books and other reading materials. Their precious collections and other belongings have started to take over their modest home.

In order to organize the small space, interior designer John Vigilia changed the old furniture layout, added more storage options, and chose more soft furnishings and decorative items.

Read the original article ("Gone Native") in the August 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.

The living area used to have only one traditional Filipino chair (a butaka-style tumba-tumba or rocking chair). However, this was not enough for the couple and their friends and relatives. John replaced the piece with an old gallinera-style settee to accommodate more guests.

John complemented the new seat with pillows and a table runner used as a throw from Robinsons Department Store. 

Contractor AGL Design and Construction built the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf using wood and paint from Handyman. To spruce up the space, John displayed a Bullit clock, a wooden figurine, filing boxes, and other items from Robinsons Department Store. 

Reg’s ethnic musical instruments also serve as eclectic decor.

The mismatched storage pieces made the kitchen and dining spaces seem drab. To improve the space, John had a console-slash-pantry cabinet made of wood from Handyman. He also had it painted white for a clean and organized look. The piece also helps separate these areas from the living room.

Since the dining set was placed against the wall, it blocked the hallway. In order to make it easier for the couple to reach their bedroom, John moved it to the middle of the kitchen.

How Much It Costs:

Robinsons Department Store
Decor, soft furnishings, wood, and paint - P 70,000
Labor and other materials
- P 30,000
Grand Total:
Ready for your own makeover? Contact interior designer John Vigilia at [email protected]

More on

7 Inspiring Home Makeovers

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

RL Makeovers: A Living and Kitchen Transformation for Under P100,000


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