Tips and Guides

9 Things To Love in Interior Designer Nina Santamaria's Home

This interior designer and Real Living contributor shares her top home picks

Original Article: Katherine Lopez Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Styling: Issa Villar

A graduate of the University of the Philippines, Nina Santamaria is the Principal Designer of Grupo Santamaria. Grupo Santamaria has been in the industry for a decade—with a commitment to design that improves life. They commit to this by improving the spaces where life happens.

As a child, Nina has always been into the arts. She believes that this appreciation of art at an early age has molded her love for interior design and architecture. Armed with an in-depth observation, creativity, and insight, Nina considers marrying the technical and aesthetic aspects of space as well as working with a budget as the biggest challenges of being into interior design.

To keep her creative juices flowing, she makes it a point to travel and surf from time to time. Her dream project can be anything from a family home to a national museum. She sees this as a possibility as long as the trust is strong between client, builder, and designer and designs are carried out perfectly according to plan. 

Read the original article ("My 10 Favorite Things at Home”) in the October 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. 

Favorite Object on the Night Table

“I always have my rosary, books, and lavender room and linen spray made by my friend Rhycel Marcelo on the night table.”  

Favorite Recycling Trick

“Since I always have extra tile samples from my interior design projects, I use them as pot holders and coasters around the house.”  

Favorite Home Design Book

The New Curtain Book by Stephanie Hoppen (2003) is a constant reference whenever I'm working on a project. It is filled with elegant and practical window treatment ideas, and is so overused by me and my staff that it's pretty much falling apart already.”

Available at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street. 

Favorite Pick-me-up Treat

“Espresso Boosters from Cafe France. These are crunchy espresso bits covered in dark chocolate and only P99 per bottle! When I need a quick perk-up, I pop one in my mouth.”

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Favorite Home Scent

“The Mantes-La-Jolie scented candle, a souvenir I got from the Astier De Villate store in Paris last year. You light it for only 10 minutes, and the whole room smells heavenly the whole day.”


Favorite Home Gadget

“Coffee maker and bluetooth speakers. Can't live without coffee or music.”

Available at major appliance stores  

Favorite Travel Destination

“Siargao and Ilocos Norte for surfing, Milan for the annual Salone Mobile design fair, Paris for art, parks, and museums.  If I have to choose just one fave travel destination, it will always be Siargao.”  

Favorite Area in the House

“The living room. It’s always a pleasure to curl up on the sofa after a long day, or even in the morning when I wake up. This is where I jumpstart my sleepy brain: plan my day, think about my projects, or fix my schedule.”

Favorite Home Accessory

“Books. When stacked and put on tables, they make any new house look like a home. The choice of books also reflects the personality of the homeowners, so this is one way for them to put their personal stamp on a space.”  

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