Tips and Guides

Designer Q and A for November 1 (Part 1)

Interior designer Lilli Beth Gelvezon shares suggestions for a blue bathroom and bedroom and care tips for your precious antiques


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Read the original article ("Ask It”) in the July 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Expert Search

Q: Can you recommend a young interior designer who can work on a small project with limited resources? I don't have an idea yet on the range of professional fees but since I'm just starting out, I'm not prepared to shell out a lot of money. We're staying in a two-bedroom condo unit with a maid's room. Basically, I want to de-clutter and, if the budget permits, fix the bathroom. - Steff

A: Most people are afraid of interior designers because of the misconception that only very rich people can afford us. In reality, there are only a handful of designers who command high professional fees for every project that they do and it's because of their established names and extensive portfolio. The rest of us are more flexible. The perfect designer for you would be one who is relatively young but has had valuable experience. 

To find the right designer for you, visit:

Blue's Clues

Q: We had our house extended to accommodate another bedroom and bathroom. I had our bathroom designed after your bathroom makeover ("Making a Splash," Real Makeover, RL Oct 2006). I requested for my contractor to use a combination of blue and white tiles. Painting will start soon. I won't use the blue shade for painting the concrete walls above the tiles, and instead, I'll apply yellow paint for contrast. Is there harmony in this? As for the bedroom, I would like to use two colors. The walls at the head and foot of the bed are to be painted baby blue, while the right wall adjacent to the wall of the headboard would be painted in stripes of alternating teal green and baby blue. The opposite wall will be painted in a solid white to balance the striped wall. Please advise if it's okay to combine these colors for both the bathroom and bedroom. - Liza

A: Blue and yellow is a classic combination that will never go out of style. By adding white into the mix, you have a very interesting color scheme. But to make this three-color combination harmonious, the yellow of the wall above the tiles must also be integrated (even in small doses) into the lower half of the bathroom. 

To achieve this, you can use a yellow bathroom rug or bath mat or a yellow storage basket for toiletries. Also, use a softer, subtler shade like light or primrose yellow for a more relaxing homogenous look.

As for the bedroom, I like that you're not afraid to do something out of the ordinary. But what you've described might be a little too much for one room to handle. Instead of painting the wall opposite the stripes with white, paint all the walls except the striped one with baby blue. If you want to balance out the busyness of the stripes, use clean all-white furniture that will work great with the teal and the blue.  

In Search of Malang

Q: Where can I buy those beautiful Malang prints featured in your April 2007 makeover? If I can't afford the real thing, at least I can still acquire and get the prints. - L. Caldo

A: Mauro Malang Santos or Malang is definitely one of those artists whose works that look beautiful whether they are hanging in an art gallery or in your living room at home. It's no wonder his works are the most requested by homeowners.

For the real deal, go to Artprints Philippines at 48 West Ave., Quezon City or call (02) 3721194 and look for Arsenia Quiachon. After you've gotten a hold of your Malang prints, why not add original prints to your collection?

I've always loved the look of framed etchings, lithographs, woodcut, and rubbercut prints ever since I saw my Aunt Ofelia's (Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi) first virgin etchings. Original prints can add sophistication to your interiors that some paintings cannot. For more details, visit:

Make the most out of your bought pieces by arranging them in pairs or threes at a blank wall or spread individually around the house (above a console table in your foyer or above the study in your bedroom). These fine art details will make your home look more special.

Period Mix

Q: I went to our home in the province for the summer and I noticed some of our antique wooden furniture mixed with our modern ones. Can you suggest how I can decorate using both antique and modern furniture? Also, how can I properly care for jars and antique wooden pieces? Do I wash them with water then apply clear varnish? - Judith Lagarde Sablan

A: Today, antique and modern are no longer two styles that clash. As in fashion, it's now encouraged to combine vintage pieces with contemporary furniture. But for your resulting interior to look eclectic rather than chaotic, you should have a unifying element that ties all your different pieces together. It could be a common color scheme or similar patterns or design details. It also helps to rely on your personal taste-if the combination doesn't look good to you, it probably won't look good to everybody else.

Different antiques call for different methods of care and cleaning. Generally, all antiques should be stored properly. Keep them away from direct sunlight so their colors don't fade. Also, you should try to place these items in the cooler areas of your house. Clean your pieces only if necessary because too much handling can damage the product. Use cotton gloves when doing so. Glazed ceramics and porcelain items can be cleaned by isopropyl alcohol. For antique wooden pieces, use soft brushes to remove dust and particles. For wet cleaning of new small stains, use distilled water and immediately dry with a soft, smooth cloth. If the stains are a little more set in and tougher to clean or if you want to completely refurbish your antiques, I suggest you take them to a professional. 


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