Tips and Guides

Designer Q and A for November 5

Interior designer Lilli Beth Gelvezon gives advice on affordable furnishing, repairing, and keeping your home cool


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Read the original article ("Ask It”) in the April 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Affordable Acrylic

Q: I recently got married and I'm currently furnishing my home. I'm looking for an acrylic side table, but can't seem to find one that fits my budget. Where can I find one that is reasonably priced and wouldn't hurt my wallet? Is there a local fabricator? —Newly Wed, Pasig City

A: Whenever I pass by the home section of department stores, I always look for acrylic furniture. It’s rare but sometimes an acrylic piece or two will find their way into the displays. And most of the time, they are very affordable. I suggest you look at what’s available at your favorite malls. If you’ve seen what’s out there and don’t find anything that fits your style and budget, you can check out Distinct Creative Display. They can fabricate your acrylic side table for you. Remember to check out their portfolio and samples first to make sure the quality of their work suits you. Contact them at 4088645 or at 09178907990.

DIY Plumbing

 Q: The control valve of our kitchen sink faucet got loosened up, that's why I turn off the faucet through the pipe under the sink. Is there a way I can fix it without having to hire a plumber? —Joanna Reyes
A: Sometimes some things are better left to the experts. Maybe the valve just needs tightening and you could attempt to do this yourself but there are other things that could go wrong in the process. You know those scenes in comedies where someone attempts to fix the sink then water spews out and drenches the whole place? You don’t want that to happen to you. If you don’t want to hire someone to do this, ask a friend or a relative with a ready and steady helping hand.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Q: I have a small house and it gets stuffy inside during the summer. I keep my windows open to let fresh air in, and I let our fans oscillate, but our house still isn't very comfortable to stay in because of the summer heat. Any advice on how I can make our house cooler? —Rose, Quezon City
A: Natural ventilation is important in keeping interior spaces cool. You’re doing the right thing, Rose, by keeping your windows open and letting the air flow in and out of your home. This is called cross ventilation. But cross ventilation can only be successful if the openings are opposite or perpendicular to each other – and if these openings don’t have anything in between them that blocks the air from going in one entry point and out the other. So remove any heavy furniture or accessories that are in the way of natural 

Tropical Comfort

Q: My relatives from the States are coming here in the summer. Because they are used to the cold weather abroad, I'm worried about how they will cope with the heat in Manila. I already bought an air-conditioner for their bedroom. How else can I make their bedroom comfortable despite the heat? —Jackie Rosas, Cavite 
A: The answer to this question also applies to Rose’s dilemma on how to make her small house cooler. I’ve always been an advocate of natural ways of cooling a space. Don’t get me wrong – air conditioners are great especially on those sweltering summer days when temperatures reach the high 30s! And if you install the airconditioner near the ceiling, cold air will sink naturally and effectively make the room cool. But since we are at a stage where “being green” and “being frugal” are becoming necessities, our world and our wallets prevent us from using the airconditioner 24/7. Luckily, there are alternative ways to keep your relatives cool in this tropical heat. We’ve always known that plants are natural sunshades. Trees, vines and shrubbery outside your relatives’ bedroom can instantly cool the space. Also, keep everything in the room light and fresh. Remove any heavy furniture and drapery. Use bedlinens that are in the pale, white or off-white family. And simplify the room. I’m sure, though, that your relatives will appreciate all that you’ve prepared for their stay here and wouldn’t mind a little heat.


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