Tips and Guides

Jumpstart Your Day: 4 Condo Updates on a Budget

Work on a quick and easy renovation without hurting your pocket

Photography: Toto Labrador Styling: Dagny Madamba

With the convenience of their kids in mind, architect Arlene Sanchez-Maslog and her husband purchased a 62sqm unit that can serve as their halfway house. However, when the unit was turned over, they had to deal with columns and exposed beams, to name a few.

In order to turn the unit into a home, Arlene delivered a confident design that resulted in a mid-century modern home for the whole family. If you are also working on your condo unit, you can achieve a bright, new space that's within your means. Arlene shares some tips below.

Click here to see more photos of Arlene's Mid-Century Modern Home.

Choose the right unit

Arlene was not prepared for the challenges of working with an irregular-shaped unit. “Although it’s cheaper, if I may advise, ’wag kayong kumuha ng irregular,” she says. The architect remedied the odd unit by hiding the multiple corners with built-in shelving and cabinets.

Invest in lighting

You can always accentuate with lighting and opt for LED lights. “Thank goodness, bumaba na ang presyo ng LED. The cove in the ceiling is just made from plywood, and we didn’t do any major construction,” says Arlene.

Work with bunk beds

Arlene wanted separate beds for the kids’ room, but “the swing of the door is a problem, so we might convert it into a sliding door to accommodate an L-shaped configuration of the beds,” she says. As her children are growing up, the existing bunk bed in their room will have to be replaced with two separate beds.

Repurpose pieces and add a personal touch

Instead of buying all brand-new items, Arlene filled the unit with pieces that she loves. The wall art has been with Arlene for a long time, such as the painting in the living room and the framed poster in their bedroom. You can also do the same by working with what you have—reupholster old chairs, repaint old furniture, and use photos as accents to make your home a cut above the rest.

This snippet originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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