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A Hospitality Designer Packs A 35 Sq. M. Condo With An Unmistakably “Maaliwalas” Pinoy Look

Filipino materials such as abaca, inabel textiles and the warmth of wood give its owners based abroad a feeling of being right at home


Angel Sarte of AD Sarte Interiors practiced hospitality design in Singapore for years.  She was an integral part of the team at Miaja Design Group, the design firm who brought to life several hotel concepts.  The Sofitel So in Singapore, The Sofitel in Mumbai and The Pullman in Jakarta are just some of the projects this interior designer counts in her resume, having worked with Isabelle Miaja in her studio as its FF&E (Furniture, Fittings and Equipment) Director.


For a kababayan who is also based abroad, Sarte designed a 36-sq. m. condo as a second home for the family to use when they are in Manila.


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“For this particular project, the client is a good friend of mine.  I met her when I was working in Singapore as a hospitality designer.  When she and her family moved to the UK,  we never really lost touch but the last time I saw her was pre-pandemic in 2019. Through Viber, she asked me to do their condo because she and her family were coming home for the holidays and they wanted to stay and live there during their vacation in Manila,” Angel Sarte reveals.


At this request, Angel thought that there was no better way to make her friend’s family feel at home than to use a truly Pinoy palette: with abaca, rattan and inabel at the forefront of the material selections.  Neutral shades were chosen for colors to complete the scheme.


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Dining and Living spaces. | Chucky Marcelo, C + A Media


“Design-wise she didn’t have specific requirements.  She just wanted the space to be homey and bright with lots of storage. So I asked her ‘Why not do a Filipino-themed condo?’ Let us use natural abaca materials, solihiya patterns and inabel fabrics for accents so that every time she  and her family comes to the Philippines, they really feel at home. She agreed right away,” Sarte shares.


As design projects go, this interior designer followed the 5 stages in designing a home which she shares with Metro.Style:


Client Consultation comprises of meetings with the client to discuss the project scope, budget, requirements, and her expectations. This gives a clear idea of what the client needs.


 Design and Concept Development is where the design concept based on the client’s requirements are done. There is usually a presentation that includes concept images, preliminary selection of fixtures, furniture and equipment.


Space Planning.  Once the design has been approved, then detailed space planning drawings, reflected ceiling plans, elevations, and sections are made.


Material Selection is the stage where selection of detailed finishes, furnishings, materials and fixtures specifications for the client, be it custom-made items or off-the-rack accessories, are presented.  This includes pricing for budgetary purposes. 


Construction process.  This starts with the bidding of various contractors.  For this project, the designer worked with Pictopio Construction.  "I usually meet with them and do the ocular inspection of the space. Once all materials and furnishings have been selected, I oversee the construction and installation process as the designer, which may involve working with contractors, tradespeople, and other professionals. I make sure that all work is done to specification and that the final result meets the client's expectations," shares Sarte.


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A contemporary painting by Mylene Quito hangs in the airy living space. | Chucky Marcelo, C + A Media
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The designer used some high-street retail items off-the-rack, but she also took advantage of the amount of customization available to designers and home owners in Manila.  


“The bedroom is [on the tight side], but I still want a queen-sized bed with 2 bedside tables, so I found this furniture manufacturer in Muntinlupa called Shopminimalist. In the dining space, I wanted to have a very nice round wooden dining table with metal legs, so I contacted Dekko who does nice wooden furniture pieces as well. Of course, to match the beautiful dining table are the rattan dining chairs from Mira Home Decor. I bought the solihiya patterned pendant light from Lucendi, Abaca baskets, placemats and planter all from Habimodern,” Sarte says, generously revealing her sources.


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Baskets and rattan accessories are just some of the Filipino touches in this condo's material palette. | Chucky Marcelo, C + A Media


If she is fond of any particular space in this condo, it has to be the bathroom, for the challenges it presented and the successful outcome of her design despite the limitations of the space.


“It was challenging because the client didn’t want to change the floor and wall tiles. So how to make it nicer? I also needed to consider that the washer is going to be inside the bathroom so I added enough storage cabinets. I did not change the sanitary wares and fittings, we re-used everything and just added undercounter cabinets and a nice marble ledge, also added floating shelves on top of the water closet for the towels and other accessories. I added a pretty vanity mirror with changing led lights and of course, we installed a glass shower enclosure with black frame,” Sarte shares, revealing some of the simple design moves she made in order to make the small bathroom a bright, airy and well-considered space.



All’s well that ends well. Angel Sarte was able to deliver a Filipino-inspired, light and casual space that the family can look forward to coming home to.


For those who are in the situation where they have to oversee the design and building of their home from far away, Angel Sarte offers these tips:


1) Ask a professional to do it for you.  If you are designing it on ur own, research is the key, know what you like.

2) If you are hiring someone, trust your designer.

3) And also communicate! Constant communication with your designer or contractor is important to make sure your vision and design are aligned.