This House, Bathed In Natural Light, Is Every Inch Instagrammable And Staycation-Perfect
It’s like a glass house in a field of greens, but warm and homey, open and welcoming. The 350-sq.m. Pita Residence in the suburbs of Cavite looks simple from the front gate, but on the other side of the semi-transparent house is a beautiful view of greenery and mountains, and of Laguna de Bay, Mt. Makiling, and Tagaytay Ridge. The natural light of the outdoors floods the patio, connecting living room and dining room. The white-washed house is made of steel and glass windows, with lots of transom windows that remind the owner of her childhood home.
The interiors of the house are a mix of light and playful, a bit of mid-century and classic, a mix of everything that speaks to Donna Cuna Pita’s unpredictable style. Overall, the vibe is very tropical, with laidback and outdoor furniture, and greens and a banana tree sprucing up the house. The dining area is also connected to an open-bar open-kitchen type with open shelves. Right above it is the attic loft that is made of glass and steel, giving a wider overview of the treetops and mountains. The attic loft is also the family room with a television for Donna’s children and their visiting friends.
The house has three bedrooms, the master bedroom, and a separate bedroom each for her son and daughter. All rooms provide a view of the fields because the house is built on a steep level and stands on a slope, so it’s like an aquarium that really welcomes Mother Nature. Inside the master bedroom, past the walk-in closet and inside the bathroom, a clawfooth bathtub stands by the window. The small nook looks like a scene from the movies, and Donna finds it very romantic.
Greens and fruit trees
For Donna, a good home is one that is lived well and where you can feel the love of the family. “Luxury is about being well as a family. And I want good food,” she says. She takes us to her patio to show that the field of greens below is actually her edible garden. “My back garden has all fruit trees. I planted tomatoes, okra, lanzones, rambutan, avocado, atis, langka, guava, banana, lemon. I also have kangkong, talbos ng kamote, malunggay, pineapple, kamoteng kahoy.” This is probably one of the most charming and functional parts of the whole house.
Donna is the type who wants a smaller house but a big garden, rather than a big house with no garden and no view. “I also don’t want my house to be too big because I want a house where I can see my children all the time,” she says. “I grew up in a house where all the levels were separate. I wanted my house to be an open layout where my children can hear me when I call them.
And when it seems like the house cannot get even greener, it is also sustainable and solar-powered, running completely on 100 percent solar power during the day. But what gives even more character to this green house is the practical and personal touch of Donna’s DIY efforts and unique style. She filled up their home with lots of second-hand furniture from loved ones, and lots of online and bargain steals.
“Most of my things are second-hand from family and relatives. The gray mid-century style couch in the living room is from my husband’s childhood friend. He used to hide under the sofa when he’d play hide and seek. And the other two chairs in the living room are from my aunt’s house where I used to have sleepovers every summer. I just had them reupholstered,” she says. “The black ambassador chair in the receiving area is from my grandparents. That chair was made by prisoners and it’s around 80 years old.”
If it’s not second-hand, then it’s bought online. Donna likes to scout for finds in Facebook expat buy and sell groups where she got her center table, and two tall retro tripod electric fans in the living room and dining area. One of her coolest finds is a custom 6-foot peacock chair in teal blue, which she got from an online shop called Peacock Chairs Manila because she also likes supporting local craftsmen as opposed to buying brands.
She also bought big slabs of marble and quartz for her table tops and got her contractor to cut them so she gets to keep the surplus. “If I have this cut from the supplier, the surplus goes to them. I can use the surplus to create another table or so,” she says. “I also got the rattan sofa set in the patio straight from the manufacturer so that it’s much cheaper. The table by the bar is something she also got for free from a friend.
Coming from a woman who used to be a full-time stylist and magazine editor, it is not a surprise that her home comes off easy and effortless in style. But what really defines Donna Pita’s home the most is how it truly embodies her real self. “I’m honest and authentic and I want my house to reflect that,” she says. “As I got older, I realized who I am. I used to spend all my time working, but right now I’m most passionate about my family and living well. And that is what this house is about.”
*This article was originally published in Metro Home & Entertaining's Vol. 15 No. 1 issue.
Photographs by Jar Concengco