Inside A Modern American Suburban Home With Neoclassical Elements
“You are a designer, and everyone expects your home to reflect how you design,” says Vianca Añonuevo-Favila. Carrying the signature styles of her companies Empire Designs and Harver Hill, her home evokes understated luxury. The look is calm, pure and pristine, with neutral tones that provide a perfect backdrop for the carefully curated furniture pieces, well thought of storage solutions around the house, never overwhelming but with a sense of lightness. It is exactly how she envisioned her space to be, a relaxed, comfortable place where her family could stay in all day, in her own words, “A true definition of home.”
The neutral tone of the wall serves as a perfect backdrop for the carefully curated furniture pieces.
Enhancement of one’s life
While everyone in the neighborhood is busy booking their next staycation at the newest hotel in town, Vianca finds solace and peace inside her own abode. Ever since completing her “empire,” her family rarely goes on staycations anymore. “Everyday for us feels like a staycation and we’d rather stay in most days because we absolutely love the space we live in,” she shares.
Entering her home feels like you’re not in the middle of the bustling metro—the unit is like a typical suburban American house with its neo-classic features, but with a modern touch, as seen in the white paint, mouldings, comfortable upholstered pieces and vintage wooden furniture with the addition of modern statement accents to make it more eclectic and transitional.
Convenience is also topmost priority, and with Vianca and her husband being OC, their choices in every nook and cranny aren’t just for décor, they have purpose. After all, she lives by her philosophy as a designer—the enhancement of one’s life.
“Designing your own home is the hardest—you are your own worst client!” Vianca continues. “I changed the layout numerous times, anticipating not only our current needs but thinking of how flexible the space can be for our future needs.”
"Each piece in my home has a story to tell. For me, accessorizing should still have meaning," the lady of the house says. This well-styled master bedroom has a calm and collected feel.
Pieces with a story to tell
The statement pieces in her 151-sq.m. dwelling are mostly sourced from her company, Harver Hill, and her purchases during her travels and online.
“I source everywhere and whenever I like something, I purchase them without knowing where to put them, eventually finding a place for them or designing around them,” Vianca reveals. The custom-made pieces from Harver Hill are chiefly the big ones—the bed, dining table and dining chairs, accent lounge chairs in the living room and the beautiful klismos chair in the den.
Meanwhile, the vintage items she purchased are her particular favorites: in the master bedroom, a beautiful alabaster droplight on top of her study purchased from an online vintage shop, the camel back sofas she also got online, to which Harver Hill added antique brass studs for more detail, an antique-mirrored side table from Ethan Allen, and an antique wooden side table with marble top given by her uncle, who purchased it years ago at Joliza’s. She also points out how she loves hoarding side tables as they immediately enhance a space.
“Each piece in my home has a story to tell. For me, accessorizing should still have meaning—a vintage vase given by your grandmother, a book purchased during your travel, or a picture frame given as a wedding gift. This is how I design and I made sure this is what my home looks like,” the interior designer says.
The custom-made pieces from Harver Hill are chiefly the big ones: the bed, dining table and dining chairs, accent lounge chairs at the living room and the beautiful klismos chair in the den.
Not just for kids
When asked about her favorite spot at home, Vianca quickly answers, “My favorite spot is my kid’s room.” The concept of the design started with a gray cardboard deer head given by a good friend, which she had kept for a long time. Seeing her kid’s space as a good canvas for this certain piece, she took the opportunity to design around it.
She painted a DIY mountain with glow-in-the-dark decals with her kids, added a custom made teepee bed with a pull-out bed and storage below, purchased cloud wall lamps from Ikea, “so they can really look like clouds above our mountains,” and had her carpenter make a tree branch as shelves for an outdoor feel. She chose neutral grays, whites and blacks with red accents as primary colors of the space, so as the kids grow, they wouldn’t need to completely renovate everything as it still suits their age.
“For this room, I absolutely love my choice of flooring,” Vianca says. She chose a brand called Taraflex, which is a type of flooring used for gyms. It is a kind of resilient flooring, which absorbs shock so kids can play safely on the floor. It is also very sanitary and easy to clean, sturdy and doesn’t get bent or scratched easily, which makes it perfect for a kid’s room.
Designing small spaces
Living in a condominium almost equates to living the modern lifestyle. But Vianca dismisses the need to make your space look modern, as most condos already look alike. She says the challenge is to still create a space that is unique and homey, one that reflects the user of the space.
So she advises on keeping these three things in mind:
One is to study the layout and adjust. “In my unit, I knocked down the third bedroom and switched what was supposed to be the living room with the third bedroom. This way, I minimized the hallways and opened up the space; as you enter, you see the living room rather than a narrow hallway. I also used sliding doors for this relocated third bedroom, making it a den-slash-guest room, which opens up to the living and dining space when we need to entertain guests, she says.
Second is to really think about where each item goes. She invests on storage solutions for her home—hidden in walls and built-in shelves and desks for maximum usage. “Studying each item you own and what items you’ll need to store will help organize your unit, considering the limited condo space you have,” Vianca says. Her usual tip to clients: it isn’t comfortable living in a space filled with so much stuff.
Third, expensive is not equal to beautiful. Look for treasures in thrift shops or try repurposing furniture pieces. It’s all about finding pieces that complement each other.
And finally, “Think about how you’ll use the space not only today but also in the next three, five, ten years. This will help you design something more flexible,” Vianca ends on a high note.
Photographs by Terry Uy for Metro Home & Entertaining