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A Modern Art Deco Home

Michiel and Kim Waaijer met each other on a Disney Cruise Line in the Bahamas and lived in Hong Kong for 11 years. When they decided to move to Manila, both were definite that they wanted a spacious home for their growing family. The couple has three kids.

Kim recalls how twenty years ago she would go with her mom to a condominium building in Salcedo Village in Makati for prayer meetings, and would tell her mom that she wanted a home in the same place. It was certainly a welcome coincidence that there was an available unit for sale in the very same building when she and her husband were scouting for a home.

Kim appreciates the 268-sq.m.condominium unit which has become their home since October 2016. “We really wanted to go for the older condominium units, which had bigger cuts than the newer units being developed. Our floor only has two units,” says Kim.


Design Collaboration

The couple’s work both involves a lot of conceptualization. Kim, a Filipina, has an events company in Hong Kong while her husband, Michiel, a Dutch national, runs a digital agency with clients in Australia. With their experience and creativity, the couple had a very clear idea about the style and functionality that they wanted for their home from the start.

Kim was greatly involved in the design process for their home’s renovation and shared that she designed the spaces of their home. Renovating their Manila home took a lot of the couple’s time and effort as they went through several interior designers before they found the designer that they collaborated with.

Modern Art Deco was their style choice and in order to help them realize their vision, they hired designer Neil Yaptinchay to help draw out their ideas on Sketchup and have a guide for the contractors. The Waaijers chose Neil because they liked his more Western approach along with his wide experience from having done projects for hotels and homes here and abroad.

“We gave very specific design directions and preference for furniture pieces like the tables, sofas, mirrors, etc., that were to be incorporated into the rendered drawings. We also gave details on what we wanted for the unit, including mouldings, wall paper and the vintage style suspended water closet,” says Kim.

To create a more modern look for their home, the original varnished narra planks used for the flooring of the living room, dining room and master’s bedroom were rendered in black. In addition, the home looked bigger because of the white interiors used by the designer.


Hands-on Approach

The Waaijers’ stay in Hong Kong for several years exposed them to the wide range of design styles at the home décor stores there. “We visited all the home décor stores in Hong Kong. They feature a variety of eclectic styles—modern, traditional, quirky, sober—so we were able to build a clearer concept (of the design we wanted). Most of our decorative items were shipped from Hong Kong and Australia since I knew it will be difficult to source exactly what we wanted in Manila,” says Kim.

During the renovation, the couple took day trips to Hong Kong in order to source some of their home items, which included the sunburst light chandelier for the dining table, a big toucan framed painting, oversized silver lamps, Gessi faucets for the master bathroom, and digital door lock. They also got a lot of items from Indigo and Zara Home stores to spruce up their kids’ bedroom. The couple also bought designer wall papers from Greg Natale in Australia for their dining area and powder room.

Since they had specific designs in mind for some of their furniture, Kim and Michiel also hired a reliable furniture maker from Pampanga. They got the same supplier who had made the sofa set shipped to their Hong Kong home before. A supplier was contracted to make customized pieces such as the kids’ bunk beds, the California king-sized bed for the master’s bedroom, vanity tables and divan.  


Favorite Space

Since playing board games or building puzzles with the kids has been a nightly ritual for the Waaijer family, their favorite space at home is the informal living room, which they dubbed as “The Cove.” It is also where they bond and watch TV, movies, and use the PlayStation.

When entertaining guests, the bar area becomes a favorite area of the couple and their guests. Kim’s husband is a cocktail enthusiast who enjoys concocting signature drinks. To add more fun, Kim says, “We usually hang out at the bar when we have guests, where my husband makes cocktails, complete with a drink list to choose from. We’d have themed nights like ‘Tiki Night,’ when he would serve piña coladas in tiki mugs or Moscow Mules in copper mugs. To cap off the night, he would serve Dutch hemp tea (without THC) served in Turkish silver encased tea glasses.”


Challenges and Renovation Tips

Kim shares that their home project took two months to create the design renderings, and five months for the home renovation. It proved to be a new learning experience for the couple, who had been out of the country for 11 years. “It was our first time to build and design a home in the Philippines, so we did not know that an Interior Designer is separate from someone who does the millwork. We thought that he would create the design renderings with the measurements of the built-in furniture since it was his designs. He told us that we needed to hire someone else to create the millwork,” says Kim.

There were times during the renovation when the Waaijers made daily trips to tile centers, home depot and décor stores, and furniture makers. They made occasional trips to Hong Kong when they were unable to find in Manila the items that they preferred.


With their home renovation experience and learnings, Michiel and Kim shared some tips for homeowners who are considering a home renovation. According to the couple, it is important to check and understand the rules and limitations of building management, study the contract very well and set clear guidelines with contractors, pay attention to details while construction is progressing to avoid redoing or making changes as this can result in additional costs, and stay on top of the renovation project so that problems can be rectified.

Amidst the challenges that come up in renovating their home, the couple are simply happy seeing the outcome, especially since they now live comfortably in a cozy home that meets their design standards and suits the family lifestyle. In addition, Kim’s passion for interior design is also being honed since she is currently studying Interior Design at SoFA and plans to take further studies at Instituto Marangoni in Milan.


Photographs by Jar Concengco