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Inside A Modern Home With A Traditional Filipino Aesthetic

After 15 years, homeowners Che and Lynn Cabrera wanted to update their Filipino-inspired home and asked their original Interior designer, Natalia Abad, to help them realize their vision. They wanted to keep the basic Filipino style while bringing modern touches to the details and furniture. They were prepared to do a more contemporary mix of furniture and an upgrade to brands like Roche Bobois and Giorgetti.

The designer knew her clients well and set out to bring their vision to reality.


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Pieces from high-end Italian brands such as Roche Bobois Profile Sofa and Arcadian dark horn floor lamp replaced traditional Filipino antiques in the living room for that contemporary statement. 


The old brick accents were retained and carried over to the second floor coupled with glass railings, replacing solid cement to introduce a modern and lighter feel. The dining room and lanai narra veneer ceilings received custom designed lattice treatments, which new cove lighting showed off perfectly. The dining room’s picture window, flanked by drapes in fabric by Manuel Canovas, overlooks the small but lush garden. The walls were given a warm parchment paint finish with 22 carat gold leaf border by artist Judith Cervantes. The color bathed the narra wood floors and custom made dining table in solid narra wood by Century Wood with a warm glow. The dining chairs were covered in a jacquard weave by Pollack & Associates. Glass sliding door frames in solid narra were installed as moveable walls to connect the dining room to the living area to give them options for extended space. Pieces from high-end Italian brands such as Roche Bobois Profile Sofa and Arcadian dark horn floor lamp replaced traditional Filipino antiques in the living room for that contemporary statement.


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Solace in space

The master bedroom is their solace after logging many hours at work. They had particularly requested both the architect and interior designer to make it the biggest room in the house. The neutral color scheme is very relaxing. The narra floor planks, high ceiling and wooden louvres give their favorite room a lot of character. Its custom headboard wall with lighted niches in walnut veneer and wallpaper giving it a 3D effect was designed by Ms. Abad. The wallpaper with a modern willow pattern serves as background to sculpted metal birds or butterflies. The birds are still a work in progress awaiting a master sculptor’s touch. The Roche Bobois king size bed is placed against the veneer cladding. The use of wallpaper gives the master bedroom that finished look. New LED lighting enhances the ambience while walnut wood veneers warm up the room. The Mexique low triangle coffee table in American walnut and Passion armchair by Philippe Starck complete the modern relaxed mood. Strategically placed TV wall system is by Space 2000.


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Early in the planning stage, as they walked through the rooms to see what other improvements can be done, they noted that the couple’s walk-in closet was no longer enough to store their clothing. There was already an overflow so that cabinet door handles had clothes hanging on them. Ms. Abad proposed the guest room, which was next to the master bathroom, be converted to a second walk-in closet, only for Lynn’s use. To achieve the connection, they had to remove the bathtub and open up the walls of the bathroom, creating an access to the guest room. The excess space was converted to a linen room.


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His and hers

The his and hers bathroom floors are paved with Italian tiles with stone pattern for the floor and walls, louvred cabinet doors in walnut finish; new faucets and rain shower systems and warm LED lighting complete the spa feel.

The Hers walk-in closet was carefully planned according to the needs of the lady of the house. She wanted a space in which to organize her clothes, shoes, bags and accessories in such a way that she could easily view them as well. It is a walk-in closet many women dream of and was achieved within a reasonable budget. An ottoman by Calligaris and a cow hide rug complete the look. There is a desk at the far end of the room in case occasional work finds its way home.


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Taking a break from the overall Filipino flavor, the den with its home theatre system is a modern, warm and cozy space made so by beech wood veneer cladded walls and cove lighting. The Domino table with the black glass top and Domino square table in eucalyptus wood top by Molteni & Care that complement the quilted sofa by Roche Bobois are new additions to the area. The custom fitted audio-video wall unit by Space 2000 organizing the sound system equipment and accessories keeps the chaos of wires and gadgets from being unsightly.


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Using high quality closet materials and TV wall systems from Space 2000 were also important in updating the interiors. It gave the spaces the design boost it needed, dressing up plain walls that now became more useful.

The couple’s only teenage son’s bedroom, room and bathroom were also given a more grown-up redo from its playful theme.

All around the house, wall décor was kept to a minimum using their collection of paintings by prominent Filipino artists such as Anita Magsaysay Ho.


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Adjustments and upgrades were done according to the present needs of the homeowners. The significant changes in the architectural details and furniture, through the expert guidance of their interior designer, brought this dream to fruition. The Modern Filipino aesthetic is indeed beautifully interpreted in this home.


*This article was originally published in Metro Home & Entertaining magazine. 


Photographs by Paul Del Rosario for Metro Home & Entertaining