Inside A Modern-Style Suburban Home With Eclectic Details
It’s an imposing structure, but as soon as you enter the foyer, you are welcomed into a cocoon of sorts, a nest that Rosanne Goco-Peña and her husband Tony have built as their refuge from the busy city.
It's built in a quiet enclave, where the cross breeze is caught from a very advantageous point on her balcony. There are statement lighting fixtures, such as a chandelier that hangs from the main hall, but it is natural sunlight streaming through the large sliding glass doors and picture windows that illuminate the modern living space.
Even though she and her husband moved in a couple of years ago, Rosanne admits there are still a few more things that she wants to do. “It’s never ending,” she laughs, as she putters through the rooms, straightening this and that.
Even with all the future improvements she has in mind, the house is already a perfect nesting place for her family. The stately suburban home in the south is mainly meant for entertaining, as her three children have grown up and are now living elsewhere.
Her eldest daughter started her family in the US, while her son and youngest daughter have decided to live in condo units in the city because they are closer to where they study and work. While her two younger children often come home for the weekends, what they really like doing at home is inviting their friends over. “There was a time when there were three parties happening simultaneously,” she recalls. “One was in the basement, on our balcony at the first floor, and another one upstairs.”
In keeping with the modern, minimalist theme she has for the house, she makes sure to steer away from clutter. “My old house was just so cluttered and I did not want to bring all of those things here. That’s why all their belongings are still in our old house in Ayala Alabang. I decided to leave them there because I want everything in order this time,” she grins. “Their clothes, their books, they were all left behind. I took almost all the furniture, but I still have a sofa there.”
What the lady of the house brought with her were the artisanal wooden pieces from Laguna and Asian-inspired décor such as her Oriental screens and Buddha collection. Her dining table is adorned with valuable heirloom pieces that add a Filipino-Spanish era elegance, including monogrammed silverware from her mother and her grandmother. All these came, surprisingly, with their old water pipes—those sturdy steel tubes were repurposed into railings for a winding staircase that leads from the basement to the kitchen, all the way to the second floor.
In keeping with her theme of upcycling, thick old wooden boards were also fashioned into chairs that retain their natural finish, used as stools on the third floor, where the rooms of her three children are situated. To add to the grittiness or unfinished look of her space, her walls had been etched to look like blocks. “I told the workers to just run a big nail through the walls in our hallway leading to the dining area. They wanted to give it a polished look, but I said that I really wanted it to feel a little raw and unfinished.”
The result is a minimalist space, which was made interesting with her use of accents and curios that draw the eye. Art is also another element that adds to the coziness of the home, including some of her colorful works that are hung as a contrast to the white walls. Each of her children’s rooms, while still minimalist and clutter-free are personalized with the things they hold dear?—plush toys, photos, and little mementos that give a fun and quirky touch. The master bedroom, which is located at the ground floor, is her refuge, she says. A double door in her room opens up to overlook the living room, so she can let the sunshine in from time to time in a room that is perfectly darkened for streaming her favorite movies on TV.
“I actually took up one year of interior design at the University of Sto. Tomas,” shares Rosanne, who also spent the rest of her college years at St. Scholastica's College. “Art is really something that is in me, and these are the ways that I get to express it—through my paintings and through designing my house.”
One of the most important lessons she has learned from her involvement in building this house is to be there all the time, especially during the construction phase. “An architect will visit the site and draw, but they will not be there to oversee the process. Because I was here, I was able to give my inputs on several things. Our architect put in a wall on one side of the house, but as I was here, I realized that it was where the breeze was coming from, so we left it as an open space, with windows instead.”
The modern minimalist look of the house, with its all-white walls was also the product of a utilitarian frame of mind. “From living in my older houses, I realized how hard it is to mix paint so that a repaired patch would match the rest of the wall. That’s why I went with white high-gloss here. If the walls get dirty, we just wipe it down, then if it is really stained, we just repaint it, easy.”
Being involved in the construction process, she was able to look into the progress of the workmen as well. “I was able to rush them in time for my daughter’s despedida de soltera for about 20 people, which was the first of the many special celebrations that we had in this house, with so many more happening in the future.”
She envisions her home as a gathering place for loved ones and friends, with its panoramic views of greenery from the balconies and its spacious layout. The dining room is a formal affair, with its glass case displays of family treasures and silverware and china that have been handed down from generations in contrast to a sunny kitchen that is a shared space with a husband who loves to cook. If anything, it is that kitchen that embodies her hearth, with the warmth of its easygoing hospitality radiating to each corner of the house.
Produced by Butchie Peña
Photographs by Jar Concencgo