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A Stunning Home on a Hill



There is a palpable peace and a dignified presence to this home. But not in a grand or courtly manner. It immediately feels like the home of a young family, but there is also that ineffable stillness, that almost sacred tranquility, akin to being cocooned in a hidden chapel. The dramatic door opens to a majestic lighting fixture and a sculptural staircase. And then it hits you. A few steps into the main living area, there is the view of the valley below and the Sierra Madre and the wide open sky beyond the mountains. 

Our photographer brings in her equipment and the personable and warm architectural team of Raffy Palma and his wife Ron welcome us, with the afternoon snack already laid out in the kitchen. This husband and wife team met while in architecture school in the University of Santo Tomas. While Ron has a thriving kitchen design business and Raffy is busy with his projects, they collaborate on homes, and this one in particular stands out for them. 

“This is a blessed home,” declares Ron.  Her husband then elucidates further, “We met the homeowners in our church, when they counseled us before we got married. They saw two houses that I had designed, and asked me to do this home for them. It was easily one of the most harmonious projects we’ve done. They liked our first design, and even in choosing the interiors, they trusted us with customizing some of the furniture and choosing the lighting.” 

And so, that inexplicable feeling suddenly made sense to me. If a home is a portrait of its owners, somehow, their deep and lively faith has manifested itself in this home.

Spheres of Influence

When asked to name his design inspirations and influences, Raffy is quick to answer.  “My favorite era is really Midcentury; the design is timeless, and it just works. It’s about considering the site of the house, and the flow of the life of the people who will live in it.  For example, this family asked us to make the most of the view. They also homeschool their four older kids, and their youngest is still a baby. So there is an open plan in the main living area, and it opens out to a balcony, where they can host gatherings, and their guests can enjoy the view. The house is set on a hill, so we designed multiple levels, and there is space in the  basement when the kids and their other homeschooled friends come over.”

Signs of family life are everywhere. There is a wall of family photos off the guest room just across the main living area. In the home classroom, a breathtaking arrangement of origami cranes is as beautiful as any art gallery installation. There is none of the coldness or stiffness so often felt in modern homes.

Photographs by Paola Aseron