EXCLUSIVE: This Filipino-Mediterranean Heritage Home Turned Events Place Is Fit For Royalty
The Palacio de Memoria is a heritage home that was renovated and restored by Camille and Angie Lhuillier; it pays homage to Philippine history.
The focal point of this 1.3-hectare property surrounded by greenery is a renovated seven-storey mansion with a watch tower. Seeing this magnificent structure, one gets the feeling of being transported to a home that is filled with history and has stood the test of time. Surrounded by a sprawling garden, the heritage home is like a breath of fresh air and a welcome surprise in the busy metropolis.
In this Metro.Style exclusive, sisters Camille and Angie Lhuillier shared their experiences in restoring this family property they call the Palacio de Memoria.
Camille and Angie Lhuillier have transformed a heritage home into a place where one can find unique pieces from their auction house, Casa de Memoria. They also welcome everyone to check out Palacio de Memoria, a lovely place that can be reserved for special gatherings and events.
The home used to be owned by the Villaroman family and the patriarch, a doctor, bought the home after the war and has expanded it to accommodate their growing family. Originally, the home only had two floors; they kept adding floors when the children of the doctor got married and had their own children. The home was also where the doctor had his clinic.
“This property was acquired by our father about 15 years ago. He really liked the property since seldom do you find a heritage home like this and the location is good and has a view of the bay area. We put up Casa de Memoria, our auction business, three years ago at a place on Jupiter Street in Makati but eventually we told our father that we wanted to renovate this old home so that we can put the auction house here. When we were renovating it, we realized its potential and we then thought of turning it into an art hub and an events place where people can have weddings, private dinners, and special celebrations," Angie tells Metro.Style.
Restoring its true architectural form
Camille and Angie revealed that the renovation of the place has been ongoing for three years. They did not want to rush it since their objective was to bring it back to its old and true architectural form. The first two years of the renovation included the general cleaning of the place, removal and replacement of worn-out materials, installation of a new elevator, and changing of the pipes.
“When we renovated this home, we got Michael del Prado of MRVP as our contractor and also got Miguel Rosales as our creative director from Team Caramel to curate the place. We collaborated and worked closely with them since we shared ideas. We wanted the place to look fresh and not dark, so the dark wooden materials that covered some of the walls were removed but we have kept the art deco floors," Camille tells Metro.Style.
The main lobby of the Palacio de Memoria has a grand yet welcoming vibe; it features a tinikling designed art deco floor and a Murano chandelier.
On the second floor area of the mansion, they have also opened up more spaces by breaking the walls of the rooms in order to transform them into a big space for their auction events and have the flexibility to accommodate private dinners for a group of fifty people.
“I would say that the overall style of this place is Filipino-Mediterranean. When we renovated it, we also changed the tile floors on the second floor to narra wooden floors and simplified certain areas to make the look more classic," says Angie.
Camille and Angie enjoy renovating the heritage home and did not encounter any problems since they worked very well with their creative director, Miguel Rosales, and their contractor. The selection of the pieces in the rooms and various spaces of the mansion was agreed upon with Miguel, who helped them curate the spaces according to the aesthetics they both like.
They both shared with Metro.Style their favorite spaces in the Palacio:
Camille and Angie Lhuillier at Palacio de Memoria's Gray room
“My favorite space in this home is the Gray room since it is very relaxing, quiet, and has a nice view of the garden. It’s just a good place to be in," says Camille.
For Angie, her favorite is the space that everyone sees upon entering the mansion: “It is the main entrance with the tinikling designed art deco floor. It is very inviting and unique. It makes me happy to see it, and it is definitely something that can be appreciated by Filipinos."
An art hub and events venue
Currently, the Palacio de Memoria is still undergoing further renovation since only the first three floors have been fully renovated. However, they are already welcoming special events in the renovated areas such as the themed meeting rooms, elegant dining room on the ground floor, auction room space, and outdoor garden area.
“We want Palacio de Memoria to be an art hub and a place where families can go to on a weekend to have a relaxing lunch, attend art events, and spend a good time with their friends and family," says Camille about how they envision Palacio de Memoria to evolve as.
Palacio de Memoria's Red Room has a strong masculine feel and features Italian and Spanish themed pieces.
Apart from weekend events, the place can also accommodate private functions for groups of fifty or more. The elegant dining room located at the ground floor may also be rented for special and intimate group dinners.
“The dining room has a gorgeous lighting and is a perfect place for an intimate lunch or dinner for a group and we have accredited caterers that the clients can choose from”, says Camille.
An homage to Philippine history, plus their future plans
Given the ongoing renovation of the property, the Lhuillier sisters are looking forward to offering more available spaces for events and are also planning to offer unique entertaining experiences that will entice people to frequent the place.
“We plan to have a café at the garden area so that families can go here on weekends, have a nice lunch, and they can also get to view the items at the auction house. Starting collectors can also have access to purchasing items that they can add to their homes from the auction house since we have very nice pieces that are priced at Php10,000," says Camille.
Apart from the café, the sisters also plan to put into good use the two airplanes that their father purchased years ago which are currently parked at the garden area of Palacio de Memoria. “Our father likes airplanes and he bought those two planes at a very good price years ago. We plan to convert one plane into a speakeasy bar while the other one will be turned into a gift shop," says Angie.
A curated selection of precious and unique items from the auction house is found on the third floor of the Palacio de Memoria.
Through the Palacio de Memoria, Camille and Angie want to provide people a unique experience that will also make guests appreciate the history that it represents. “There’s a little piece of history here that is reminiscent of the time when the Spanish was in Manila, the war period and post-war life when the Villaroman family lived here," says Camille.
Since the location of the home is strategically located across the Manila Bay area, Angie mentioned that one of the unique features of the home is an underground tunnel. Angie shares, “There is an underground tunnel built by the Japanese before that runs from under the garage to the sewage area. We plan to also renovate it and maybe turn it into a wine cellar in the future."
With their vision on renovating and restoring the place to how it was before and at the same time breathing new life into the house, the Palacio de Memoria will surely serve as a place for happy moments for many people in the coming months.
Palacio de Memoria is located at 95 Roxas Boulevard, Paranaque, Metro Manila. To know more about Palacio de Memoria, visit their website: www.casadememoria.com
Liaison editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Sittings editor: Mariel Abanes
Photographs by Paul del Rosario
Makeup by Lei Ponce of Make Up For Ever
Hairstyling by Russell Gonzaga of Aveda Philippines