Urban High

MID-CENTURY REFERENCES, A MUTED PALETTE, AND HINTS OF NEW YORK INFUSE A 105-SQM CONDO UNIT

The front door swings open, and your eyes immediately land on the black-and-white wallpaper that runs from the short entryway to the dining area. Its botanical print grabs attention without being overbearing—an ideal choice for the space, declares interior designer Gelo del Mundo, who wanted something brazen to break the long expanse of the wall.

That wallpaper somehow encapsulates Gelo’s design treatment for the three-bedroom corner condominium unit: bold and classic, but with soft angles. “As you would notice, there are a lot of references to mid-century modern design,” he says, pointing at the patterned cabinet pulls and the decorative pieces in light blue and yellow.

His clients, a couple in their 50s, purchased the unit to serve as their crash pad in the South. This unit is actually Gelo’s fourth project with the couple; the three condos he fixed earlier were for their daughters. He also redesigned their main house in Quezon City, updating its former country-style look. “For this condo, it’s more New York apartment style,” the designer says, adding that the couple’s other properties were decidedly feminine and European. But since there’s only one man in the family of five, Gelo had to restrain himself from going all-out-masculine in the design. His clients also requested for touches of color and an interior that’s easy to maintain.

Working on the project took a few months, but it was generally a breeze since it was for a repeat client, which is not to say that Gelo didn’t deal with revisions. For instance, he wanted the kabisera chairs in the dining area to be a pair of oversized wing chairs. The designer also initially had bolder colors in mind for the unit, and hoped for a more mismatched way of decorating. In the end, though, Gelo is happy with how it turned out, in spite of the toned-down décor.

Opposite the black-and-white wallpaper is a rather odd interior window—which is actually the pass-through window of the kitchen. Instead of boarding up the hole, Gelo kept it as is and just mounted custom framed mirrors to transform it into an accent wall. The rest of the unit also has very distinct wall features— there’s the brick wall in the living area and also wallpaper of different patterns in the bedrooms.

In line with the clients’ New York apartment vision, Gelo was able to come up with a cool, classy unit that revels in furniture and décor with mid-century modern influences. Even though most of the pieces seem old—their distressed finishes actually add to the charm—all are new acquisitions and are a mix of custom and store-bought pieces.

At the far end of the living area, Gelo created a fitting punctuation to the high-rise home: a sitting nook for two, which overlooks a sprawling commercial complex. Here, the homeowners can take their sweet time reading the paper or drinking their tea as the rest of the metropolis go about their busy day.

{INTERIOR TALK}

WALLPAPER Installing

Wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to liven up a drab space. Wallpaper comes in various designs, textures, and materials, and contrary to common notion, it is rather easy to maintain.

Vinyl wallpaper is durable, easy to clean, and fire-retardant. Solid vinyl, meanwhile, is water-resistant and very sturdy, making it ideal for high-traffic areas and places that are high in humidity, like bathrooms. There’s also vinyl-coated wallpaper, which is made of paper with a layer of acrylic vinyl. This type is commonly used in family homes, as it is easy to clean—in case your kids doodle on it, you can just scrub off the scribble without damaging the wallpaper. Fabric-backed vinyl is made of a layer of fabric that is laminated to a sheet of solid vinyl. This kind of wallpaper is ideal for entryways and kids’ bedrooms, as it is also durable and can be easily peeled off in case it’s time for a new sheet.

Since interior designer Gelo del Mundo found the corner unit’s configuration a bit too long and narrow, he added a cozy sitting area for two near the sizable window. This vignette with a view is a good spot for reading or having breakfast.

Gelo added this brick wall as a visual break to t he patterned wallpaper seen in the rest of the area. He painted the bricks white so it won’t look too “heavy” in feel.

Whereas the dining area is punctuated with a bold wall treatment, the living area boasts a white brick wall—an austere contrast to the dark beige sectional sofa. Here, the interior designer added soft touches by using lightcolored throw pillows. He also brought in an accent chair and media cabinet from Space Encounters, as well as a metal end table and peppy yellow stool from suppliers of export items and antiques.

Since Gelo found the existing interior window/passthrough in the kitchen rather odd, he considered boarding it up. The more practical solution, which he went for, was mounting mirrors in rectangular frames in a nearby area to make the “framed” window look intentional. A modern white chest of drawers provides subtle storage in the small area near the entrance.

“I DON’T WANT TO LIMIT MYSELF TO A CERTAIN DESIGN STYLE”.

The home’s designer furnished the dining area with a customized oval table and upholstered midcentury modern style chairs. Hanging from the ceiling is a cluster of industrial droplights that illuminate the tabletop tchotchkes—black candlesticks and sculptural wooden puzzles from Bali.

The black-and-white botanical-print wallpaper makes for an eye-catching backdrop that’s equally bold and classic. “I decided to use a wallpaper with a bold pattern so that the wall won’t look bare. Just imagine if that’s just plain wallpaper”. The wallpaper print is reminiscent of iconic black-and-white Fornasetti plates.

For the spacious master bedroom, Gelo had the luxury of outfitting it with a four-poster bed that has a slim silhouette, a reworked console from Resurrection (at 10a Alabama, Quezon City, mobile 0918-924-0500), and even a compact vanity area that can double as a study.

GELO SAYS HE OFTEN GETS INSPIRATION FOR HIS WORK FROM TRAVELING, AND THE DESTINATION THAT HE FINDS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING IS BALI, INDONESIA.

One of the bedrooms is garbed in a black-and-white scheme. This stark color combination is tempered by the wallpaper, which serves as the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper play

Different wallpaper patterns and designs can lend varying looks to your room.

1. BIG PRINTS. Large patterns make for an equally big statement. Use wallpapers with such design if you want to make a room appear smaller and intimate. Zebra Print Wallpaper, available at Wallprints.

2. DAINTY PATTERNS Small prints recede and add a subtle background. If done in light colors, wallpaper with dainty patterns can make a small room feel more spacious. LauraAshley at Wallprints

3. LINEAR PATTERNS Prints that form linear patterns, such as grids, can lend a sense of continuity to a room. Vertical lines make a room appear to have a higher ceiling, while horizontal lines make a space seem wider. BorasTapeterFalsterbo Collection.

4. TEXTURED Wallpaper with a textured finish, very much like a brick wall or a rough surface, instantly adds depth and dimension to a wall. ShirukuGraphite By DesignersGuild, RubeniTextiles.

Details

BEAT-UPCHIC. ADDING OLD-SCHOOL FLOURISH TO THE FOYER IS THIS ANTIQUE-STYLE ARMOIRE WITH RUSTED METAL DETAILS FROM A FURNITURE SUPPLIER IN PAMPANGA (FIND SIMILAR AT A11, 2680 F.B. HARRISON, PASAY CITY).

1. hob-knob. The patterned knobs in the living room’s overhead cabinets were deliberately added to impart a more feminine touch. Changing knobs is one of the easiest ways to spruce up furniture.

2. on the side. Gelo added stools sporting the unit’s accent colors of blue and yellow. This blue one functions as a side table in the master bedroom.

3. old faithful. The fabulous console from Resurrection is made of salvaged wood configured into different sized drawers. Its weathered look melds well with the mid-century pieces in the unit.

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