It’s something pretty and something edge, much like the contrasting personalities of the couple that own this off-the-wall store.
THE STRIPED BLACK-AND-WHITE FAÇADE OF DuoDeco Studio already clues you in on what’s inside: pieces with character, none of which are commonplace. Take for example an ornate accent chair in ikat-print upholstery, a lamp made out of an old faucet, or artwork inspired by a favorite childhood game played during recess-quirky items that so win you over, you want to take them home right away.
It all started with «a lot of what ifs,» according to Elle Uy and Yuseff Aguell, the couple behind the shop. «What if I did lamps? What if she designed chairs? We talked about it, and we acted upon it, and then it snowballed from one item to another,» narrates Yuseff, who likes experimenting with mixed media. Elle, on the other hand, is a design enthusiast and decorator who loves to prettify things. «Yung pa-cute, pa-girl, that’s me. Yung industrial, rugged, si Yuseff,» she says. This seemingly strange style combination actually results in pieces that are conversation starters: chairs reupholstered in unexpected patterns and repainted in vibrant colors, votive candle holders made of vintage door knobs, an aquarium bowl-turned-desk lamp, and an old Gramophone transformed into a secret iPod dock, among many other unconventional pieces.
Even before DuoDeco Studio opened its doors to the public last December, the couple had already started collecting items they thought had potential. Initially, they played with the idea of just putting up an online shop. «Pero since furniture ‘yan, decor, siyempregusto /i£customers makitanila, maupuan» Elle explains. They found the perfect place in a fixer-upper, mid-century townhouse. Unperturbed, the tandem set to work: they painted the bare floors in a black-and-white diamond tile pattern, repaired the kitchen and the room upstairs that now serves as their office, and then hauled in their wares. Personal touches were also added: a porcelain cat with an eerily realistic face, which the couple named Deco, is the shop’s appointed «mascot,» greeting customers at the entrance; while a teal refrigerator and taxi-yellow oven in the pantry instantly attract attention. Now, the house-turned-showroom stands out like an exclamation point on the quiet, residential street.
With such a cool, laidback ambiance, DuoDeco Studio feels more like the house of an eccentric and bohemian friend who has filled her place with very interesting finds. There’s no pretension about the place—feel free to sit on the chairs and divans, have a little chat with Elle and Yuseff, and just take your time in choosing which pieces you’d like to take home because there’s definitely one that you will.