EASY ROOM makeovers

LIVING ROOM

FROM BLAH WALL TO BRICK WALL

This design graduate decided to hit two birds with one stone: give her family a brand-new living room and pass her final requirement for graduation

WHEN INTERIOR DESIGN STUDENT Annalyn Brioso learned that her practicum required her to renovate a space, she and her parents decided that it was best to work on the living room of their rented two-story townhouse. “Kasi requirement din talaga siya, so we decided na yung apartment na lang namin, paramagamit namin siya. At yung living room ang pinaka-usedarea, especially din pag may visitors.”

Before Annalyn started the month-long renovation, the entertainment area was far from what she wanted for her family. “Plain siya at magulo. There were package boxes everywhere.” The walls were also dingy, and the entire room lacked a cohesive theme.

“I wanted to create a functional space that also has aesthetics,” Annalyn says. Aside from that, she also wanted the area to reflect the personality of her family. The young designer chose a contemporary-eclectic theme that focused on a clean layout, modern furnishings and lines, and urban touches by way of sleek furniture, shelves, and a hip brick wall. After the renovation, Annalyn can now look forward to sitting back and relaxing with her family in their “new” living area.

A bold color does wonders.

“Gusto ni Mama ng red… so I had to make sure na may red accents sa living room.” Aside from the red brick wall, interior design graduate Annalyn Brioso chose an Oyster red accent chair to complete the reading nook.

PIECE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

The black L-shaped leather sofa replaced the family’s old sets of three-and two-seaters. Annalyn says that their old sofas were starting to fall apart and also took up too much space. The renovation project gave her the perfect excuse to give her family a more comfy seating piece.

GO FOR CUSTOMIZED ITEMS IN A SMALL SPACE. The nesting tables, which can also serve as extra seating, were custom made. Since budget was one of her main concerns while doing the project, Annalyn asked for her father’s help during the construction. Instead of buying ready-made furniture, Annalyn designed furniture pieces, and her dad assembled them for her. An area rug was thrown under the nesting tables to soften up the room, and also to serve as extra seating when the family hangs out at the living area.

DISPLAY YOUR COLLECTIONS.

The television cabinet and the shelves, which were also custom made, showcase books and her mom’s cassette tape collection. The contrast of the black wall backdrop of the shelving system and the brick accent wall gives the space more character.

Create a specific ENTERTAINMENT spot.

For instance, a small bar was created to hold Annalyn’s father’s growing collection of liquor bottles. At the same time, this serves as a divider between the living room and the dining area. “Hilig ’yan ni Papa, so I made sure na meron siyang spot.”

DINING AREA

FROM BRIGHT & GLARING TO DARK & DRAMATIC

A university professor transforms his energetic dining area into a calmer space that still exudes loads of personality

PEACE STUDIES PROFESSOR Marco Gutang’s dining area has seen a lot of changes, thanks to his designer-partner Grace Moslares. “Before, we had a small round table. We even had a long plastic table when we stayed here,” says Marco. The wall used to be red veering towards fluorescent pink. Marco kept the walls in that color for 10 years, and only recently he felt that the glaring color needed to be tamed. “Nagsawa na ako, so ginawa naming black.”

With a matte black wall, the dining area exudes a sleek, sexy mood. The wall is punctuated with an ornate mirror and various wall art, such as paintings by Ricky Ambagan, Ogie Salmorin, and Grace. A photo of Marco as a child, with his dad, also graces a corner of the dining area. This and the table accessories create a dramatic vignette that sets the area apart from the rest of the house. “The black wall, I really like it. It’s more subdued. Now that I’m 40, it suits my mood better. The all-red, sobrang gising na gising ako, which I liked before. It was energizing. But now, mas toned down na ako,” he says.

ARTWORK IS A NO-FAIL WAY TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR PLACE. “Yung ‘Carmen Rosales’ portrait, noong unang panahon pa ’yan. The paintings of a praying mantis, that’s by Ricky Ambagan. He’s a good painter,” Marco says. The photo is of him and his dad taken in Sulu, when the latter was assigned to that region.

KEEP ONLY THE ESSENTIALS. Marco explains, “It’s a small space, and we don’t really stay here much because we have another house, so we kept the furniture minimal. Enough na yung two chairs na yun sa dining kasi we just come here to work, pag kailangang mag-Internet—faster yung connection dito than the other house.” Marco used to put together a small round table and a small dining table for this space, but he finally simplified things by getting a bigger white dining table that could seat more people.

CONTRAST BRIGHT WITH DARK.

More artwork dot the other side of the wall in the dining area. The nude painting of a man and a woman is something Marco bought from Far Eastern University, where he teaches. “There was an exhibit. The artist is Ogie Salmorin. He’s an Angono artist.” The gold frame below it is from his mom. “Fifties pa yun, when she went to Italy,” he says. The painting of flowers is by his partner Grace. All these pop out against the black wall.

GO FOR CONTRAST.

Marco did this by grouping accessories. “Si Beethoven yata ’yan, di ba?” says Marco about the resin bust sculpture on the dining table. “Sa Dapitan Arcade namin nabili yan. It does look nice there.” Meanwhile, the reflection of the living area’s red wall in the mirror gives the dining area a dose of vibrancy.

PICK A FAVORITE PIECE AND MAKE THAT A FOCAL POINT.

“That mirror adds a classic touch pero hindi naman paclass. It makes it more quirky,” says Marco. He used flat black paint on the wall, so now it can also function as a chalkboard to write messages on.

FAMILY ROOM

FROM SO-SO & DARK TO ALL-WHITE & LIGHT

A new chapter in this couple’s life heralds a new move into their own place, plus a shift in personal style

FOR THOSE WHO KNOW Camille Besinga’s home style, they’d be surprised to see the place where she moved into with her husband Ryan Villena. “Everybody knew me as yung: ‘Ah, ikaw yung vintage, country!’” because that was the style of the apartment they previously rented (see Real Living’s October 2010 issue). But now that the couple have their own place, Camille, who is Cosmopolitan Philippines’ managing editor, decided to go a different route. “Nagsasawa na rin ako, baka it’s time na rin for konting sophistication.”

Sophistication isn’t the only thing that Camille had to factor in when she was decorating their living area. When they moved into their own home, the couple had been expecting their first child. “It’s just hard lang for me to really explore that sophistication kasi manganganak na ako. I have to tone it down kasi puro babasagin ang décor pag sophisticated ang style,” Camille explains.

The former white-and-dark-wood living area that veered towards the tropical style has been transformed into an airy family room simply by painting all the dark-wood details white. She kept to an all-white color palette in furnishings, with just a few touches of bright accents and grounding neutrals in the form of storage pieces and a rug. Yet even with this self-imposed restraint, Ryan and Camille’s living area still exudes a playful sophistication that’s perfect for the new addition to their family.

USE WHITE TO UNIFY A ROOM.

Using an all-white palette is the easiest way to update and unify a room while making it look more spacious and airy. White is also easy to dress up or down: just add bright and colorful accents for a young and playful look, or neutrals for a sophisticated and elegant feel. INSET BELOW Ryan and Camille’s main family living area was not bad to look at, but the wooden architectural details, such as the stairs and cabinets, were all stained in a dark, wenge finish that made the room look smaller than it actually is.

BABY PROOFING ONE’S HOME DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE STYLE.

Take these pretty chairs (right), for instance. “It’s a good thing the chairs aren’t expensive, for one, and are plastic. So medyo they look elegant, but they’re still safe.”

EVEN IF YOU’RE ALL GROWN UP, DON’T FORGET TO ADD WHIMSY.

Since Camille and Ryan love cats, it was automatic that they would love pieces depicting their favorite four-legged animal. This wall clock from Dimensione (One Parkade at Bonifacio High Street), for instance, instantly caught Ryan’s attention, and he bought it before moving in. The design is also suited for the baby girl the couple just recently welcomed.

FOUND OBJECTS ARE A FUN AND CHEAP WAY TO PERSONALIZE A SPACE.

This old driftwood is from Camille’s older sister. “Na-sand lang siya through time…napulot lang ’yan!” Other objects that can personalize a space are your books, travel mementoes, and gifts from friends and family.

GO FOR VERSATILE PIECES.

This birdcage is more than just a decorative piece. Camille says, “When we were already here, nakita ko nga na hindi siya masyadong child friendly, I started na tanggalin yung babasagin na vase, palitan ng kahoy, like the birdcage. Kung merong maliliit na objects, ilagay sa birdcage.”

COLORFUL PILLOWS ARE EASY ACCENTS.

“Alam ko cliché na ito, pero if I wanna change the look, pillows talaga really, really help. And they’re so cheap!” exclaims Camille. The white pillows from Landmark break the contrasting pink and green ones from SM Homeworld. Meanwhile, the feline-printed pillow is a gift from Camille’s boss, Cosmopolitan Philippines’ editor-in-chief Myrza Sison.

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