Family FIRST

This modest home to a single mom and her brood of five was finally stripped of clutter to reveal a clean, promising space

AT FIRST GLANCE, it was a makeover entry letter like many others. Lariza Tangalin is a single mother of five brilliant kids—all of them scholars, four girls who are into the performing arts and the youngest, a boy, who is into fencing. ”It was my dream to have my own house.”

“Ramble” indeed is the best way to describe it, because the 30-sqm townhouse was bursting at the seams with the family’s many possessions accumulated over the years. Books and other documents were carelessly stored in an open shelf that dominated the living area; plastic boxes were overflowing with old stuffed toys that the teenagers had long outgrown; clothes were just hanging on pegs, since there wasn’t any decent closet. Add to this the beat-up sofa in the living area that doubled as Lariza’s bed, since the attic was already cramped. It was a bedroom shared by five children.

When the Tangalins moved in nine years ago, Lariza just basically uprooted everything they had from their old abode. Nothing was thrown out. Lariza always found a reason to keep every little thing. “When Lariza’s sister visited, she sometimes did a little cleaning and disposed of things on the sly, but in the end the things found their way back into Lariza’s home. The busy mom—a full-time employee who does online blogging to augment her income— really wanted to renovate the house but just didn’t know where to begin. She couldn’t seem to find time for it either, given her hectic schedule. She really needed a more welcoming and relaxing home for her daughters, who usually come home on weekends.

Interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo of Abode & Co. stepped in, and her first task for Lariza was to purge everything. What was supposed to be a one-day affair extended to three days.

“I told her it’s just a matter of organizing and purging,” says Kristine, who admitted to being overwhelmed when she first saw the immense clutter. Since Lariza gave her free reign on the design, color scheme, and materials, the designer decided on a look that was big on fresh, clean aesthetics. She was able to source the furniture pieces and décor she needed, plus basic hardware supplies, at Metro Gaisano. Townes, Inc. supplied the fabrics, while Boysen took care of the paint needed to give the Tangalins’ home a new look.

Even if Lariza took a peek at the makeover every day, she was still floored by the final result.

What’s also certain to change is the family’s lifestyle. As it turned out, this total home makeover was more than just a facelift. It has become a turning point—a much-needed push to purge, clean, and organize for a better way of life. “This is it. It’s time.”

For the Tangalins, it’s out with the deep clutter and in with a brand-new beginning.

Add whimsy to other areas.

Since mother Lariza Tangalin is already used to sleeping downstairs, the attic bedroom is solely for her five kids to share. While the sleeping area is still clean-lined and fresh, it’s definitely more colorful and whimsical. Designer Kristine Neri-Magturo relates that since bed frames were out of the question in the low-ceilinged space, the next best thing is to just paint faux headboards on the blue wall to add pizzazz to the futons.

Apple boxes were used as cute nightstands, while beddings in pretty, festive ikat patterns from Metro Gaisano were added, giving the attic a beach-y, bohemian vibe. For storing clothes, the designer also provided chocolate brown zip-up cabinets (next page) from Metro Gaisano. Other items can be stashed in the refurbished shelving with doors.

Use colors to enhance a small space.

Kristine’s other space enhancing trick was done upstairs, in the attic bedroom. “Instead of painting the walls an accent color, I did the opposite. The ceiling was painted dark. The walls are white to make the space look bigger.”

The open cupboard in the kitchen was spilling over with the Tangalins’ cooking implements, adding to the clutter of the whole house. To remedy this, Kristine fitted the shelves with doors and regrouted the tiles. The result? It’s like a brand-new kitchen!

Paint it pristine.

Painting the cream-and-off-white walls on the first floor a pure white took a while, as the walls had deteriorated over the years. In the end, the paint, courtesy of Boysen, did wonders! Apart from the walls, the shelves and cabinet doors were also given a fresh coat of white paint. In the kitchen, the designer did a fast, inexpensive update: she repainted the tile grout white, and this made an immense difference in making the area look as good as new.



“That mirror was a priority. One of the kids teaches violin. They had one before,” Kristine says, gesturing toward the three-panel mirror accentuated with a pair of wall sconce lamps in the living room. She shares that the mirror was supposed to be one whole piece, but since it wouldn’t fit through the front door, it was cut into three panels instead. Aside from helping Lariza’s kids in their ballet practice, the mirror also visually enlarges the small area.

The old piano finds new acquaintances in the form of hurricane lamps and vases. Curtains from Townes, Inc. serve as a backdrop. Its neutral palette contrasts nicely with the blue sofa.

CURTAIN CALL. Changing your curtains can easily update the look of your home. Kristine provided the Tangalins more curtains using fabric from Townes, Inc. so that the family can dress up or dress down their newly revamped space, depending on the occasion.

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