A custom-made wooden daybed makes the fourth-floor guest room warm and cozy. The designer combined two side tables to make a center table. The leaf-patterned area rug, pillows, and woven Designers Guild wallpaper complement the room’s rustic vibe, while a painting by Carlo Magno adds a bit of bright color. This room will soon be converted into a nursery.

How do you design a home for a couple with two different personalities? Usually, one of the spouses takes the lead. In this three-story, 200-sqm townhouse of young couple Ben and Mau Tan, it was the latter who took charge.

«The place was really more inspired by my wife Mau’s taste,» says Ben, a sales manager. «She had previous dealings with interior designer Wilan Dayrit for their house. I like the way that looked. Medyo minimalist, nothing too cluttered, nothing bulky.» Ben adds that it was difficult to buy furniture because they had a small space, so they chose simple but functional pieces that would fit their budget. Almost all the furniture were custom-made by Pampanga-based manufacturer Asian Tropical Lifestyle.

Following the couple’s request, Wilan—with the help of interior designer Karina Cagalingan and design student Kevin Pareja—came up with a serene but casual modern-tropical look. «Like any couple, siyempre may contrasting personalities. Yung guy, typical guy na carefree, casual, plays basketball; yung girl naman sweet siya, so I tried to capture both lifestyles,» says Wilan about how he merged their tastes.

A simple white cabinet greets you at the foyer, accented with an Ann Pamintuan wire mirror and art pieces by Ramon Orlina and Justin Nuyda. Ben says the designer introduced them to the value of acquiring art, and the works found at the foyer clue in guests on the other pieces they will find in the couple’s home.

In the living area, muted hues of grays and beiges reign. A wide sectional sofa provides cozy seating. Built-in wooden cabinets and an entertainment console provide storage space and add a warm, organic feel. Above them are a variety of accessories. Most noticeable is an Arturo Luz abstract. «We like abstract art,» says Ben. ‘The designer pointed us towards people who do good abstract work, like Ruel Baluyot, Justin Nuyda, and Carlo Magno.»

Right next to the living area is the dining area, which is furnished with a round table topped with white Carrara marble. «In terms of look, I really like the contrast of wood with marble, like Carrara. In love ako sa Carrara. I don’t know why. Anything white is beautiful to me,» the designer admits. A pendant lamp and a huge mirror on the wall help to visually expand the tight space. Another abstract by Arturo Luz hangs here.

A narrow staircase leads to the master bedroom on the second level. Just like the living and dining areas, neutrals abound, creating a calm and hotel-like sleeping haven for the couple. Crisp white bed linens tempt anyone to doze off, especially when the blinds are drawn, bathing the room with a soft warmth.

On the third floor are Ben’s home office and a guest room. Masculine elements are the order of the day in Ben’s work area, as evident in the black, white, and brown color palette. Built-in cabinets help keep it neat and organized. Across the home office is the guest room that is furnished with a bespoke daybed from Asian Tropical Lifestyle. This nook boasts charm and a laid-back vibe, with its mix of wooden textures and patterns on the area rug and throw pillows.

According to the designer, he made the townhouse a «bridge» between the personalities of Ben and Mau — and this shows. The neutral canvas serves as a venue for both husband and wife to express themselves and exercise their choices, whether it’s deciding which furniture to buy or which artwork to hang.

Interior talk

The Tan home is a good example of a PEACEFUL HOME

The designers used clean-lined furnishings, a simplified layout. and a neutral palette that is light on the eyes. According to the book Peaceful Spaces by Alice Whately, creating your own serene space is essential to coping with the stresses of modern-day living. The author writes that space clearing, achieving balance and form in your layout and pieces, and using natural materials such as wood, stone, and fabric in your finishes and decor all help in achieving this kind of home.

The designer tried to make the couple’s bedroom look like a hotel, hence the muted hues and clutter-free space. «I prepared a more formal version of that room before, pero sinabi nila gusto nita super casual,» recalls Wilan. The camel-toned headboard adds a subtle pop of color. Another Arturo Luz abstract hangs above the bed. The couple not only get real pleasure from looking at the painting, they also like the way the artwork keeps their wall from looking bare.

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