Design inspiration: cargo wardrobe

Cargo containers have been re-purposed into offices and houses so why not a wardrobe such as this one? I’m thinking it’s perfect for a loft setting.

cargo wardrobe


Home color palette inspiration: gray, green, brown, and a dash of yellow

This is exactly the color palette of my place out here which I’m loving, especially the wood (my bed for instance is solid teak or something, I can’t move it by myself). I guess it was just plain luck that the first rental place my hosts brought me to see is newly-built (the first renter was a female nurse and obviously took good care of the place) and came with a modern design. I immediately said yes to the caretaker (and worried about how to justify my yes to my agency only after).

home color inspiration

A second look at furniture

A research manager from the UK and I were having a late lunch of bibimbap at a Korean restaurant on busy Tomas Morato that we espied after a few rounds of circling the area for dining places. Two other tables were occupied- one by an all-female group who appeared to be society matrons and were obviously celebrating an occasion, and the other by serious-looking all-male group who looked like businessmen. When we entered, we were given lingering looks the kind directed at white foreigners and locals accompanying them. I loathe attention but it’s something I bear as part of work. We quickly chose a table, nearest the door.

Having placed our orders and while taking sips of green tea, I commented to my companion that the place speaks of true or traditional Korean design. My companion had the same observation. Uncluttered minimalist look. Wood furnishing. And to drive home the point, the rack by the door held papers only in Korean. I wouldn’t understand anything of what’s written (reason to learn the language?). There were no windows on our floor (ground) but curiously the room didn’t feel claustrophobic. Maybe it was the high ceiling and muted mid gray palette.

Then she told me about the time when her family – herself, her husband, and their first child – relocated to Sydney from London. For their first sets of furniture, and considering their need to put together a living space quickly (she still works in London; her husband an Australian maintains business in Australia) they took to IKEA which recently opened in Sydney at the time. She wasn’t an IKEA fan previously but discovered that the brand carried some really good stuff especially for new couples or families. Laughing, she recounted the fun time they had making the several trips to the store and home and assembling the pieces. But forgive me she said did you know about IKEA though? I said I knew about it from magazines and if it opened in the country I’d definitely visit. I mentioned that Muji which also carries similar pieces has already opened stores in major cities here and is the more familiar brand locally.

That was the first time talk during lunch hour had been about furnitures and it wasn’t boring at all. It opened to me new insights about the place of furnitures in the home. Recently I came across an article on the subject, fortuituous really- IKEA’s Head of Research on the Future of Furniture.

When it comes to your home and to purchasing home furnishings, you typically do it very seldomly. You buy a car more often than you buy a new sofa or a new kitchen. It’s hard to relate to it, compared to clothing or whatever you buy at the supermarket. Also, in our homes, we are often unaware of how we actually behave. And many people play a specific role out in the world, then you come home, maybe you undress yourself, and you feel like my god, now I can be myself. In our research we want to come closer to people’s everyday lives, people’s reality.

Read the article here.


Postcards from around the Philippines: Irosin

St. Michael the Archangel church, Irosin, Sorsogon
Also known as Hilltop Church, for it’s sweeping view of the downtown area and Mt. Bulusan. A 100-step staircase leads up to the church. A grotto dedicated to Mary lies left to the main entrance. The area on that side is called Little Baguio. On the right side of the church, facing Mt. Bulusan, is a floor to ceiling figure of St. Michael on stained glass. It’s the most imposing and beautiful stained glass rendition I’ve seen of the Archangel. When we visited, reconstruction of the church facade and interiors was ongoing, from damages during Typhoon Nona in 2015. Hopefully, it’s original Byzantine design will be preserved.

My kind of corner

dining corner


Hotels: Pines View

Pines View Hotel‘s lounge area on the third floor landing offers an 180-degree unobstructed view of the City’s CBD. The view is rendered more dramatic at night.

pines view lounge baguio city


Each floor features displays of natives’ traditional apparel and tools, this one the upper garment used by women in Bontoc, Mountain Province.


Hotels: Safari Lodge

Safari Lodge at Leonard Wood Road has been upgraded and some more enhancements are on the works. It needs to. The neighborhood is seeing a boom in lodging and dining infrastructures.

Still, the Lodge remains a unique watering hole, a museum if you like. If you fancy old world gaming dining and lodging experience, this is the place to imagine what that’s like. If you fancy yourself a hunter in your past life, Indiana Jones perhaps, this is the place to reminisce that life.

Entering the Lodge, the guest is at once taken by the display of wild animals and birds. Accordingly, the Lodge’ former owner the late Don Celso Tuason hunted these himself, in Africa and here, back when hunting was the sport.

Moving around the dining area for a place to take a photo of Mr. Elephant (it feels male to me but I have to confirm this), I finally decided on the spot to the right of the central table. Framing my shot by the glass cabinet, I sensed something next to me besides the birds. I looked down and nearly jumped out of my skin.

Well, hello Mrs. Lioness! And what teeth! I was sure, staring at it’s eyes, trained furiously at guests now, that the same pair many stories ago had locked as ferociously with it’s hunter’s, recognizing the battle that could end all it’s battles. Thus it’s unsheathed fangs.

stuffed lion safari lodge baguio city

Her kin at the corner by the fireplace is more subdued. Assuming a crouching position it looked less of a threat. Was the hunter lying down among the bush when the feline had approached him? I’d like to know. Meanwhile, those teeth! I don’t know how human skin can survive from a bite.

Their cousin, the leopard, is at the opposite end. I see now. Cruella Deville isn’t mad for spots for nothing.

I like modern dining spaces. But I also like places with history which the Lodge has much of. Dining at the long table, I imagined us in the midst of an exhilarating chase between the hunted and the hunter; the various positions of attack (or defense) assumed by both when face to face. And how it was out there then for the young Tuason.

If the guest needs a breather from the safari experience, there’s the cafe and bar by the entrance. It hosts a live band every night.

Or, a view of greens by the terrace if one prefers a quieter area.


Hotels: Hotel Elizabeth

Never mind this year’s Christmas tree – is it really PHP3M? – at the head of Session Road.  In the City’s hotels are trees more beautiful and creatively less costly.  Like this one at Hotel Elizabeth, made of individual cartolina roses.

Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City
Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City

Design inspiration: the outside in

Capital towns in the Cordillera Administrative Region where tourism is the main business should look into adapting this sort of hotel design.  Instead of blocks of concrete and teeny windows, there ought to be lots of glass to bring the light in and showcase the majestic mountains.

mountain resort

In one hotel, I was given the room where the shower room had big frosted windows (except the top ones) that overlooked two high rise residential buildings.  The owner got the concept all mixed up.  I was exhausted at the time and I believed I’d pass out in the middle of one more argument and besides it was a full house.  My mood was, to hell, so look if you like, but damn.


My idea of perfect

view from top interior design



Wall art

wall art

Window design inspiration: green

window design

The glass pieces are made of ‘Dye Sensitised Solar Cells’ which use the properties of colour to create an electrical current—just like photosynthesis in plants. Similarly to the various shades of green chlorophyll absorbing light, the coloured window panes harness energy.  That energy can then be used to power small appliances; a USB port in the window ledge can charge a standard smart phone in about seven hours.

if replicated on a larger scale, say over the vast colorful facades of churches, or in schools, the Current Window could provide clean energy in a uniquely beautiful form on a much larger scale.

Complete article at Inhabitat.


bedroom design


Ceiling design inspiration: decorative glass

the rotunda san francisco
The Rotunda, San Francisco

Wall design inspiration: frescoes

I like bedrooms swathed in frescoes because when not sleeping I like to just lie in bed and stare at walls.  The better that these are painted to better reconstruct stories from.  One could conjure up a thousand and more depictions from a single painting depending on one’s capacity for imagination.  And time, of course.

st. regis, florence
The St. Regis, Florence via stregishotels