A Young Family Showcases Their Love For Art And Antiques in Their 180-sqm Condo
You know how some art lovers go out of their way to uncover good investments and collect the hottest names? That’s not how it goes with this young, handsome couple and their impressive and growing art collection. “I would say most of the pieces in this home have found us, and not the other way around,” says the striking and statuesque wife, who runs her family’s business and is passionate about design.
“It’s very instinctual,” continues the young woman, about the way she and her husband collect art. “We usually don’t buy anything that doesn’t resonate with us. I don’t want to force myself to buy a piece just because it’s of a certain name… I would say half the pieces we found here, and the other half found us while on our travels.”
With the husband an executive and the wife part-owner of a successful design business, the couple could have built a house but “We are big fans of condo living,” she says, and they bought the unit before their dream wedding in Europe, every detail of which she planned and designed herself.
“Find those pieces that resonate with you, that you’re passionate about. So when someone visits your home, it really tells of who you are, and it’s not something you find in an advertorial or a showroom. It’s not a stereotype.”
As for the design of their home, and the ‘curation’ of their art and objets d’art, it is always a joint decision. “I’m lucky to find someone who’s just as interested and passionate about art and interior design as I am.” Although neither of them trained in interior design, the couple changed practically everything about the unit—from the ceiling, partitions and doors down to the tiles and warm wooden floors.
“We wanted things to feel very natural, to feel open to the outdoors, so we used a lot of things that are natural—natural stone, natural wood, petrified wood, wallpaper made of abaca, animal hide, fabrics and carpets with texture—so all of that brings a warmth and coziness despite the contemporary lines of the home,” the wife says, warming up to the subject of design.
“As much as we like contemporary, we like traditional,” she adds, explaining their personal style, “so I try to find a way to harmoniously combine contemporary lines with pieces that are more vintage in feel.”
Take for example the handsome buffet table in the foyer: “This is from Hong Kong. It’s an antique piece. A lot of the antique Chinese pieces like these were originally printed in red. If you see a piece like this that is of a different color, it means it was repainted. Why? Because apparently, it’s considered auspicious to change one’s furniture every Chinese New Year. But instead of buying new furniture, they would just paint it another color. This one’s been painted a beautiful olive green.”
Being in the furniture design business, he wife could have almost any piece customized or reproduced, just as most interior designers do, especially for condos. “I prefer making it myself—and I can—but antiques have soul. And you can’t manufacture that.”
“If you’re really unsure about color palettes or prints, go for a neutral canvas—grays, beiges, or a color that’s close to neutral, like a bluish gray, and work around that palette. Later, experiment with the pops of color with the smaller accessories like throw pillows, rugs, accent rugs, so that you don’t end up with a hodge-podge of things that clash.”
Gray travertine trim accents the narra wood flooring in the hallway, as a vibrant Vietnamese painting brightens up the gray space.
In the living area, the Adriana armchair (the chair with the oranage leather pillow) is one of the wife’s favorite Philux pieces. By the side of the sofa, are two sections of petrified tree trunks standing as side tables. Behind the sofa is a console table where the Porta Romana duck lamp is a standout piece.
To the right of the sofa is a picturesque painting by Yee Bon, View Over Harbour. And further is a Butler cabinet clad in shagreen and bone inlay. The wife had this especially made by Philux, which carries it in wood. Many elegant dinners have been served on the travertine dining table flanked by upholstered Madagascar chairs by Philux. The wood ceiling niche and trio of pendant lights cozy up the large space.
Behind the dining area is the bar. Eel patterned wallpaper clads the wall of the bar, a perfect backdrop for the fractal green glass sculpture by Ramon Orlina. To the right of the dining and the bar area is a painting by National Artist Bencab from his Sabel series hanging beside the door to the kitchen. Below the painting is a bronze cheetah by South African artist Dylan Lewis. Beyond the door is the minimalist kitchen that merges nudes and gray tones. The opposite door from the kitchen is a powder room.
The minimal theme of nudes and gray tones continue to the couple’s toddler’s room. “I like bright colors, don’t get me wrong,” the wife says. “But for this room, I wanted something soothing, a calming place where we can connect, because I’ll be spending a lot of quiet time and of quiet time and reading time here with my daughter.” The wife’s quite proud of the way the baby’s room turned out. One of the few things she sought professional help on are the light gray moldings on the walls. “I wanted to get the right proportions, so I consulted Anton Mendoza for that.”
“Of course, the things that are very sharp, I try to conceal, or the things that are breakable, I put them out of harm’s way. But at the same time, I didn’t want to change our home, so our dog is very well-trained, and we’re very careful with our baby when she’s around the house. We make sure to tell her what she can touch and what she can’t, and you foster discipline that way. I just didn’t want to change my lifestyle and my home completely.”
In the master bedroom, they went for a wall-to wall carpeting. It isn’t often you get to see wall-to-wall carpeting in a condo home. “I wanted the cozy feel that a carpet brings. I’m very particular about keeping it clean and vacuuming everyday. It’s doable because we don’t open the windows here,” explains the wife. The couple’s Stella bed and custom night tables are also by Philux. On the right of the bed is a sleek red armchair in stunning crimson, a total knockout by the bedroom window. A 1920s Victorian bamboo side table lets its companion hold court.
This story first appeared on CondoLiving Vol. 9 No. 4 2014. Edits were made for CondoLiving.OneMega.com.