Metro Home & Entertaining
story by Leah Puyat




The homewoner worked with Architect Popi Laudico, daughter of Yola Johnson, the artist and retail maven who established Soumak, the shop that pioneered the more contemporary use of Filipino fiber and antique Filipino furniture and indigenous wood.


“We had worked with Popi before on a vacation home, so we knew that we could work well together. She gives you a long questionnaire, not just about your tastes, but also your kind of sports, so she can plan the storage, or how willing everyone is to share a bathroom. It’s really quite detailed,” says the homeowner.


And yet for all those questions, she succinctly says, “I wanted a new old house, or an old new house. Yes I still wanted it to feel new, but I didn’t want it to belong to any certain time. For example, when we were building this house, everyone was doing that Asian modern look with travetine. But I don’t like travetine, I really want araal, so that’s what Popi used.”


There was a kind shorthand but the one bone of contention was the height of the doors. “When I first heard that Popi wanted floor to ceiling doors, I was afraid that it would end up looking like a villa, and that is so not us,” says the homeowner.


“So when I told her my worries, she just said that she would make one, we could see if we could live with it. If not, she would find a place where the door would not be seen. And I liked it in the end. I realized that she was right, I loved the effect.”


I had to ask about the staircase, because I find that many houses today lack a memorable staircase, which I consider a missed opportunity, as it is such a sculptural element that can be completely unique and stunning. The eloquent and effortlessly compelling homeowner elaborates, “ I can grew up on this lot, and when we tore down our old house, I really wanted to use as much as we could from what we had saved. The wood on the staircase is from our old house.”




The Joya in the foyer is such a joyful work of art and, of course, there is a charming story about it. “I actually dreamt that that painting was already there before we had placed any of the paintings. I feel that the colors and the brushstroke are saying, “I am not in your face, but I won’t be ignored.”


The paintings are juxtaposition of the classics by Anita Magsaysay Ho, Amorsolo, Bencab, and the more contemporary Gus Albor and Elmer Borlongan. The homeowner’s mother also loves to paint, and her works are displayed in the lanai and the dining room.


Her mother has what is know in Brit English as a “granny flat.” According to the homeowner, “She has her own wing, and her own schedule, but we eat together everyday. I really want my mom and my daughters to get to know each other well.


“My husband and I love to have friends over, and so do our kids, but I think my mom entertains the most,” she continues with a laugh, “When I was growing up, my firends would come over and open the fridge, and check out what’s for merienda. I wanted our house to be same.”


A close friend is with us, and she reaveals, “This house is like a magnet. Or Grand Central Station. People are always coming by, or dropping things off. Plus, she (the homeowner) bakes so well, so there is also something good to eat.”


As the afternoon winds down, and it is almost dusk, there is time for one last story.


“The mornign after we moved in, I was by the front door and overheard two construciton workers talking. One of them said, ‘Ay, tapos na pala ‘tong bahay.’ And then the other one answered, “Hindi, matagal na ‘yan diyan.”


“I called Popi immediately, and said, ‘We got it right!”


They most certainly did.



A mix of paintings by Filipino masters such as Amorsolo and Magsaysay-Ho, and a contemporary resort vibe make this main living room a comfortable and inviting space, perfect for family gatherings and larger parties. The earthy neutrals and the mostly figurative art add up to a space that is neither trendy nor antiquated.



The wooden slats, created from wood salvaged from the owner’s childhood home that once stood on this lot, pay homage to the family’s heritage in a bold and fresh aesthetic gesture. These were recycled from the homeowner’s old house.



The verve and dynamics of the graphic Luz painting are matched by the contrast of the slim lamps against the more rotund jars. The ottomans that fit snugly underneath the console table provide extra seating in the living room.



The lady of the house is a passionate home cook. She designed the kitchen so that she could prepare meals for large groups. She has two big ovens and an industrial grade stove. “When I was growing up, I had friends always coming over to see what was for meienda, and it’s still the same now,” confesses the lade of the house. One the day of the shoot, blueverry muffins were the treat of the day.



The dining room’s gallery wall has paintings by yough artists and the homeowner’s own mother. “We like to entertain and had our table customized so that we could have lots of friends over for dinner.”



“Popi (Laudico, the home’s architect) loves designing huge bathrooms, and we added a shower to the powder room, so that our den could function as an extra guest room,” explains the gracious lady of the house.



The “granny flat” is a large wing of the house with a bedroom suite and a home office. With a smile, the homeower reveals, “My mom leads the busiest life of all of us, and she entertains the most, too!”



The discreet checks on the sofain the libraryalludes to bespoke English tailoring, an apt motif in the library/den.