28 January 2013

Bright Lights, Bigger City

Colored lighting at Home
It seems to me that a lot of people have a love-hate relationship when it comes to warm white lighting. That's the yellow-ish light you have at home that makes you look so darn gorgeous next to a severe case of migraine and heat flush (if it's not the LED kind). Sometimes the warm lighting can be too much you feel like you need to "balance" it by alternating bulbs of warm and cool (that's the white-looking slash ones usually used in offices and hospitals ergo unflattering if you love looking at yourself) lighting, which I do not entirely condone of. Alternating the two lightings is different however from strategically combining them, the latter which I approve more of. I'll probably get into my discomforts regarding that issue on a separate entry.

Having said all these, I feel like lighting when it comes to Residential Interiors is severely under appreciated. It needs more show time of its own, people! And I don't mean just using cool and warm whites, I'm talking about the colored ones as well. Do not be afraid, your house won't look like a cheap motel room or a lair-o-pimp night club if used in moderation and in combination with "neutral" lightings such as the cool and warm whites I've been constantly blabbering about.

Want to change the mood or ambiance of your house without having to bother painting? Try using colored fluorescents (or whichever kind you're using) on your cove lighting. Have your own pool or any water feature at home? Throw out those yellow lights and try using blue or purple lighting to make your koi pond look so ethereal it would be as if you're in Avatar. All your walls are white and you just sometimes want a pop of color depending on your mood? Yep, colored lighting.

Simply look at the photos above to see how it could be done without looking too theatrical. And I kid you not it can be done.

23 January 2013

Love at First Site: The Book Cover Archive

I like reading books just as much as I like looking at them. One of my favorite things to do when I browse through bookstores is to ogle over different book covers. Sometimes I don't even scan the first few pages of these books, I literally just look at the cover and visually absorb the graphic/print awesomeness around me. Yep, so if you see a petite girl drooling (not literally) over like a loon in front of a public bookshelf then there's a slight chance that could me. I guess I'm just one of those folks who would get a book because of the cover even if it has some crappy title.
modern covers for penguin classics
One of the few disadvantages of having a reading tablet is that you hardly get to buy actual tangible books anymore. I'm very guilty of this, but it's just so darn convenient! But if you're planning on having a library or using your books as decor to your home to make you look scholarly or whatever, it's still good to buy the printed version (and if your budget permits it). And have you seen the book covers nowadays, especially the republished classics with modern covers? They look so pretty they could be accent pieces to your console or coffee table.

book cover archive

If you're a book cover junkie like me, check out this website called The Book Cover Archive. They have an awesome array of book covers which I find incredibly inspiring and if you're a graphic designer or graphic appreciator of sort, then I betcha by golly wow (I know, that's just sad) you'd love it too!

22 January 2013

Table Styling: African Safari

african safari table styling
african safari table styling
So I was browsing through some old photos when I stumble upon our group finals back when I was still an Interior Design student. We had a subject called Elements and Principles of Design and the entire class was divided into groups to represent a country or theme which we were supposed to translate into table styling. For our group, we did an African Safari Style and what better way to capture the beat of the tribal land of Simba than to take inspiration from the wonderful russet sunsets of Africa! 

I have this weird/strong fixation when it comes to sunsets, whether it be pomelo-hued or otherwise. I don't know what is about it exactly, but I guess I just find looking at one peaceful. You know the first line of chanting in the Circle of Life song? The one that sends shivers down your spine (you know you do!)? That kind of feeling too. Anyway, if you want to achieve a similar feel you can refer to materials shown below. 
african safari table styling

21 January 2013

The Closet Office

the closet office
Welcome to the official club of adulthood.

Your first lesson: Unlearn (but not forget) all things you've learned from this point thus far.

What they taught you before, they weren't exactly lies or pointless nuggets of wisdom. They were taught to you in preparation for what's out there, once you've stepped into the dark...err sorry, "real" side. Don't talk to strangers? Good luck with networking. First impressions don't last? Tell that to your job interviewer the first five seconds. It's like you're given this manual to real life alright, and you study the darn thing for almost a quarter of your entire mortal existence and then when you finally got unleashed into the adult wild you learned that ha, joke's on you...'cause there is NO manual for life! It simply does not exist. Fanf**ckingtastic! Ain't life grand, indeed!

The truth is, you author your own manual. The pseudo manual given to you was just a sample guide to give you an idea of what you're going to do out there. To discover what you want to do when you get out there. Ever wonder why when you're in school they call life outside it the "real life"? Kinda bizarre because it gets you to question if what you've been doing all that time is just playing a "fake" life. Not that it's actually fake, but more of a simulation of how it's going to be like outside the comforts of the academe. It is not a flow chart that when you follow point for point leads you to graduate on time. You unlearn everything you've learned only to learn them once more, only this time around it would be under a different light or perspective.

And since you're an adult now, it means working on your own office. Am I getting good at this segway-ing or what? No? Fine. The trend right now is heading towards the use of home offices, but not all homes could afford to vacate and allot an entire room just to make it as your own workspace. The solution? Use or create a closet that would serve as your office niche! Since these "Closet Offices" are built narrow and obviously small, now's the time to go for broke and make it dramatic. Use a splash of bold or dark color on the walls for accent, do it with patterns and that would look amazing. Use curtains or decorative shutters as doors to enclose your Closet Office whenever you have guests so it would still look good even when concealed. Refer back to the photos above to see all these tips in action.

Just because your space is small doesn't mean there's no room for workspace, yes? :)

18 January 2013

Words from the Wise #1

Looking for Alaska John Green

You know it's funny how no one tells you about the second coming-of-age. You would think that you've already experienced every awkward phase and change in that particular stage of your life, yet here comes quarter life with all its jaded and daunting glory making you feel like your 13-year old self again. So here's a thought, "adolescence"in some sense does not only happen once. I seem to feel like it happens in every major transition in one's life. Sometimes you think at some point you feel so much wiser, so much fuller of yourself but there comes another phase in your life where you think, "The hell am I doing?".

My trip last year to Bangkok was a special one for reasons I've discussed in my previous entry. The intention was to have complete R&R, however I ended up feeling the opposite. It's not to say that I didn't have fun or I got stressed out during the trip because I did enjoy every bit, it was just that I knew by the time it all ended I needed an answer to help me, in the words of Bono, get myself together cause I seem to get stuck in this moment I feel like I couldn't get out of. True enough, I've settled for an answer and made my choice by the time I got home. It's wasn't an easy decision to make, in fact even till now it sometimes scares the hella out of me because the road towards my newfound goal presents to be a unique challenge. It's not because I didn't know what I wanted to do, because I did. It's a matter of whether I'd be taking that risk or playing it safe instead.

I was in a fork road (because crossroads just sound so cheesy and reminds me of a 90's song that I cannot confirm or deny that I listen religiously to back then), and in the words of my mother have "chosen the road less travelled". I don't know what's in store for me by choosing this road, but I could honestly say this is really where I wanted to be. Some may ask why I just didn't chose the safe route, one where I could be guided by the mass experiences of others and perhaps still end in some twisted faith where I wanted ending up to be sans the self-inflicting suffering of sorts, but I suppose I'm trying to live a life, my life, without "perhaps". The relentless wondering, the what-ifs...if I've chosen the "safe option", I would be stuck with that. I don't want to wait till something severe happens "to start seeking my Great Perhaps".

So now if I bombard you with a lot of motivational quotes or whatever, suck it up 'cause I need all of the positive vibes I could get to keep me going.

17 January 2013

Dip Dye & Ombre in Interiors

Dip Dye and Ombre have been all the rage last year especially when it came to the female and metrosexual coif, but this said trend has seeped its influence through the world of Interiors as well. But is it just a fad? Is it? I beg not! I mean how could you even think...no.

So what is the difference between Dip Dye and Ombre anyway? Well here are my self-proclaimed definitions based on my general observations of the aforementioned variables:

Dip Dye Chair
Dip Dye as it appears to me is literally just dipping the ends with another color. Notice the blunt and harsh lines separating the two colors. I suppose one can say it's a form of color blocking, but only the end part is involved. Usually in furniture it's the bottom part of the legs. Ever heard of Yan Yan (yes, yes the national food anthem for grade school recess)? Think of it that way and you'd get an idea how it's done.

ombre interiors
Ombre on the other hand is what I could compare to a classic gradient. The mixture of the different colors gradually fades in contrast to the harsh non-existent blending of Dip Dye. Using ombre can be quite tricky though because it's so easy to make this look tacky. But man oh man when you get to use it properly, it looks damn spectacular! And look, ombre isn't just for girly-girl looks but can also be applied on more masculine spaces as well. My favorite applications of ombre is on walls and fabrics.

So do you love it or do you love it?

16 January 2013

Designer Diaries: Chasing Rainbows

rainbow house on clipper street

Interior Design is a serious business, too serious at times in fact that you just gotta hold yourself back and not take it seriously. When I say "not take it seriously", that doesn't mean slack off and not giving your best shot at work. What I meant is how one approaches it. One of the things I've learned from my first year as an official working professional is that there's a fine line between being passionate and too intense with what you do. Too intense, too serious, too severe...whatever or however you call it, dictionary best sums it up as being "humorless". Ouch!

I know, I know...it sounds so ridiculous since designing is suppose to be fun. Working with people about their homes or talking about actualizing the spaces to fulfill their business dreams are suppose to be exciting and fun. I guess that's what I've forgotten or haven't paid attention to when I started. I was too determined to prove myself out there, I forget how to have fun. How to enjoy the moment, to enjoy what I'm doing. That it's okay to laugh at it, approach design with humor and still be able to take it seriously all at the same time.

rainbow interior design

There's a fun side with being an Interior Designer, obviously, since why the heck would I want to spend the rest of my life being in this career if I felt otherwise. But there's also a stressful side, those of which our clients don't normally see (not complaining, just stating how it is). And for the record, Interior Designers do not just pick curtain fabrics if ever you were thinking of how it's so ludicrous that we get stressed over only that! One doesn't need to pass a board exam just for having good judgement in fabrics, you know. And yes, I have humongous respect for ANY career that requires licensure exams.

So back to what I'm talking about, oh right...having fun. I myself am still finding it sometimes difficult to approach stressful times with ha-ha's, but I'm trying to change that. You see, I learned that sometimes when you take what you love doing too seriously you somehow (unconsciously or not) suck out all the fun that had it attracted to you in the first place.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, it's okay to laugh it off when things get too uncomfortably serious or when things don't go your way or how you imagined it to be. I'm glad there are people who have reminded me of this whenever I seem to have stopped smiling, because sometimes that's how you stop enjoying what you do and you start wondering the point of it all. So if someone hasn't told it to you yet my awesome dear reader, listen to The Killers and just smile like you mean it. Life is already too serious to be taken too seriously anyway.

15 January 2013


The Tulip Chair by Saarinen

Sometime during the 1950-60's there's been a huge frenzy about space...outer space, that is. Maybe it has something to do with Armstrong being the first man to hop like an astronaut boss on the moon or maybe aliens are just taking over, but this fascination has taken over the design industry--from fashion to even furniture to The Beatles' crooning "Across the Universe" by galactic storm. One popular table at that time (and has been considered an icon since) is Eero Saarinen for Knoll's Tulip Table. It's also featured in Mad Men as part of Roger Sterling's swanky new office decor.

14 January 2013

The Framed Formula

The Framed Formula made with Olioboard

Do you have many photos or artworks at home that you just wanted to display on your wall, but have no idea how to go about it and make it look half as decent as your peg online? Keep calm frustrated Martha Stewart and stay on as here are some foolproof tips on how to group your paintings, photo frames, etc. like a decorating pro! Of course there's no one formula on how to do it, but at least by following some of the steps below you can get an idea on how to start the layout of your frames. For simplistic purposes, I only used rectangular/square frames, but you may replace one or the other with oval or round ones as the concept on how to do it is just the same.

The Mirror Image - Basically, what goes to the left goes to the right. Or what goes up must also go down (no pun intended). It's about balance and symmetry. 
Alternate / Assymetry - If you place an imaginary line in the middle, the one in the left looks different from the right. One pair could be the same diagonally and the other pair could be different from one another.
Combination - Think you're ready for the advance stuff eh? Well try combining the first two options. Since nailing frames (or using adhesives) to the wall can be semi-permanent, you can try to layout your frames first on a table top or floor so you'd get an idea if the proportion works or not.

So here's a quick recap:The Framed Formula made with Olioboard

If you're familiar with the photo frame apps that are getting popular nowadays, the concept of framing is pretty much like so. You can use those apps as basis or templates that you can also apply in your actual frame decorating. Like I said before, also consider proportions and color when grouping artworks. Hope this made it easier for you :)

12 January 2013


via West Elm
There came a time when a few brave souls would dare ask me if I would be interested in going camping with them. For a few seconds I would stare back blankly at them, blink a couple of times, grin slowly and tell them I would only go camping if the tent we would be staying at looks like the ones in Harry Potter or if we're going to do it Oprah and Gaile style where we get to have french toasts and omelette for breakfast amidst the nice backdrop of Mother Earth.

Needless to say all of them just rolled their eyes at me as the answer points to almost impossible. Hey, don't go judging me as the reason why I have an aversion to camping is because of the toilet facilities. I could sleep on a bed of dead leaves for all I care or with no pillows, but I am particular about decent or clean toilets and bathrooms, which no offense most of these camping sites lack.

from Harry Potter
But then, there came a trend where particular people with aversions to roughing it out with mama nature are given a newfound hope to still be able to do camping, thus I introduce to you: glamping. Like parents making a hybrid out of their names to give to their kids upon birth, glamping is basically glamourous + camping. When this trend came to my attention all I could remember was a scene from one of my favorite episodes from Gilmore Girls where Rory spies/stalks on Logan's secret society activities (You Jump, I Jump Jack).

Think that glamping is too fancy for you? Look at these photos and think about that once again my friend (and for the record, I don't get you)!
Glamping in Britain via Rough Guides Travel
Glamping like Strawberry Shortcake via Inspired Camping
Jackson Hole Luxury Lodging via If It's Hip, It's Here
Dreamy Glamping in Sardinia via One Off Places
via Trend Luxury
If you're not a camping purist like me, then this is more of the kind of camping that I am mostly likely to go to. How about you, are you up for glamping?

11 January 2013

Funny Face

bachelor pad
funny face table styling
coffee table styling

A few months ago I helped out a family friend of ours in rearranging his condo unit. He had an amazing collection of paintings and I wanted to take advantage of practically every nook and cranny in his place to showcase these amazing works. I also had to get resourceful since the goal was to make use of only the things he currently has and to not buy anything new except for the curtains. It was a good thing he had things that I was able to work with haha!

One tip I can give you when dealing with multiple framed artworks to be displayed in a small space is to be conscious of 1) proportion and 2) color. Sometimes I group it according to similar themes or subjects, but mostly my top consideration for grouping them would be the first two that I've mentioned. It also doesn't always have to be nailed on the wall, you can also let it lean on the wall across the floor or layer one tall narrow frame with a small wider one. You can also have it on top of a table or stool while again leaning against a wall.

Like in fashion, don't be afraid to layer artworks. Doing so gives a somewhat casual and eclectic vibe, plus it could serve as a conversational piece when you're entertaining guests or a good conversation starter to your first-time visitors. 

10 January 2013

The House We Live In #1

wicker balls
coffee table styling
lamp base

Some people lived most of their lives in one house, their "ancestral" or "childhood home" as they would call it, but I on the other hand have so far experienced living in seven different houses throughout my entire quarter life. My parents are not diplomats nor do they have jobs that require them to travel or move around a lot, but I suppose we had just gotten used to treating houses as commodities. We move because it's convenient for us--either for work (school back then) or as a piece of real estate investment. Did I ever wish to have lived "normally" in contrast to our modern bohemia lifestyle? Sometimes yes, but then there are perks to having lived in different places at various parts of the metro, one of them in particular is that you get to improve your innate GPS which Lord knows mine needed a whole lot of improvement back then (hell yeah I'm much better at it now!).

I guess it's safe to say that we have gotten immune to that not feeling "homesick" sentiment whenever we switch residences, because of how we were raised and it has become a lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. Apart from that, I suppose that having most of the same things like furniture and home decorating pieces helped a lot in making whatever new nest we're occupying feel more familiar and like "our home".

Anyway, I'm starting another series post called The House We Live In. Basically it's a bunch of random photos of things and whatnots lying around the house that I just wanted to share with you and I'll try accompanying it with a short anecdote or some random thought every now and then. So yeah, it's almost like another version of a home tour in various parts. 

You think you don't give a crap about the junk we have here, but I know you're at least curious. Enjoy you crazy amigo!

09 January 2013

Ooh La La: Patterned Envelope Liners

The Envelope Sea by Mr. Boddington's Studio
The Envelope Sea by Mr. Boddington's Studio

Handwritten letters such as invitations and thank you notes are becoming much rare these days that whenever I get to receive one I truly appreciate it no matter how short or seemingly shallow the sentiment could be. Before the takeover of e-cards and flat-printed photoshopped letter templates, there are a lot of specialty stationary stores apart from the ones seen inside bookstores. I remembered when we were still kids, my mom, older sister and I would usually hang-out in these type of stores and just hoard scented letter-pressed papers or greeting cards for almost every occasion. Up till this day, stationary paper goods still has that charmed effect on me.

One of the things I've been recently obsessed, err googling about are patterned envelope liners. It's such a beautiful way to accent your personalized notes or cards and I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite ones that I've seen online:

Floral Envelope Liners
via This is Glamorous
Wooden Envelope Liner
via Oh So Beautiful Paper
Gold Glitter Envelope Liner by PersianLaundry
Gold Glitter Envelope Liner by PersianLaundry
Bicycle Envelope Liner via Wedding Bee
Bicycle Envelope Liner via Wedding Bee
Map Envelope Liners by iDiY
Map Envelope Liners by iDiY

08 January 2013

Top 10 Beauty First-Haves from 2012

Top 10 Beauty First-Haves from 2012
If life were indeed like a book, 2012 for me is the denouement while the climax of my quarter life plot line was around 2011. Despite the ups and mostly downs of the past year, the power of trying to make yourself look good to feel good never fails (window shopping therapy follows closely next). Last year, most of my favorite beauty loots were for the eyes. Only one made it that's for the lips, but I'll get to that later. All of these are first-time buys and all of them I would buy again in a heartbeat if I've managed to finish it already. Look under the cut for a brief review of all ten beauty products :)

07 January 2013

Like a Sir: Baby Shower Party

mustache party
mustache party

There are two things that make you realize that you're truly and actually getting older, one is that people your age are starting to get married and two is the sudden abundance of baby photos on your Facebook feed. Last weekend, my older sister asked me to help her out with styling the baby shower party of a close high school friend of hers. I was told that they were interested in giving her a mustache-themed baby shower party, and I was quite psyched for helping them do one.

I must say, mustache parties are becoming really trendy this year and why the hell not it's a fun way to make party guests loosen up. Some people might think it can be a bit of a hassle decorating for a small celebratory gathering, but I think no matter how small the size of the party it's still nice to have a bit of festive decor or themes to make the entertaining, well entertaining.

mustache party food styling
It was quite a happy coincidence that upon entering the house of the mom-to-be, I saw this huge ferris wheel decor at the corner of their living room. Seeing this piece gave that spark of idea and I knew I had to place it as a center piece on the buffet table. From that focal piece on, I worked on adding layers of other details to the table such as the blue and white balloons and other knick knacks they have currently. The idea is to make use of what they have at home and it was a good happenstance they have things that could fit to the purpose of the party. Just in case you're curious, I was told that the ferris wheel was sourced from Dapitan Arcade, which definitely is the home of random affordable house knick knacks (from plates, to wicker baskets to ceramic jars--they have it).

Since it's my sister's friend, we've kindly lend some of our items at home as well for added decor. I've gotten those distressed frames years ago in Dimensione, and the blue and yellow glass antique pieces were some of our collection at home and had also been used back in our thesis exhibit in college.

DIY mustache straws
cupcake mustache mustache partymustache photobooth
mustache photobooth

With some help from my sister and friends, we made a lot of mustache cut-outs as decors for the straws, cupcakes and of course the party must-have, photo booth. The artworks in the frames were customized and printed by me, as well as some of the handwritten signs on the illustration board. Paint used for the text were simply poster paints.

Like I said, there is no size minimum for a party to have a theme or for it to be styled. Decorating your small and simple gathering puts your guests into a festive and jovial spirit, plus it does wonders for immortalizing the celebration through photos. It doesn't have to be grand and you could make use of some of the things you have at home. Make it lovely, make it fun and remember to have a good time :)
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