I spent the day at KISH early this week – with Ito himself and Carlo Tadiar. I did a project for Metro Home magazine. It involved playing in this wonderful playground of all things beautiful. I can’t wait for you to see the results of our work. It’ll be out in the next issue.

While setting up, I went around this huge store to see what’s new. Nothing comes close to the way Ito Kish does visual merchandising. He makes everything look so beautiful and well edited. Here are some snapshots from how his store looked like last Monday. By the time you visit, it may look different. Ito told me he’s getting the store ready for Christmas.




233 N. Garcia St., Bel-Air
Makati City 1209




Urban Zone: Resort-style home



This isn’t the first time we’ve featured a resort-style home in Urban Zone. It seems a few home owners choose to live like they’re on vacation at all times.

This house sits on a steep incline. The architect, Amy dela Paz, created a modern type of architecture with two clusters separated by a swimming pool in the middle. Upon entering the house, you see a mosaic tile wall that’s supposed to have water cascading down like a waterfall. Above it is the swimming pool. At the time of our visit though, the mechanism for the infinity pool to overflow wasn’t working.

The left side of the house has the formal living room and dining area. There is a mezzanine above the dining area that continues to walk above the kitchen in the other room. The kitchen then opens to a deck fronting the pool. The other side of the house has all the bedrooms and private areas.




Urban Zone airs every Friday night after SOCO, in ABS-CBN Channel 2.





UZ: Interior designer Sophia Ojeda-Llige



We shot this house a couple of weeks ago. It just went on air last Friday Nov 11. This house belongs to a young family who inherited the property from their grandparents. The old house was a bungalow that was beyond repair. The new owner decided to tear it down and build a brand new house with a Modern Asian/Filipino feel. The architect, John A. Pineda, and the interior designer, Sophia Ojeda-Llige saved as much of the old materials as they could and reused them in the new structure like carved Narra balusters and dividers and huge doors. They also used solar tube panels for skylights in the upper level.

The house was built for entertaining and hosting huge family gatherings. As part of the deal, the owners promised to host Sunday lunches every single week for their extended family. There is a beautiful large kitchen with generous counter space to hold all the buffet menu. Frameless glass sliding doors connect the living area to the dining room and then to the lanai. I’m loving the indoor-outdoor living thing happening in this house. Sophia Llige did a great job using a lot of the owner’s heirloom pieces and giving them a younger fresher feel.

Unfortunately we don’t have any photos of the master bedroom’s en suite. It has this huge glass window theatrical rolling blind thing going on. It was incredible. Hope you enjoy the photos. Most shots were taken by Manny Segunto using my old Ricoh.

Don’t forget to click “More” in the end.




Click “More” to see the rest of the photos.


Yet another modern Asian home



We showed this house about a month ago. Sorry in the delay in posting. I had some trouble with my storage – backing up and making more back ups. This house was designed – architecture and interior – by Alex Co. The owners hired Alex Co based on the features they saw on Urban Zone. The construction was managed by the owners themselves as building homes is their family business. Note that the family doesn’t live in this house full time. They live in a Southern Luzon province. They built this home to be the place they’d park at while on random trips to Manila.

Here are outtakes from the shoot. I’m not linking to sources or suppliers. It’s not that kind of blog or show. But one day we will get there. As you know the blog is open to sponsorships.


The living room has a double-height ceiling.


Alex Co is big on wall accents. Here’s one with stone and wood cladding. He did this to emphasize the height of the space.


The foyer with a glass dividing wall hiding the vestibule. Staircase is seen immediately on the left upon entrance.



The back side of the dividing wall with various types of textured glass.


The powder room with dark stone tiles and this dramatic egg-shaped lavatory.


A teardrop faucet hangs from the ceiling down to the sink.


Click “More…” to see the rest of this house.


Design books



If you’re anything like me, your house is constantly in a stage of redecorating. I never get done. As soon as I think my space is fine, something always looks wrong. And most of the time, clutter takes over. My new kitchen hasn’t happened yet. Though I’ve pretty much found all most of the suppliers I want to work with. I still haven’t found a way to get my kitchen sink over here yet. I promise (myself) to get this started right after Christmas.

Meanwhile, I keep buying design books. I know, I know, Patrick always tells me to just browse through net and find pegs there. But you know me and books. I love being surrounded by them. I like touching paper. These picture books aren’t so much about ideas anyway but basically more for inspiration.

Here’s what I found in National Book Store in the course of a few months. Most of the books are still in the stands. In case any is sold out, you can always just reserve a copy and order through their customer service desk.


Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney. I’ve been reading her blog forever. It has been my go-to site for anything home.


Like most successful blogs, it all started with a need to express oneself and the desire to connect and create a community. Jonathan Adler wrote the foreword, and he called Design Sponge a game-changer (eww, buzzword). But it’s true. Prior to Design Sponge, interior design was stiff, formal and snooty. Now it’s very democratic and organic.


It shows highlights from homes she’s featured over the years. These are homes that don’t scream “designer” design. Homes of people who express their own personal style in the way they live. Funny how it all started with a Brooklyn vibe. Whenever I get frustrated with my creaky uneven wooden floor planks I tell myself – pretend this is a Brooklyn brownstone.


I’d say 70% of the book is about ideas on how to do it yourself. I am however very un-crafty. So I doubt I’ll be doing any of the projects. But there are enough ideas that can help you when you’re sourcing through segunda mano shops.


Creative Walls by Geraldine James. Beautiful book, physically. I love the linen cover.


Lots of gorgeous layouts on how to display tchotchkes. And heavens knows I have a lot of that in this house.


The Well-Dressed Home by Annette Tatum. I think younger people would get a lot out of this book. Simply because when you’re in your teens and 20’s and still (possibly) living with your parents, not too many really focus on their spaces and how they live. But I say, if you spend so much on clothes and shoes, you should at least have a decent room to house your stuff in. Start with bed linens (yes that book is resting on Daphne Linens, hee hee). Honestly, fashion isn’t just about having nice clothes. It’s how you live.


So this book starts off with inspiration from fashion and the runway and shows you how you can translate it in your home.


Undecorate by Christian Lemieux. Love this.


In keeping with my own personal choice (for practical reasons) of designing my own space, Undecorate has put together a set of homes that, again, ooze with personal style. Nothing too decorated. Nothing contrived. And I like how Lemieux’s products, Dwell, are subliminally strewn across the pages. Smart.


I also placed an order for Vicente Wolf books through National Book Store. I’m waiting for those to arrive.

How about you? What design books have you recently discovered. Share.