House with a fish “pond”


I had a lot of fun shooting this house for Urban Zone. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera that day. But good thing, the owner sent me photos… actual prints!… from the shoot. Yes it’s another modern tropical home. Why not? It’s the most practical architectural style for our climate. And basically with a shell that’s more streamlined, you can dress up the interiors any way you can.

It wasn’t just the architecture and design that I find striking about this house. I loved the experience of being here. Here’s why.


A happy home with a big garden, a pool, a separate cottage for visiting in-laws, lots of space for the kids to run around in.


I interviewed the contractor of the project.


I loved that the “front” of the house was off to the side, not favouring the street. It faced the garden and the pool.


They planted fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. I think we can all learn from this. What could be more sustainable than a garden that produces stuff you can really eat!


Most new houses now have a water feature. A lot of them have Koi ponds. It’s no joke maintaining a fish pond. It takes time, money and commitment. Koi fish are not cheap. But this one is a great idea. The owners created a wall where water cascades down, creating the soothing sound of water. And instead of decorative fish pets, they had fish from their fish farm. They run a fish farm out of town. So every week they bring in live fish and “raise” them here in the city for a few days or weeks. Then when it’s time…


They just go fishing in their back yard. What could be more luxurious than fresh tilapia and pangasius (dory)? From fishpond, to kitchen, to dinner table!


The owners gave us a gift that night. They sent me home with two tilapias and one dory fish! I was a bit stressed out about real live fish and the idea of killing and cooking it. But these are farmed fish meant for eating.


I went home so thrilled about this experience. Now I’m thinking, should we have a little fishpond at home too? But none of us are interested in raising fish. Plus the owners had a real working fish pond in their farm, we don’t. But it’s a great idea though.

Oh by the way, I’m still getting a lot of questions about the new schedule of Urban Zone. Here’s our new ad.


Oops, looks like we forgot to edit the copy. We’re on now every Friday night, after Trip na Trip on ABSCBN. The schedule on The Filipino Channel varies per region.


Urban Zone: Modern tropical house



Here’s a house we featured in Urban Zone last month. It was designed and built by father and son architects – Mike and Paul Pena. We’ve shown many of Mike Pena’s work in UZ and all of them have been striking and impeccably done (in Tagalog, pulido).

This house is pretty incredible. It looks like a bungalow from the front, but it actually has four storeys, since the property slopes down dramatically. And to those who will probably ask – I have not included a photo of the facade.


By the front door. Those horizontal slats beside Mike open into a deep wind chamber that allows ventillation in the lower part of the house.


At the foyer. Check out the double doors – it’s a door within a door, much like the ones in old churches.


The beautiful kitchen is completely open to the dining room and to the view of the entire property.


Since the stove is on the island counter, a special wooden casing for the range hood was created.


This is the view from the kitchen – a giant one-piece wooden table (from Indonesia, gosh the tree!) and the view of the surrounding area.


A wide shot of the foyer, kitchen and dining areas.


A modern sungkaan (a traditional Filipino game).


Paul explaining the idea of keeping the spaces open by having vast windows with “no corners.” Another one-piece enormous wooden coffee table.


The upper balcony  (there are several)


I really hate that our wireless lapel mics were broken that day. I had hold this obtrusive microphone. But anyway, this shows one wall of the master bedroom.


Wooden sliding doors with kamagong slats allow the continuous flow of air through the house.


View from the back of the house – showing the pool and the four floors.


Very interesting feature of the swimming pool, a trickling water feature surrounding the jacuzzi.


The infinity pool.


Modern asian home




This is the house we showed in Urban Zone last Friday July 8, 2011. The architect, Alex Co, has shown a lot of his work in our show and he actually has gotten a lot of projects from the exposure. We’ve had viewers from Europe and North America who’ve commissioned Alex to design their homes back in the Philippines. He has developed an expertise in modern tropical/asian homes but he can actually do a wide range of styles.

Here is one of the newest homes he’s built – for a couple with three grown children. The property is around 600 sqm, with a gentle slope down. The main floor houses the living, dining, kitchen and prayer room. As well as the master bedroom – which shows great foresight on the owner’s part. Aging is a part of life that we cannot escape. They want accessibility and comfort later on. The top floor are the children’s bedrooms and library. The lower ground opens up into the garden. (Pardon the photos, I had my Leica D Lux 3 and it was on a wrong setting, so Denmark my segment producer couldn’t get the clarity he wanted. Otherwise, it’s a really excellent camera).


A stone wall divides the living room from the dining area.


An unusual set up. Most homes devote their high cathedral ceiling to the living room. But this family chose to give all the openness to the dining area.


Lamps over the dining area.


Chairs and table by Agi Pagkatipunan.


The dining and kitchen areas share one space. Great concept.


I love that the kitchen is surrounded by lots of windows and greenery.


This is actually just their “show” kitchen. Very little work goes on here on a daily basis. Behind that fridge…


… is their “dirty” kitchen, or what architects and designers now call “working” kitchen.


I was in a bit of a rush when I thought of taking a photo of the working kitchen. So I didn’t get to move our tripod. And I obviously was very careless in snapping this photo. But I just wanted to show you that their secondary kitchen is pretty cool too, in my books.


Characteristics of a tropical home include outdoor living and a lanai. Here is the first lanai on the upper ground floor adjacent to the dining area and kitchen. It’s also accessible from the master bedroom.


Below the upper lanai or balcony is the garden.


Instead of a swimming pool, the owners opted for an 8-seater jacuzzi.


Every part of the house tries to maximize natural light and views.


The upper floor which looks down into the dining area and garden.


I hope you are enjoying Urban Zone on Friday nights, albeit very very late, on ABSCBN. UZ schedules on The Filipino Channel vary per region.



Cath Kidston Home Decor

Italian Festival x Daphne Furniture in Rustan’s



Last Thursday my brand Daphne Furniture participated in one of Rustan’s activities for their month-long Italian festival. Some of my pieces were used in a table setting that reflected the coast of Amalfi. There were three table settings – mine, Rustan’s Erik Hannikainen’s and Mrs Nena Tantoco’s. Here are some of the photos I took in between speaking and meeting guests…


My table setting took inspiration from the sea – the coast of Amalfi. The sofa and the two blue chairs are from Daphne Furniture.


We worked with the turquoise colour of this chair and mixed it with the Coral Collection of San Marco Ceramics (needless to say, everything is from the Rustan’s floor).


I’m a huge fan of “solihiya” or cane-weaving. If I could put it in all my furniture, I would. I just love the idea of a technique so old and yet still so relevant and beautiful. Here my design team came up with mixing the cane with a simple linen upholstered seat against turquoise painted mahogany wood.


I’m loving all the sea-inspired decor on this table. Astrud Crisologo, who is now a buyer for Rustan’s Home, styled my tablescape. These oranges brighten up the table even more. And behind them is a beautiful nautilus-shaped vase which can either be filled with wild flowers or bread sticks.


San Marco Ceramics with coral and sea theme. Lovely beyond words.


Chandelier by Murano.


Another view of my table setting. I love the use of the gold plate chargers and utensils.


Thank you, Astrud Crisologo for styling my table scape and for showing the versatility of Daphne Furniture.


We had a full house in Rustan’s Makati’s fifth floor.


Mrs Nena Tantoco’s fabulous table. I’ve been privileged to have been invited to her home a few times. She is our ninang in our wedding. She really loves creating beautiful settings at home. Dining with her is always a memorable experience.


Tita Nena is a big proponent of local crafts and merchandise. So even with her Tuscan garden theme, she used homegrown merchandise like the woven plate chargers, coasters and fresh banana leaves. The china she chose is also from San Marco ceramics.


Tita Nena’s personal touch – a poem or letter for every guest. And instead of using typical napkin rings, she used a little basket by the Ifugaos.


In lieu of flowers, fresh lemons can spruce up your table. I’m loving those two conifer trees though. Can anyone ID for me?


Tita Nena’s son, Donny Tantoco the president of Shopwise/Rustan’s Supermarkets, talked about the best cheese and cured meats they recently sourced in Italy.


No wonder I always see my initials imprinted on cheese! DOP stands for “Denominazione di Origine Protetta”, which means Protected Designation of Origin. It is like a guarantee that this particular cheese is of the highest quality and that the milk used in production of this cheese is from a certain location in Italy. It also means that the method of production is traditional and ensured of aging correctly. It is a mark of the highest standards! WOW. My personal initials stand for excellence! Haha.


Pecorino Romano… incredible!


And Parmigiano Reggiano… so so good.


All these cured meats came from specific regions that offer the best. All these cheeses and meats are now available in Rustan’s supermarkets. Just ask for the Italian festival stuff.


It was a great afternoon. Thank you to everyone who came and took the time to meet me. It was lovely.




Chic women use “Daphne” at home


Sorry for the cheesy title. I’m not good at copy writing. Haha. But it just dawned on me that my products are appreciated by women I like and admire. This is always a good sign. Last year, Lucy Torres-Gomez bought a pink Daphne chair for her daughter Juliana. I have yet to ask her for a photo of it in their house. Lucy is the loveliest person I know. And I mean that sincerely.

Here are some recent media appearances of my products, as seen in the homes of Hindy Tantoco and Tessa Valdes.


Hindy, on the cover of Town & Country April 2011


That sofa in the background is by Daphne Furniture.


Tessa’s current cover of Metro Society shows her wearing nothing but Daphne Linens! Thanks for choosing my brand Tessa!!!!