You guessed it, I’m bombarding you with design stories and house features from Urban Zone. We are doing some construction on the back end of my blog as I need to avoid crashing the server again despite the spikes in readership. It’s a great problem to have. Thank you, everyone, for reading my website religiously.

Here’s a house I featured back in December 2010. It’s one of those unforgettable homes that has the personal stamp of the owners in every corner. I learned a lot from the owners of this house – that you can live in a vast space even if your lot area is just 140 square metres; and that even a triangular shaped junkyard could be transformed in to the land of your dreamhouse; and that solar panels are totally accessible and affordable these days. I adored this house… designed and conceptualized by the owner himself, Mitch Shiver, an industrial designer.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
The house has an irregular shape (acute triangle). One side of the house points in this narrow corner. That is the depth/width of the house… for real! The Shivers chose the smallest point to be the entrance.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
I love how the space opens up like this.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
And there’s room for a DJ booth under the stairs. It totally packs away and stores under the steps.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
I. Love. Shelly’s. Kitchen.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
Mitch and Shelly’s “Happy Couch” from Heima. I dont have a photo of his work table. It was a stainless steel kitchen prep table from a fastfood place that went out of business. Note the coffee table. It’s actually a trunk filled with Mitch’s audio equipment.


Solar panel
Mitch told me that this solar panel is very affordable. It’s big enough to power the exhaust fan in this corner of the house, which in effect cools down the place. (It sucks hot air out). For info on solar panel dealers locally, please check hardware stores or attend those construction expos.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
Another solar panel and louvres that help hot air escape out (Remember, hot air rises. So you don’t want hot air trapped in your top floor.)


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
All this in a property that measures only 140 square metres! Amazing. Adorable.



Swiss and tropical



Here’s an Urban Zone story from 2010 that a lot of viewers fell in love with. I had posted this in my livejournal but thought it was worth digging up again. The architect of the house is Gilbert Lui.


Architecture by Gilbert Lui
The exterior of the house had to conform to the style of the subdivision. So the facade had a Swiss chalet type feel to it.


Architecture by Gilbert Lui
Faux trellis treatment on the ceiling upon entering. Gilbert wanted the owners to feel like they were entering a tropical space after going through the Swiss chalet facade. It gives the illusion of walking through a long hallway when in fact the space opens up to this…


Click “More…” for the big reveal


Literally, resort-living (repost)



I’ll be reposting some old (but timeless) entries from my livejournal blog. Here’s a story I did in mid-2011. This home was referred to me by my friend Dix Perez. He said it was unbelievable. A French couple decided to take resort-living literally. They have 12 kids. Instead of building a big house, they a placed a huge pool in the middle of their property and surrounded it with a few pavillions and cabins. It was almost like a resort! In a Metro Manila suburb.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
Interviewing the owner of the home, Veronique Legris. They built a pool in the middle of their property and surrounded it with cabanas instead of a “main house.” It’s genius. We should all live like this.


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






It is always a pleasure interviewing Tina Periquet. Architects are my favourite people to talk to. I love discussing their ideas and being in the physical space they’ve created. My dream conversation would be with Frank Gehry. Universe, please make it happen. I dream big. But I digress…

This last interview with Tina was at a 170 square metre penthouse unit of a relatively new condominium tower, the interior architecture of which she also designed. She knew the entire building inside and out. The owner of this unit wanted a place where they could entertain guests but would not necessarily live in. They still lived in a house nearby. To say that Tina created a sophisticated and modern space would be a gross understatement, so let me just quote directly from our interview.

All captions, lifted from Tina’s interview.


The concept was the unfolding of space as you enter.  The door is treated as part of a wooden box frame that runs all the way up, past your line of sight, to the upper level and then folds into a ceiling element that you only see when you move forward into the main area.


Then the ceiling opens up into a double-height space with a wall of windows that wraps round one side, and you are treated to an eye-filling, panoramic view of Forbes Park and the golf course below.


The upper spaces seem to float over the lower, with a wooden bridge that crosses from one side of the apartment to the other, leading you from the stairs at one end to the master suite at the other.


To maximize the effect of the double-height glass wall in making the sky seem part of the unit, we wanted to minimize anything standing between us and the view.  The problem was that there was this large beam in between upper and lower glass panels.


We painted these white to make them blend with the white shell of the space, and used solar film instead of curtains or shades, to keep the view unobstructed while managing the entry of light and heat.


To make it “disappear”, we built out the window frames slightly, with continuous vertical lines running from top to bottom, to visually flatten the beam and make it seem to form part of the window paneling.


The fact that a penthouse is a house in the sky rather than on the ground tends to dictate a certain approach to its design.  Instead of trees and grass outside the window, you see blue sky and clouds and gray concrete, and steel and glass structures.  So you tend to reach for a different palette of materials and colors that will complement this — not earth tones, but more sophisticated urban shades such as silver gray, ice, pale beige and taupe, and then mix this with metallic surfaces and lots of glass.  And then warm the whole thing with wood, or you may end up with a frigid, inhumane environment.  This is a residential space, after all.


We used a modern language here, as the context was contemporary and the client wanted something adventurous, since she wasn’t really going to reside here.


The bedroom on the upper floor.


Transluscent frosted glass visible from the living room.


Master bathroom.



Cover of Clickr magazine



2012JANUARY Clickr magazine


It feels great to be starting the year with a magazine cover. Clickr, a TV lifestyle guide, put me on the cover this month. They shot me just before Christmas while I was shooting for Urban Zone. So yes, you have seen this outfit somewhere. I like the cover. It’s fresh. It’s a real smile. I look very friendly. Nothing fierce haha.

It is sweet because Clickr is a magazine about TV shows. Their previous covers had been network stars like Kim Atienza, Boy Abunda and Karen Davila. So for a non-network, non-star, non-primetime host like me to be their cover, means something. These days I’m getting most interviewed about my blog, my products and my advocacies not so much about my show. I have forgotten that first and foremost, I am a TV creature. And Urban Zone, despite its airing at the ungodly hour of 1:30AM, has made a huge impact in the industries of design, architecture and real estate. Thank you Clickr, for recognizing us.




Clickr is available in all major bookstores and magazine retailers.