Monday, July 27, 2015

Living Room Makeover on a Budget

I have told you about this home makeover project late last year and now it's on its way to completion. But before I post the BEFORE and AFTER photos, let me share an overview and the plan for the project. 
The unit is a high-floor, two-bedroom apartment located in Yishun. The client is a family of four, a middle-aged married couple and their two teen girls. For now, we will only improve the Living Hall and this is what I have in mind.

I designed a living room using a neutral base with plain white ceiling, the existing wooden parquet flooring, and neutral walls specifically painted with Nippon Sky Beige 1101. All are basically in black and white with hints of green as it is the homeowner's favorite color. The design is fairly simple and really straightforward to say the least. It's a very contemporary space that does not compromise style and function. Here's the Mood Board, by the way.
I can't wait to share the space when it's done. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunburst Mirror DIY

Sunburst mirrors are great decorating tools. They are perfect for the foyer, a good accent piece above the headboard, or a focal point above the fireplace and over the mantel. Often gilded in either gold or silver they are considered the jewelry of the walls. But they can also be made with reclaimed wood, shells or what have you. For DIYers, Pinterest is flooded with sunburst mirrors with frames made of plastic spoons, wooden clothespins, dowels, popsicle sticks and even skewers.

In our recent trip to the Philippines, we purchased one from H&M Home and we installed it on our dining room wall. But once up, we realized it was too small for the space. And to make the arrangement complete, it just needed company. I had been planning this DIY project for the longest time and I think I really need to do it.

To complete the triad, I needed to make two more sunburst mirrors, each having a different but complementing look and feel. So I decided to make one with wooden dowels and the other with popsicle sticks. And all should be in the same brass color and the mirrors were to be in varying sizes. Here are the BEFORE or should I say DIY Stage photos.

Once the pieces were ready, assembly was done using a hot glue gun. We then spray painted it with KRYLON Metallic Paint in Gold Foil. After drying it's ready to be fixed on the wall. (Note: For the popsicle sticks, the "fans" should be painted first before assembly.)

I think they all look good together and a nice addition to the dining room. Finally, here are some close-up shots of our new DIY Sunburst Mirrors.

Why buy when you can DIY? Until next time!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nobu Hotel, City of Dreams Manila

We heard traffic was really bad going to the airport that the Philippine Airport officials actually advice passengers to be in the airport three hours in advance to avoid flight delay. So for us, we stayed in a nearby hotel a day before our flight to avoid the traffic jam and to relax before we finally head back to SG.

We chose Nobu Hotel-City of Dreams Manila because of its proximity to the airport , it's new, and we are hearing good hotel reviews.

Arriving, we (and our luggage) passed through security guards for the car check, metal detectors and a sniffing canine. Nobu Hotel doesn't have a grand lobby. The reception area kinda looks like that of a boutique hotel. But there are a lot of seating areas (4 in total) on both left and right side of the entrance. We stayed in the same building as the reception and the Nobu Restaurant which was very convenient especially for families with young kids.

Ashrie at the foyer with fresh alliums in the background.
Behind her is the entrance to the casino.

The kiddos making themselves at home in the lobby.

We arrived earlier than check-in time so after we have deposited our bags, we headed to the restaurants in the casino side of the hotel. Here, you can see the grand space lacking in the entrance lobby. Please note that some restaurants are still under construction.

Honestly, I think we've ordered too much because it seems that the portions are for good for two. The panini halves are filling and the big pot of meatball pasta is just too much for one. But everything was good. After the hearty meal, it's time to get the room keys!

The view from our room

As the hotel name implies, it is a Japanese hotel and one obviously calls for Japanese interiors. Although it is not very minimalist, or very zen if you would like to put it, there are indeed Japanese elements incorporated in the overall feel. The use of wood is prevalent and also, representations of the yin-yang, Japanese style. There is a huge calligraphy on the headboard wall which on close inspection is actually a wallpaper print. There is also a gallery wall on the side atop a deep brown abaca wallpaper. To balance the simplicity of the bed, a rug is laid out. It is a very graphic addition and nice to walk on barefooted. Speaking of feet and yin-yangs, the slippers are black with a white strap and the other pair is white with a black strap which are matched with the robes in the bathroom, one black and one white.

The Bathroom is simple but equipped with designer fittings. It has a very chic, deep sink that could work well as a baby's bathtub. I still prefer the under-the-counter-type sink type, though. I guess it is the most practical and the "user-friendliest" of all sink types. There's a counter and stool on the side but no mirror on the wall for it to work as a vanity, so you need to use the mirror behind the sink for this purpose or grab that small table mirror in the corner. Our room has no tub, but since we were near the swimming pool, it didn't bother Ashrie so much. We had a short dip in the 4-meter deep pool with amazing views of the golden glass facade of the surrounding buildings until sunset. Then it's dinner time!


Nobu Restaurant is not just a feast for the tummy but for the eyes as well with its beautiful interiors. The use of natural materials is very evident. Handmade paper with leaves on the ceiling, natural wood and marble for the flooring, and wood posts as wall accent. Just note how they use a huge wood slab as table for the drink station and the very long bar. The area is basically neutral in color scheme with hints of florals here and there, a nod to Japanese interiors indeed.

Food-wise, there is a limited number of food choices in the buffet breakfast. But what they lack in variety, they make up for in presentation. Surprisingly, I personally love the roasted tomatoes above all in the menu. 

Overall it's a fun place to stay even for families with young kids especially if you are not preparing for a next-day flight. There's more to do if you are into casino, spa, gym, or if you still have more time, DreamPlay or just visit Mall of Asia which is just a few minutes away by cab.

Will we visit City of Dreams again? Why not? But we'll probably try Hyatt or Crown Towers next time!

Friday, July 3, 2015

H&M Home Philippines

We've been to high street and now I will share something for the "masses". Although still pricey at times, H&M is dubbed as high fashion for the masses (because they manufacture designer creations in huge quantities). And now that H&M Home is in the Philippines we can get a taste of high fashion for the home for less. We visited ther SM North Edsa Branch last month and fortunately for us, they have an on-going sale. So, it's shopping time!

Do not expect to see a decorated room with built-ins and sofas, that would take precious space to store and display the many products that they offer. But instead be on a shelf hunt because as experienced, I can still see never-before-seen products while I'm reviewing the photos that I took from my phone. And when you are a 4-hour flight away from the store, well it's better luck next time. 

Here's what's on the racks.

Mirrors, Placemats

Wire Baskets, Rugs

Bathroom and Laundry Essentials


Vases and Trays

Lamps, Pillowcases and Pillow Inserts

More Pillowcases



More Baskets (and a lot more!)

We got a new shower curtain, gilded glass vases and a gold-framed mirror (which thankfully reached Singapore in one piece), a brass pot, and a lot of pillowcases. Until next time H&M Home!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pottery Barn Philippines

Just across West Elm is another first in South East Asia, one of Pottery Barn's flagship stores in Manila. And I cannot blame Filipino Interior Designers to get over excited as Pottery Barn carries the whole bundle with them, PB Teen and Pottery Barn Kids.

We visited their Estancia Mall branch last month and it was a two-storey delight. The ground floor is allotted for furniture and decor items for outdoor, living, dining and sleeping areas while the second floor is Pottery Barn Kids which caters for both babies and kids.

Just beside is PB Teen which we didn't visit because first, we don't have a teen yet, second because we can see the whole interiors from the outside and third, because it does look a little bit sad compared to the two other stores.

Back to the fun part, let me take you to inspiring table settings, beautifully-decorated built-ins, amazing vignettes and cute accessories for the kid's bedroom. 

Red and blue dinnerware with matching napkins, natural fibers, red and white corals and clear glass
(Just noticed the "photobomber pen" when I'm reviewing the photos)

Wow oh wow!
They used real built-ins to display their products.
The fiddleleaf fig tree in the corner is not real though.

 Hurricane lamps, dark blue dinnerware, clear wine glasses,
dark-colored corals, and powder blue table runner

You got me at the tillandsias!
No drinking glasses here, however, it looks complete.

Midnight blue, white and wood tones, shells and silverware.
Everything is perfect for a chic, nautical theme!

Chesterfield sofa in fabric!

   Matte Black Walls!

These handsome wing chairs would look great
in a foyer or a seating area.

Lovely Nursery indeed!

Girl's Bedroom Inspiration

Curtains and rugs!

Lamps too!

And lots of bedding stuff!

There you go. H&M Home shopping and our visit to an antique shop coming up next!

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