Wide Open Spa­ces

A con­vivial space, perfect for en­ter­tain­ing, de­signed by Budji Layug


When most peo­ple think of en­ter­tain­ing at home, they tend to worry about mak­ing the most out of lim­ited space. But one par­tic­u­lar home in the south of Manila eas­ily opens its doors to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­thing from in­ti­mate fam­ily gath­er­ings to larger, more elab­o­rate par­ties.

Set within a ver­dant 1,500-square-me­tre lot, this 1,200-square-me­tre home is an airy oa­sis that is far re­moved from the bus­tle of every­day life. With its high ceil­ings and wide win­dows look­ing out onto the green lawn be­low, the over­all feel is that of be­ing in a com­fort­ably se­cluded retreat in the heart of the city.

“It isn’t ex­actly our first home,” the own­ers say of it. “But this is the first house we’ve lived in that truly fits our busy life­style. It is like com­ing home to a re­sort at the end of ev­ery day and it makes en­ter­tain­ing our friends at home so much eas­ier.”

The now two-year-old five-bed­room house calls to mind the con­cept of bring­ing re­sort liv­ing into the big city—a qual­ity that bears the stamp of the firm be­hind its unique look: Budji + Royal.

The idea was to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that would be con­ducive to easy liv­ing where res­i­dents and guests could feel one with

na­ture. In re­sponse, the firm cre­ated a house char­ac­terised by an open floor plan that would al­low for proper air circulation through­out the house’s ground floor, as well as fa­cil­i­tate en­ter­tain­ing a crowd with rel­a­tive ease.


The mas­sive main door opens onto a grace­ful open foyer that serves as a gate­way to the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the ground floor. Clear glass walls give an unim­peded view of the front yard, play­ing up the il­lu­sion of bring­ing the fresh lush­ness of the gar­den in­doors. To­wards the end of the foyer is a broad-stepped stair­case lead­ing to the fam­ily’s rooms.

Upon en­ter­ing, one may look left to see a stylish break­fast nook with a round ta­ble that seats four. It is a sim­ple space that also dou­bles as a pub­lic meet­ing area the own­ers of­ten use for meet­ings with clients or small so­cial gath­er­ings. The in­ner wall of the space holds an artis­tic glass and steel installation rem­i­nis­cent of a bird’s nest and adds a wonted play­ful­ness to the space.

A short walk leads to the main din­ing room with a beau­ti­fully equipped open kitchen where the hosts can pre­pare


and serve meals in front of their guests. The is­land in the cen­tre of the kitchen is both a prep space for cook­ing and a bar counter for guests. It is an area de­signed with con­vivial en­ter­tain­ing in mind as the glass doors to­wards the back of the room open out into the back­yard, perfect for balmy evening par­ties. A steel pic­nic ta­ble set with a faux wooden fin­ish stands be­neath a na­tive plume­ria tree—a must-have for al fresco din­ing at home.

To the right of the en­trance is a plush sit­ting area that com­bines mod­ern couches with wing chairs in­spired by mid-cen­tury designs. The ef­fect is not jar­ring to the eye, but the mix of retro

and mod­u­lar fur­ni­ture adds to the house’s over­all aura of com­fort. This, too, is a venue for re­lax­ation as it opens onto two other spa­ces—an in­te­rior den and an ex­te­rior deck—where the res­i­dents can kick back and in­dulge in some qual­ity time.

The in­ner den fea­tures boul­der-type seat­ing with an el­e­gant sound sys­tem for lis­ten­ing to favourite record­ings. The own­ers’ col­lec­tion of dec­o­ra­tive plates from their trav­els is dis­played on one side. On the other hand, the deck with its board­walk-style plank floor is the perfect place for par­ties by the pool.


It is a jux­ta­po­si­tion of nat­u­ral el­e­ments with mod­ern de­sign that char­ac­terises much of this house’s aes­thetic.

In­te­rior de­signer Budji Layug played up the con­cept of trop­i­cal mod­ern by in­cor­po­rat­ing lo­cally-sourced prod­ucts—fur­ni­ture, fix­tures and ac­cents—into an over­all de­sign that is ap­pro­pri­ate for the coun­try’s cul­ture and

cli­mate. In do­ing so, he has given this par­tic­u­lar home an am­bi­ence that would not be out of place in an el­e­gant out-oftown re­sort.

Lo­cal ma­te­ri­als take pride of place in the over­all de­sign. The use of sus­tain­able woods such as co­conut lum­ber and mahogany is seen in heav­ier pieces of fur­ni­ture such as ta­bles and coun­ter­tops. Like­wise, com­fort­able lounge chairs and couches by award-win­ning Cebuano fur­ni­ture de­signer Ken­neth Cobon­pue make use of rat­tan cane and wicker, which are durable and suited for the trop­i­cal cli­mate. Piedra Filip­ina, a type of sand­stone from the north­ern prov­inces that buffs to a good sheen, is used to pave the floor of the house’s lower re­gions.

Tra­di­tional Filipino mo­tifs can also be seen in other de­sign el­e­ments: the moulded cop­per-wire light fix­ture il­lu­mi­nat­ing the main liv­ing room is rem­i­nis­cent of rat­tan spheres used for sipa (sepak takraw) while cur­tains are re­placed by wooden slats that serve as win­dow blinds.

The way the house was de­signed and con­structed takes en­ergy ef­fi­ciency into con­sid­er­a­tion. There is plenty of am­bi­ent light in the day­time, thus less need for elec­tric light­ing; like­wise, proper air circulation through­out the house keeps it com­fort­ably cool re­gard­less of the sea­son.

Trees and plants in the gar­den help keep this par­tic­u­lar home serene: the lush fo­liage serves as an acous­tic damper that keeps out ex­tra­ne­ous sounds from the streets as well as keeps in­side noise from dis­turb­ing the neigh­bours. Pri­vacy is also not an is­sue: the plants serve as a nat­u­ral wall and the main house was built far enough from the street to avert pry­ing eyes.

Without a doubt, the de­sign team of Budji + Royal cre­ated this fam­ily home as a much-ap­pre­ci­ated retreat.

FROM TOP French doors lead out onto the front lawn; floor-to-ceil­ing glass win­dows give an il­lu­sion of wider spacePRE­VI­OUS PAGE A large, out­doorsy pic­nic bench is perfect for al fresco lunches

OP­PO­SITE CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT A small rock gar­den adds a zen feel to the stair­case; re­fresh­mentsawait ea­ger guests on a steel and wood ta­ble; in­side the mas­terbed­room THIS PAGE A re­fresh­ing view of the pool deckat twi­light

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