THE OLD & THE NEW

A de­signer suc­cess­fully weAves his client’s love for An­tiques into A mod­ern condo unit

Real Living (Philippines) - - Real Homes - pho­tog­ra­phy MICHAEL AN­GELO CHUA styling DAGNY MADAMBA & TALA SING­SON words CE­CILE JUSI-BAL­TASAR

an­tiques in a mod­ern 32-sqm condo unit? If you think those two el­e­ments—one is an­cient, the other brand new—don’t sit well to­gether, you may have a point. But some­how, home­owner Judd Salas and in­te­rior de­signer John Vig­ilia man­aged to pull it off. They turned this yearold unit into not just a home but also an art gallery and an­tiques show­room, ex­cept noth­ing in it is for sale.

Judd gave his de­signer the veto power on his an­tique pieces and art col­lec­tion. What­ever didn’t pass John’s se­lec­tive eye stayed in Judd’s fam­ily home. “I had this mir­ror with a dark wooden frame that I wanted to put in my unit,” says Judd. “Pero hindi pumasa kay John. He said there was no room for it.” A paint­ing by Anita Magsaysay-Ho sits on the floor, half hid­den by an ot­toman, be­cause there was no place to hang it.

The pieces that did get John’s ap­proval have turned the unit into a snug home with an old-world ap­peal. Take for in­stance Judd’s 1920s art deco din­ing ta­ble, which dou­bles as his desk. He sal­vaged the ta­ble from his mother’s front yard, where it sat ex­posed to the el­e­ments. “I wanted to re­move this metal strip that runs along the sides of the table­top,” says Judd, “but they told me the metal strip is a dis­tinct de­sign el­e­ment of that era. So I just had the ta­ble re­fin­ished.” The ta­ble is flanked by a wooden arm­chair from Cebu and a three-seater bench that Judd bought in Dap­i­tan Ar­cade. “The legs are the only orig­i­nal parts left of that bench,” says Judd. “John’s sup­pli­ers re­stored ev­ery­thing else.”

A few feet away from the din­ing area is the kitchen. “The first time John saw this place, he looked at the kitchen and said, ‘Pwede ba’ng gibain ito la­hat?’” says Judd with a laugh. “He re­moved ev­ery­thing and re­placed ev­ery­thing.”

“The orig­i­nal beams looked like they’d been criss­crossed,” says John. “So we built a ceil­ing cove to cover the awk­ward place­ment of the beams.” The low­ered ceil­ing also pro­vided space for re­cessed lights; when Judd moved in, the unit just had sock­ets for bulbs.

Judd cred­its John’s thor­ough “per­son­al­ity tests” for the de­sign that fits his life­style per­fectly. “When we were con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing the de­sign, John showed me a se­ries of pic­tures and asked me what I thought of them. He told me, ‘This will help me de­ter­mine what you like in terms of themes and ap­proaches to de­sign,’” the home­owner re­calls.

From th­ese “tests,” John dis­cov­ered that his client liked mir­rors and glass, so he put up a wall of mir­rors span­ning the din­ing and liv­ing ar­eas. Th­ese mir­rors, as­sisted by the nat­u­ral light rush­ing in through the wall-to-wall win­dow, sig­nif­i­cantly ex­tend the unit’s vis­ual space. For stor­age, John put in a cus­tom-made cab­i­net and in­stalled glass shelves above it. A Madonna and Child oil paint­ing from the late 19th cen­tury takes care of the an­tique el­e­ment in that area.

Two mod­ern framed prints by Ger­man artist Di­eter

Kor­banka up­date the space. Th­ese hang over Judd’s L-shaped couch, an un­ex­pected point of con­tention for Judd and John. “I told John early on, ‘Pan­garap ko sa buhay na

magka­roon ng L-shaped couch,’” says Judd. “But in the grand scheme of things, I think an L-shaped couch is at the bot­tom rung for John.” Still, Judd bought his cozy couch at SM Home; John com­pro­mised by making taupe seat cov­ers to hide the couch’s orig­i­nal brown-black up­hol­stery. Com­ple­ment­ing the couch are two side ta­bles put to­gether to form a cof­fee ta­ble. Judd bought th­ese ta­bles from a friend who was mov­ing house.

Judd’s bed­room also suits his per­son­al­ity. The for­est green ac­cent wall dou­bles as his head­board, and Judd be­lieves the color keeps his room rest­ful. The color rep­re­sents all sorts of meta­phys­i­cal el­e­ments for Judd: “veg­e­ta­tion, new things, re­gen­er­a­tion.”

The wall in Judd’s room also car­ries some of the old­est items in his home: a couple of 200-year-old as­tro­nom­i­cal prints, which Judd bought in an an­tique shop in the UK. A 257-year-old wood­block print also shares space on the cus­tom­ized cab­i­net by the win­dow. Again, John used mir­rors to vis­ually ex­tend the bed­room—he in­stalled th­ese on Judd’s closet doors, which John also built. Next to this is Judd’s bath­room/smok­ing room/hud­dle room. “When my friends come over, we like to stay here in the bath­room to smoke and chat,” says Judd.

It’s a pleas­ant sur­prise that the bath­room, of­ten de­signed as an af­ter­thought, is such a bright and spa­cious room. The tiles, rem­i­nis­cent of those used in Judd’s great-grand­mother’s house, were sourced from Wil­con. Aside from tiling the bath­room, John also had a shower en­clo­sure made. This makes sure that the rest of the bath­room stay dry, in­clud­ing two prints of Mo­dena, Italy that were gifts from the mayor of Mo­dena, and even a signed pen­cil sketch by Pi­casso. “I like to bring a part of my her­itage with me wher­ever I go,” says Judd. “It re­minds me of who I am and where I came from.” Who knew that his her­itage, built on an­tiques and pre­cious art, could find their space in this cozy home?

Con­nect­ing the couch and cof­fee ta­ble is a Per­sian car­pet that Judd sal­vaged from his grand­mother’s side­walk. “My grand­mother is at an age where she’s start­ing to give away her things,” says home­owner Judd Salas. “When I vis­ited her once, I saw all th­ese beau­ti­ful things dis­posed in a pile on the side­walk.” The car­pet was just one of the things Judd res­cued from that “garbage pile.”

The an­tiques and fam­ily heir­looms that are in Judd’s home weren’t gifts from his fam­ily—most of th­ese items, he plucked from his fam­ily home. One of the few things that his mom gave him was a green lamp that now hangs in Judd’s bath­room. “It’s dif­fi­cult to understand,” says Judd. “Of the paint­ings, fur­ni­ture, and other pre­cious items, she gives me this hang­ing glass lamp.” You can find sim­i­lar machuka-pat­terned tiles like th­ese at Wil­con De­pot, Libis, Que­zon City.

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