Real Living (Philippines) - - Real Living - pho­tog­ra­phy TOTO LABRADOR styling TALA SING­SON & KAMILA GAR­CIA words Ching­gay Labrador

An old condo unit gets “flipped” by a young cou­ple, who turn it into a con­tem­po­rary-vin­tage home filled with steam­punk ref­er­ences.

most new­ly­weds look for­ward to mov­ing into their starter homes bright-eyed and ea­ger. Lawyer Suzy Ojeda Pron­stroller and her hus­band Jay, how­ever, started off on the op­po­site end of the spec­trum. The cou­ple wasn’t too keen on the 54-sqm space that Jay had in­vested in, so they con­sid­ered a more prac­ti­cal ap­proach:ren­o­va­tion.

The project be­came a team ef­fort for the cou­ple. Suzy, who con­fesses to hav­ing “zero cre­ative juices,” be­came her hus­band’s right hand in all his artis­tic en­deav­ors. A pro­fes­sor of Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity, Jay al­ways man­aged to find an out­let for cre­ativ­ity since his for­ma­tive years, whether that meant con­stantly shuf­fling around the fur­ni­ture in his par­ents’ home or tak­ing to the can­vas and com­ing up with orig­i­nal art­work.

“What I re­ally wanted was an in­dus­trial and rus­tic look,” Jay ex­plains.

“I wanted a coun­try­side home—think flo­ral couches and ev­ery­thing girly,” laughs Suzy. “All I could think of when Jay said ‘in­dus­trial’ was that the place would turn out to be too manly… more a bach­e­lor pad than a home for a mar­ried cou­ple.”

“I had to hear her out,” he an­swers. “It was a chal­lenge on my end!”

The com­pro­mise came in the first phase of the re­design. Re­search in­volved gath­er­ing pegs from Pin­ter­est as well as Real Liv­ing’s print and dig­i­tal chan­nels. The idea was to soften the in­dus­trial look with tex­tures and colors that evoke light­ness and breezi­ness. The mar­riage of seem­ingly op­pos­ing el­e­ments be­came the back­bone for their starter home’s de­sign, in­spir­ing not only dé­cor, DIY fur­ni­ture, and knick­knacks, but also the more tech­ni­cal parts of the home such as light­ing and space plan­ning.

The liv­ing room greets guests with its blend of hard­edged steel and nat­u­ral wood. Jay’s por­traits in soft, somber gray tones are a per­fect con­trast to the old, white couch (from Suzy’s par­ents) and the soft rug the cou­ple picked up from H&M Home. Just be­side it is a cof­fee ta­ble and wine stor­age unit fash­ioned out of an old dog cage, topped with tchotchkes, in­clud­ing a rose pre­served from Suzy’s wed­ding bou­quet, which Jay worked on all on his own.

One of the ma­jor chal­lenges of the space was its lack of windows, which the cou­ple coun­tered with as much ar­ti­fi­cial light as pos­si­ble. While most of the lamps were sourced from Wil­con, A&S Lamps, and CW Home De­pot, the light­ing fix­tures above the din­ing ta­ble were de­signed by Jay him­self.

Suzy and Jay’s bed­room didn’t al­low for too much fur­ni­ture be­cause of space re­stric­tions, but the cou­ple was able to make a com­pro­mise with their stor­age sit­u­a­tion. Suzy rel­e­gated her wardrobe to the mas­ter bed­room’s lo­cally sourced IKEA clos­ets, while the maid’s room was con­verted into Jay’s walk-in closet.

Lit­tle touches, such as the re­pur­posed win­dow rail­ing turned into a wall hanger for the mas­ter bed­room, the an­tique steel fan in the liv­ing room, and an old Singer sewing ma­chine turned into an ad­di­tional counter space for the kitchen, keep Jay’s vi­sion of an in­dus­trial rus­tic home alive. Per­sonal ef­fects such as pho­tos, ivory, bone, and jade an­tiques from their fam­i­lies’ col­lec­tions are scat­tered through­out the space. These, plus old wooden pieces, al­low Suzy’s own pref­er­ence for a coun­try home to shine through.

"As with any­thing, ren­o­vat­ing our home was all about rec­on­cil­ing—our ideas, our bud­get, and our ex­pec­ta­tions,” Jay says. The Pron­stroller home is, in­deed, a tes­ta­ment to the in­tri­cate art of com­pro­mise and the fas­ci­nat­ing re­sults that can come out of it.

Suzy and Jay found a de­sign com­pro­mise to fit their bud­get in the kitchen area by find­ing Just the right lam­i­nate to Wrap around the built-in shelv­ing. Stripped and sal­vaged Wood may have been the ideal, but lam­i­nates Work Just as ef­fec­tively.

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