Real Living (Philippines) - - Real Living - RL

An invit­ing rus­tic home for six in­cor­po­rates per­sonal touches such as a mix of fur­ni­ture, mul­ti­ple color palettes, and “shabby chic”-in­spired pieces.

“I’ve al­ways wanted an out­doorsy, pic­nic-type of din­ing ta­ble,” says home­owner Jenny Sohu. “So when I saw one on sale in Pot­tery Barn, Es­tan­cia, I bought it agad. It’s an eight-seater that can ex­tend to a twelve-seater. The ta­ble per­fectly matches our mis­matched din­ing chairs.” She bought the ta­ble months be­fore the house was fin­ished. Most of the chairs were bought in China and the blue one is from Anna Ba­nana Rus­tics. One, though, de­serves a spe­cial men­tion: an of­fwhite chair bought on sale from KISH.

Many fac­tors con­trib­ute to a per­fectly de­signed home. One of the most es­sen­tial of these is a har­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship be­tween the home­owner and the de­signer. When the main players of a home de­sign project are on the same wave­length, ev­ery­thing else runs smoothly.

In the case of the Sohu home, the home­owner and the de­signer not only had the same de­sign ideas; they also share the same name! Home­owner Jenny Sohu and in­te­rior de­signer Jen Sohu are cousins-in-law; and they were on the same page right from the start.

“She told me, ‘I want some­thing rus­tic,’” says de­signer Jen of the look her cousin wanted for her home. “I told her, ‘Stop right there. Gets ko na.’” This didn’t stop Jenny, how­ever, from be­ing com­pletely in­volved in the project.

Jenny, the home­owner, thought a rus­tic theme would cap­ture what she wanted in her home: “old and new put to­gether.” For­tu­nately, the four-storey, fourbedroom town­house she and her hus­band Mike bought was just the right size. “Any bigger, and the rus­tic theme would have been too much. Heav­ily tex­tured wood gets over­whelm­ing af­ter a while,” says de­signer Jen.

The theme is es­tab­lished in the ground-floor foyer: with machuca tiles on the floor, a washed brick wall, and the house rules—“laugh, say please, give hugs…” —neatly printed on hang­ing wooden planks.

One flight above is another wall of washed bricks, this time serv­ing as the ac­cent wall for the en­tirely open space. The liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas share this floor, with the kitchen sep­a­rated from the rest of the room by an is­land from Kitchen1. “I love the in­stant cozy feel­ing that bricks bring,” says home­owner Jenny, who shares the home with her hus­band Mike, a pi­lot, and their four chil­dren.

De­spite heavy wood fea­tur­ing promi­nently in the sec­ond floor—shelves from Vin­tage Hard­ware in the liv­ing area and an eight-seater din­ing ta­ble from Pot­tery Barn—the open lay­out makes the space ap­pear more spa­cious than it re­ally is. In fact, this area is the of­fi­cial hub of ac­tiv­ity in the Sohu house­hold. “From the start, I imag­ined the liv­ing room to be the cen­ter of our fam­ily bond­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. That’s why the space was made open and free.” Jen adds another rea­son for the open lay­out: her cousin loves to throw in­ti­mate par­ties, thus the need for free space. “And she’s re­ally good at it. She even hires a per­sonal chef to cook for her guests,” she says.

This open space wasn’t how the town­house looked like upon con­struc­tion, though. “We had to do a re­lay­out of the sec­ond floor be­cause it was too crowded,”

says Jen. Orig­i­nally, in ad­di­tion to the kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing ar­eas, there was a guest room shar­ing the space. In its place, Jen put the pow­der room, ex­tended the main kitchen, and added a “dirty kitchen” be­side the pow­der room.

On the third floor are two bed­rooms: the mas­ter and the room of the kuya, Maki. As with the sec­ond floor, the mas­ter bed­room went through a re-lay­out—three times—to make way for a bigger walk-in closet, which shared space with the bath­room.

Funny enough, this room, which many home­own­ers would pour ef­fort and at­ten­tion on, re­ceived the least bit of time from the lady of the house. “I got so ex­cited imag­in­ing what the other rooms would look like that I paid lit­tle at­ten­tion to the mas­ter bed­room,” Jenny says. It still turned out beau­ti­ful, though, thanks to a re­lax­ing pal­ette of blues, whites, and browns. Ac­ces­sories and light fix­tures are from Jen’s shop­ping trip in China, while the bed linen is from Pot­tery Barn.

Next door is Maki’s room. An NBA fan, 12-year-old Maki has been a mem­ber of his school’s bas­ket­ball var­sity team since he was nine. He asked for a cozy bed­room where he could im­me­di­ately rest af­ter train­ing. Wooden shelves from Vin­tage Hard­ware, plus a pull-up bar by the door, keep the room con­sis­tent with the rus­tic theme.

The top floor of the Sohu house­hold is for the girls: Mad­die, 10; Moey, 7; and Ma­cie, 3. Mad­die, a bal­le­rina and a mem­ber of her school’s dance troupe, has her own room. Shades of green and pur­ple keep it play­ful and fem­i­nine, with a canopy bed from More Than A Chair set­ting the tone. Wooden hooks from China and col­or­ful hooks from Ama­ turn Mad­die’s walls into unique art in­stal­la­tions.

Her lit­tle sis­ters are in the next room. It’s a fun one, with salmon walls and emer­ald green beds, a girly white chan­de­lier and green shelves in the shape of bird­cages. Both beds are trun­dle beds, but in place of mat­tresses are stuffed toys, with more spilling over to the top of a set of red draw­ers from More Than A Chair.

“It’s easy to dec­o­rate a rus­tic home given the many avail­able ac­ces­sories in stores,” says Jenny. “But hav­ing pieces that mean some­thing to us—those with a back story—are more pre­cious.” In­deed, the Sohu home, al­though just a lit­tle less than a year old, is al­ready brim­ming with happy sto­ries.


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