Real Living (Philippines) - - Real Living -

Con­tem­po­rary fur­nish­ings min­gle with Filipino el­e­ments and art­work in this fam­ily’s airy, invit­ing, open-plan city home.

There’s no place like home—your home coun­try, that is. No one knows this bet­ter than Heidi and Ab­dul Abiad, a Filipino cou­ple who has been liv­ing in Washington, D.C. for 15 years with their three chil­dren, Ananda, 10, Shanti, 7, and Jampa, 3. They’re luck­ier than most of our kababayans based abroad, though. Ab­dul’s job as an econ­o­mist brings them to the Philip­pines ev­ery one and a half years dur­ing manda­tory home vis­its, but Heidi says the few weeks they spend here is not enough.

Heidi and her hus­band have al­ways made a con­scious ef­fort to raise their kids as Filipinos. “I wanted them to re­ally know the cul­ture in the Philip­pines. Iba yung

bu­mibisita ka lang for a few weeks, parang ob­server ka lang,” Heidi says. So imag­ine their ela­tion when the stars aligned in their fa­vor and Ab­dul gets as­signed to the Philip­pines for the next two to three years.

“At first, we were look­ing at con­dos kasi we wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence condo liv­ing, but then the kids’ con­di­tion for mov­ing back here was they wanted to have a dog. Con­dos are not con­ducive to a big fam­ily with a dog,” re­lates Heidi. To say that they “set­tled” for a sprawl­ing, two-storey home in an ex­clu­sive sub­di­vi­sion in Makati might not be the best way to de­scribe it, but yes, this is the Abi­ads’ home for the next few years.

“we wanted to ac­cu­mu­late filipino pieces... ang filipinos ta­laga, tal­ented.”

It’s a rental, so when Heidi started work­ing with in­te­rior de­signer Nina San­ta­maria, they made it a point to in­vest only in tan­gi­ble things the fam­ily can bring back to D.C. Be­sides, there was much to like about the house:

“Mali­nis, newly painted, ma­g­a­nda yung en­ergy ng house,” re­lates the mom of three.

Hav­ing their first proper home in the Philip­pines in­spired the home­own­ers to start a small art col­lec­tion here. Heidi says al­though they have ac­cu­mu­lated some art in D.C., “there was a con­scious de­ci­sion not to bring it here be­cause we wanted to ac­cu­mu­late Filipino pieces ta­laga. So we started to col­lect fur­ni­ture and art­work. Ang Filipinos ta­laga, tal­ented.”

Nina says the tim­ing couldn’t be bet­ter not only be­cause of an abun­dance of tal­ented Filipino artists, but be­cause the house al­ready has the space ar­range­ment for it. Their art col­lec­tion, it turns out, plays a key role in giv­ing their home a con­tem­po­rary Filipino feel.

Cu­rat­ing the fur­ni­ture pieces they would bring in en­tailed avoid­ing a strictly Filipino look. “Ayaw na­man natin

na so­brang pro­vin­cial yung look. Art had a lot to do with it. For ex­am­ple, they have a Kawayan de Guia modern ab­stract col­lage—that type of art, if you pair it with fur­ni­ture that looks Filipino, up­dated na agad ang look niya,” de­scribes Nina.

This is seen in most ar­eas of the home—from the open lay­out on the ground floor (with a slid­ing door to close off the kitchen) to the home of­fice and study area on the sec­ond floor foyer to the bed­rooms. Heidi feels for­tu­nate to have been guided by Nina in shop­ping for the pieces, which she was able to do leisurely. Heidi even dis­cov­ered shops she never knew be­fore, like Fash­ion In­te­ri­ors, Di­retso, and LRI.

What Nina likes about this home project was that they weren’t un­der any time pres­sure to com­plete the pur­chase of fur­ni­ture pieces and ac­ces­sories. “Na-spread out ito over some months. I gave Heidi the mas­ter plan, and some pieces like the arm­chairs didn’t come un­til af­ter two months. I told her this is the look, the de­sign di­rec­tion, then let’s get things leisurely,” Nina re­calls.

The nat­u­ral light that streams in from the large windows all around, says Heidi, brings en­ergy. “Pag naka-cover, parang

may feel­ing ka na slow to move. Eh my hus­band is prone to sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der, so we need nat­u­ral light,” she smiles. The ab­sence of cur­tains is in­ten­tional, ac­cord­ing to Nina, in or­der to add to the “con­tem­po­rary, airy, breezy feel.”

Over­all, Nina sees this home as one that will live and grow with the fam­ily, as they stay here for the next few years and re-set up their home in the U.S. “It was de­signed like that– fur­ni­ture and art to co­ex­ist. These pieces are just meant to com­ple­ment the lives of the peo­ple liv­ing in it—they shouldn’t be the star. That’s my phi­los­o­phy,” re­lates the de­signer.


op­po­site page Wood-framed windows and slid­ing doors com­ple­ment the mostly rat­tan fur­ni­ture in the liv­ing area. above Tra­di­tional gallinera bench is set on the en­try­way, with bright col­ored pil­lows match­ing the por­traits made by Do­minic Ru­bio, which are among the many prized art pieces around the home. right One of the modern el­e­ments in the home is this neon-orange book­shelf, which livens up the liv­ing area. Found here are some of the fam­ily's fa­vorite books as well as busts and stat­ues from Heidi's trav­els abroad.

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