THIS FAMILY HOME IS A COMBINATION OF PINOY AND CONTEMPORARY STYLES
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.
photography MICHAEL ANGELO CHUA styling DAGNY MADAMBA & KAMILA GARCIA words BUBBLES SALVADOR
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.