GOOD LUCK CHARM.
A DESIGNER WORKS WITH A CLIENT’S STRICT FENG SHUI REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS TO COME UP WITH AN ELEGANT, MODERN, BUT COZY CHINESE HOME
A two-story residence with strict feng shui requirements boasts a formal but relaxed ambiance.
This two-storey home in Parañaque is undoubtedly refined: There’s a sumptuous, custom-made leather sofa and a huge Tibetan thangka (Buddhist painting) in the living room, elegant French Indochine chairs in the dining room, and an enviable art collection scattered around the house.
But despite all these elements coming together, the house is neither stiff or intimidating. In fact, it has a relaxed ambiance. The traditional-looking dining chairs, for instance, are made welcoming with a modern rustic dining table; the kitchen is left open, allowing for easy entertaining when the owner (who loves to cook) has guests over; and instead of hanging paintings, some are left on the floor, leaning against walls.
It may be tough to mix formal with comfortable, modern and traditional, but this is interior designer Tito Villanueva’s specialty. “I’m very eclectic. I like mixing old things with new things,” he explains. “Other designers have described me as having a knack for combining things, and they still look coordinated, which is very difficult daw.”
To keep things less daunting and more inviting, Tito brought in accessories from the owner’s old home and mixed them with new pieces. The designer encourages others to do the same. “For me, that’s the character of a person. I want them to move in to a house where their personality is brought in, it’s part of the house.”
Having this design aesthetic and also having previously worked on three other projects with the homeowner, Tito didn’t find it all too difficult to put together the modern Chinese look the client wanted. The challenging part for him was producing a well-designed space while adhering to the principles of feng shui.
“It’s always, ‘You cannot do this, you cannot do that,’” says Tito. Referring to a partition, he continues, “I had to adjust it by a few inches.
Feng shui is so particular about that.” He also points out that the front door is lined up directly with the back door leading to the lanai—a big no-no when it comes to feng shui. “So we placed a divider, then apparently it wasn’t enough. The feng shui consultant wanted me to close everything up, that’s why I decided to put another panel of glass.” The glass still wasn’t enough to meet feng shui requirements “because it was see-through,” so Tito decided to use tempered glass with a customized blue-and-white Chinese plate design to go with the décor. “It actually came out nice because it came out like a décor piece also.”
In this project—or in any project, for that matter—Tito believes it’s all about striking a balance, whether it’s between modern and traditional, design principles and feng
shui rules, or the designer’s suggestions and the client’s wants. “I guess that’s what some designers have to realize—you’re making it for a client, not for yourself. You really just have to present to your client, interpret what they want, what they need, and then from there, they either approve or disapprove it, so you adjust,” he remarks. “If they disapprove it, all you can do is convince them!”
A collection of fine artwork add more character to this home. Paintings by Fernando Botero (the one sitting on top of the China cabinet) and Marcel Antonio (hung on the wall) are just a few of the homeowner's prized possessions.
The large master bathroom has a shower, bathtub, and a generous dressing area, where Tito maximized storage space by adding compartments in the oftunused baseboards. Get similar bathroom fixtures from Wilcon Depot.