Tatler Homes Philippines
Of Space and Solace
With travel hindered for the past two years, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time at home like everyone else. Surrounded by heavy antique furniture, dark wood and colonial elements, I realised that I felt disconnected from my space. Blue was the dominant colour, while traces of red and chinoiserie added layers and texture. Don’t misunderstand me. I still believed mine was a beautiful, well-curated space—but it no longer felt like me. The energy was off. It seemed too mature and stagnant. It reminded me of an old life where I was trying to project a certain image, to be something I wasn’t.
During the past year I made small yet significant changes. I infused bold and bright colours in my home. I repainted a black bar cabinet with vivid Kelly green, invested in bright yellow throw pillows, purchased some happy art that spoke to me, embraced hot pink and bought a zebra print chair. Even my nondescript white-walled, blue textile bedroom received a marsala wallpaper, teal green sofa and brushed gold accents. Suddenly life was vibrant again. I embraced the joyful and playful energy inside and decided to embody and express it in my every day. Now my residence is a place brimming with positivity, a safe space that makes me happy in my heart. Isn’t that the ultimate definition of a home?
There was, however, one hiccup. No matter what
I did, my living room still felt oddly unwelcoming. I eventually realised it was because it was too open.
So, I built a custom bookshelf that not only created a more intimate space, but materialised a lifelong childhood dream of having my own library.
This exercise made me ponder why some spaces, although well-intentioned and attractive, encourage us to linger while others make us feel unsettled. I’ve come to recognise that people want respite. We have inside us an innate desire to escape the mundane, and whether that may be in cosy corners or via thoughtful travel, we are all searching for a peaceful haven in which to feel inspired and rejuvenated. This issue is all about that “Great Escape”. And whether you seek it on the open road, drifting along the
Nile River or by creating a blissful bedroom retreat, I believe the solace you seek is within reach.
Take architect Conrad Onglao and singer Zsa Zsa Padilla’s lush weekend retreat in Lucban, Quezon. The pair love to spend mornings drinking coffee and bird watching on the terrace of their casita while overlooking the pond. Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez creates a luminous and soulful residence within the urban jungle of Metro Manila. And we also glimpse Poul Madsen’s chic apartment in Copenhagen along with stunning residences in Bodrum, Singapore and Paris.
To whet your wanderlust, we round up sophisticated travel destinations here in the Philippines and abroad. We also speak with notable personalities Lianne Aboitiz, Linda Ley, Leona Panutat, Isabel Lozano and Christine Dychiao, all of whom are also inspired by the world around them.
Finally, nature is at the heart of it all. The Japanese practice shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, is prescribed as therapy for mental burnout and physical exhaustion. We acknowledge that the natural world can be the ultimate healing balm for mind, body and soul through a series of articles, including one on friluftsliv
(the Nordic concept of embracing the outdoors).
At the end of the day, the thing we are often trying to escape is the burden of our racing minds. As the Dalai Lama so aptly expressed: “Peace starts within each of us.” So, whether it’s a well-deserved holiday, hiking up a mountain, reading a good book in the bathtub, or enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace, we must make it our responsibility to discern what brings us to a state of joy and calm—and seize it.