home design


SM Home started with their Christmas preparations early, and came up with four holiday hues:
1) Classic Charm, 2) Contemporary Luxe, 3) Modern Opulence, and 4) Pretty Whimsical.
Here are some living room paint ideas from Boysen based on the holiday hue Classic Charm.

In keeping with Philippine tradition, Christmas jingles started in September, the start of the BER months when anything Christmas seen or heard is a Filipino practice that we find utterly normal, but which other cultures find terribly quirky.

I find it so nostalgic and heartwarming to hear Nat King Cole sing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” months before Christmas day. Never mind that we neither have chestnuts nor open fires…well, maybe in Baguio. Chestnuts roasting on open fires just really go well with jingle bells and sleigh rides in this beautiful tropical country with average temperatures of 30°C, especially when you start hearing carols in September!

Living room paint ideas
Christmas decor available in SM Home

We’ll be coming out with three more Christmas Color Guides soon.






There is an empty wall left in my shoebox condo, and I want a mural for my home….maybe. Or should I go for a painting instead? There’s always this ambivalence because I feel that murals are too permanent. Nothing wrong with that if you like permanence. However, I’d think, “What if it’s no longer in style? What if I get bored with it? What if I have to move out? It would be such a waste that I’d have to leave it behind!…” And so on and so forth, you know that kind of busy thinking that goes nowhere and wastes time.

Hamming it up

On a trip to Puerto Princesa a year ago, I stayed in a hotel called Canvas Boutique Hotel whose interiors were designed by Edwin D. Uy.  There were murals everywhere, also in each room. It gave such a personal and unique touch to the place, something I like having in hotels that I stay in. From the Canvas website: “The walls at Canvas speak volumes, and—quite literally—every storey has a story. Weaving that narrative into life were a team of visual artists who rendered Palawan culture, life forms and mythology onto colorful, vibrant reverbs of the island’s most celebrated cultural traits.”

Mural in the bedroom
Murals in the driveway
Mural in the floor lobby
Murals on the walls leading to the rooms

I wish I were an artist who could paint murals, like Nell del Rosario or the Ink Scribbler. Then I would just pick up my brush and create an obra maestra on my walls, at least that’s the goal. If it comes out a disaster, then it would be mine. So who cares, right? Uhm, my courage levels are not there yet. Maybe in this lifetime it’s gonna happen.

A long, long time ago, I had signed up for a lifestyle blog Apartment Therapy.  If interiors or anything about home are your thing, subscribe coz it’s a wonderful site! I got this post about murals in my inbox the other day. Oooh, so lovely! It’s a mountain mural made by Pam Lostracco from Canada, which apparently changed her business course in life.

There are many muralists who use Boysen paints for their projects. I will write about their works once I get my act together. Right now, I’m still busy thinking about my empty wall and the possible artwork I can paint on it.










Minimalism is a trend that has yet to influence living spaces. Space is a resource that is sometimes overlooked in sustainable architecture. Life quality decreases as population density increases since pollution levels rise, population goes out of hand, and resources become more expensive. Many of us in the Philippines are experiencing these effects firsthand.

Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the capital region had a population of 12.9 million people in 2015, inhabiting an area of 620 square kilometers – that’s around 21,000 people per square kilometer. In the same year, New York had a population of 8.5 million people living in a 784 square kilometer area, or about 11,000 people per square kilometer.  This means that Manila is nearly twice as densely populated as New York City, the most crowded city in the United States. Other cities that are having difficulties with rapidly growing populations include Karachi, Mumbai, and Jakarta.

Designers are now thinking of ways to reduce living space by creating homes that are compact, stylish, and easy to construct. Living in small homes discourages mindless consumerism (since you wouldn’t have enough storage space if you buy too many things) and uses less resources like electricity, which prompts people to live greener lifestyles as well.

Not Your Average Cardboard House

The Wikkelhouse is designed by the Dutch studio Fiction Factory. They created this recyclable structure that can (supposedly) last a century. It is lined with waterproof coating and wood paneling to make it more durable while 24 layers of cardboard are used for the body. The lightweight material also allows it to be brought anywhere and constructed within a day.

The Zero-Carbon Caravan

Green Cat Technologies from France presented a self-powered caravan that sources its power from sunlight and wind. The 26-foot trailer can be unfolded to maximize space and transform into a 420-square-foot home. There’s enough room for a small family, and the house even includes a deck where you can host intimate parties.

If IKEA Sold Houses

The Pin-Up Houses designed by Small House Architects is a three-part house you can build in three hours – by a team of three people. They claim it’s easy enough to build on your own, in fact their website sells a book How to Build a Tiny House  to help you out with the process. The sections are color coded and are for sleeping, working, and cooking.

The Luxe Box

KODA by Estonian firm Kodasema is a moveable, two-storey house that sources its power from solar panels. Unlike the other compact homes, it arrives whole so it spares you from manual labour, plus it also takes less than a day to install. It’s made out of concrete-timber composite panels which keeps the structure sturdy and independent of a foundation.

The Transformer

TEN FOLD Engineering’s unfolding building takes convenience up a notch. Their structures are easily transportable and open up with a push of a button. The buildings come in varying sizes and are fit for a multitude of uses, such as homes, offices, clinics, schools, and shops. It doesn’t need a foundation and is powered by solar panels.

Child’s Play

EkoJunto is a Costa Rican company that sells bricks which are completely made out of recycled PET plastic. The bricks are shaped to make them fit with one another like Lego blocks, making it easier for people to assemble a house. This innovative method of upcycling doesn’t only benefit the environment, but low-income people as well.

Imagine if these inventions are utilized to help solve our problems here in Metro Manila. I think the EkoJunto would be especially beneficial, to rid the city of trash while also providing homes for the poor.

There are many ways to help solve our issues on space, but it would mean giving up on a lot of excesses and living simpler lives. We are conditioned to believe that having bigger homes and more things lead to a happier life, but consumerism and greed are big factors contributing to environmental degradation.

The young designer and entrepreneur Gila Salvador transformed a 22-sqm condo to fit a family of 5.

For this turnkey project, the team did concept, construction, furniture and accessories, and finished the project in 45 days.

Gila said, “We always use Boysen paints in our projects. Also, stay tuned for our upcoming project wherein we used Boysen paints as well.”

This video has become viral with nearly 3.5 M views. Because of the exposure, the company announced a couple of months ago that they were fully booked for July and August. According to a post in their facebook page, “Due to the overwhelming amount of inquiries and oculars conducted in the past 2 weeks. We are now officially fully booked for July-August projects. We can only take in a maximum of 12 construction projects every 30-45 days. But rest assured we are expanding our team to cater to more clients.”

Gila is the CEO and Creative Director for Madhouse Design Studio, an interior design, graphic design and construction company based in Metro Manila.

What are personalized walls exactly? These are walls that you can call your own, where you can put your mark on, paint on it with whatever it is that you want to create, using colors that appeal to you and never mind the rest of the family (if you don’t live alone, but ask permission at least). It is a space of individuality, YOURS. It could be a journal of dreams, YOURS. Or a manifestation of who YOU are.

Where you live, you can have as many personalized walls as there are walls, as many as your time allows, and as magnificent as your imagination is. Skill comes to play too but hey, if you’re the experimental type, no problem. If you’re more straitlaced, now is the time to take off the fetters that you put on yourself, and just let it rip. It’s paint. You can always change it if you don’t like it.

– Robin Sharma, Canadian writer and leadership speaker

Tom Castaneda, AVP Marketing for SM Home, and Boysen continued the collaboration in August because the one in July was successful. This time though we wanted to up the ante by introducing personalized walls using more Color Trend 2017 colors.

So what kind of personalized walls did we use in this first round?

Hexagon High
Make It Metallic
Dreamy Ombre
The Quadruple Triangle
A Rebel’s Kitchen

More about the Rebel Yell kitchen here.

You will find the Complete Your Home at SM Home exhibit at the bridgeway in the fifth floor of SM Makati. You still have time to catch those personalized walls coz it ends on August 31.







How do you want your dream home to look like? How do you create it? This process starts even before you found a place to buy.

After going through the process of buying a home, there follows a time of creativity, fun, exploration, experimentation and the stresses that come along with a major life change.

If you buy a property which is already standing, you kind of fit your needs in the spaces already provided. If you start with air, the sky’s the limit. For some, this is exciting; for others, it’s a nightmare.

Sir Terence Conran, architect, designer, entrepreneur, author, and the man behind the furniture store Habitat, said that before you even begin to think of how you want your new home to look like, you must first KNOW YOURSELF AND HOW YOU LIVE. This advice is true for both scenarios – an existing property or one yet to be built.

These are two books that I enjoyed reading years ago.

Small Spaces: Inspiring Ideas and Creative Solutions
The Ultimate House Book: For Home Design in the Twenty-First Century

1.  Explore the Style that Appeals to You

Let’s limit this post to a home that already exists.

When I was searching for a condo to buy, I was already dreaming about how I wanted my new home to look like. For me, it had to be different from my previous home abroad, which was an eclectic loft, contemporary-cum-minimalist-cum-Asian. In other words, maskipaps, or anything goes.

Now that I was in the Philippines, I wanted to use as many local furnishings as I could, and I wanted color! Not an explosion of color, but there should be more than just neutrals.

I loved this part of the process because it’s so creative and allowed me to dream as I tried on different interior styles in my head. I discovered new things and new places,  What’s great about this phase is that you can do it for FREE for as long as you like, and as many times as you like!

Go and visit as many furnitures stores and home depots that you can. The only major drawback to this is that you have to deal with the traffic. But hey, it’s YOUR HOME, and that deserves loving attention!

Surf on the internet, pin images to a board, mine was entitled “My Dream Home”, read online magazines. Or buy those magazines you like and have the satisfaction of turning the pages, cutting out those images that you find interesting, and making a scrapbook out of them.

There’s so much inspiration everywhere. Try different styles and see what resonates.

2.  Have a Budget

When you’ve found the style you want for your interiors, make a budget. These are the following costs that I considered:

  • the professional fee of an architect and/or interior designer
  • construction costs + 20% for budget overruns
  • the cost of furnishings and accessories

If you need to rent a place temporarily while work is being done in your new condo, you should also include that in your budget. Just remember that most of the time, construction projects run into delays, so you should again prepare for that possibility by creating a buffer.

If you’re a creative maven, even if it’s only in your mind, then skip the architect/interior designer, unless you need to do major renovations like knocking down walls, redesigning a bathroom (e.g. changing the tiles or sanitation fixtures), or kitchen (e.g. changing cabinetry, adding electrical outlets). A rule of thumb is to hire an expert to do plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and electrical works. But if you are a DIY guru aside from being a pseudo-designer, go for it. Be prepared though for a lot more stress. If you’re working full-time, just know that you’re heading for a burnout.

3.  Stick to Your Budget

There will be temptations, especially if you have an architect/interior designer who has expensive tastes, and he’ll show you all those beautifully designed, posh furniture and lighting fixtures. If money is coming out of your ears, by all means, buy! But if you’re a working girl who often dreams but is practical to the core, challenge him to come up with alternatives that are within your budget.

Especially if you need to buy everything, including home appliances down to plates, it is better to keep within your constraints. This is for your future peace of mind.

Look for bargains, even in garage sales. Negotiate for discounts. And definitely, do NOT max out your credit card.

4.  Buy the Essentials First and Furnish Your Apartment Slowly

Make a choice from the start what things you need to have immediately, and which pieces can wait.

Don’t scrimp on the essentials. Don’t go overboard either. Consider every purchase. Avoid trendy stuff. Make sure that not only do you need it, but you can really feel that this is a piece that will stay with you for a very, very long time. Decide which pieces you will really invest in.

Examine a potential investment closely and thoroughly: Does it have a solid frame? Is it made of non-hazardous, durable, sustainable (even better) materials? Is the craftsmanship good, if not excellent? Can you see the quality with one look?

The good thing about taking your time is that you avoid buying things that look good, but would fall apart after a short time. Or you avoid ending up with a matchy-matchy kind of decor, that over-coordinated look that would make your future guests think they are in a theme park.

5.  Use Social Media to Find Stuff You Can Use

Put social media to good use so that you save money. Ask family and friends if they have furnishings that they want to get rid of for a song. 

Don’t be greedy though. Be careful that you don’t buy things because they’re nice and inexpensive. Just get those things that you need. You really wouldn’t want to start living in a new home that’s already cluttered.




















Living in the city, the noise never stops—the perpetual buzz of traffic, our countless interactions throughout the day, the nonstop activity.

Then there’s the noise from our smart devices. Our phones keep us in constant connection with everyone we know, always a single tap away from bombarding ourselves with an endless store of information and audiovisual stimulation.

It isn’t really as bad as it sounds. That’s just how we live today, but it also means that real, quality silence —the kind we all probably need more of—has become much harder to come by.

We can’t control the world of noise around us, but we can control how much silence we actively try to bring into our lives.

Why Silence Matters

A lot of us simply prefer noise to quiet, but we can’t deny the benefits that silence has to offer. By reducing auditory distractions, we’re able to relax, recharge, and destress more easily. Reading, working, and even reflecting in silence help us to engage the complexities of our inner thoughts and emotions more effectively.

By carving out our own personal quiet space at home, even for a few minutes to an hour or so, we’re giving ourselves a chance to get in touch with ourselves and take a break from the everyday noise.

Set the Mood

Choose the quietest part of your house where you feel most calm, or create one for yourself. Install soft, orange lighting instead of bulbs that give off a harsh white glare. Go for a neutral color palette that’s pleasant to the eyes. A room with windows will provide you with natural light, ventilation, and a feeling of spaciousness. Some scented candles and essential oils wouldn’t hurt either.

The biggest factor to consider, however, is clutter. The less, the better. Dirty and disordered surroundings make a space feel cramped and less welcoming. It isn’t hard to imagine how different you’d feel in a messy room versus a clean one. The tidier the room, the more you’ll feel a sense of order and composure.

Disconnect All Devices

Or at least your Wifi and mobile data. Eliminate as many distractions that you already have enough of during the day—notifications, emails, compulsive urges to check social media.

Many prefer their self-imposed quiet time just before going to bed. A convenient strategy, especially since gadget use has been shown to cause difficulties in sleeping. Aim to finish as much work as possible at least an hour before sleeping to give your brain time to wind down.

Be Alone

Besides the obvious lack of any possible interaction with anyone besides yourself, being alone (at least for me) makes it easier to put yourself in that desired state of calm and self-reflection.

Total solitude isn’t always possible, but when it is, you’re more likely to tap into thoughts, emotions, and ideas you might not normally engage with during the day.

Make a Ritual of It

If doing absolutely nothing for prolonged amounts of time bothers you, incorporate your allotted quiet time into a certain activity that you can do in silence: drinking coffee, taking a shower, eating, driving, doing chores. And if you have the patience for it, take 5-10 minutes of pure, uninterrupted reflection the moment you wake up to plan your day, or just before you sleep.

For the productivity-obsessed, the idea of a self-imposed quiet time would sound completely unnecessary and wasteful. But on days when I do have the luxury of allowing myself a golden hour of silence, I always feel refreshed and ready to dive back into the noise of the day.

The Boysen Color Trend 2017 has many blues – all bold, buoyant and beautiful.

For this month’s SM Home’s Complete Your Home, Tom Castaneda, AVP Marketing, chose three:

Rebel Yell

Rebel Yell belongs to the palette Maximal. It has the bright, intense blue of lapis lazuli. Rebel Yell was used to paint the kitchen vignette, giving energy to the space, which is very fitting for a place where food is prepared, food being the fuel required by all of us to keep living full lives.

Designer Denim

Used in the living room vignette, Designer Denim is even deeper in color than Rebel Yell. It is a bold color, dark in hue but not sombre.  Paired with light warm greys and a muted orange, the living room becomes a place where you can relax and find your balance.

Space Encounter

Space Encounter, the lightest blue in the trio, has a tinge of grey. This color is used in two vignettes, the bedroom and the home office.

In the bedroom, the feeling you get is one of buoyancy, a place of rest and feather-light dreams.

Space Encounter in the home office is used together with other colors in the Technology palette – Shimmer Shake, Techy Romantic, and Crystal Sparkle. With all four as your wall colors, you’d expect some jarring notes. But in this case, you get a place that invites you to do your creative best in your work.

I’ll be writing more about the new look of Complete Your Home in the coming weeks, to show you that with a change of colors and different furnishings, you get a totally different look-and-feel to any space. The vignettes are on show at SM Home in the bridgeway at the fifth floor of SM Makati until the end of August.

Jardin Majorelle in Rue Yves Saint Laurent is not a sight to be missed when you’re in Marrakech, Morocco. Translated as the “Majorelle Garden”, the space also includes the Villa Oasis and the Musée Berbère. Owned by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, the garden continues to exist today as one of Marrakech’s most beautiful attractions.

Designed by architect Paul Sinoir in 1931, the villa’s design is a fusion of cubism and Moorish-inspired architecture. Moorish motifs can be observed in the arches, the tiles, and the intricate patterns in some areas of the villa. The exterior is enveloped in its signature electric-blue shade, trademarked as Majorelle Blue. In 1937, Majorelle began to paint the villa, the gates, the pots, and the tiles with this specific tint of blue. This vibrant shade is said to evoke Africa through the color’s strength and intensity.

This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.”- Jacques Majorelle

Majorelle was passionate about botany and gardening and bought the four-acre property in 1923. He brought plants from his travels around the world and cultivated them in his property, creating a biodiverse garden with plants from five continents. Throughout the decades, his garden has been preserved thanks to Moroccan ethnobotanist Abderrazak Benchaâbane.

The property is also well known for being owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. They discovered the place in 1966 and immediately fell in love with it. Due to Majorelle’s death in 1962, the garden was abandoned and almost demolished for a new hotel. Thankfully, Saint Laurent and Bergé bought the property in 1980 and restored it back to its former glory. They kept the color and design of the villa but renamed it the Villa Oasis (previously called the Villa Bou Saf Saf). 165 new plant species were added in 1999 accumulating to a total of 300 plant species in the garden. Saint Laurent and Bergé also opened the Berber Museum featuring their private collection of Berber artifacts.

We quickly became very familiar with this garden, and went there every day. It was open to the public yet almost empty. We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature. – Pierre Bergé

When Yves Saint Laurent died on June 1, 2008, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden near the villa. A Roman pillar from Tangier is displayed there as a memorial for the departed designer. Furthermore, the street beside the garden was renamed Rue Yves Saint Laurent in 2010. In October 2017, Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent will open the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in the garden highlighting Morocco’s influences on Saint Laurent’s work. The building will be designed by French architecture firm Studio KO.

Yves Saint Laurent’s memorial

As a big fan of Yves Saint Laurent, I’m very glad that the museum will be open when I’m there in the future. Morocco is a visual delight for all kinds of creatives,  offering inspiration everywhere you look. It is evident enough from the way it inspired this masterpiece, the Jardin Majorelle.

Issey Miyake doesn’t consider himself solely as a fashion designer. True enough, Miyake’s work encompasses various fields of design. His contributions to design don’t come from his concepts and ideas alone, but also in his innovative use of textiles and materials.

Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/744217 (1987; synthetic, metal)
Image grab from Met Museum
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/80663 (S/S 1994; polyester)
Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/698832 (1984; cotton, nylon, metal)

Miyake’s design philosophy lies in the principle of a “‘Piece of Cloth,’ a concept which explores not only the relationship between the body and clothing, but also the space that is born between them.” He constantly experimented on the way the clothes moved in relation to the human body. The silhouettes of his clothing can often shape the wearer or be shaped by the wearer. Some pieces have drapey silhouettes with fluid fabrics that bounce, crease, or stretch depending on the wearer, making each piece look different on various body types; some take on the shapes of cocoons or thorns  (among other things), and can be further manipulated depending on how the wearer fancies it to look. The fluidity and freedom he gives to his clothing makes them unique because it requires a collaboration with the imagination of the wearer to further highlight Miyake’s creativity.

Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/124785 (S/S 1991; silk)
Image grab from Met Museum
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/124782 (F/W 1992-93; synthetic)
Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/112860 (F/W 1994-95; synthetic)

Miyake was known for experimenting with various types of materials including silk, rattan, cotton, paper, wool, and polyester for his clothing. He used cutting edge technology to playfully shape, pleat, and crease these unconventional materials. His most famous innovation was the pleated polyester fabric, which he and his team mastered in 1988 and patented in 1993.  The popularity behind this product branched into a separate line altogether, Pleats Please Issey Miyake.

The clothes are created first, then they are layered between paper and heated, creating pleats on the fabric. This technique is done so masterfully that it never flattens, crumples, or becomes deformed, making it incredibly easy to store and care for.

Another groundbreaking innovation was the A-POC manufacturing method which uses “computer technology to create clothing from a single piece of thread in a single process,” resulting in a piece of clothing consisting of one fabric with no seams.

Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/112871 (creased synthetic dress; 1993)
Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/112865 (pleated polyester dress; F/W 1989-90)
Image grab from Met Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/87948 (triangular protrusion wool dress; 1989)

Miyake and Iittala

Two of Miyake’s forays into homeware design were his collaborations with Finnish homeware brand Iittala and Italian lighting design brand Artemide.

Miyake’s collaboration with Iittala includes tableware such as placemats, plates, and table napkins, but also includes glass vases, tote bags, and pillowcases. All of them have a distinct Issey Miyake look, with geometric patterns and pleats dominating the collection. The color palette was inspired by the “colors of nature” and consists mostly of neutrals but also has a muted pink shade and a rich green shade to add some life into the collection; the two hues they chose are also very versatile and complementary to the rest of the pieces. The design theme is “blossom,” probably referring to the white and pink sakura of Japan.

Both Nordic and Japanese design have similar principles such as minimalism and timelessness, which is why I think this collaboration became so successful.

Miyake and Artemide

The collaboration with Artemide was just as incredible, featuring origami-like lamps made out of recycled polyester fabric that can be flattened for safekeeping and unfurled to showcase the structure of the lamp. Because of its unique shape, light does not transmit outwards the same way it does in a conventional lamp. According to Miyake’s website, they were inspired by the Japanese philosophy regarding the relationship between the light and shadow. They used a quote from Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s essay In Praise of Shadows:

We find beauty not in the thing itself, but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.

Issey Miyake Today

Nowadays, Miyake no longer designs the clothes but he still plays a big role in the creative processes in his company. The current creative director of the main Issey Miyake line is Yoshiyuki Miyamae, who I believe is doing a fine job in capturing Miyake’s innovation and playfulness in his own designs.

No matter how old Miyake’s designs are, they still remain timeless up to now, and the technology and techniques that he introduced have changed the design world forever.