East meets West in the Japandi interior design style, which made its debut in 2017. It’s a style that marries the pared down elegance of Japanese design with the spare modernity and functionality of Scandinavian design.
The fusion works really well because of the shared aesthetics of minimalism, simplicity, functionality, love for natural materials, and a respect for craftsmanship.
About the Client
The Client Brief
Excited to be a first-time homeowner, a busy urban professional was very clear about what she wanted for her very own nest.
Her interior designer Claudine Medina said, “My client’s main requirements for her unit: a clutter-free, airy condo unit — a space where she can relax and work at the same time.”
The client needed a calm environment that is conducive to work because she often works from home. To keep the clean and stress-free ambience, another requirement was to have closed storage units for items not in use.
The Color Scheme
In terms of color scheme, my client is a fan of Scandinavian + Japanese neutral colors — plenty of whites, light grays, and blacks, mixed with light wood finishes,” Claudine said.
She added, “However, for the bathroom and kitchen, my client wanted to experiment more in these areas by using black and dark gray as the main color. I normally go for lighter-colored finishes for smaller spaces, but at the end of the project, I’m very glad my client pushed for these colors because they provided an interesting contrast to the plain white walls and light wood finishes of the unit.”
There is a lightness to her step as the client moves around her apartment. For her, it is a place where she can truly unwind after a hectic day. She is home and this knowing is shown by a quiet contentment in her smile.
A creative person to the core, the client experienced a beautiful collaboration with Claudine. She did not hire Claudine based on a reference. She just saw the interior designer’s work in Instagram, and that was enough reason for the client to reach out after she bought the condo.
At the opposite side of the main entrance of her unit are the two bedrooms which share a balcony that has an expansive view of the city and the big sky above. This is definitely the pièce de résistance.
In the urban jungle of Manila where skyscrapers mushroom next to each other, having a vista to see every day is a luxury. For people who usually stare at a screen at work, this is a wonderful way to rest the eyes and clear the mind.
About the Interior Designer
Claudine Medina is a freelance licensed interior designer since 2017. Her focus is on residential interior design.
Claudine said, “I try not to stick to one style as we were trained in interior design school to be accustomed to all design styles. But ever since I started practicing, I always find myself being drawn to Scandinavian design because this style resonates with my own principles — I believe there’s beauty in simplicity and practicality.”
Challenges Encountered in the Condo Build
Construction work in a condo has certain challenges. There are limitations like fixed layouts, or existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing aspects, that any interior designer or architect has to work with.
For this unit, Claudine has this to say:
“One of the most common challenges in any condo renovation is that we have to work around the fixtures and general layout of the unit. We can’t relocate the bathroom, kitchen, and the location of ACUs, so the design has to follow those fixed variables in the unit.
Since we couldn’t relocate the split type ACU in the living area, we had to build around the pipes all the way to the master bedroom and balcony. This means added work to my contractor and added costs to my client.
Also, even though the kitchen and living area have windows to let natural light in, the location of the unit didn’t allow much sunlight in, so it’s still dark in these areas if you close the bedroom doors. Given this situation, I recommended we stick to a bright white paint with a bit of warmth so these areas still look bright but don’t look clinic-y white.”
Most Favorite Feature
Many of us have something we like about our work. For this project, Claudine has a very definite favorite.
“As the designer of the unit, I’m most happy about the major transformation of the kitchen. With as simple as repainting the existing kitchen cabinets, we were able to change the look of this area dramatically. We retained the existing built-in cabinets, counter top, and cabinet handles to save on costs, but the black automotive lacquer transformed this space completely.
As I mentioned previously, I usually recommend light colors for my projects but I’m really grateful to my client for pushing this color for this space. It just shows that every design project is a collaboration between client and designer, and both should be open to each other’s ideas.”
Her Tips for Condo Renovations
We have been giving DIYers tips on how to paint your own home, especially on the painting systems and processes, and color ideas. However, a condo renovation is more than just painting. If you have the budget, do consider hiring a professional partner to help you. For those of you with heavy workloads, having a professional partner to take care of the build will help make the process fun and exciting instead of physically or mentally burdensome.
Two things that Claudine wants clients to think about when they are doing condo renovations:
“Hiring an interior designer may be added cost for any client, but it saves you a lot of trouble and time on dealing with problems that occur during the renovation process.
Before starting a renovation project, it’s important that you know your priorities — whether it is quality furniture, smart appliances, or a big kitchen, because budget changes are very common in every interior design project. If you know your priorities, it’ll be easier to stick to your original budget.”