The lady of the house, an entrepreneur and civic leader, lives as stylishly as she dresses. During the Asian Dragon photo shoot, she stood out against a pale background wearing a black shift, comfortably shod in matching velvet tasseled slippers.
Her condominium embodies her effortlessly chic aesthetic, much like the French. She told designing sisters Ivy and Cynthia Almario that she wanted a Parisian apartment.
“Everything should be light on the eyes. When people enter, they see this elegant home that smells so good. Everything around it must echo her personality,” says interior designer Cynthia Almario.
The crux of the French aesthetic is that the right design combines the character of the place with luxury. Since the condominium came as a contemporary shell, Ivy, who did the interior architecture, added details such as wall paneling, cornices, and moldings for a neoclassic look. The flooring is a light oak shade to give the illusion of floating.
While the French look favors an all-white color scheme with accents, the homeowner chose vanilla and off-white instead of a stark and antiseptic color.
“She was very strict with color. The non-color is challenging because it’s hard to balance the whites without making the space look yellowish,” says Cynthia. By mixing various shades of white, the interiors become light and airy.
As in most French interiors, the spaces adapt to how the owner uses the house. Thus, the home has cozy spaces for conversation, a generous dining room for entertaining, and areas to display her travel mementoes and precious artworks.
With Louis XVI-inspired furniture such as the backrest medallion chairs, furniture with ribbons and carved legs, gilt-framed paintings, and carved mirrors, the look exudes a certain formality.
Objects which the homeowner appreciates individually come together to produce a lived-in look instead of a stuffy museum atmosphere. Through clustering the similar objects or themes and combining old pieces with modern items, the French look takes on an organized eclecticism.
There is less furniture to give way to the lady of the house’s blue-and-white ceramics, antique terracotta figures, old paintings, and other handcrafted objets d’art. In typical French fashion, she mixes periods and styles. Antique religious icons and Buddhas share the spaces with Filipino modern painters such as Juvenal Sanso, Vicente Manansala, and Isabel Diaz.
The corridors leading to the master bedroom are lined with artworks. The antiquity of a sketch by national hero Jose Rizal, bordered by an Art Deco carved frame, and a 19th-century sketch of a thatched hut by Fernando Amorsolo is set off by their acrylic frames. The focal point in the hallway is a statue of Our Lady of Manaoag, whom the lady of the house is devoted to.
The furniture is painted and upholstered in cream, and harmonizes with the dramatic tones of dark antique cabinets and chests. The rich textures of the curtains highlight the sophistication of the interiors.
As in any Parisian apartment, the lighting fixtures are crystal chandeliers and fabric lampshades on table lamps. Round tables are layered with skirts. Fringes adorn the plush cushions. Take note, there is not a single crease on those pillows.
The dining room is visually enlarged by a Venetian mirror at the center. Regency-inspired chairs, with gold leaf and silver accents, surround a glass table with a stone base. Baccarat crystal lighting adds more sparkle.
The master bedroom is decorated with a four-poster canopied bed and a decadent vanity table made of beveled glass. The luxurious feel is enhanced by a display of large Oriental antique jars and an antique armoire.
“There is a timeless appeal to this apartment,” says Cynthia. “The interiors are very feminine—much like the owner.”
Photographs by Paul San Juan
See more of the Parisian-styled condominium on Asian Dragon’s December 2017-January 2018 issue, available for download on Magzter.