How Rajo, Karylle, Julius and Tintin Babao, Xandra personalize their space

Rajo Laurel sticks to a dove gray color scheme that draws attention to the artwork. The carpet picks up the patterns of the art.

Within a modest three-meter by three-meter space, the creative homemaker can pack in a lot of personality.

This challenge was recently given to mall tenants and prominent personalities at Shangri-La Plaza’s Urban Filipino Home exhibit.
Tenants such as TV personalities Julius Babao and wife Tintin Bersola, style savant Jappy Gonzalez, designer Rajo Laurel, National Book Store’s Xandra Padilla and other professionals such as design expert Jie Pampid, singers Karylle and Jed Madela,
TV host/columnist Stephanie Crespi and sportscaster Apple David replicated their design DNA from their home in the mall space.

Jappy Gonzalez does a no-fuss living room set, focusing on retro shapes such as scroll armchair, tufted sofa and mushroom stool around a copper coffee table. The palette is masculine gray and blue with touch of metal.

The event isn’t just a showcase of the home and accessories stores at Shangri-La Plaza. The spaces say a lot about the people who designed them.

Gray is the color du jour, grounding the space while producing a soothing effect. Another common thread is the textured rug that makes the space feel more intimate.

Contemporary feel

Babao and Bersola recreate the contemporary feel of their home with a monochromatic color scheme to make the artworks pop out. Babao is the alpha male who favors grays and whites and prefers the figurative and architectural paintings from the Saturday Group.

Aside from art, the couple uses coffee-table books on fashion, art and design as decorative elements. The sleek furniture and masculine tones are softened up by Bersola’s choice of mosaic cowhide leather rug, perfumed candles and children’s books which she has authored.

Apple David uses a red ottoman from Shelter to add zap to her calm gray bedroom.

“At home, you’ll see Julius, but there’s a sprinkling of me in the purple accents,” Bersola says.

Crespi’s children’s bedroom is inspired by her two sons. Unlike the conventional children’s room done in bright colors and patterns and kiddie furniture, the room has timeless pieces which Crespi’s sons can use in their adulthood. Among the investment pieces are a leather drawer and a low armchair with a side seat. Then there are must-haves such as a basket for storage, a stool to help the toddler climb up the bed and a doggie bed.

“If you give them quality furniture, they will respect it,” says the young mom. “Likewise, they will respect beautiful things early on, if you trust them.”

Jie Pambid creates a dining room for a cosmopolitan client.He mixes the table accessories to show the range of Rustan’s homeware.

Crespi favors neutrals as contrast to the vibrant colors of the kids’ books and toys.

“It’s nice to have a peaceful space so they can fill it up with their imagination,” Crespi says.

Childlike touch

Meanwhile, Karylle puts a childlike touch to her home. A vinyl turntable and CD collections reflect her musical background and that of her husband, Yael Yuson of Sponge Cola. The space incorporates furniture with light wood just like their home. Although she always wanted a casual denim couch, she found a tufted fabric sofa in a chambray color from the Design Pod. To support Filipino artists, she chose Bencab throw pillows to add a layer of comfort.

The influence of her husband as a toy collector is evident in her choice of playful artworks and accessories. On the table are colorful pickup sticks which she gave to her mother, ZsaZsa Padilla, as a present.

Karylle says people give her husband a lot of toys which are either stored or arranged with books so that the house doesn’t look like a toy store.

Karylle finds a fabric couch in light blue as the basic component, with references to toys as her accessories.

At the end of the day, the family engages in board games. Karylle recalls that when they were stuck at the Boracay airport, they played with dominos and forgot about the delayed flight.

“Board games reconnect you with people, just like the good old days,” she says.

Laurel decorates a sanctuary for the senses with a calming grayish color theme. He always starts with an artwork as visual peg, and chooses the furniture and accessories from its colors.

Impy Pilapil’s signature wave painting becomes a focal point of his corner, with its tufted bench and a graphic carpet, echoing the sinewy shapes of the artwork. A bar cart—a must for Rajo— holds spirits.

Stephanie Crespi uses a lot of furniture from Restoration to decorate a timeless children’s bedroom.

Unlike other featured personalities, Pambid’s space is designed for the well-traveled client. The décor starts with an Old World wooden table, complemented by mixed-and-matched furniture. He bravely mixes prints—a striped bench, harlequin-patterned pillows and graphic carpet design which are pulled together by beiges and grays.

Pambid also sets off the uniformity of the table setting by using a patterned charger instead of a placemat, and a heavily bordered underplate and a different bread plate. Silver candelabras and lots of flowers inject luxury.

“The setting is cozy and classy. It’s relaxed so you can enjoy your food and have great conversation,” Pambid says.

Julius and Tintin Babao go Scandinavian with furniture from Bo Concept. Art and books are the decorative elements in their space. -PHOTOS BY NELSON MATAWARAN

After a raucous game at PBA, sportscaster David just wants to chill as she comes home. Her bedroom reflects her taste— gray and white, accented with her favorite color, pink. The shagpile carpet gives that tactile quality. She surrounds herself with her favorite things such as scented candles in vanilla and lavender and simple artworks.

The set-ups weren’t all for rest and relaxation. Padilla designed a home office—a mix of streamlined wooden tables and metal shelf.

“As a working mom, I want my work space to be functional and efficient but also reflective of my style.” she says. “I added the Kate Spade New York letter holder and digital label maker to keep all of my files organized, and the Heidi Swapp journal for memory planning. I went for brands that offer quality and good design.”–CONTRIBUTED


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