Back in the 2010s, fashion stylist Liz Uy lived up to her “It” Girl status in her condominiums.
The first pad in Ortigas integrated her office that was packed with racks of clothes for her styling jobs. The library of fashion magazines and books became the focal point of the living room. Oriental elements paid homage to her ancestry. The home adopted the “cluttercore” aesthetic of leaving no corner unturned, filled with nonchalantly displayed patterned accessories and accent furniture pieces, photographs, paintings and objets d’art.
In contrast, the decor of her second condo in Makati was calculated. Uy took to Modern Glam, a sophisticated black-and-white palette with wooden flooring, glittery and metallic accessories, and tufted leather dining chairs. Vignettes of stacked coffee-table books, juxtaposed with Asian sculpture and plants, looked studied.
When she moved in with her then partner (now husband) Raymond Racaza, his condominium echoed his masculine taste.
At the onset of the 2020s, Uy’s fourth residence, a 700-square meter, four-room bungalow with a pool and garden, is a statement on her change of priorities. Now a mother to Xavier, 3, and Matias, 4 months, she has opted for a minimalist style where focus on the family and the garden view take precedence over the space and the objects.
Over a Zoom interview with Uy and Nicole Tan, founder of interior design company Boon, photographs and a live virtual tour of the house reveal how Uy has embraced motherhood. She learned about Tan when the latter sent her basil seedlings and a lamp as a Christmas present, together with a voucher for Boon’s services.
Tan’s credentials are impressive: She is a licensed architect, a second-placer in the interior design board exams and the former head of the interior design team of Budji + Royal.
Being the detail-oriented stylist that she is, Uy tapped Tan to help in the public areas and master bedroom. Initial discussions were conducted through phone calls and virtual meetings. Boon’s website has a virtual workspace where the client can check on the mood boards, floor plans and renderings. When the new furniture arrived, Tan finally went to the house to help Uy.
Uy has a flair for decorating and is definite about the style of her home. Still, an interior designer can help maximize the space and suggest surface treatments and other elements to add visual interest.
Despite the quarantine lifestyle, Uy is extremely busy as a homemaker and entrepreneur of her Mood Bake cookies. She needed the interiors to be relaxing and not busy on the eyes. Tan notes that the way to maintaining minimalism while meeting the day-to-day concerns of the family, was to consider functionality and safety and to eschew superfluous details.
Pieces of value
For someone accustomed to following trends, Uy’s choice of furniture pieces is timeless and purposive—comfortable chairs to plop onto, child-friendly fixtures with rounded edges, cabinets for storage and sheer drapes for privacy. Artworks and decorative details are kept to a minimum and in simple composition, unlike the plethora of objets d’art in her bachelorette pads.
The key to minimalism is to keep the space orderly with only furniture that are of personal value. Uy and her husband have kept their midcentury pieces from their singlehood, such as his Wassily Chair and Eames molded dining chairs. She brought her marble-topped table with metal legs and Herman Miller bed.
Discreetly displayed, Uy’s Akari lamps, sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s 1950 interpretation of the Japanese lanterns, are on the sideboards of the living and dining spaces. The curvaceous Italian and French contemporary furniture coexist in the house with the streamlined woodworks made by Filipino social enterprises.
As in her previous homes, Uy has been consistent with her color palette of whites, neutrals and browns from the woods that lend warmth. The palette keeps her calm amid household commotion, she notes.
Uy designated the porch to be the swabbing area and reception for visitors. “We suggested to screen off the garage by putting plants. It has become a place for sanitation. Since she is careful about admitting visitors inside the house, she converses with them here,” says Tan.
The lady of the house makes the porch homey with a tropical look of rattan and cane-backed furniture by local artisan communities. Twin peacock chairs, inspired by her trips to restaurants in Europe before the pandemic, make a statement.
To delay the drama in the living room, Tan suggested to create a foyer by arranging a round table for guests to put down their things and a dark long mirror so that they could check their appearance.
Consistent in all of Liz’s homes is a wall bookcase. Sparingly decorated with books and Asian art, it makes a focal point.
The islands of white furniture, arranged for conversations, are anchored by a navy sofa in the living room.
The patio, which faces the poolside and lush landscape, evokes a resort feel.
To complement the landscape, Uy repeats the tropical look with streamlined bamboo and cane furniture. A long, wooden dining table made by a Pangasinense artisan is flanked by benches. A marble-topped rattan sideboard with coasters can be moved around for her IGTV food demos and buffet service while entertaining. Decorations are limited to a rattan shelf where she displays carafes and bowls.
A corner with a carabao rocking chair and a daybed is dedicated to Xavier and his friends to lounge around after swimming.
In the dining room, Tan introduced an accent wall with a greige marble finish to add depth to the white space. Uy, who favors a midcentury look, used their existing pieces and her brass chandelier with glass globes. Consistent with the minimalist look, a white cabinet was installed to keep the clutter of baking ingredients at bay.
Uy envisioned the master bedroom to be a sanctuary with its soothing neutral color scheme, punctuated by an accent wall. Instead of a television, a projector is hidden from view and the movie is shown on the feature wall. The room is likewise decked with a mother’s needs. She bought a French branded sofa where she breastfeeds Matias. A co-sleeper by the bed turns into playpen.
The design team created Uy’s vanity area by installing a botanical-printed wallpaper and a dressing table. Her Flos table lamps are suspended to free up the side tables.
Paintings are sparse in the room. The final look is an orderly, airy and elegant space that is practical and provides tranquility to the eyes.
The makeover of Uy’s walk-in closet into a nursery by her designer cousin Elle Uy made news on social media.
“During the lockdown, I let go a lot of clothes. They are not my main priority,” says Uy.
Her shoes and bags are hidden from view by woven cane sheets on the closet doors. The room has been transformed by a unique wallpaper of alpacas and llamas, and patterned rugs. Customized rattan baskets for the baby’s needs are neatly tagged and lined on top of the cabinets.
The stylist in Uy will drive her to move furniture and other elements around, in a few weeks. “My house can’t be the same all the time.” —CONTRIBUTED INQ