This House Should Be Your Guide to Combining Art With Designer Furniture

The overall result: a distinct home that exudes a relaxed elegance.

It sounds paradoxical, but it takes generosity to practice restraint in the creative field where there is always the temptation to showboat. In a young couple’s new home conceptualized by architect Ed Ledesma, architectural flourish is almost invisible, but a certain feel and experience is very much palpable.

The architectural lines are simple and crisp, and there is a gentle flow to the spaces. Textural touches such as wood, stone, and tile claddings infuse the house with warmth. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and windows bring the outdoors in.

Though compact by the homeowners’ own admission, the flow of light and the generous ceiling height give a sense of looseness. It also provides enough vertical expanse to accommodate the dramatically scaled paintings by the owners’ favorite artist, Lao Lianben.

“I like his works as they exude a feeling of serenity and calmness. I always look forward entering our home after a long busy day at work,” admitted the lady of the house, who is expecting the third addition to her brood of two boys.

Lia Lianben’s Voice welcomes visitors at the foyer; another piece from the artist looms over the living area dotted with lowslung furniture.

In decorating their new home, the owners worked with Ann Dee and Mark See of Dee+See Interiors. The couple knew exactly what they wanted, with the wife saying she needed “lots of walls to put up artwork.” She wanted a clean yet homey feel, and lots of neutral colors and grays to set off the strong hues of her choice furnishings and accent pieces.

She also explicitly stated that the overall look had to be distinctive. “We wanted something different, thus, we have a mix of walls, depending on the area. Some have moldings, while others are wallpapered, or have murals. Some are finished with stone. We also have a lot of toy sculptures which we wanted prominently displayed, so we had to adjust the space to fit these art pieces.” Add to that, ample storage space. “The custom-made Italian cabinets are an investment that we are happy with,” she disclosed.


The rich, dark wallpaper sets off the dark mood of a painting by Jason Montinola. Right: A floor lamp version of Ghery’s Taliesin lamp stands beside a work by Jigger Cruz.

Both husband and wife were involved in the process of building and decorating their home, which explains the final outcome. Though filled with the owners’ enviable cache of contemporary art and designer furniture, the space feels cozy, casual, and most of all, real.

Past the main door, Lao Lianben’s Voices welcomes visitors and sets the mood. To the left is the living area, anchored by a low-slung Casadesus sectional sofa facing Anapo coffee tables from Driade which draw guests to settle in. Another imposing Lianben looms over the entire space, flanked by views of the lush outdoor garden. A pair of Luciolas from Driade, provide illumination without distracting from the composition.

A vibrant painting by the wife’s mother hangs over the stark simplicity of a Network console table by Henge of Italy. The white sculptural vases are from Asianera; the dog sculpture is from Blue Carreon Home.

The formal dining room nearby displays a similar even template of neutral base colors punctuated with pops of intense colors and strong textures. “We wanted the dining area to be both relaxed and elegant,” the lady of the house explained.

“The Arturo Luz hanging over the sideboard cabinet is very special to us; it’s a gift from my mom who obtained it from the artist himself. It’s from the same series as the piece he hangs over his living room at his place,” she said. She chose pieces that complemented the paintings by Luz as well as another Lianben mounted on another wall. The silhouettes of the simple sideboard cabinet by Henge of Italy, and the strong geometric lines of the drop light echo Luz’s and Lianben’s disciplined strokes. The suede-upholstered chairs surrounding the round dining table soften the strong lines of the space. Sebastian Herker’s Pipe chair beneath Lianben’s Soot throws things off and sparks conversation.


Rodel Tapaya’s Mastermind Alliance demands viewing; beneath it, the Cloud table from Driade and the striking Gemma chair designed by Daniel Libieskind for Moroso enhance the contrast.

The couple’s “favorite child,” (as the man of the house fondly calls it) Elmer Borlongan’s Hari Sonik, is a permanent fixture in the dining room. This gesture reveals their intention to display their collection while at the same time providing opportunities for their guests to experience the art found all over the house.

The lanai is accessible from the dining area. “It’s my favorite part of the house,” the lady of the house admitted, “We installed a water feature and it gives a cool breeze effect. The kids like biking around and eating outdoors for breakfast. The Kettal outdoor dining set is perfect for use by the family and for entertaining guests. The Daybed is great for lounging around on a perfect day."

Furniture from the Kettal Bitta series designed by Rodolfo Dordoni dot the space. “We wanted to have an outdoor feel that looks like an extension of the house,” says the wife.

There are surprises too, such as the incongruent broody mood in the guest bathroom, with its dark wallpapered walls providing the perfect foil for a piece by Jason Montinola. Outside it, Rodel Tapaya’s Mastermind Alliance breaks the serenity of the space; beneath is a Cloud coffee table from Moroso, and the striking Gemma armchair by Daniel Libeskind. “The choice of furniture in this area explains the design inspiration,” the mistress of the house explained, “which is to create a seamless composition of art and industrial design.”

More art is displayed in the hallway that leads to the private quarters, lined with works by Buen Calubayan, Marina Cruz, Pardo de Leon, Raffy Napay, Jason Montinola, Winner Jumalon, and BenCab.


Lianben is undeniably the couple’s favorite artist, but an intriguing floor lamp is a treasured decorative piece: “ I love our Taliesin light designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Yamagiwa. It has a very sculptural feel to it,” the lady of the house explained. The lighting fixture features a series of cascading boxy forms, its surface finished in warm wood. It encapsulates the couple’s proclivity for contemporary lines which is tempered with textural tones.

It’s been less than a year since the homeowners’ moved in, but there is a lived-in feel to their new space. “The whole family uses every space of the house. I am very happy because the end result is a house that really feels like home.”

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Devi De Veyra
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