Inside Rhett Eala’s Family Home
Whether it’s mother Roceli’s artworks, Gigi’s passion and projects in architecture, lawyer Dennis’ penchant for furniture-making or Rhett’s Eala recent success in drawing oohs and ahhs in the recent Miss Universe 2016 pageant gowns. Creativity flows all too well in this family. So the Eala home is no exception as an extension of the Eala family’s creativity.
So when it came to deciding how they would style their family home—made by yet another creative in the family, their grandmother—it became more of a group effort to design a space that embodies their tradition and passions with a twist of modernity.
As the architect of the renovation, Gigi was more focused on getting the layout of the rooms right. That’s because, of all the restrictions that she could have worked with, the directive was for her to not touch the foundations and columns. Still standing strong since it was built in the late 1960s, the house’s main columns and structure was virtually untouchable, Gigi narrates with a playful eyeroll. Together with her college friend and business partner for ArcoGroup, Cathy Saldaña, Gigi took it upon herself to create a home that was timeless and practical, but had flourishes of tradition that had been with them in their old home.
Gigi had turned the old living room into Rhett Eala’s own office, an homage to how fashion designers of old would have their shops attached to their homes. “It brings back that personal touch; they don’t feel like they’re buying something commercial when they’re being fitted here and they’re welcome in his home, too.
In the atelier is racks and racks of dresses and gowns, a series of fashion books, and a lot of paper where the designer’s next master pieces are sketched on. Proudly dressed behind Rhett’s desk is the three gowns Miss Universe 2016 Maxine Medina used in the beauty pageant recently held in Manila.
As organically as the home’s design has been created, Gigi laughs that their house is probably the continuous project that she will have to deal with. “Until now, things get moved around. How we do it is really more of intuitive designing.” There may not be one theme or one motif that the house adheres to yet the family that stays here runs through the same strand of creativity, interwoven in a pattern that is truly themselves, and one that gives their family home the character unique to its own.
This story first appeared in MyHome magazine March 2017. Edits were made for MyHomeDesign.ph