A Home Built on A Couple’s Dreams, With the Help of their Son
There’s a time for making tweaks and renovations to a home, and there’s a time when, as a homeowner, you know that building a house from scratch provides a better canvas and foundation to create a better one.
The canvas for Gloria Zara and her husband’s new house was built on the same ground where their old home used to be—and for a good reason. “I trusted my son’s recommendation on demolishing the house and building it from scratch,” she says. “We’ve been doing renovations and repairs for a lot of the areas of the house through the years, so we decided it was just better to build a house exactly as we wanted.” Since the couple didn’t want to move too far from the place where they’ve spent entire decades of their lives in—”My friends and family are just here in the neighborhood,”—they decided to fashion it after their old house with a few modern touches. With help from Ennoble Designs, spearheaded by architect and industrial designer Eumir Siao, the Zara couple set out to create the bungalow of their dreams. Gloria’s first order of business was to have a small house, because after all, only she and her husband will stay there most of the time. Her son, who also served as her contractor, and Eumir both knew that this was a consideration that was up for discussion.
When they say small, you have to consider what is small to them,” Eumir recalls with a smile. During their meetings on the renovation inclusions, the designer recalls the wish lists Gloria had: a big kitchen, a breakfast nook for herself and her friends, a grand master bedroom, and a small sewing corner. Accommodating this means maximizing their old lot, something that the son felt was the right decision.
The result was a smooth collaboration barring a few tweaks to the design, which Eumir felt was necessary to deliver a modernized yet nostalgically familiar swansong of a home for the couple.
Up front is the cantilevered drop-off point, which Eumir considers one of his favorite areas. The smart use of a long six-meter overhang was a good way to provide shade to the entrance. This also kept the facade unobstructed and gave the house a 60s-style flair.
Coming through the large wooden doors, guests are welcomed into the spacious foyer. A slatted wall provides privacy for the big dining area while also ensuring a seamless open layout from the entrance. To the right is the family room where Gloria spends her afternoons watching television and conversing with friends. A narrow hallway runs parallel to the dining area, and opens into the spacious kitchen that she loves. “I love it even though I barely cook in it,” she says. This is because in the corner of the kitchen is the breakfast nook that she wished for.
Despite being in the corner, the breakfast nook is one of the refreshing spots of the house as it faces the pool outside thanks to two installed windows. “Every morning, I enjoy my coffee here my little nook,” says Gloria. “Whenever I have friends over, they love taking their time. I can feel that they really enjoy being here in this comfy house.” The spacious master bedroom is located on the other side of the house. Here, Eumir added an extra corner to mirror Gloria’s breakfast nook where she can read the newspaper or just admire the view outside. Her husband enjoys the room so much, Gloria shares that he almost never leaves the house. “After my husband reads the paper and eats breakfast, he’ll just stay in the master bedroom and tinker with his computer,” she says. “Our room has that resort feel that we wanted.”
Part of this airy, vacation house feel may be due to the landscape in their backyard. What used to be a space filled with mango and chico trees has been transformed into a low-maintenance garden. The small pool situated in the middle of the area is almost never used, but the husband felt that it was a necessary addition. “I actually didn’t want a pool, but my husband told me, what would a resort be without a pool?” laughs Gloria.
The homeowner admits that some aspects of the house were little luxuries that they just wanted to have. Smaller fixtures like the lights in the kitchen and out side the house were of quality brands that even their contractor son had wondered if they were necessary. But for Gloria, it was the kind of luxury that was all about quality. “We opted to pick out quality fixtures, accessories, and furniture because now, it feels like I’m staying in a high-end hotel. I get to appreciate all of these things,” says Gloria.
“My children and grandchildren can use it in the future, and we made sure that these quality brands have warranty!” Indeed, her design team made provisions for future extensions. While the current bungalow design is suited for their needs, Gloria’s sewing shop is structurally prepared for potential second floor extensions. “My thought was simple: how would this house extend their lives?” says Eumir about the project’s overall design process and thrust. “I consider this their swansong—they’ve lived their lives in simplicity for the longest time, dedicating themselves for the future of their children and grandchildren. Now, it’s their time to enjoy this.”