You Can Find This ‘Addams Family Mansion’ in Tagaytay!

Years spent designing this estate filled the space with the homeowner’s valued pieces


This home in Tagaytay can be mistaken as haunted and abandoned. The lush vines enveloped the weathered adobe façade, and there is even a rugged edifice. Neighbors even call it ‘Addams Family Mansion’ of the Philippines but more than its grim architecture, there is a warm and beautiful masterpiece within.

Paul Baes and Joel Salazar designed this extreme home that masterfully merges different styles from different periods. “You have the rest of your life to create beautiful homes, but you only have one chance to make that statement,” they said.

The house is sitting atop a rugged terrain. Initially, its owner wanted a small, simple cottage that could serve as his weekend home. Plans quickly changed when the designers were given free rein for both the architecture and interiors of this 200sqm dwelling. Bringing together Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles, the space can only be described as different.

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A blush pink sofa stands out against the old world feel of the living area. Landscape murals, painted ceilings, and a profusion of light fixtures and décor create a charming, nonchalant ambiance in the space


The homeowner, a painter who graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, is strongly inclined towards the arts, photography, and classical music. He enlisted the services of Paul and Joel as they had been friends for a long time.

Nothing was done on a whim or in a rush, as the designers wanted only the most perfect pieces for their friend and client. The house was built in 1996. Construction of the shell alone took two years and additional eight years for interiors to furnish and finish. “It’s a passion project. We wanted him to choose the pieces he actually liked instead of just rushing to fill up the place immediately,” Paul explains.  

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The kitchen is in a traditional European style that features dark wood island, stools, and cabinetry. On the left are two ionic columns that serve to delineate the spaces


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In the dining area is a grand wood table made of narra. The tableware are antiques, which the homeowner has collected and brought home from Europe over the years


To enter, visitors need to go up a flight of adobe steps. Once inside, there is already a glimpse of unusual interiors. There are heavy carvings, murals, and furnishings all came from both local and foreign artisans. These all made up a dizzying yet dazzling play of colors, patterns and styles.

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Reminiscent of English cottage gardens, the steps leading to the main door are filled with a profusion of plants. The vine-clad façade adds to the unusual character of this singular home


During the construction, Joel stayed in the house for two months to finish many murals and paintings. Detailed frescoes and carved stuccos are incorporated throughout the house. He recounted how hard it is to do because he had to paint first the murals on fabric stretched on hardwood frames before the workers can attach these to the walls and ceilings. After that, Joel would stand on scaffolding to further work on the finishing touches.

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Angels, cherubs, and other winged creatures are found throughout the house – sometimes used as decorative elements, other times used as finishing pieces


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The powder room is inspired by azulejo, or painted Portuguese tilework. The designers handpainted each one over the course of construction


The bedrooms and an entertainment area are located at the second level. Here, period elements are evident. The reddish brown color scheme lends a warm and rich appeal to the different spaces. Old world furniture pieces are scattered throughout the interiors, further enhancing the grand ambiance of the place. Plush seating in luxurious fabrics stands out against the walls and intricate structural elements.

To fill up the space courtesy of soaring 20ft ceilings, the design team put up an awe-inspiring chandelier with more than a hundred metal candlesticks. “After we put it together, we needed a whole group of people to pull it up because it was quite heavy,” Joel recalls. A narrow spiral staircase connects to the top floor where the attic is located. This space is created for the owner so that he can work on his art with privacy.

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Painted ceilings and walls add to the interesting feel of the spaces. Furniture and furnishings from different eras come together in a beautiful riot of colors, patterns, and forms


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Natural light illuminates this area, giving it an otherworldly feel that contrasts against the strong colors and details of its backdrop. The massive chandelier had to be hoisted up by a good number of workers because of its weight


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The wooden spiral staircase blends into the painted surfaces and polished wood floors in this area


Although this home may be different and quite grand, the designers can’t help but praise their client who made everything possible. They said that the homeowner is very down to earth and is really simple.

For the designers, the house is captivating because most of the items are far from usual. All of the furniture, antiques, and accessories are either customized or sourced locally and from different European countries.

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Located in the guest bedroom is a carved English bed frame created by one of the local artisans in Tagaytay. It is made of ipil wood, which is a hard wood in a deep red color


“I can say the concept is seamless from the first step a visitor will take from entry to attic. Though the styles inside are very different, the design is cohesive. It’s important for any structure to have its own soul and identity. Even if there are different elements, hindi chopsuey. Dapat may one unifying concept,” concludes Joel.

In the end, the pair perfectly captured the essence of different periods through skill, talent, and perseverance. The house may be more than 20 years old, but it will still be far from the usual for the years to come because of its soul.

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The attic, painted in cheerier colors but still given a weathered touch, contains a collection of old wood spindles. The space serves as the studio of the owner


This story first appeared on MyHome Inspiring Interiors Vol. 3, edits have been made for