In a ridiculously overcrowded city with soaring property values, and epic traffic jams, the condo has become the logical dwelling of choice for the urban Filipino. Because of the realities of urban living, and in particular, life in Metro Manila, people have been looking at condo living as a more permanent situation.

Recognizing this fact, ”Essentials of Condo Living”  the first edition of SM Home’s new design series will feature very small living spaces optimized and styled by up and coming professional designers, to demonstrate just how possible it is to turn even a small living space into a perfect home.

SM HOME’s Tom Castaneda

“In recent years, we’ve seen condo sizes shrink. And as they do, homeowners have to learn how to maximize their spaces, to live comfortably without feeling cooped up,” notes SM Home assistant vice president for marketing, Tom Castañeda at the media presentation of new condo interior setups on the ground concourse of the SM Makati store last September 12. “Since small condos demand creativity when it comes to optimizing space, SM Home has turned to design experts to help highlight ways to do that through a series of condo-like setups, as well as expert-led talks.”

“There’s no shortage of furniture, accessories and small appliances that are designed specifically for condo living,” shares Tom, “SM Home is filled with compact-yet-stylish and multifunctional pieces that are, what we call, condo perfect!”

Check out these event photos for more design inspirations (photos provided by SM HOME

For the Essentials of Condo Living setups, SM Home partnered with four talented architects and designers:

Maya Franco is an architect and the manager of her own design firm Maya Franco Design Group.  She is primarily Cebu based, but can and has done work all over the country.  Her firm’s projects have been featured in publications such as Real Living, Zee Quarterly, Space, and SunStar.

Maya Franco -Kitchen and Dining Room

Already a graduate of Ateneo de Manila, it wasn’t until she worked as a sales executive for Rockwell Land that Erika Uichanco discovered her passion for interior design.  From there she pursued her passion at the Philippine School of Interior Design, graduating in 2013.  She has worked steadily since then, and was one of Real Living Magazine’s “Creatives to Watch” in 2015.

In terms of experience, Ivy Crisostomo is the most senior of the designers tapped for this showcase with 20 years of work under her belt.  In those two decades she has done project management, design direction, and even financial administration.  A University of the Philippines graduate, Ivy has a special interest in interior lighting that she recently explored at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

James Razo’s flare for the dramatic is probably a result of the fact that apart from being an accomplished interior designer, he also does work on event styling and animation for multi-national brands.  James is the Managing Creative Director of his own design firm The Gold Team Design Hub / @TheGoldTeamPH, and a lecturer of the UP College of Interior Design.

The designers were divided into two teams. Each pair was tasked with creating individual living spaces, while working together to combine their assigned areas within the confines of a limited space, similar to what you’d find in a standard urban condominium. Maya Franco and Erika Uichanco were assigned the kitchen and dining room areas, while Ivy Crisostomo and James Razo were given the living room and bedroom spaces to design and style.  The designers were given free rein to select from SM Home’s full range of condo perfect items from shelves, beds, dividers, tables, and even appliances, storage bins and décor.

The setups were designed in the popular Scandi-chic style with touches of rustic-Luxe.  “Aside from being popular, Scandi-chic is considered to be more minimalist, which makes it a perfect choice for small spaces. The addition of rustic-luxe elements helps give the spaces a lived-in and relaxed vibe, something that can be lost in today’s smaller, low-ceilinged condos,” adds Tom.

Both highly styled setups feature novel and inventive ways to define each living area, while maintaining a cohesive look.  Erika and Maya break-up their kitchen and dining room designs with a divider that doubles as a shelving unit. To make the line between the two spaces that much more recognizable, they chose a bright teal (Tribal Teal) paint color for her dining room walls, and a dark green shade (Scout’s Honor) for the kitchen, both from Boysen’s Tradition palette, part of its Color Trends 2017 collection. And Maya has chosen to add a kitchen island to the space, which can easily be converted from a cooking area to a workspace.

“I love that in this very simple but tasteful design, Maya has broken condo interior rules that were once thought of as hard and fast, like never use dark colors predominantly in condo interiors. Her space may be deep green, but it really works in this tight space,” enthuses Tom. “And with condos, conventional wisdom tells us that less is more, but Maya has chosen a kitchen island to show that isn’t always the case. Overall, her design shows that even in a limited space, there really are infinite possibilities.”

Any condo, no matter how cramped, can be beautiful and functional, and you’d be surprised at how little you need to spend to make it that way with condo perfect items from SM Home.


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