For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11
Restoration is the best word to summarize what we went through in 2010. Our previous home was a single-storey house where we recreated the rustic ambience and the provincial charm we experienced from our trips to the countryside. We lived in that house for five years until a horrific storm destroyed it 2009.
It was January of this year when we started moving into a two-storey house with the hope and the determination to bring back the home that reflects what we love -art and travel. As a year-ender, we would like to welcome everyone to our restored TOF Home.
One of our guests exclaimed hindi naman kayo mahilig sa kahoy… upon entering the warm, orange garage-turned-foyer. The intentional pun was brought up because of the old guijo and narra garden set that served as an informal receiving area. On one side of the foyer is an arte español wrought iron set, which I took from my parents’ home in Quezon City.
Up on one wall are relleves and sculptures carved with religious images we got from woodcarving towns of Bohol, Betis, Pakil, and Paete. One of it was fashioned from a piece of old wood, salvaged from the 18th century church in Paete when it went through a renovation. Our guest continues to comment upon seeing these old pieces around buti hindi ka nagasawa ng matanda… ang hilig nyo sa luma…
It was my exposure to antiques and art as a child that inspired me to forgo the contemporary, high-tech, minimalist design and instead celebrate the warmth and familiar embrace felt in wood and the vintage. Anne also shares this taste in design. Hence, our home is very much a product of our self-trained eye.
But rather than seeing it as a statement to man’s insatiable wants and materialistic nature, the objects found in our house are parts of a big conversation piece. The assortment of objects and artworks throughout the house recall the exciting and memorable travels we had.
Take for instance the 1920s platera in the living room, we got that together with the 1940s round side table from one of the old houses in San Miguel, Bulacan. The santos on top of the side table were from Betis and Bacolor Pampanga. While in Cebu, we fell in love with a molave armchair from Bohol which we were told were massed produced in the 1900. Off course they are considered rare today.
The different shades of wooden furniture compliments the vibrant paintings in the ground floor living area. Dominic Rubio is our anchor artist. We got acquainted with his works when we met him in his hometown in Paete, Laguna. It was also in Paete where we acquired sculptures from the studios of Luis Ac-ac and Glenn Cagandahan.
Our favorite furniture is the dining table. For aesthetic reasons, its single slab tanguile top and yakal legs complete the raw and native feel. For sentimental reasons, it’s the first furniture we purchased as a couple. The Batibot chairs were from Bulacan while the four pre-war chairs were shipped from Cebu to Manila. The china cabinet topped with vintage bottle including a Dama Juana was from Anne’s aunt in Malolos.
We started collecting art when we began meeting the artists, usually during our travels. These vibrant pieces not only decorate our walls but also tells the story how friendships develop between the artist and the collector.
Art by Jovan Benito, Jose Yap-Baguio, and Odette Cagandahan hang by the wall in the stairway. A series of woodcarvings showing the facades of Bahay-na-Tisa and churches of Pakil and Paete line the same wall. An Art Nouveau frame from the 1930s hangs at the end of the stairway.
Turning right from the stairs is the first bedroom. Painted in the same shade of yellow as most of the house, the laid-back feel of a rural home is extended in Joaquin’s bedroom. The calado panel by the window was recovered from a demolished ancestral house in Pila Laguna. The chair with carabao bone inlay is from Baliwag Bulacan.
This room has one of the paintings from the Harana series by Joseph Bañez. The painting of traditional musikeros leaning against the window is by Eric Mercado, which we got from Art19B in Cubao. To make his room fun and youthful, Joaquin fills it with toys, mostly Hotwheels and toy trucks and he also puts up on the walls his latest drawings and paintings.
Our favorite part of the house is the our bedroom because it’s the biggest room in the house. Its large window not only lets in a lot of natural light, it also overlooks the vacant lot in front of our house, which has lots of trees. In the morning and mid-afternoon, we would hear different birdcalls and twitters from the mini-forest.
The master bedroom has a curious mix of furniture and décor. Narra round table with matching armchairs are set by the window for sightseeing, sometimes we have our breakfast there. Mismatch bedside tables are arranged around the bed along with an antique comoda from Vigan.
Dominating the room is a bed copied from one of the casitas in Casa San Pablo but this one is incredibly heavy. It took four people to bring it up to the bedroom. Hanging above the molave and kamagong headboard frame, are Rubio paintings of a señor and a señora.
Disasters are reminders of how transitory existence can be, one day everything here will be gone, only to be restored in another house, in another place. What’s important is to live in hope. For us, we held on to what has been written in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
With all that we have been through, our restored TOF home exceeds our expectations. Thank you Lord. Thank you Jesus.