Design for Life: Ivy and Cynthia Almario on Creating Spaces and Finding Inspiration in the New Normal - Lifestyle Asia

“Where do you go when you can’t go far? You go inward.”

With over two decades working together, Ivy Almario considers herself fortunate to have found a compatible business partner in her sister. 

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“Working with Cynthia is joyful. We are both blessed with sunny personalities,” Ivy shares, adding they were raised on their mother’s dictum. “The glass is always half full, never half empty, so we always see the best and bright side of any situation.”

And so, when it comes to collaborating with clients to build their dream homes, the Almario sisters pair their positive outlooks with excellent listening and communication skills. These qualities are necessary since they create each project based on the specific needs of each client. 

Ivy and Cynthia Almario / Photo by Maru Inah Arguelles

“At the onset of the project, we interview our clients to find out how they live, how they interact with each other, what are their priorities, what are their non-negotiables, and we build from there,” Cynthia says. 

Exercising creativity

Many professionals in design industries may have struggled with finding inspiration during the pandemic. After all, the usual means of gaining creativity like leisurely travel and gleeful social events are paused. 

However, both sisters have kept their creative juices flowing by being disciplined toward their craft. 

“Where do you go when you can’t go far? You go inward,” shares Cynthia. She adds that when one cannot travel to a destination, your imagination can be utilized to immerse yourself in “constant discovery.”  

On the other hand, Ivy compares being in the creative field to being an athlete. “You always build your design muscles,” she says. The “fertile sources of inspiration” she lists down which are possible in quarantine are books, movies, the work of your peers, and even your own job sites.

The Almario sisters’ ability to remain creative despite quarantine restraints allows them to deliver the same thought-out designs they’ve been birthing since their Atelier began. 

In fact, Ivy shares that many of their past clients have called them up to thank them for building their most ideal homes. “They now have all the time in the world to enjoy and understand the [thought process and planning that went behind our visualization.],” she says. 

Ivy adds that for every project, Atelier Almario conceptualizes how their clients can experience the “maximum enjoyment” of their homes, and it’s how they allocate certain features in each space. 

Making spaces count

During an ongoing pandemic, their clients are more aware of the importance of previously neglected spaces.

Cynthia enumerates that mudrooms now serve as “decontamination zones,” more emphasis is given to home office furniture that looks “homey but also functional,” home fitness centers are a must, and creating spa-style bathrooms with soaking tubs, natural lights, and outdoor views have become essential. 

The sisters’ observations of how luxury has changed in the past year agree that comfort, health, and honoring yourself is now the pinnacle. 

“True luxury means having your own private space to enjoy. It’s not about square footage; it’s about making the square footage count for you,” Ivy notes. Since the pandemic had us being locked down for a long time, each of our homes need to be a cocoon for well-being, she explains. 

“Luxury for me now is spending quality time with my family,” Cynthia adds. “Being healthy is the ultimate luxury now. After all, being alive is the most important and desirable commodity of all.” 

The full story on Cynthia and Ivy Almario is in the October 2021 issue of Lifestyle Asia.

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