August 3, 2020
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A continuation of our home tour series, we visit the condo unit of Miss World Philippines 2017, Laura Lehmann.

To the uninitiated, having a small space may be a hindrance to turning it into a beautiful home. However, Laura Lehmann never considered the scope of space as a constriction. In fact, she used that very feature and transformed her condo unit into a living space that fuses contemporary themes with traditional Filipino elements. With the addition of paintings and potted plants, the house carries a modern and refreshing mood that truly makes it a home for Laura.

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The ceiling fan cools the entire living area while the glass doors allow natural lighting and fresh air to stream in. These give off a refreshing mood to the home.
The mirrored cabinets and glass enclosures of the shower area offer illusions of a bigger space to the small bathroom.

Expanding the space

Condo units are generally small but Laura and her mom were hands-on in working this part out. Upon entering the home, one would notice how the left wall is covered in wide mirrors. “Mirrors are really good at creating the illusion that the spaces are bigger,” Laura explains. So, she had this incorporated in her living room and in her bathroom. For the latter, rather than having a shower curtain, there are glass enclosures to separate the shower area from the rest. There are also mirrored cabinets that store her skincare and bathroom essentials.

Initially, she wanted to separate the living room from the dining area. However, she chose to have an “open concept” instead. “If you’re sitting in the living room, you can also talk to the people in the dining room,” she says. This created a more spacious look to the house and allowed freer movement between areas.

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As reflected on the mirrored wall, the staircase has rattan textures on its storage spaces adding to the house’s traditional Filipino culture design.
The dining table is made out of a mango tree while the two blue seats add a pop of color to the otherwise warm-hued palette of the area.

The importance of customizing

A home would not be considered as such without the presence of the owner’s personal touch. Laura wanted it to be modern, but at the same time, incorporate traditional Filipino culture to the furnishings and decor. This can be seen in the rattan textures found in the stairway cabinets, the dining table made from a mango tree, and the cushions Laura bought from her good friend, Maggie Wilson who owns and manages Casa Consunji, now Acasa Manila.

For Laura, the most enjoyable part of the design process is “customizing the furniture… This was special because it made each piece feel very unique and tailored to our liking,” she says. Rather than purchasing a bulky shelf for her television set and landline phones, she had it customized. There is a slender wooden panel against the wall and there are two cubbyholes instead of one. The best part is how the flat-screen TV can be pulled out and panned to the left or right, depending on whether they are watching from the living or dining area.

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Artworks fill the entire house, making for interesting displays amid the pristine white walls.
The deck or the balcony makes for a great extra space for Laura’s pets to roam around.

Bringing in life

What sets a refreshing vibe to the house is the presence of vibrant paintings throughout the space and the plant-filled deck outside. The paintings have elements of Asian and Filipino culture like the one Laura bought from a garage sale of their Korean neighbor. “It felt authentic and fit perfectly into our space,” she says. Apart from having these artworks, Laura loved growing plants in her own home. In what she calls the deck or the balcony area, there are several potted plants and one of which is basil. “We were able to grow it even in a condo and it’s so useful because we literally use it to cook and also just to decorate our dishes,” she clarifies. There are also bougainvillea plants, its bright pink flowers add “a pop of color amidst the blur of buildings and traffic that we see from our view.”

LEFT: A portrait of one of Laura’s pet dogs, Macky. RIGHT: The customized TV shelf.

In designing the house, Laura and her mom were more concerned about their comfort. “The home was for us at the end of the day, and not for show. As long as we liked it and felt comfortable and productive and loved in it, that’s what’s important,” she says. While decorating is enjoyable, the ability to fuse an area’s function with one’s personal taste is important. Laura says one must “look for the right pieces, be dedicated, and work hard… in finding the right pieces for your home.” It is possible to have a perfect home as long as one is diligent in working on it.

Photos from Laura’s Instagram account and screencaps from her YouTube house tour video.

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