Women's Livelihood Org Office (Design Project Reveal)

Lets take a breather from all the Tiny House shenanigans. I wanna talk about it so bad that I'm hoping that all the talking will magically finish the house and we can finally enjoy it. But no, it's not yet done, progress going slowly but continuously. I'll give you an update when significant changes are already done. As of today, we have stairs steps, electrical on loft and 3rd level, installing interior walls, etc) but in two weeks maybe it will look a little more there. The bf and I actually have this what we call the 5 o'clock habit. Once all the workers left, we'll go to the tiny house and just hang in there, talk about design options, or just imagine the possibilities, and leave at about 6:30 pm when it's already dark. No electrical hook-up yet so no light! I always look forward to that moment. :) Okay, this is not a breather. Supposedly here to talk about this project I did and here I am going on and on about the tiny house. HAHA.. Okay here we go....

A little background story about this project. The client rented two spaces (2nd and 3rd floor unit) to be an eatery and office respectively. The office will be for I think a non-profit for ladies livelihood program. Since it entails a lot of meetings at different restaurant, they decided to just have a small resto to cater to them and outside clients as well. But halfway through the project, the plans changed and the resto is a no-go. They'll just use that for meetings. Meaning budget cuts! Hence the little bare but still pretty office set-up. :) Let me explain... 

The office is divided in two areas: office/conference and the seminar area. The office part have built-in L-desk and a table in the middle. The idea would be to have a glass table with turquoise (to match the main door) ornate base. And I'll have office chairs upholstered in fun pattern fabrics.

But because of the budget cut, we just moved a table and some chairs from the supposedly resto downstairs. It's actually a pretty set, but I feel it's too dark and formal for the space. But that's what we have, and I'm glad I chose some nice ornate chairs so at least it's still feminine. I just bought seat cushions and pillow to lighten it a bit and make it more office-friendly.

To visually separate the office area, I had this wallpaper installed. It's really pretty, it off sets the pink walls nicely. It's soft and girly without being too in-your face sweet, just like me. Haha.. No. Definitely not like me, I'm not girly AT ALL. 

The other side of the room is the seminar area. We bought 20 of the folding chairs to fill this space when needed. But I like it this way...so open and clean. Parang gallery! hehe.. The wall art through out the space are just cheap ones from Wilcon and Mandaue Foam. 

To keep the cost down, we kept the flooring as is, bare cement, and we didn't install any ceiling. I like it this way, a little bit industrial and the high ceiling made it feel more spacious. Definitely helpful when 20 or more people are gathered here for seminars and workshops.

I'm set on having pink walls, this is a ladies group office after all. But we needed to leave a wall white for projector purposes. To make it a little more interesting, we cut the pink walls diagonally instead of the traditional straight. Also note that yellow columns and beams! Again, it's a visual divider for the two areas, and it repeats the yellow found in the wallpaper. I think little details like those makes a space more fun.

The turquoise door that will supposedly match the table. Good thing some of the artwork have turquoise in them so it feels a little more cohesive. Loving that stripe yellow roman blinds. I always go for for patterned window treatment if the project calls for it. Since this space is mostly just white chairs, A little pattern here and there gives the space more life.

The idea really is to just create a space that's inspiring for those women who'll be having livelihood seminars here. That's the only request of the client. I really hope they enjoy this space. 

As for the 2nd floor resto turned meeting area, I didn't got the chance to photograph it since I left mid-chaos. The original concept is modern Filipino, so I wanted lots of wood, wrought iron lights, modern table with curvy chairs, some capiz detail, etc. But some of those didn't pushed through. Here's a progress shot. I'm so in love with that wood accent wall. I'm into diagonals these days. Haha...

Wall of inexpensive art. Just needed to fill the walls at minimal cost. I know these images are not very Filipino, but I bought these after I've learned that the resto is a no-go. Chose vintage looking prints to go with the interior.

I realized I haven't been posting about design projects lately. I don't know, my mind is so preoccupied with the Tiny House and I can't find the time to compose moodboard plans, progress updates, etc. (But yet I do find the time to watch TV. Ha!) But I have a few projects to share that are almost done that I'm really excited about! Hopefully, I can switch off the tv and write those posts! Haha.. But at least I won't bombard you with all Tiny house related post until I have something more significant to share --- INTERIORS!! Yessss.... that day that I've been dreaming about is very very near. We'll be choosing finishes for the house. Tiles, wall colors, light fixtures, bathroom/kitchen fixtures, doors, hardware, etc. Never have I been so excited to shop for those. Pinch me!

Looking Back and Looking Forward (2014-2015 Edition)

It's the first day of 2015, 7:28 am, and I'm here in front of the computer writing this post. Is it because I'm too dedicated to blogging? Ummm.. NO. Haha.. Based on the frequency of posts in here, that is not a possibility. I just feel like writing. I've watched a few episodes of Castle after a new year's drinking session with the family which ended at 4 by the way. Not yet ready to sleep, I did some reflecting on what did happen, and what I'd love to happen this year.

At dinner last night, I spoke with my cousin and she told me that she did a little thinking on her goals and plans for the new year. What she must do to achieve that goals, the next step if you will. Well, it got me thinking "I should do that too.." Haha. Okay, I don't need someone to tell me that, I have dreams and goals as well, but to have a clear vision and write your action plan is another thing. It will keep you going and motivated. But I haven't done that yet because I'm here blogging.. but the point is, it got me thinking. I will make sense soon, promise.

I just re-read my new years post from last year and wow, we've come a long long way! Didn't realized that this time last year, we're still thinking about doing container vans for our house, and that we're not yet set on doing it on the bf's family property. What I did know then was 2014 was the year we're building our house. I've had my mind set on it. We don't know how, or where exactly, but we'll do whatever it takes to do it that year. And we did! We're on the final stretch and hopefully first quarter of this year, we'll be done. Then we'll be living a new chapter in our lives, which is quite exciting. :)

Posted on instagram (@elleuydecor) last Dec 25. Envisioning the next Christmas! haha

No one knows what the future holds, but we can control some of it. I've blabbered a lot of times about how I came to having actual projects and living quite a dream of doing what I love. But it all started so simply. I was just blogging about our home renovations and personal DIYs then, and did freelance graphic designing professionally. The bf asked me, "what do you really want to do?" I know what I wanted but hesitated before answering.. "I want to design other people's home." But I thought it was a long shot since I'm not academically trained. The very next day, my cousin called me and asked me to help with her place. The rest, as they say, is history. Was it a coincidence? I don't know. Maybe the universe heard me and granted my wish. Maybe God is just waiting for me to say it out loud. But it worked out pretty well. I've also set my heart out for that house and we'll have it soon. I feel so blessed. My whole life, if I have set my heart to something, I usually get it. I sometimes joke that God is spoiling me. Hehe.. The point is, if you want something, claim it. Ask for it. Set your heart to it. Then do something about it. 

I'm not some life guru trying to imposed life lessons here, it's just what I did and it seemed to work. For 2015, I still don't know exactly what to ask for. Of course we have the typical "happiness, good health, success for everyone I love.." but I still don't have anything specific. That will be my assignment for today, and I do have a very beautiful planner for that. :) 

So yeah, that's how I will be spending the first day of 2015. Writing down plans, sleeping, and probably marking electrical outlets and switches on the Tiny House. This will be a great day. Happy New Year to all! Lets fill our life with gratitude, happiness, and positivity this 2015. 

Cheers! :)

The Tiny House Year-End Update: Interior!

"Interior" might be a stretch since it's still basically a shell, but we're done with all the outside walls, insulation are in place, and sub-floors are being installed. So yeah, we can now walk inside without fear of slipping in between studs. That is progress in our book!

But before we go inside, here's another view of the Tiny House from further out. See? It's really small so we built up. This was taken a few weeks ago so window / frame painting not yet done.

But here they are all painted. Our exterior color scheme are blue-white-black. Love how the white pops from the blue walls and black windows. And that's our yero walls up close. 

Okay, lets go inside (3rd and loft level first. No progress for the 1st and 2nd floor since they are technically part of the existing structure so we haven't done anything with them yet).

If you remember from my plans-for-the-house post, I included the existing and future floor plan. There's some changes along the way. We swapped the stairs orientation so the fridge/pantry area will be part of the whole kitchen. Oh also, don't mind the measurements, we extended the loft 2 feet out so we'll have more office space / less high-ceiling area. But really, the high-ceiling part is still quite big and I'm debating if we can go further out. But the floors are already in so we'll have to stick with it and just enjoy the airiness of the space.

Here I am awkwardly posing / standing in what will be the living / dining / kitchen area (3rd floor). As you can see, our wall insulation are already in place, and we're ready to install interior walls! That would be for next year but I AM ECSTATIC! Yes, I'm shouting!! Hahaha... Can't believe we're finally tackling the inside. 

Looking down (from the loft) at the living area. The 3rd level would be tightest squeeze for the entire house since it will serve so many purpose and function. But that's the space I'm most excited about. We already have a clear vision for what it will look like. Hello Navy walls.

Standing in the corner beside the future sofa, here's the view towards the other side. See how high the ceilings are? This is quite higher than originally planned because of the changes on roofing layout, which is a welcome change because the higher the better. It would make the space looks so much bigger.

These were taken just a while ago. They just finished installing subfloors on the loft level and we hurriedly went up right after. With a measuring tape in hand, we tried to visualize and layout how our office will look like. Haha... and....Floors!!

We have a lot of big windows for natural light / ventilation through out the day. It's really bright in here. Of course all the reflective insulation helps, and I'm sure navy walls would darken the area a bit, but still, lots of light!! And no, we still don't know how we would close/open THAT window, but we'll come up with a plan. Haha

Here's me, again with the awkward pose, showing the scale of the house. It actually looks big because of how high it is! But the length is about 7 meters and width 3.5 meters.

Front all painted. We're ready to lose all that scaffolding, and it will be taken down after they're done installing the glass for all the windows and some exterior finishing touches.

 Next year, we're officially starting on doing the interiors! Electrical, plumbing, walls, kitchen, bathrooms, tiles, paint, furnishing, and we're done! Ha! That's still few months to go but I say this is a great start for the new year. :)

And here's two awkward people, future tiny house dwellers, greeting you all a Merry Christmas!! 

Choosing the Simple Life

As a kid, I remember daydreaming about moving to a brand new house. The parents would tell us that we're going to the mall, but instead surprise us and bring us to the new house. I will then run around, choose my very own room, which I will probably deck out in pink everything. That is the dream back then.

As an adult, I've heard a lot of people saying.. "I want a big house" "I want this.. I want that.." which is quite normal as we live in a world where it's difficult to be contented. But I, for one, never wanted a big house. Yes, I want my own place, but never did I dream about living in a mansion. Even if I have all the money in the world, I won't choose to go that route. I don't know, maybe I'm just simple like that. Or maybe I'm just lazy to keep that place clean. Or maybe I wanted to actually see the people I live with. We all have our reasons for wanting this and that, and I'm just thankful that having the big house isn't my dream.

Now that I know more(?) about how this life of ours work, I realized that for me, living simply is the way to live. That big house is harder for upkeep, expensive to maintain, and if you're not really rich and have that in mortgage, you'll have to work very long hours that you'll barely spend time in that said big house. I'm not saying doing that is wrong, if that is your dream then go for it. If that will make you happy then I'm sure it will be worth it. But I choose the other way.

I wanted our house to work for me, not the other way around. When the bf and I was talking about our future house, we've discussed a few options. Purchase an old house and have it renovated? Purchase a lot and build a new house? With these options, we'll definitely have to loan. We have some savings but not enough for those, especially that we wanted to live near our families where property is expensive. We calculated and recalculated how much we wanted to pay for monthly mortgage, and with cost of purchasing a lot or an old house, it is quite huge, more than what we wanted to shell out in a monthly basis in the next 10-20 years of our life. Can we afford to pay that monthly mortgage? Sure. But it means we'll be slaving for a lot of years, plus life is so unpredictable so it's quite a scary route. (Which I know a lot of you are doing so I salute you for your bravery!)

That is why we ultimately decided to build on their family lot. Hence the Tiny House. We wanted to build the house using only our savings, and not all of it. That's why we're doing our best to save on this house to have some more left once the house is all done. We choose to live simply and on what we can afford. We're happy to have the tiny house as it means we'll have a house debt-free, and we can upgrade / prettify/ decorate the house to our heart's content and still not spend so much as it is really small. Few pieces of furniture and we're all done. Haha. Tiny house means smaller utility bills, less space to upkeep and maintain. Tiny house means that we're more careful in what we bring in as we don't have enough space to keep all the clutter. It means that we're more free to enjoy what life has to offer. Instead of paying mortgage, maybe we can travel. Or eat out more. Or save. I don't know, I just feel like by living simpler, you'll have more freedom.

Of course, having a tiny house has its downside. No extra room, no backyard, smaller sofa.. haha.. but I'll take that. I've mentioned that hopefully, it's not our forever home. It has a lot of stairs and the "elder" me is screaming no. haha.. But we'll just save up for that forever home while enjoying this tiny house. And no, it will still not be big. A small house with a backyard and fresh air is the dream. :)

More and more people are choosing this life now. There's even a Tiny House Movement, which puts our tiny house to shame. Those houses are literally tiny, even I can't live in one. But the main concept is living simply, living within your means, having more time and freedom to do what you love instead of slaving to pay debt, and saving up for your future/retirement.  It sounds like a more relaxed way to live. 

I know a lot of people doesn't have the luxury to build a house on their family lot, so I'm so thankful to the bf's family for their generosity. Like seriously, with all the mess that's going on with the renovation, no complaints whatsoever. Thank you! If you don't have that option, just live within your means, get a house within your means. Don't over do it. I've read a lot of stories where people regret buying their "dream" home. It put them in huge debt and stress, and when they were forced to leave, they had no choice but to live simpler lives. And they are much happier.

So I've been babbling here like some know it all, truth be told, I know nothing. I don't have life's great experiences to actually tell you the right way to live, this is just my humble observation and the path I'd like to continue on. Maybe I'm just saying all this to rationalized the tiny house, or maybe I actually have a point? But whatever life you're living right now, just be happy. Don't worry, be happy. Here's a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don't worry, be happy. 

The Tiny House in 4 months: We have exterior walls and roof! Plus our building/construction set-up

In my mind before we started this whole house ordeal, we'll have twinkly colorful tree in the corner of our new living room, and we'll be sipping hot tea on cold nights staring at that said tree in that said new living room by Christmas time. WHO AM I KIDDING?? Haha! It's merely 19 days before Christmas and we are NOWHERE near completion.

We have big progress on the exterior which you'll see in a while, but interior is still nothing but a big pile of mess. So here's some update on what went on in the Tiny House.

This was taken at 2.5 month mark. Columns / beams were up, and some floor wood beams installed.

This was taken about a week ago. Most of the steel frames and windows installed!
The house looks like a mess from the front, and it's quite hard to photograph and capture the progress from the garage, so here's a better view.

Here's where I left you on the 3 month update...

And this where we're at at 4 months! Roofing complete, air vents installed, window frames are there, and they started on the exterior walls! It's really exciting to see the house take shape, however long it's taking. hehe

Oh and I discovered a new photo angle for the house. Just a week ago, I never crossed the imaginary line towards the neighbor's roof. As you can see in the lot layout here, this is in a compound, so we share a garage with the neighbors, hence the one big long roof situation. But I very carefully and quietly walk out to their roof to see the tiny house in a new angle, and it was glorious! haha...

I can see both walls! They we're just starting on the exterior walls...

Here's when they completed the front wall...

And this was taken a while ago, front and one side almost complete! They're halfway done on the back wall but there's no way I'll jump on the roof of the other house so no, I won't be able to share that here. Haha

Cute right? Metal walls and all? Right? Say it is!! I was originally planning on using just white for the exterior walls, because well, less heat absorption. But while the bf and I are ordering the corrugated long span, we looked at their color swatch and was immediately drawn to this color --a deep blue with a hint of green in it. It took us a few seconds to decide to just go for it. 

The other side of the house is mostly covered in trees, so no problem with heat on that. The front and back doesn't get direct sunlight so we're not worried with that either. Our only concern is this big wall, which we'll just double the insulation and cross our fingers. Haha..  We put plenty of windows, and a lot of awning window on the topmost part of the house to provide ventilation and release some heat so I'm hoping for the best.

The roof is of course, white, and we're painting the window frames white as well, and the windows itself black. I think it will be cute. After all the exterior works, we'll have the roof of the main house repainted, since we've used that as "storage" and it got some beating. For that, we'll paint it green to mimic grass. Haha..  

The house looks almost done in those previous photos, but don't be fooled, here's the interior as of today.
NOTHING. Another storage. But oh, those windows we scored from a demolition guy, and I'll share all our different array of windows on another post. We have aluminum, white pvc, laminated pvc, analoc, and steel casement! They all don't match and we like it that way. Because it's waaay cheaper, and we're weird like that.

Another interior shot, if you can call this that.
That small room there would be the powder room on the third floor. And those are the trees that would help cool this house a lot.

So that's where we're at on the Tiny House in four very long months. And we have a few more to go before we can call it done. If you've had your house built, or know the process, you'll know that our progress is very very slow. People can build a big house from ground up in that span of time. I know, I've seen it. We have neighbors that's building WAY faster than this.

It's because of the building / construction set up we've chosen.
I've been so open about wanting to build this house in the least cost possible (don't we all?). I've asked several contractors to give me a quote for this type of build -- just the structure, no doors, no windows, no tiles, no fixtures, just the basics-- it ranges from 1 - 1.3M. I think it's reasonable, but we want it way lower. I know that adding all the finishes would add up to the cost and everything might go over 1.6m. Still not big for a house, but we wanted to have some savings left after all this, and besides, it will hopefully not be our forever home. (Can't imagine climbing all that stairs when we're older! haha)

So I spoke with my contractor, the one I'm using for many of my projects, and asked him if he could help us out. First, I trust him. Second, I trust his people. Basically, he lends me some of his people and we pay them directly. We pay on a weekly basis, and we also do all of the purchasing of materials for the house. So we're basically the contractor for this project. This way, we have control on which materials to purchase, source the cheapest option, and lower the cost. So that's why it's taking this long since we can't get as many people to work on the house. Only 4-5 people work on the house everyday, and sometimes it's even down to 3. haha... But I'll take that and just be patient. Some people are concerned about this set-up because workers are known to stall if paid on a daily basis (arawan), but we're mostly here to oversee their work, so that's not an issue.

As of the moment, we're at 670k Php cost total. Not bad. Of course, we have a lot more to purchase for the interior. Hardiflex for the walls, outlets, switches, tiles, fixtures, wood for cabinetries, etc. But we're hoping and praying to keep the cost to 1M Php. FINGERS CROSSED. 

I'm sorry as this might not be helpful to some of you who's building your house, I just have this privileges because of my working relationship with my contractor. But for some savings, you can ask for a quote for labor only and source the materials yourself. But you need to be on top of things and have those things delivered as needed.  The labor quote might go up if they have to sit and wait for the materials. And for the sake of honesty, this is not how I work on my projects. Hehe.. I of course can't build you a house for 1m. I worry that my openness about the Tiny House cost would give false expectations for potential clients about cost in the real world. :) Basically, Tiny house = fantasy world. Haha.. But really, we're doing hard labor for this house sourcing cheapest materials, second hand windows, reusing old doors, and I just hauled a lot of flooring, kitchen cabinets, sinks, and bathroom fixtures from my cousin's new condo which she's renovating. I got all those things for free, just paid for the trucking, which will give us huge savings for sure. So if you're willing to put up the hard work, I'm sure you can save a lot too.

So that's what we're doing for the Tiny House, and as we see it nearing it's completion, we're getting more antsy and impatient. We're almost there, getting there. But still a long way to go. I just keep  telling myself, we'll eventually be done. I'm just hoping we can get to celebrate the bf's birthday inside that hopefully finished house on March. Maybe we can put up a twinkly tree for that? ;)

For my sanity's sake, I just look at these.



Hub Stylebreaker: A Happy Update

I've shared a moodboard and a little snippet about this place a while back, but haven't given you a proper update yet. Well, it's because I haven't been there in a while! This isn't really a client project, but rather me just helping my cousin out in renovating her new place. Full disclosure: I didn't actually decorate the space, I just helped her pick paint colors, tiles, wallpaper, draperies, bathroom fixtures, closet layout and the like. Also gave her the moodboard and some furniture pegs, but she did all the furniture shopping on her own.

She went to Heima for a lot of her furniture and her place is looking really pretty! She and Heima blogged about the space so I get to have a peek, and I'm sharing with you some of their photos here. Should definitely visit soon!

Her stripe pink office

Pillows galore. 

Dining nook

Old photo of her mom.  Pretty!

This maybe the first thing we bought for the place-- the living room curtain fabric. I remember sending her photos of different fabric options while out shopping and finally hauling all that yardage over to her not yet renovated place. But finally, it's here, installed, and looking so virbrant.

I shared this on instagram a while back, the empty living room with that neon pink window frame! Very brave girl. 

This is obviously an old photo during the renovation, I'm sure it's much cleaner now. Haha.. I just love how we did the floor tiles in the kitchen. We wanted a tile with a pattern but we can't find the perfect one, so instead, I bought a black and off-white square tiles and had it cut and installed in a diagonal stripes. Striking right? :) Should take proper photo on my visit.

She's not done decorating her space yet, frames and artwork waiting to be hang, and I'm sure she'll get more stuff for her space. When it's done, I'll definitely share it here.

I'm a little bit envious that her place is all done and move-in ready while ours is still basically a shell of a house. Hehe.. But she's been renovating for a lot longer so I should learn to have her patience. She got to this point, we'll get there too! ;)

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