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! ;)

Tiny House Renovation: Three Months In (the House is growing!)

We foolishly thought that by Christmas this year, the tiny house will be done. In our defense, five months is quite a long time to renovate + build a house. But as I was told, building from scratch is easier than adding basically two extra floors to an existing structure, and our current labor set-up (coming up in another post) is not so typical so we've accepted the fact we'll most probably not be done by Christmas. Though that would be a great gift!

But things are moving along, which makes it harder to be patient since we can finally see the structure of the whole house, very near yet so very far... 

I left you with this image on the Two months progress post. (Week 8)

Week 10
At this time, they had completed all the formworks for the loft level and had started with pouring concrete. We did the concrete for this level manually instead of using ready-mix since we'll be needing a lot less and can't meet minimum requirement.

Week 12
Tada! Here's where we are at now. Look at this thing looking so much more like a house. After the concrete cured, they started working on metal framing for the roof and walls. 
Also, take note that I'm taking these photos from the roof of the main house so what you're seeing are the 3rd and loft level. Which makes this house incredibly narrow and tall (front view). Admittedly, this thing came out taller than what we imagined since we changed the roof design midway, adding two feet ceiling height for the loft. So we'll have 9 ft to 11 ft sloped loft ceiling. 

The other day, we toured the inside of the house. I'm absolutely terrified the whole time since we're walking and standing on open beams and seeing two floors down. But I have to suck it up since the workers are doing this day in and day out, plus I really wanna have a feel of how it is "inside."

Here's a shot of the loft level. See how high the ceiling will be? Ecstatic! I'll also put awning windows up there to release heat since this is the highest part of the house. I'm researching passive cooling strategys nowadays.. what happened to me?? haha

Still at the loft looking down. Instead of doing concrete slab floors, we opted for this method-- wood beams flooring for the third and loft level. We wanted the least weight possible for this structure.

Here on the third level. You can see a tiny sliver of the loft beam flooring above. I'm looking at what will be the stairs area. We also reused the old bedroom's aluminum window and placed it here. We will be reusing as much, and purchasing all windows second hand to save on cost! If we didn't, the windows alone would cost us 100k Php or more. Nope. 

Also, remember our building strategy? Here it is in the flesh. Concrete post and beams to connect to the existing structure and metal wall cladding for the exterior walls. Here's the steel frame work in which the wall clad will be connected to. (see above and below photo for reference)

And because I felt very proud on touring this skeleton of a house with no flooring, I have to pose for a photo! Should have a proof right? Haha

Next week we'll be adding more steel wall framework when all the (second hand) windows arrived. Also, roof! Next week, we'll finally have a roof. Hopefully in two weeks, we can install the exterior wall so that we can get to work inside. I'm so looking forward to that part.

And just to keep me motivated, I look at these....

Week 4

Week 12

What the what? A house has grown. We've covered the tall trees! And speaking of trees, I'm so happy about all the trees our neighbors have. I'll be having windows on that side to take advantage of the leafy view. We've come a long way, and we still have a long way to go, but I see progress and it makes me happy.

P.S. Showed these photos to my friends, and they told me it looks enormous. Well there's no point of reference here, but it really is not. It's around 7 meters long. If you check out Week 10 photo, you can see a guy on the lower right for proportion reference. Our house is not literally so tiny since we have a lot of levels, but we're basically sitting in 26sqm of land which makes it quite challenging. I'll share with you some REAL tiny houses on another post. Well, those are really impressive!

My Angkong

I've been sitting here thinking if I should write this post. I decided, yes, I really should. It would feel weird continuing without acknowledging and giving tribute to a great man we lost last week. We're all here because of him-- our lolo, our grandpa, our very dear Angkong.

He suffered a stroke and was in the ICU for two weeks before he passed on October 16. All of his children was by his side, and luckily, I was able to come too to say I love you and kiss him for the last time. It truly was heart-breaking. 

He was 92. Yes, he had lived a great full life. Yes, he was loved by all of us. But regardless of how full a life he lived, it still and will always be difficult to say goodbye.

As my brother said, Angkong had an ever jovial presence. He had this quirky smile, he's super groovy, and cool. He loves taking photos and videos of us during family gatherings. I was told that he would watch them from time to time, and I'm guessing he was pondering and celebrating the (BIG) family that he had created. 

Ama (grandma) told me they married young. They had to suddenly leave China one night, on a boat while bombs were literally dropping everywhere. They lived in Hong Kong for a few years, before finally settling in the Philippines because my Angkong's parents were here. They were supposed to celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary this year. My heart breaks for her. I know that the loss I'm feeling is nothing compared to hers. 

I don't know how he was as a dad, I've only known him as Angkong. But the love that his children have for him is immense that I'm sure that he's one great Papa. 

I'm thankful that they had managed to save photographs from the yesteryears, it allowed us a little glimpse of the life they had. The great life my Angkong had. I find comfort in knowing that he left us feeling so loved and appreciated.

I miss you dearly, Angkong. I love you. 

P.S. You see how handsome and pretty my grandparents are? No wonder we have such as good-looking clan. ;)

Updates: Tiny House and the Main House

This is where we're at a few days ago. I realized I've always taken progress shots from the roof (as seen here) but not much from this angle so here's the house's full frontal! haha

It doesn't look that much, but believe me, it is something! It may look too similar with how things were more than a month ago, but if you look a little closer, progress did happen.

1. See all those concrete columns and beams, they are fully cured. We now have structure in here. Not just formworks or such, but actual concrete structure connected to the original house. Yay!

2. We have the third level and loft floor beams in place. We'll leave them expose later on for that industrial bare no ceiling look. We're still contemplating if we'll paint them white, it will depend on how the wood will look, but I'm thinking leave them raw, and if we get tired of the look, we can paint them someday.

3. All levels are there! Yep, we're slowly pouring concrete for the loft level, it will be complete this coming week. Then on to roofing and walling. That is one very exciting progress. 

And since installing steel frames for the walls are on the next to-do list, we need to figure out the window situation. We decided to buy second hand windows to keep cost down.

We bought this!

2 pcs of 10x5 feet of steel casement window (left), and 2 pcs 4x5.5 feet, all for 10,000 Php. They are huge! I've had some quotes for brand new and it will cost us around 10-15k each. Thank you for second hand stuff. Haha.. See our window inspiration here. They will be installed on the front side of the house to let lots of sunlight in. Good things these are south facing windows so it won't get direct heat, but it will let a lot of light in. Win! Now if we can only find smaller windows for the other parts of the house. No way we're paying more for those small windows.

That's it for now for the Tiny House, we'll share as soon as steel framing went up for the walls, and when we hauled those big ass windows over our not so big location. Haha.. 


Aside from the Tiny House, the main house (bf's family house--see floor plan here) is getting some makeover too. We've made a lot of changes in there and will share that soon as we are nearing its completion, but for now, I'll share some progress.

The biggest change happened in the kitchen. They all love to cook, so this is number one priority. We removed a divider counter and upper cabinet and replace it with a more efficient island. You can see it peeking on the right photo below. 
I love natural wood, but their kitchen cabinets are not those kind. It's a a ply wood with reddish brown stain and an ultra gloss top coat. Plus, it had seen better days so we decided to freshen it up with some coat of paint. Took inspiration from their existing flooring in choosing paint colors. Also changed the grout color of the existing backsplash and counter from white to medium gray. Now you can see the vertical subway tile in here. Can't wait to show you the reveal of this kitchen! We had some aquas and yellows going on in there as well.

And just a little corner of the house...
A fresh coat paint can change everything. Do it! It's worth it. Haha

We'll get back for a detailed account on this makeover. 'Til then! Still have an episode of Grey's Anatomy to watch. :)

HO of the Day: Rustic Chic

It's 2:57 am and I want need to post something. Anything. It's just that the last post is so depressing and not inspiring at all so I want to move that down. But since it's already 2:57 2:58 am, I can't come up with a longer meatier post. Hence, this one. It's been quite a while since my last HO of the day so I hurriedly searched for something inspiring and pretty.

rustic chic, home office, gold dots, polka walls, wood beams, chevron rug

Well, hello there.

I was drawn to this room because of it's organic "handmade" feel to it. Love the fact that it can easily be replicated, and the playfulness of it all. The gold dots are cute, and I'm loving the random lighting situation. Aaaand, love those open ceiling! We're planning on having that same look on some areas of the tiny house. If it were me, I'd switch out the rug to some colorful kilim rug, coz well, I'm dreaming of having one so I'll put it in this imaginary room of mine. 

The bf and I will have a shared loft office so obviously, it can't be too girly, but we'll have each our side so maybe I can slip in some pink chair in there, and maybe some gold dots as well if I'm lucky? ;)

Goodbye Mario

Since the Habagat days, I've been hoping and praying that it would be the last. Well, that wouldn't be the case unless major urban planning or some sort of miracle happen. We've been seeing major road / plumbing works going on the past year so I thought, oooh no more flood. Well, there was flood. But I guess it worked (?!) 'coz it's not as bad as Ondoy and Habagat.

As usual, my brother got around to get some photos in the midst of panic-saving stuff and hauling them up our very small second floor. Priorities. Haha

These were taken maybe a foot short of the highest flood level. Better than Ondoy which almost reached our second floor, or habagat that was halfway there.

But as always, we're just thankful that everyone's fine. And it gave us an excuse to do some general cleaning and get rid of most of our crap. We have a LOT. Or they might argue that I have a lot. Fine, me, I admit it. How can I say no to a cheap solid wood table? Or a nice chair that just needed some scrubbing and new upholstery? Or that free china cabinet/sofas that I just need to pick-up? Not me apparently. So they lived a very neglected life in our garage, maybe they're all cursing me for leaving them to drown and not fulfill their purpose of being the magnificent chair? Ha. 


The main living area is bare empty and waiting for it's comeback. We'll be doing everything flood-proof this time. Nice(?) plastic chairs, solid wood sofa with removable cushions, maybe high shelves for storage just in case another flood come along. (hope not!!) Well that's the plan. 

I'm relieved that the tiny house is not in a flood-prone area *know on wood* but I hate having our family house experience this every couple of years. It's getting VERY old.

But, as they say, count your blessings. So cheers to life, and cheers to a hopefully flood-free (if miracle do exist) tomorrow!

P.S. Just in case you're wondering, those are my brothers doing the most important stuff during times like this. #flexingtheirbiceps #notthedrinking

P.P.S. I realized I didn't even mentioned "mario" in this post. For those not from the Philippines, that's what they named the typhoon. Farewell mario, never come back, you're not welcome here.

Tiny House Renovation: Two Months in

Before I get distracted and mindlessly type a long introduction paragraph for this post, I'll get this out of the way first. THIS HAPPENED LAST THURSDAY!!!
tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house

Yep, a very big cement mixer truck, backed up on the driveway, poured ready-mix cement on our make-shift container, and stayed there from 11am-4pm until we finished pouring cement for the first batch of posts and beams. YAY!

We've been eagerly waiting for that day to come. It's the day where our third floor addition will be officially part of the house. It will not just be formworks, nor steel bars poking out, it will be solid concrete connected to the original columns.

Originally, we're planning to have a pumpcrete directly pour to the posts/ beams, but upon inspection, it is too big of a job for our teeny construction. So, we did a line-up of I believe 18 people to pour the concrete (1 pail at a time, or 30. We have 30 pails!) from the front of the garage, to our end-unit apartment. 

Side note: a BIG BIG THANKS to my aunt and her family for gifting us the cement. It's their business, and they accommodated our very small order of 5 cubic meter. I can imagine they get orders a LOT MORE than that. They could have sent their truck to their big building projects, but no, they spared that day for us and didn't even ask for anything. THANK YOU AKOH!!! :) (I'm not even sure if she reads the blog, but heck, we really feel grateful so I'm spreading the positive vibe.)

So anyway, two months is where we're at. This is a different photo perspective from our one-month post, which is the facade. But you can't see much detail from there so I'm presenting to you, the roof-top perspective. 


This was almost a month in. As you can see the frames for the third floor addition was already in place. 
tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house


On week 6, the steel bars and forms for all the posts were all there. But no forms yet for the beams.

tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house


This is where we're at right now. They've already removed most of the plywood forms, and the concrete posts and beams are now visible. You have no idea how all those cement excites me. Like, it's another step closer to completion. A milestone if you may. For a long period of time, all I see were steel bars, cocolumbers, and plywoods. Now this.tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house

When we went up the roof the other day, I turned to the bf and said "Yuseff, semento o!" Like it's the most amazing thing I've seen. Haha... But really people, milestone!

And as it turned out, I've got another surprise today. We have floors! Well not really the floors itself of course, but the wood beams where we'll place the flooring for the loft. Look!
tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house

I seriously wanna go up there but I contained myself because of obvious reason. I can't, I physically can't. Haha.. I'm not the most flexible, athletic, fit person out there, so I better stay out of the way.

They installed the loft floors this soon since they'll be needing it to do the frames/ and forms for the next batch of post and beams for the loft level. This is a much smaller job than the first concrete pour, there's only a sliver of post and beam remaining on the to-do list. 
tiny house, renovation, construction, concrete, formwork, framework, roof, ready-mix cement, dream house

Some of you who are familiar with construction will probably find our progress a little on the slow side, and it really is. We have this neighbor who looks like they're constructing a very big building who's doing so much faster than us. One minute there's an old house, then the next minute there's an empty lot, and now there are about twenty huuuuge concrete columns in there. Fast! But they have about 30 people working night and day, so there's that. We have about 3-4 people working 8-5. I'll share all details on how we chose our contractor and what's our work/construction set-up on another post.  

But for now, WE HAVE CEMENT, that is all. 

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