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. 

This Sealed the Deal

As I've mentioned time and time again, lurking the interweb for beautiful interiors, inspiration, and ideas has been a normal day to day occurrence around here.When I'm doing nothing, I do it. Even when I'm doing something, I find myself getting distracted by it. So naturally, I see a LOT of images to inspire me, and this home tour from Apartment Therapy did just that. I rarely post exact tours from other website (alright, I rarely post. period.) But when I saw the navy dining room of this house, well, it sealed the deal, and here I am sharing. The third floor living, dining, kitchen area of the tiny house will be painted this exact shade of navy...
navy blue walls, navy blue dining room, eclectic interior, frame gallery

navy blue walls, navy blue dining room, eclectic interior, frame gallery

navy blue walls, navy blue dining room, eclectic interior, frame gallery

navy blue walls, navy blue dining room, eclectic interior, frame gallery

navy blue walls, navy blue dining room, eclectic interior, frame gallery

Dark, cozy, pairs well with wood, black, whites, metallics, actually, it will pair well with any other color there is. I'm itching to paint the tiny house!!! The only problem is there is still no walls to paint. Haha.. But, we already have concrete posts for the additional floor... Last thursday, we poured concrete. Yay! But for now, we'll keep this images in our mind, and soon enough, our walls will be this. Deal.

Tiny House: Building Options and the Chosen One

From the beginning of all this project dream home conception, even before we landed on the bf's family's property, I have thought of different approach on how to build a house. We definitely won't do the typical build as we have a budget and have a lot of "wants."


1) The first I thought of is your traditional concrete build and just keep everything bare and basic for the industrial look + save on cost by not using the typical finishes like ceiling, paint, flooring.

2) Then my contractor suggested Shipping containers. He renovated a home made of shipping containers here in qc so he knew it is possible. I did my research on it, and even visited the site, it looks promising.

(Check out: Living in a Metal Box)

3) But my very persistent brain thought, "Maybe we could do something cheaper?" Yep, after all the costing I did for shipping containers, it still is somewhat costly for all the modifications you need to do. Plus craning it to higher floors sounds terrifying in a home setting. Hehe... I have inquired about prefab houses and realized we can do that type of construction. Warehouse / factory do this a lot, so why not a residential build right? Just build a metal skeleton frame on a foundation, and clad it with rib-type longspan, insulate and build interior walls. Sounds doable. I've discussed my thought process in this post: New House Construction Idea: Hopefully Cheaper than Shipping Containers.

But even before all the plan progress, we got a hiccup on where to actually build a house! Discussed it all in this post, and in the end, project dream home will rise in the bf's family's property. :) Which of course, needed a new construction approach. It's 3.5 meters wide so we can't use shipping containers, plus I think it would be impossible to bring them in anyway since we're at the far end part of the property. The steel post/beam plus metal cladding will be tricky as well since there's an existing 2 story structure in it.

For a while, we were set on just doing the conventional build. Extend the existing posts and put additional beams using rebars / concrete and do chb walls. No solid concrete flooring, we'll install wood floors just like how all the houses in the compound were built.


BUT then again, even just based on this post alone, you would know that I want to have better options. So I consulted with our structural engineer if it's possible to....

1) Build the post and beam (additional level) using the conventional rebar + concrete so they are all properly connected to the existing structure.

2) But use steel bars + exterior metal wall cladding + insulation + interior walls for all the walling of the additional floor. 

Something like this, but instead of I-beam steel post, we'll have concrete.

So basically, it's the new construction idea of using metal wall clad but in combination of the concrete post / beam build. We will have concrete skeleton for the entire house, but for the additional floors, we'll have metal walls instead. 

WHY? I guess you're wondering why not go with chb walls then if we're doing concrete posts anyway. 

1) Even though the engineer told us that the existing foundation / post can carry the load of additional story, I still wanted the extension as light as possible. Less stress for the structure. 

2) It will be so much more convenient. We're building on a tight space so we actually have almost zero storage / work area. No space to store all the chb, and no space to mix all the concrete for the walls. (We're going with ready-mix concrete for the post / beams) It would also cut construction time significantly, installing the longspan would be easier and no more exterior painting necessary as we're going for pre-painted panels.

3) As for the cost, I have no idea if it's cheaper. Haha.. I think it is though overall. Even if the materials would cost the same, labor cost will be cheaper because it would take less time to install.

(Wow this post if full of numbered list! haha)

 I still can't vouch for the longevity of this approach. I just thought that if a metal roof can withstand the elements, then using those as walls could do the same right? Also with all the huge metal warehouses I saw standing strong, I think it would fare well in a tiny house. I think proper maintenance is key, as for all type of house construction anyway.

So is this the best option for everyone? Definitely not. But for us, for now, it is the best plan we have. We'll give you update over the years on how it will hold up, but I'm hoping for the best!

As for what's going on in the construction now, can't give you update just yet as there's nothing to say / show. Haha.. It still basically looks the same like the last time I showed you. All that happened does not translate to photo well as it is all about formwork / framework in preparation for the pouring of concrete for posts and beams happening this thursday! That is one big step as I'm tired of looking at rebars and cocolumbers. Haha.. But after the first pour, we'll have another one for the loft level, which means another round of formworks! This is taking too long.. haha.. But we got to do it properly so we've got to suck it up and be patient. 

Here are some photos I took the past few weeks. Not very nice, I know.

Hoping to share a better update and more progress soon after the first concrete pour. It's a very exciting time as it means that the extension will officially be part of the house. Yay!

Wish us luck.

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