A Modern Dream Home Built For A Family

Architect Paolo de Castro blended his modernist perspective with his young family’s unique needs.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s November 2023 Issue.

As a second-generation architect who has been in the build and sell business for some years, Paolo de Castro thought that building his own home would be a breeze. 

“Coming into the construction, I was excited because I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to enjoy this. I’m a professional who has designed and built homes many times, it’s practically run of the mill.’ But later on I realized that I was wrong!” he says laughing.

The exterior of Paolo de Castro and Michelle Robles-de Castro's home
The exterior of Paolo de Castro and Michelle Robles-de Castro’s home

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Paolo and his wife, Michelle “Mitch” Robles-de Castro, the daughter of Sta. Lucia big boss Exequiel Robles have been living in Makati with their children for some time before relocating to Quezon City so that Mitch can be closer to her family. They settled in the Robles’ old house in a gated village developed by Mitch’s dad himself.

With the permission from Mitch’s parents, the couple decided to build their dream home on the property’s garage. “My in-laws asked me, ‘Are you sure you want to live in the garage?’” Paolo recalls. “I told them that it’s a big garage, around 400-square meters.”

Gaetano Pesce’s Up Chair
The rounded edges of Gaetano Pesce’s Up Chair (also called La Mama Chair) soften the hard architectural lines. Its color echoes the stone wall cladding. More sculptures by Arturo Luz are set on top of a marble table made by Paolo with the help of his masons

The couple started work on their new home in late February of 2020. The excavation took all of two weeks, and as soon as the last truck pulled out of their property, Paolo got a notice from the village’s security guard, informing him of the start of the hard lockdown the following day. “They were suspending all construction work,” Paolo says.


In the weeks that followed, “the whole excavation fell apart,” according to Paolo. “We had trees falling in the middle of the night, we thought there was an earthquake.” But being locked down had an upside for the architect too. 

Dining space with all the furniture and lights by Kenneth Cobonpue
The architect created a special wall for the painting by Nestor Leynes, saying that “it’s the only art piece gifted to us by my mom, so it holds great sentimental value because it was always in our living room.” In contrast to the living area, Paolo chose to create a Filipino theme for the dining space with all the furniture and lights by Kenneth Cobonpue

On Facebook, he discovered so many suppliers, craftsmen, and importers he didn’t even know about. By watching channels that featured house tours, he was exposed to different design treatments. It also gave him and Mitch the time to reconsider the blueprint of their home. “For us, this is the house that the pandemic built,” Paolo says.

“On the fly, we added features that we hadn’t thought of, like the fish pond beneath the walkway by the entrance because it’s good Feng Shui to walk over water, apparently,” says Paolo. “We also added the roof deck garden and the outdoor jacuzzi.” 

Eero Aarnio’s Puppy guards the stairs leading to the second floor
Eero Aarnio’s Puppy guards the stairs leading to the second floor

The architect was also able to flex his design muscles, creating some of the furniture made from materials he found online, like the huge acacia slab.

“I found that wood slab online,” he says. “Then I didn’t know what to do with it, actually. So I thought, why don’t we just cut it and merge it with the quartzite kitchen island counter? These kinds of things, I wouldn’t normally do with my build and sell projects. But in building our family’s house, I had a chance to play around with materials.”

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia November 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos by Ed Simon of KLIQ, INC.

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