While there are indeed a lot of visual similarities, a closer inspection of both of these five-bedroom-homes would reveal how the personalities of the brothers would lead the finished projects into slightly different directions.
“There’s no place like home”, chanted Dorothy with earnest fervor, seemingly conferring the idea of one’s abode with magical powers. Such is the elemental draw of sanctuary, all at once comforting, nurturing, and necessary.
We often have two concepts when the talk of home ever comes up, that of the physical space we live in, and also of the people whose presence makes us feel at ease, people who “feel like home”.
This duality comes full circle as in the case of two brothers who chose to build their homes side by side. The resulting modernist marvels reflect not only their innate desires to create safe havens, but are likewise a testament to strong family ties.
The Dao residence was designed to be a home conducive for entertaining the homeowners’ friends and family, with warm tones of wood giving the home a welcoming feel.
Emerging in near mirror image form, both homes exude a quiet strength, their sleek facades rendered in basalt stone, concrete and wood. Amidst minimalist lines, geometric shapes jut out from the exterior, drawing the eye with a play on proportions not unlike the modern sculptures the owners collect.
Despite the intensity of its exteriors, there is a certain buoyancy present once one enters either home, as floor-to-ceiling windows allow an abundance of natural light to come through. High ceilings, an open-concept layout, and large spaces punctuated only by the most considered of pieces, allow the homes to breathe.
Designed by Architect Anthony Nazareno in close collaboration with the two homeowners, the project began in 2016 and was completed in the fall of 2019. Having been finished right before the lockdowns, both families were grateful for having a cozy place to call home, despite the challenges of the time. They share that their other siblings also live in the same area, so when they were offered adjacent lots, they immediately agreed and decided to build.
A TALE OF TWO HOMES
And while there are indeed a lot of visual similarities, a closer inspection of both of these five-bedroom-homes would reveal how the personalities of the brothers would lead the finished projects into slightly different directions.
The owner of the Creekside Residence, who is the older and more reserved brother, wanted a dwelling place that he and his family could retreat to, with an emphasis on privacy. The younger brother at the Dao Residence, on the other hand, is more gregarious and desired a more social space that would allow him to entertain.
According to Nazareno, this was most evident when he had to work on both the design and the layout of the den area. For the Creekside Residence, he created a cozy “Family Room” that was placed at the very edge of the house, a space one has to be seemingly invited to for access. On the other hand, Nazareno recalls, “in the Dao Residence,
the layout was planned around the accessibility and visibility of the “Entertainment Room”. This room is connected to most parts of the ground floor, as the client was particularly invested in the hospitality aspect of his house.”
The colors of the building materials chosen also reflect a bit of thisdichotomy. The Creekside Residence utilizes a sophisticated, almost monochromatic palette, with its dark walnut wood face and black marble staircase, contrasted by the stark freshness of its white walls. The older brother also has a penchant for photography, with a lot of his
black-and-white photos on display.
The more convivial of the brothers at the Dao Residence chose to finish his home with lighter and warmer colored woods, and to fill it with his pieces by contemporary artists like Andres Barrioquinto and
Ronald Ventura. He is especially keen on the colorful abstractions of Jigger Cruz, and shares how looking at them gives him a sense of joy. Such a strong affinity for creativity is likewise reflected in the way this
home’s hallways have paintings displayed and illuminated like an art gallery, for the family and guests to enjoy.
And while both brothers are avid collectors, the residents at Creekside are again drawn to a more subdued aesthetic. “Pieces that you see in my house are pieces that we enjoy looking at. We consciously try to
match them to the general vibe of the house – hushed and harmonious” he shares of their soft spot for abstract works and sculptures with clean lines and patterns. Pieces by Azor Pazcoguin, Brave Singh, Arturo Luz,
Gus Albor, Lana Matsuyama, Patty Eustaqiou, and more add interest to their home, without detracting from its soothing feel.
Incidentally, a creek that flows at the back of their residence addedanother relaxing element. Nazareno fully maximized this by placing both the Family Room and the Master Bedroom by this body of water, fortuitously allowing the auditory senses to be included in the design.
This love of serenity is perhaps also the reason why the more reserved of the brothers is drawn to the more communal family spaces, like the kitchen. “This is where we spend most of our time in the house. We also love the lanai because we love the outdoor feel, and have our meals outdoors whenever the weather is favorable,” he
GO WITH THE FLOW
Aside from aesthetic and lifestyle preferences, another thing that played a significant role in the final designs of the homes was feng shui, “We consulted a feng shui expert to help build our home [in a way that would be in] harmony to us, “declared one of the brothers. An ancient Chinese practice, the tenets of feng shui posit that the external environment can affect a person’s wellbeing through the proper or improper direction of “Qi” or the “universal current.”
Historically, it is believed that landscapes and bodies of water could affect this flow, which is perhaps why the literal translation of the word feng shui is “wind-water.” In modern times, this has translated into the practice of arranging
homes to maximize the attraction and movement of good energy, and goes into decisions related to house shape and direction, door and window placement, the layout of rooms, the placement of certain motifs, and a lot more.
For this project, one of the bigger considerations was that of pool orientation. “Both clients wanted a pool in their house, and feng shui dictated that the pools be situated almost next to each other, [creating] a mirrored C-shaped layout between the two houses,” narrates Nazareno. Viewed from the top, it was like there was a tranquil courtyard
in the middle of the two homes. “This allowed for us to plan for both houses to have a generous amount of windows for natural light from those courts. The pool area also acted as a buffer, and gave each homeowner a better sense of privacy,” notes Nazareno.
Thus, while the initial impetus was to honor the rules of feng shui, the resulting outcome was equally favorable in terms of architectural design, a win-win for Nazareno. In fact, he claims that even if clients don’t specifically subscribe to it, feng shui is actually a part of the standards of their office – Nazareno Guerrero Design Consultancy.
Nonetheless, one doesn’t need to get into the specifics of feng shui to appreciate a home with a good and auspicious flow. Aside from fulfilling the practical aspects of design, the spaces radiate with light streaming in, while wide spaces and soft accents add a certain lightheartedness to the homes. There is a clear synergy amongst all the aesthetic elements, allowing the residents to relax and retreat, or entertain, depending on their moods.
OF HARMONY AND HAPPY ENDINGS
The harmony of feng shui is perhaps also reflected in the affectionate relationship between the two brothers, who
consider it a blessing to be able to live side by side. One brother declares how happy he is to be able to have family so close, whilst still enjoying some privacy. This is echoed by his sibling, who considers it truly wonderful to have someone beside you who you can count on at any given time. Having successfully crafted sophisticated dream spaces with amazing creatives, in addition to being so close to the family, these brothers are surely enjoying the best of all worlds.
Photos by Dino Siopongco.