Modern-Mexican house: kaya ba talaga?

When I was just starting out with house plans and design, I was hopping between two extremes:  modern-minimalist (“less is more”) and warm-lived in (“more is more” aka Mexican).  I like clean, simple lines, but also the coziness and freeing energy of color.

For the exterior, I knew I had no choice but to follow the modern theme of Nuvali, but inside the house was a different story.

I said out loud last year that I would make modern and Mexican go together, and here I am, one month away from house completion and the question I’m asking is: kaya ba talaga?  

My brother echoed a concern last night that, admittedly, I’m also beginning to feel: what if the house ends up looking chop suey?

Here’s a moodboard of the facade, actual photo on the upper left.

My Nuvali Home Jan2012 (2)

The house will have the roof on the upper right (as per Avida DOR requirement).  Decided to go with white and gray for the walls and stoneworks, with wooden accents.  Will have the steps, grass and striped carport.  Have yet to finalize fencing for the sides, but I’m liking the wood (or wooden finish).

Looking at it now, I’m getting a rigid (matigas) vibe, but don’t know if the roof will soften it enough.  Plan for the front door is to have a curved etching, shaped like an 8 (for the lemniscate).  Wild idea: what if I cut a wave across the front lawn instead of using linear steps?  Also playing around with the idea of using boulders on the lawn to soften up the facade.


First step inside the house will be greeted by these:

Tiles (1)

We did color testing for the walls, decided on yellow (I’ve always wanted a yellow house!):

My Nuvali Home Jan2012 (1)

Will do tone on tone colors (going for multiple shades of the same color in a room, to create a crisp but rich texture) for the rest of the space, an idea I picked up from doing pinboards on pinterest.  Did a quick review of boards I’ve already collected for inspiration, and was happy to see the power of visioning at work: I didn’t realize I already singled out yellow and green  for my wall moodboards a month ago!


For now, we’re thinking of using the green upstairs.

Source: via Johanna on Pinterest


Kitchen will have wooden cabinets and black counter top.  Island next to the cabinet will be extra wide and will serve as the dining table, with salvaged wood top finish similar to the living room accent wall below.

My Nuvali Home Construction Dec 2011 (21)

My Nuvali Home Construction Dec 2011 (19)

Accent wall in the living room will be made from layered salvaged wood similar to this:


The room in limbo now is the bathroom/powder room on the Ground Floor.

I’m still deciding whether going for a neutral bathroom is the way to work up a small space.

I went around different building depots to look for tiles, and apart from getting overwhelmed, most of the tiles I saw, considering price, were uninspiring, and at best, “okay”.

Here’s my ideal bathroom flooring, going for about P400/tile:

Tiles (80)

The practical equivalent is at P63.50 for one 45×45 tile:

Tiles (77)

…or this darker shade at P63.75/tile:

Tiles (66)

I asked my contractor for alternatives, and he suggested  Araal Slates (Philippine Teppei Stone) for flooring and walls.   Loved the idea, brought me back to Moon Garden, Tagaytay where I first encountered a stone-floored bathroom:

Very pretty, certainly achieves the indoor-outdoor look I want, but mom raised a valid concern: stones are not a joy to step on, especially when barefoot.

Went back to my bathroom pinboard, and remembered these pegs for the powder room:

Source: via Johanna on Pinterest

The powder room is small and has the same Asian-style shower (i.e. the whole bathroom gets wet when one uses the shower), so I can’t do a “dry” design, and not even a combination of wet-dry.

I really like the simplicity of this bathroom.

Source: via Johanna on Pinterest


I’ve seen araal shaped as tiles similar to the flooring  above, hope actual cost won’t be prohibitive.  Can also picture this bathroom with the red sink I already bought in Binondo:

Binondo Shopping for Fixtures and Lighting (4)


The living room sliding doors open to extended lanais on both sides.

My Nuvali Home Construction Dec 2011 (9)

Plan was to leave wider edges of the floor concrete-free for plants, but decided to go with container gardening instead and experiment with vertical wall gardens later on.

A friend suggested that I pave the whole area completely, instead of leaving strips for grass.  He said the upkeep will take its toll and he’s seen one too many surfaces like this eventually covered up for practical reasons.

A workaround we thought of, in case the grass does prove tiresome to maintain, is to use pebbles in between the concrete.  That way we get to maintain the soft, permeable feel of the lanai.

House Inspiration - Punta Fuego Dec 2011 (13)

So there it is, first floor review.  I think with plants and furniture, I’ll get to tie it all together.  Chop suey worry begone!

11 Replies to “Modern-Mexican house: kaya ba talaga?”

  1. Yeah, pebbles in between concrete will lessen the maintenance but keep the flooring a bit “soft”.  Same considerations as I have with my mini-lanai-to-be. 🙂

    Super-like your living room that has sliding doors on both sides.  Maximum air flow talaga ang concept.  (But not this time of the year — it’s super windy in Nuvali; most of the time, sarado na un pinto ko rin.  Hehe.  Not sure baka lang kasi I’m fronting a courtyard.)

    For the powder room, I suggest to keep it easy-to-clean.  I think you (will) have plenty of guests, so best to hide little spots through non-white tiles/rough edges.  I like to flooring of your bathroom pinboard.


    1. Got a lot of “keep it easy-to-clean” advice re the bathroom!  Went back to Wilcon and found tile alternatives already, surprise na lang sa final product, haha.

      Great to know windy sa Nuvali! It’s an ongoing debate whether we’ll need an aircon for the sala/kitchen, but I’m leaning towards no.  

      Tapos na ba lanai?  How big is your lot? 🙂

      1. Got an aircon, so far it’s been used thrice pa lang ata hehehe.  Maybe during the summer it will be more useful.

        Lanai not yet finished, still in the drawing board.  Still thinking of the design and materials to be used…Hopefully before March I’m done with lanai and landscape.  114 sqm un lot ko.

        1. 114sqm, Celena ka rin pala!  What renovations did you do? Share pics of your house if able. Would love to see it 🙂 

          Am still undecided re aircon for the GF, it defeats the purpose of having a green home that maximizes natural ventilation…but come summer time I also don’t want to look back with regret that I didn’t buy now, esp since there’s still an HSBC promo at Abenson’s, 36 months to pay at 0% interest until end of January.

          As for the lanai design, good luck!  Best to live in the space first, and get a feel of what works and what doesn’t.  I also plan to furnish slowly, and just prioritize fixed furniture first (like shelving, cabinets, etc).  I think the lanai is actually the most exciting part of the house– I really love the idea of indoor-outdoor rooms 🙂 

          1. Yeah, I’ve got a full montage of photos since Day 1 of construction until its “completion.”  Will share with you.  Or better, drop by sometime sa house; you’re just three blocks away from me.

            I agree, live in the space first.  That’s what I did.  My lanai+garden+garage is actually the second phase of construction.  At least I was able to study the sunrise/sunset, wind direction, Meralco posts/village trees, so I can carefully strategize how to best use the outdoors.

            My opinion is you may not need aircon for now.  Although, you can ask contractor to put “abang” already, like extra high-amperage convenience outlet for the aircon-to-be, as well as drainage.

  2. OMG Jo so exciting!! I love the idea of the salvaged wood for the accent wall. I’m daydreaming about our future house (hihi) and was thinking of something like that for an accent wall too. I want color on the walls kasi but I remembered my current house used to have ocher walls and it didn’t feel maaliwalas…now that it’s plain white, I feel more relaxed. So parang an accent wall is the best way to add interest instead of color. – Iggy

    1. Yellow ocher not a good idea? Really? That yellow on top is called ocher. 🙁

      But Iggy~~ Excited for you too! document it all if you can, esp this early. will be your bff!

    2. Yellow ocher not a good idea? Really? That yellow on top is called ocher. 🙁

      But Iggy~~ Excited for you too! document it all if you can, esp this early. will be your bff!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *