Stylemakers, trendsetting interiors, and beautiful must have home-furnishings. MyHome by BluPrint is a monthly webzine serving as the guide to decorating and designing a special home that adds more beauty to life. The Magazine has been around for several years and now it’s being empowered through an exciting collaboration. Now and then, renowned industry experts are invited as guest editors. For this issue, we teamed up with the leading creative direction of BluPrint’s Editor-in-Chief, Geewel Fuster.
When it comes to decorating, renovating, and entertaining people in style, the inside of a home isn’t the only place to think of. MyHome by BluPrint also shows how outdoor spaces are great house highlights that make a residence feel airy and more comfortable. In hindsight, the presence of these outdoor spaces or having access to areas that aren’t entirely full of man-made pieces has become an even more important aspect in living. These days, people appreciate the presence of nature more and prefer spending time outside the house rather than staying within cramped walls. An active lifestyle involved with nature, that is. One way to enjoy this certain lifestyle is to have areas like lanais in your home.
The lanai first appeared in 19th century Hawaii as an area for enjoying the beauty of natural surroundings without being bothered by bugs and other outdoor inconveniences. This private space attached to the house usually features one wall left open to the elements. Eventually, lanais began appearing in other warm areas like Florida and California.
All in all, having a lanai is similar to having a tropical home’s very own oasis during a hot but beautiful summer. For local actresses and sisters Yassi and Issa Pressman, their home embodies a healthy lifestyle with nature. It also serves as their personal gym and their own fabulous resort, where outdoor features like lanais and bigger open spaces go hand-in-hand with the indoor perks of a modern home.
Looking for the perfect home is never an easy task. It’s a huge investment, after all. For Yassi, she endlessly looked at several houses until she found the one that finally resonated. She saw the property where she now lives and somehow felt like this was it. Yassi confessed that funding was not yet fully secured that time. However, she saw it as a challenge and pushed her to work harder so she could achieve her dream home.
The quest to find the perfect team didn’t quite involve looking through the internet for these architects. For Yassi, she simply got on her motorbike and drove around the gated village until she finally stumbled upon a house with a beautiful exterior that seemed to call to her. Ringing the doorbell to inquire about the brains of the beautiful home design, the startled homeowner was delighted to share the number of their architect.
Jason and Anne Abustan, a husband and wife tandem of creative licensed architects, had their own thriving construction and landscaping business. Upon interviewing them, Yassi was delighted that they clicked. Soon enough, an exciting collaboration began.
Yassi and Issa claim that they already knew what they wanted in a home. All they needed was a team to work with. Not only should they be able to respond to the detailed brief, but would also be capable of taking the Pressman siblings’ vision to the next level. The main house didn’t allow much elbow room for dramatic changes. As expected, a renovation has the tendency to box ideas in. The empty lot next door was the blank canvas that afforded the team and the Pressman siblings a playful and imaginative collaboration.
Not surprisingly, the concept underwent several permutations before they finally settled on using the property as an outdoor pavilion. Jason’s ideas for one, were clever and had high impact on the approach to the site. Among his ideas is building a swimming pool lifted 1.5 meters from the ground. The heated pool features a jacuzzi, lap pool, and lounge pool. This linear pool gives the area a resort feeling for any visitors that may come in. The pool, located at the very end corner of the site, provides good privacy for anyone taking a dip. Lush tropical plants lined up around its edges also complement the area. The 1.5 meter lift design allowed dramatic steps to lead up to the space. It also provided a play on two levels for furniture placement.
The sisters readily agreed. This simple suggestion was the start of what turned out to be a very impactful outdoor living space.
Meanwhile, the perimeter fire wall served as a backwall. Siting the pavilion at a 30° degree angle from the focal wall was such an unexpected move that it was practically a magician’s move. The freedom of having the space to go up to two stories gave Ann and Jason the opportunity to have a soaring ceiling, almost five-meters high.
Ann selected a lush variety of tropical plants and trees, cleverly planted to set this jewel of a pavilion in. A glimpse of this pavilion from Yassi’s living room introduces the space’s contemporary lines. Set at an angle with its cut-away ceiling in one portion causes a stunning effect that catches onlookers off-guard, and reminds them of a stage. We can only imagine the fun Yassi and her friends have while using the space.
The in-sync landscaping meanwhile was another feature that further invigorates the space. Yassi for one fell in love with the landscaping done by Ann and said she remembered seeing a row of Haleconia’s drooping to create a natural arch somewhere in Bali and wanted that replicated. Ann readily obliged.
Accompanying lush tropical foliage is a beautiful Talisay tree that lorded over the rest of the landscape. According to Jason, the landscaping wasn’t simply for aesthetic. A drip pipe was actually buried next to the tree’s roots for a steady supply of water. The natural look also extends through a natural color palette of beige travertine, teak, and gray split face rock expertly used to segue to the main house. The various shades of green from the lush landscaping also compliments the colors and materiality.
A triangular roof with a steel wide flange fascia wrapped around the roof edges covers the pavilion. With its high ceiling finished with treated tanguile wood, the roof is then supported by a black slate wall. This is also covered with a wall climbing feature. A series of wide steps with varying lengths mimics what a natural stone step would look like. The pavilion’s flooring is raised to mitigate perennial flooding. Practicality aside, the raised flooring also emphasizes the pavilion’s role and importance as the focal point of this oasis-like home. As the gathering point for every social event, two lounge beds overlook the lawn.
Thanks to Yassi’s investment on high-end technology, the residence is also a smart home equipped by SmartAge technology. Aside from mood-lighting and a privacy setting care of Alexa, the bath tub area is also voice-activated. It also has an auto smoke glass enclosure system that diffuses when locked. Basically, the gas filament between the glass rises into a fog, obscuring outside view for total privacy. A simple voice command reverses the whole process and allows for the best and most relaxing in-home TyloHelo spa.
The house is defined by its sharp flat roof with the use of steel wide flange fascia to define its edges, a wide green lawn, a pool and steam room and a small gym with a billiard area. With an elegant use of wood, stone and steel features, the designers have created a modern tropical design interpretation of a recreational space for their client.
Entering the space, a covered billiard area and a gym will be the first to greet guests. A billiard table on the left and a fully customized METCON gym on the right complete with an AirBike, a custom-made rig, Squat Rack, adjustable free weights, full-cushioned matting, and a wall bar for home workouts. The columns and ceiling of this covered area is painted in black finish, making the space appear smaller and in turn gives an illusion of a bigger space outside of it. The black paint finish of its columns and ceiling also compliments the site and acts as the transition space from darkness to light, a portal leading to the main focal point of the area.
The facade wall in a charcoal grey split face stone was even cleverly turned into a rock climbing wall, with toe holds that perfectly matched the color of the stone. Cynthia and I marveled at the design. It’s a testimony to Yassi’s eye for detail and perfection. She sheepishly admitted that finding toe holds that weren’t in the usual primary red, green, and yellow was quite difficult. Furniture-wise, the Pressmans still didn’t hold back. Both sisters selected bespoke furniture especially made for them.
With their new residence, we can only conclude that Yassi Pressman indeed dreams without borders. We will be bold enough to add that she dreams in detail too. The endevaor to create this dream home involved Rizal-based architecture and design studio, Central District Design Group. With the firm’s expertise, they turned a vacant lot inundated by perennial flooding into a tropical pavilion. It has an open lawn that serves as a huge catch basin for rainwater, preventing flood from entering the house. Envisioned as an urban oasis, the main house and a pavilion surrounds its green space.
BluPrint’s MyHome Visits showcases inspired homes like this, allowing you to virtually venture through the stunning residence and be inspired yourself. To watch the full video of My Home Visits, click on the link
Notes About the Writers:
Ivy Almario, together with her sister Cynthia Almario, founded ATELIER ALMARIO. An interior design firm
that specializes in high end residential and condominium work, restaurants, hotels and other
commercial projects. They lived and worked in Los Angeles California for fifteen years, where they honed their craft and talent for designing high-end residences, hotels, restaurants and offices. Since returning to Manila, they have successfully built a practice that has earned them the respect and loyalty of very satisfied clients.
Sittings Editor GEEWEL FUSTER
Photography ED SIMON
Art Direction DIANNE FERNANDO
Video Producer FERRENA ENRIQUEZ
Shoot Coordination ERICA LUNA, MAE TALAID, and MJ ALMERO
Shot on location ANTIPOLO CITY