When Australian interior designer Simon Miles viewed the impulsive purchase of his partner, fashion designer Jun Escario, for the first time, he knew right away it would be an “all or nothing” proposition for them. The humble bungalow on Panglao’s Alona Beach had little going for it except its location. “We decided that our options were to either keep the house as it was and rent it out, or commit to a total renovation and extension.”
In the end, though, the location justified the effort—having a home in a quiet and secure cul de sac just a five minute walk away from Alona Beach was hard to resist. “Now that it’s done, we are glad that we decided to renovate,” says Simon. “All our neighbors are foreigners. It’s very multi-cultural and fun.”
The renovation involved the total gutting of the interior, until all that remained was the roof supported on concrete columns. The rear of the house was extended to create a large master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, while the rest of the house was reinvented with full height sliding glass doors installed to open the house to the garden.
The objective was to create space that allowed the inside to flow seamlessly into the outside, which gives the house a versatile look that can suit any occasion. The living room can be completely opened to the large covered terrace and swimming pool for big parties, or closed for more intimate gatherings.
The color palette is in restful shades of taupe, beige and steel blue, inspired by artwork by American artist Mi Fong, which Jun purchased in New York. These gentle colors are offset by the bold tones of deep fuchsia, teal and charcoal seen beyond the glass.
A large caterer-style kitchen opens directly to the terrace via bi-fold windows, making for easy serving of food and drinks. The L-shaped infinity lap pool runs beside the house, providing a mesmerizing vista.
“This was always intended to be a party house,” comments Jun.
The new master bedroom is integrated into the living space, until you slide a concealed floor-to-ceiling door closed. Then, the room becomes a private retreat complete with a sandy beach courtyard and an outdoor shower.
Unashamedly devoid of any superfluous objects, the minimalist master bedroom is Zen-inspired. Shoji screens slide to conceal closet space. Electrically operated window blinds disappear into ceiling recesses at the touch of a button. “It is very restful to sit in bed at night and watch the water of the pool shimmering,” Jun shares.
Simon recently acquired the next door neighbor’s home in order to expand their property—the house is currently being converted into a separate guest house so that friends can come and stay, while enjoying some privacy.
From its humble origins to reborn chic, this house reflects two talented designers’ styles coming together. Jun and Simon’s beach getaway is proving to be a wonderful escape form the hustle and bustle of busy Cebu City.
Photography by Artem Levy