Cebu Style is proud to present the first installment of Wa'y Blima!'s very own Cebu Cribs, with a visit to the Pages Residence. In case the reader has just emerged from a cave, the Pages dynasty includes Bunny Pages, the entrepreneur behind Thirsty? and other businesses, and his wife Allen, who runs Playhouse and the Bright Academy. (And the surname "Pages" is pronounced "pah-hess".)
As hard as it is to paint a true picture on a pixellated screen, Wa'y Blima! will try to render a portrayal of the interior design of the Pages home. We actually had the opportunity to visit the Pages home long before this web site came into existence. On that occasion, we were stunned by the degree of perfection attained in the interior of the Pages home, and came close to dropping attache case, cellphone, and car keys on the highly polished Pages floor. It was like walking into the pages of Tropical Living.
Wa'y Blima! has had its eye on the Pages Residence ever since, and when the Cebu Style project was launched, the Pages home became the obvious target for the first issue. Luckily, being the consummate gentleman that he is, Bunny Pages consented to having his house invaded by camera-toting Wa'y Blima! staff.
From the outside, the Pages house isn't spectacular. Located as it is in an exclusive subdivision in Banilad, one might be forgiven for driving by without noticing anything. It is when you step past the front door into the foyer that you experience a wave of aesthetic delight. All elements in the sala work together flawlessly - flawlessly - to create a beautifully balanced symphony. The thing about the Pages Residence is that everything fits. Not a single thing is out of place. And despite the large number of decorative elements, the space doesn't feel crowded.
The kitchen is magnificent. The audio room and the home theater are both impressive. The garden has obviously been sculpted with extreme care. But it is the sala of the Pages home that takes your breath away. It flows out into the lush garden, seamlessly, on two sides. Thus, the living space benefits from the light, air and freshness nature provides. The walls for nighttime security have been designed to be mobile and invisible during the day; we did in fact not notice them until Bunny pointed them out.
The amplication of the sala space by what would in an average houses would be the patio - but in this home is an organic extension of the living room - provides more than enough room for dozens of artefacts and paintings to play a part in the decor, without constricting the free-flowing, open, airy feel of the house. The extension allows the home to be an integral part of the natural surroundings, and the effect is extremely soothing.
(A Chinese Feng Shui master will be quick to tell you that the key to letting good fortune into your life is to have large doorways and windows, and thus attempt to explain Bunny's success as an entrepreneur, but if you've met Bunny it's obvious that it's clear that hard work, a relentless inner drive, and irrepressible energy played a larger role than mere luck.)
The decor is deceptively simple. Cream colored walls are in tune with the Mediterranean motif Bunny and Allen envisioned, But the trained eye will note that the walls on the inside are a slightly different hue. Bunny Pages explains that these tones, almost the same but not quite, were chosen intentionally to offset the effect of the sunlight on the outer walls. Now that's what you call attention to detail.
The end result is actually less imitation Mediterranean than unique, complex, and multi-faceted. Chinese statuettes, Cebuano lamps, Thai cushions, Japanese ikebana arrangements, and a Spanish aesthetic rigor all contribute to create a three-dimensional mosaic that cannot exist anywhere but on the island of Cebu, and not anywhere but in a home carefully crafted and managed by Bunny and Allen. Even the paintings - Bunny is a loyal supporter of the local artist community - somehow fit in, despite being colorful and eclectic.
More attention to detail: There are no sharp corners in the Pages home. Where walls meet perpendicularly, they have been slightly curved. The softening effect of this touch contributes to the relaxing mellowness that permeates the entire house. Bunny allows that that idea was the contribution of architect Ed Galliego, who designed the house. Incredibly, however, Bunny and Allen took sole charge of the interior decorating. Bunny even selected the moldings himself, carefully opting for a subdued and understated designs which were in tune with his initial vision. Meanwhile, Allen, who likes to keep the look of her interior fresh, selects - and periodically replaces - the numerous objets d'art, both old and new, which fit into the scheme.
There are many valuable interior decorating lessons to be learned from the Pages home: Don't be constricted by stereotypical notions of what may or may not be done. Procure locally where possible. Start with a distinct vision and work towards that goal. Fight complacency and try to continually improve. Hmmmm. Perhaps, fitting for the home of two entrepreneurs, these are lessons that would apply well in business as well as the beautification of one's house.