This Gut-Renovated Philippines Apartment Has a Sleek Slat Wall — and Clever “Cloffice”

published May 7, 2024

This Gut-Renovated Philippines Apartment Has a Sleek Slat Wall — and Clever “Cloffice”

published May 7, 2024
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BJ Macatulad says that she and her husband, Jeremy, have been living overseas for most of their adult lives, “most recently in Shanghai where we met. After 17 years there, we decided it was time to move closer to family. We moved to Manila (where most of my family lives) at the end of 2022 and spent four to five months renovating an apartment in the heart of the CBD that we purchased several years ago. After years of living in rented apartments in Shanghai, I was excited to decorate and live in the first apartment that Jeremy and I actually own together as a couple.”

Credit: BJ Macatulad
BJ says she finally has "a home for all my stools-slash-side-tables! I think I have an addiction to side tables, which come in so handy when we are entertaining. My husband has repeatedly asked me to stop getting more side tables, but honestly, there’s always room for another perch for drinks and appetizers, right?"

BJ’s husband was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and she was born in Manila, but she says they both consider themselves “global citizens. We’ve each lived and worked predominantly overseas, in the U.S. and around Asia. While our home in Manila is primarily an ode to the many wonderful artisans of the Philippines, it also reflects the many countries we’ve adopted as our own throughout the years.”

Credit: BJ Macatulad
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: "A proudly Filipino contemporary urban abode"

Though BJ says the couple didn’t make any structural changes to the apartment, they did do an entire gut renovation, replacing all the electrical and plumbing, redoing the kitchen and baths, and refinishing the original wood floors, which BJ says was a selling point for the couple.

“The apartment was originally a two-bedroom, which the prior owner had converted into a one-bedroom,” BJ writes. “We didn’t want to bring back the original guest bedroom, but we did want to have a space to serve as a media room and guest area. We installed a wall of wood slats to create a feeling of separation while keeping the home’s open plan concept.”

Credit: BJ Macatulad
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? "A framed print by our amazing artist friend @carlotanseco_art, depicting the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal. It includes a quote from Jose Rizal’s writings that certainly resonates to this day: “Each writes history according to his convenience.”

BJ explains that they also knocked down a wall between the kitchen and living room to open the space up a bit, and in the primary bedroom they made the bathroom a little larger and created a walk-in closet. “This made the sleeping area smaller, but we don’t mind sacrificing the square footage to create a more functional bathroom and dressing area,” BJ writes.

Credit: BJ Macatulad

A small but impactful update happened in the living room, when they transformed a closet into a “cloffice. My friends at (from where most of our rugs, mirrors, lamps, and accent pieces came) then created a custom-made, hand-woven abaca fiber curtain panel that rolls down to hide my office when we have guests come over. It took the weavers over a month to make the two panels, but well worth the wait!”


Credit: BJ Macatulad
"The painting is from another Vietnamese artist, Le Thanh Son. We love Vietnamese art, and this is one of our favorite pieces," BJ describes of their entryway. "I found the wooden mask at a flea market, and I believe it’s from the Ifugao region in the north. I had it mounted so I can display it on the floor."


  • Painting — Le Thanh Son
  • Wooden Mask — Flea Market
  • Hurricane Lamp — Soumak
Credit: BJ Macatulad


  • Abaca Rugs — Soumak
  • Accent Chairs — Soumak
  • Floor Lamp, Table Lamp — Soumak
  • Carved Wood Box Painting — Van Tho
  • Wall-Mounted Wire Ram’s Head — A.Garcia
  • Mirror with Carved Wood Frame — Soumak
  • Pendant Lamps — Arte-Cebuana
  • Curtain Panel — Soumak
Credit: BJ Macatulad


  • Pendant Lamp — Arte-Cebuana
  • Dining Table — Left by prior owner
  • Midcentury Modern Chairs — Left by prior owner
Credit: BJ Macatulad


  • Mirror with Wood-Carved Frame — Soumak
  • Table Lamp — Soumak
  • Paint-Dipped Stool — Shopee (the local equivalent of Amazon)

Thanks BJ!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.