Daryl Ong is part of a new generation of exceptional singers, with a voice that can tackle the most powerful ballads to hugot songs that enchant different generations of lovesick Pinoys. A songwriter, too, Daryl deserves a place that can nurture his creativity and, at the same time, become a refuge for rest and recreation.
Daryl’s place, two units (total of 50 square meters) inside a condominium complex in Quezon City, serves different purposes. One unit is exclusively his pad, while the other one is his very own recording studio―a dream come true for him. As this is his “dream” place, Daryl wanted the best for everything and left nothing to chance.
Enter his friend, interior designer Dianne Versoza, who Daryl met seven years ago. Like the singer’s career, Dianne is part of a new generation of interior designers making a name with their innovative take on home interiors. And like Daryl’s charm across a section of fans, Dianne has already done interior design for a set of intergenerational clients, from an expat longing for a hotel-like ambience to a new couple planning to start a family.
‘I didn’t have a hard time working with Daryl. He knows what he wants and he’s really easy to talk to. I appreciate that he trusted my judgment as an interior designer. It was a joyful experience to design his pad, but it was inspiring to design his recording studio. ‘
For this exclusive first peek for Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the interior designer tells us the design process that went into creating this space for the singer, the challenges she faced during the pandemic, and how this project became her “fastest turnover” ever!
How did the design process start? What were the requests of Daryl?
For the residential unit, Daryl’s specific request was to make it homey, relaxing, and cozy. As for the studio, he made it clear that it should be a professional recording studio fit for his every need. There should also be a table with space for a piano and other equipment.
How about the colors? What were his preferences?
For the mood, I suggested a neutral tone. After a very tiring day at work, I think a homey and cozy ambiance would definitely lift Daryl’s mood.
For the residential unit, we were supposed to go for a dark color, but it won’t work with the space since it would appear tighter and more cramped. For the studio, I ensured that it would really fit his personality. Since it is a huge space, we finally did go for dark colors.
How did the pandemic affect your work since the interior design was during the lockdown?
It was really very challenging but I was just very persistent. I had to constantly reschedule all 12 suppliers and ensure that there would be no delays. I kept on following up until they “committed” to deliver on time since most of them encountered problems during the quarantine. I also made sure that safety protocols were in place and physical distancing was observed (i.e. no two suppliers should be inside the unit at the same time).
Even though I faced a lot of obstacles, I’m proud to share that this is the fastest turnover project I’ve done! I stepped up my game on this project and the construction only took me two months from bare to a fully furnished unit. Despite some delays of the suppliers, I turned over the units to Daryl days earlier than promised.
Was Daryl involved every step of the way or was he just surprised at the delivery of the project?
Even before the project started, he already knew what it would look like based on my 3D rendition. During construction, he visited twice and entrusted everything to me―from choosing and buying all the materials, coordinating with suppliers, buying the appliances, installing the decor, and putting all essential needs for a functional home. From time to time, I send him videos and picture updates.
When Daryl got the keys, all he needed to do was to bring his clothes. All other essential items were already bought for him. He made me 100 percent in charge of the project, so in return, I made sure that all he needed to do was sit back, relax, and wait for the turnover.
What was his feeling or what did he say when he finally saw the finished units?
When he first saw the two units, all he could say was a long ‘wow.’ He was really amazed at how cozy his pad looked. He loved the brick wall and the black accents that I added to the space.
As for the studio, he had tons of ideas! He was so excited to do a photoshoot there. He kept clapping because there was no echo (perfect for a recording studio). After the reveal, I received a message from him: ‘Ganda nung home unit. Kahit maliit siya, hindi condo yung feel. Bahay na maliit ang feel (The home unit is nice. Even though it is small, it doesn’t feel like a condo. It feels like a small home).’
How was the experience designing for someone like Daryl?
I didn’t have a hard time working with him. He knows what he wants and he’s really easy to talk to. I appreciate that he trusted my judgment as an interior designer. It was a joyful experience to design his pad, but it was inspiring and enlightening to design his recording studio.
Different finishes were done on each wall of the recording studio for the room to look good on camera. Colors and decor inside complemented his skin tone. I designed the space for music video shoots, online streaming, etc. I also attached some metal bars to the ceiling for the purpose of hanging props, lighting, indoor plants, etc.
Most of all, I prioritized the acoustic quality of the room. All walls were soundproofed. There were wood blocks as diffusers and slanted acoustic foam for the ceiling. The padded wall is made of rockwool and acoustic fabric. I added all the things he needed for a professional recording studio, but I also made it aesthetically pleasing for shooting music videos.
I’m really happy for Daryl. There are a lot of people who lost their jobs and livelihood during the pandemic. Now, he can at least start working again even via online streaming. He now has all the things he needed without sacrificing his safety and going out to record in public studios. I’m sure he would create more popular songs at his own new studio.