To live like Love Marie is to live your best life

Published May 28, 2022, 9:00 AM

by Jules Vivas

Condo living and other home enhancing tips from Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero

SURPRISE, SURPRISE Love Marie inside her new condominium unit

Prolific artist Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero defines the best life as a well-balanced one. To achieve stability is to make equal time and effort for oneself, relationships, work, meaningful pursuits, and everything in between. For her, all areas of life are important including the home. Especially during these interesting times, our dwelling has become a sanctuary, the four walls that keep us safe from the harshest of elements such as Covid-19.

In the same manner that what we wear is a reflection of how we want to be seen, our home is a mirror of who we are. As a fashion trailblazer and a visual artist, Love Marie knows well the significance of sporting the right clothes and living in the right environment for one to thrive.

PLANNING FOR SUCCESS Love Marie meets with her team of friends to make her vision into a reality

Taking her artistry to a bigger canvas, the model-philanthropist collaborates with RLC Residences for a venture that follows her creative journey in designing and decorating her own condominium unit at the Sapphire Bloc in Ortigas.

Through the video content, the acclaimed actress encourages homeowners to elevate their residences as a way to live a balanced and fulfilled life—a nod to the home as a building block for how we experience the world.

HOME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY Love Marie’s newest one bedroom apartment is located at the Sapphire Bloc in Ortigas

“It [your home] is a story, a book, a chapter that you build slowly… Don’t be pressured to have everything all at once,” says Love Marie as a piece of advice for those looking to make their living space more personal.

‘You don’t need expensive things to make something beautiful. Like in dressing up, you don’t necessarily have to wear expensive clothes to look good. It’s all about the personality and how you put it together.’

Helping her with the project are architect-partners Chris and Astrid Belo of the firm PBELL + A.ID as well as close friend, interior designer Geewel Fuster.

DESIGN GODDESS Interior designer Geewel Fuster with Love Marie during the media roundtable at Sapphire Bloc, Ortigas (Photo by the author)

Interior design with Love

A maximalist, the “Darling of the Philippines” went for a modern-minimalist design theme that distinguishes her one-bedroom unit from her other properties while retaining her core values, which are calm, classy, and carefully curated.

“On the surface, one would think that this is not Love Marie’s style because it is minimalist. But looking at how she approaches fashion, she looks beautiful in a voluminous gown yet equally beautiful in a tailored suit. It’s the same with the [design] process. Regardless of the expression, we thought it would fit her,” Astrid says on the decision to go the opposite direction in terms of design.

A FREE-FLOWING SACE Main entrance to the condo unit and the dining area

True to her elegance, the new living space takes on an all-white motif, the color that suits her best. “It’s a uniform for me. If you can’t think of any color, you go back to the basics. White is my go-to color, if it is a color. It’s relaxing and refreshing,” says the fashion authority.

SIMPLE KITCHEN To save space, instead of a built-in cook top an induction stove was used for the kitchen

A fan of American designer Kelly Wearstler, Love Marie added different textures to avoid making the space appear dull or flat. For instance, a gorgeous Onyx counter in the kitchen stands out from the sea of white.

SLEEPING ON CLOUDS The bed enclosed in white gown-like drapes

To maximize the 43-square-meter condo unit, the bed, dining, and living chambers share a common “free-flowing” space that takes after a New York City-style loft apartment. The section is divided only by an elegant gown-like silk drape, whose vertical lines accentuate the high ceiling. “The height of the ceiling makes it so that you don’t feel like you’re confined in an area,” explains Love Marie. “The hallmark of a good development is when they give you high ceilings,” adds Astrid.

HQ ENTRANCE Double swing glass doors to maximize lighting

The detached room, meanwhile, is turned into a home office. It is separated by double swing glass doors that make the most of the light that comes into the living area through the windows.

In the special quarters, right beside the double doors, is an open closet. “This is such a good idea because sometimes you don’t want to constrict yourself to a cabinet. Display your clothes, because they are artworks,” says the style icon.

HOME GOALS On the cover of Panorama is Love Marie’s home office setup with its the gallery wall, double swing doors, open closet, entrance to the comfort room and the mantlepiece (Cover design by the author)

Next to the open closet is a fireboard for seasonal decors. This mantelpiece imparts a homey-vibe to the room and spotlights a certain painting. Hanging above the chimneypiece is Love Marie’s own artwork of Panda she was commissioned to make for an electronics brand.

One of the highlights of her unit is a column covered with beveled mirrors inspired by the iconic staircase of the Chanel showroom at rue Cambon in Paris. Adjacent to this mirrored wall is a gallery wall where both personal and work-related pieces could be stored. Some of the intimate belongings of Love Marie displayed are the painting of Panda (her beloved pooch), books, and a Moët & Chandon Nebuchadnezzar signed by friends and family on her last birthday.

STUDIO HEART The office space accentuates everything that embodies Love Marie⁠—charm, beauty, and creativity

Most of the fixtures are local, supplied by homegrown furniture brand Philux, and from by her own home decor and fashion brand Maison Love Marie. Another noteworthy piece is a luxury bespoke rug from Manila-based design atelier Studio Soliven.

Minimal renovations were done in the comfort room. Apart from the new bronze sink, added for a touch of luxe, the gray accent tiles in the shower, the bathroom floor tiles, and the white walls were retained. Giving the bathroom walls more character are murals mimicking Love Marie’s artworks. “I love how RLC gave me a space where we were able to work around with the beautiful foundation they have,” beams Love Marie.

IN-SINK WITH LOVE MARIE The bronze sink acts as the main statement piece in the already luxurious bathroom in the unit

On owning a condo

“Always think about the different stages of your life. When I was younger I wanted a house right away, but my mom said to invest in a condo. That’s what I did. The condominium is a wise investment, you can have it rented out or you can live in it,” says the 37-year-old celebrity.

“Location is important. It [the condo] always has to be near everything,” Love Marie says on the main consideration for choosing a condo. The building’s features and amenities are also factors to consider. “The lobby [of Sapphire] is beautiful like a hotel. The amenities are perfect. Everything is here, from a private theater to a kid’s playground. It’s like you’re in the heart of the city.”

It is more practical as well. “You have to think of overhead expenses like security. The security [in a condo] is good and less expensive. It’s very convenient.”

Final tip

“You don’t need to always splurge. Always have a budget. Reuse old furniture. There are so many ways to jazz them up,” says Love Marie. “You don’t need expensive things to make something beautiful. Like in dressing up, you don’t necessarily have to wear expensive clothes to look good. It’s all about the personality and how you put it together.”