Text by Kathrina Paz Elefante
Photos by Jericho San Miguel
Creating the look of a home is an exciting aspect of home ownership. For the Gube family, creativity and curiosity were instrumental in the evolution of their home in Parañaque, which is an eclectic mix of antiques, upcycled elements, and exotic pieces collected from their travels around the world.
As an expatriate for an international food and beverage company, Gamaliel Gube was assigned to different parts of the globe. He and his family were immersed in various cultures when they settled in countries such as Switzerland, India, Egypt, and Japan.
After almost 20 years of going around the world, the family went back to the Philippines in 2011.
They brought home with them distinctive pieces that tell their story as a family, lovingly curated by Gamaliel’s
wife, Sydney Gube. Sydney was a former finance head at a local brewing company who later nurtured and shared her love for gardening through landscape designing.
Botanicals are a key design inspiration in their home, starting with the floral stained glass details framing the white front doors made by local artisans from Laguna.
This project was done instinctively rather than with formal planning. Our dad designed the cabinets based on what looked good for him. We were hands-on when it came to sourcing the materials.
Built in 1983, the house has approximately 400 square meters of living space. Stepping inside is like entering an art gallery: An intricate bookcase and wooden dividers catch the eye—pieces that came all the way from Kashmir. A Carrara white marble table, in-laid with malachite and lapis lazuli, lend an exotic pop of color. On one side of the room is a Narra Cleopatra sala set with solihiya details, a piece the family acquired when the couple were newly married. An ivory chess set with Egyptian pieces sits in one corner, while brass accents from India occupy the lower part of a table.
The focal point of the living area is the center table made of two salvaged transoms, which were from old houses of British nationals who were residing in India.
“This is my favorite piece in the house. I got them out from underneath piles of discarded pieces at a junk yard,” says Sydney.
More salvaged ironworks can be found at the side of the house. The Gubes’ old gate was turned into a decorative element for their vertical garden, which can be seen from the formal dining area.
“I treasure it because I have seen how painstakingly the welders did their job of putting every bit of salvageable piece together to come up with a work of art. These old pieces of ironworks made the exterior of our house more vibrant as opposed to the usual tiles,” she says.
The dining table (which is one of the pieces that has traveled all over the world with the family) also features custom ironwork that cradles the thick glass. Beyond the formal dining area is the newly renovated modern kitchen—a project undertaken by both parents and their two sons, Jacob and Isaac.
“We didn’t hire an interior designer or architect for this recent renovation,” says Sydney.
“This project was done instinctively rather than with formal planning. Our dad designed the cabinets based on what looked good for him. We were hands-on when it came to sourcing the materials,” says Jacob.
The kitchen was expanded to accommodate a breakfast nook and a more organized pantry. The main feature in the space is the live edge wooden countertop sourced from a shop in Laguna.
“I told our supplier not to take out the knob detail of the wood—I think that’s what makes it beautiful,” says Sydney.
Modern lighting fixtures and track lights were added to brighten up the kitchen and give it a ‘showroom’ feel.
The front of the house also got a much-needed update. The steps leading to the front door now have Spanish tiles that exude a countryside vibe. A lanai was also added so the family can enjoy the outdoors.
“I removed the old and unexciting pots of perennials that have been in our garden for years and replaced it with very few but huge pots of fern and variegated bougainvillea. We also added an altar of the Mother of Perpetual Help. It’s a small but cozy space where we can spend happy bonding moments,” adds Sydney.
Travel has made the Gube residence a rich tapestry of stories, a three-dimensional map of their life in and out of the country. Each piece bears an anecdote worthy of a retelling—best enjoyed in a misty cool morning, with a hot cup of coffee.