Transforming a Dead Space

My mom has been telling me that she wants to come visit soon.

Every time I passed by this space next to the guest room, the thoughts that came to mind wre “heat, sweat, claustrophobic, small, toilet” (because of the two windows from the bathrooms on either side).  Nothing nice came to mind.


If my mom comes to visit and she can’t always be going down and up the flights of stairs, she would need a little rest area upstairs but not feel bad about being between two bathrooms.

So one day, I thought, why don’t I maximize this space.  She can lounge or lunch here sometimes.  But how do I transform this space given its limitations?

First of all, I would have to seal off the bathroom windows (like in a hotel) and get highly efficient maximum power ceiling vents for each of the bathrooms.  The ones I found was KDK’s most powerful model just below the industrial one.

Next, I wanted to change the top-of-mind suggestion this space would emit. I think the most refreshing view would be a garden but tending plants would be laborious and tedious. I would need staff who are good with plants (as I haven’t the time now yet to do it).  I resorted to the next best thing:  a mural of a garden.  I commissioned my niece, Tasha, (who loves loves loves to paint) to make one.  I showed her pegs of looks that I liked that would add illusion  of extra space like a walkway.

I told her that I like happy spring colors and showed her wisteria flowing from a trellis. After a couple of weeks, the wall looked like this:

Next, I added the above skinny, small garden table and chairs (so as not to take up even more of the precious little space) to make it look cozy.

Next, I looked for low-maintenance (aka artificial) flowers and foliage to add a three-dimensional extension of the mural’s. Since I like hanging wisteria, I chose them. There are also pretty white wisteria but they might disappear and get camouflaged by the similarly colored trellis, so I chose the more colorful purple.  Although more would have been prettier, I wanted just enough to have a three dimensional effect so I could use the rest of the budget for a nice candle.

img_6976-1Then I utilized an old tablecloth I got from a Hongkong market that hadn’t been used much all these years.  Same for our very old (over 20 year) skirted seat covers for our outdoor garden set which I rediscovered several days earlier. It is made from sturdy cotton chintz fabric I found at Fabric Warehouse a long time ago for probably P200 per yard. They have faded and lasted but are still quite cute. Underneath the skirted seat covers, I used the cushion pads that came free from Sandy Castro-Baker when she sold (almost gave) me some X-back bentwood game chairs. I literally just put one cushion on the wrought iron folding chair and lay the cotton chintz skirted cover over it.

img_6977img_8668The little sprinkler can with a bunch of flowers is from SM Megamall Department Store basement and the book was a gift received over twenty years ago.

The remaining two free cushions from Sandy Castro-Baker, I asked Ate Bing of Heel Sew Quik Megamall alteration shop (at the basement) to make a fluffy cover using a waterproof (ergo stain-proof, so perfect for an “outdoor setting” like this) Japanese cotton chintz from Joy Mamuric’s fabric store, Bloomingdales Fabric also at the SM Megamall Basement (She also has a branch at Glorietta 5, Primark Fabric Depot). After my lengthy explanation to Ate Bing for the cushy cover, she simply said, “yung parang siopao ang shape?” and immediately I knew she got it 🙂 I love Ate Bing! 🙂 The previously-loved garden chair below is repainted by Mang Mon Galang with an odor-free Rain or Shine paint; I asked Mang Mon to highlight some of the roses on the chair with pink paint. The roses on the chair, chair pad, and garland seem to have a music rhythm among themselves.

img_8669 I put a fire-proof metal candle-shield and candle (from Zara Home)—- savings from the restraint to buy more purple wisteria—- at the corner over an old unused Azcor metal table.  The candle can be both for odor management, just in case, as well as for ambience after dusk.img_7466I utilized the bumped-off wreath from the living room (since the dried leaves are getting browner and crispier), the old remaining pink ribbon from the powder room, and garlands from an Osaka dried flower store along Ebisubashi.  I also utilized the reject mosquitero/kulambo/ netting for softness…

img_8655and a vintage post box to put leftover flowers:img_8656The result:


Here are the Before and After pictures:

So when my mom comes, she will not feel trapped upstairs but will have a cozy place to have some tea and rest. Hopefully she will not get the “hot, claustrophobic, sweat, toilet” vibe but, “Happy, fresh, sweet, garden.”

What do you think?  Do you have a dead space at your house or office? It doesn’t have to have a girly result but without breaking your wallet, you can use odds and ends or unused old things you already have to transform the space to give more delight or function or comfort.

My designer, Joi Cutter, calls herself instead of an interior designer, a Design Therapist. I like her title because I agree that when you make your surrounding pleasant and delightful, it brings out positive feelings in you and motivates you more to do your best, be productive, and happy. Dapat less sungit ako or the person who will be around the improved spaces.

The transformation of the dead space reminds me of how God wants to transform our lives from dry dreary drab and dead to beautifully blooming.  If you’ve ever been in a season in life wherein you felt boxed in, dreary, and dead, may you be refreshed with thoughts that the Great Transformer, Jesus Christ, can change your life.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s