My Square Meter

Lifestyle home shops and a design atelier

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ELEGANT dining space of Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre

THIS MONTH’S home feature is one filled with art and passion. Design duo Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre have been life partners for several years, and have artistically grown as they opened lifestyle home shops and experimented with an on-and-off fashion design career.

Today, the creative pair does several buying trips throughout the year and fills their shops with the most unique finds from all over the world. Their window displays are always stunningly elaborate showcases, successfully luring shoppers inside to marvel at the different objets d’arte and jewelry.

Their first shop, Firma (Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati, tel. 7570-4009), sells home and fashion accessories as well as signature jewelry by several artists like Wynn Wynn Ong, Joyce Makitalo, Beatriz by Carissa Evangelista, Kristine Dee, Paul Syjuco, Natalya Lagdameo, Michelline Syjuco, Angela Angeles, Minaudieres by Kotur. The exquisite, one-of-a-kind pieces are all especially made and exclusively sold at Firma.

Second baby

SHELTER Shop owners, Joey Luna and Lee Imperial

Old world elegance and stylish chic are the prevailing design themes at AC+632 (Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati, tel. 758-2564). The cryptically named shop is Chito and Ricky’s second baby, and has the feel of a French museum or country house where every corner is filled with home accents, table settings and various other wares.

Their distinctive, global style is featured in the new ELLE Decoration Philippines’ December/January issue. Their home was chosen as the cover since the issue celebrates global style, featuring homes from all over the world with different interior styles.

Local homes featured

ELLE Decoration editor Becky Kho and her team also chose other local homes to feature in the issue, like those of interior designer Chat Fores and Eairth owner and designer Melissa Ramsay. For the holidays, browse through the beautiful spreads on holiday tablescapes designed by creative masterminds like Barnaba Fornasetti, Nicholas Degennes of Givenchy, Sophie Albou-Mechaly of Paul&Joe, Vanessa Seward, and Vincent Darré.

With 25 editions and over nine million readers worldwide, ELLE Decoration is the world’s best-selling, luxury shelter magazine. It is the only global shelter magazine with a fashion heritage and a truly international perspective. It is also the first and only luxury shelter magazine in the country with a premium contemporary design aesthetic. The magazine features glamourous houses, elegant furnishings, brilliant designers, cool objects and must-see decoration.

Design atelier

Among the gamut of home and furnishings stores in our city, I also like Shelter (3 General De Jesus, Little Baguio, San Juan and 148 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City), an exceptionally awesome design atelier. It recently unveiled its vintage-themed Christmas Collection, showcasing ’50s-inspired TV sets showing different Christmas village—wondrous Winter Wonderlands with miniature snowmen and cars, miniature Santa Clauses and caroling stuffed toys. Shelter’s Christmas items are featured in www.orangemagazinetv.com with photos of the other art objects and books found throughout the stores.

Shelter is a premiere source for the latest elegant and distinctive furniture and décor from around the world. The owners are local businessman-restaurateur Yong Nieva and interior designers Ivy and Cynthia Almario, in partnership with US-based furniture retailers Joey Luna and Lee Imperial, who own the well-known Furniture Direct store in Las Vegas, Nevada, where most of Shelter’s products come from.

On a visit to Shelter, Joey told me that their “goal is to inspire and engage the senses. We aim to offer a wide range of quality home products and furniture customization that fit the customers’ particular tastes and lifestyle at different price points.”

Careful selection of products from Nevada is done to ensure that the furniture works in the Philippines. The partners take into consideration various factors such as culture, design trends and even the climate. For inquiries on Shelter and its products, e-mail sheltermanila@gmail.com.

(Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter.)

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