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Lectures from the Field: 3 Key Lessons from Exceptional Interior Design Firms

IDr. Michaelle Jodie Caram Yusay

With the goal of capturing the essence of a space that speaks the heart of the client, IDr. Michaelle Jodie “Mikee” Caram Yusay understands that translating simplicity is found through knowing how to handle every kind of client.

Communication is a lot about understanding what you can offer in the conversation. The same is true with service providers negotiating with clients. This is why having a strong connection to your calling can help you find confidence in your work. Idr. Mikee recalls. “I have loved arts and crafts since I was little. I enjoy designing my bedroom with my mom and my sister from time to time until I grew up. Since then, I have wanted to take up interior design as my course.”

After graduating with a degree in Interior Design from La Consolacion College Bacolod in 2015, IDr. Mikee decided to make a name for herself by starting Michaelle Jodie Interior Design in 2017. Through the years, she has performed design services specializing in residential spaces, hotels, restaurants, retail, and office spaces.

Like any young professional in the architecture and design field, IDr. Mikee started designing interiors for her close contacts like friends and family. Over time, the success of IDr. Mikee’s output would attract clients from various industries. This is due to implementing impressive yet simple design solutions at an affordable cost.

“Basically, every client is different but I deal with them similarly no matter what type of project it is.” IDr. Mikee adds, “There are ones who leave everything in my hands, ones who enjoy being a part of the process, and also those who are particular with every detail.” In preparation for a new client, IDr. Mikee makes it a point to stay updated with the latest developments in design and apply innovative ideas as interior solutions. This can be seen in how IDr. Mikee understands the heart of her clients’ needs.

Quilop Residence

Standing on the grounds of the new Forbes Hill Subdivision, the Quilop Residence is a bungalow that houses a young active family. With this in mind, IDr. Mikee turned to the concept of Kenzai to find the heart of her client. Kenzai means a strong building material in Japanese, but it can also translate to a person in good health in all meanings of the word. For this reason, durability, firmness, and a clear existence are the values that thematically guided IDr. Mikee’s design choices.

​​Blending the architecture of the house with a blended motif of an Australian Kenzai concept, the interiors have aesthetic and practical furniture highlighted with finishes that express luxury for everyday living.

Since the Quilop Residence would be modeled after modern Aussie homes, it must have minimalist features prominently seen in mid-century modern homes. IDr. Mikee opted for PVC materials, such as wood claddings and ceiling panels, as practical options to easily maintain the space. To emphasize the building’s firmness, the house was fitted with porcelain tiles for floor and wall treatments, adobe for wall accents, and narra wood for its custom-made furniture.

Regalado Residence

Situated in the neighborhood of Asyana Verdana Homes, the Regalado Residence houses a family of three and is the mother home of an expanding family. IDr. Mikee oversaw the designs of the foyer, living room, dining room, informal dining area, and powder room with a contemporary Filipino concept. To achieve this, the interiors were designed with neutral finishes and functional but aesthetic furniture fit for a posh ambiance.

Since it will be housing a large family over the years, IDr. Mikee decided that the materials must stand strong through the test of time. Granite tiles were used for the floor treatment, adobe bricks for the wall accent in the staircase area, Lauan wood for the vaulted ceiling in the foyer, and Narra wood for the main door.

Besides the home’s building materials, the choice of patterns through furnishing is also prominently Filipino. Upon entry into the foyer, the use of antique oil drop lights, rattan-weaved mirrors, and an abaca area rug presents a dash of historical identity in the home. In addition to this, rattan and solihiya dining chairs and wood partitions divide the formal dining area from the informal dining area.

Finally, to add a touch of personal history, a collage of family portraits is placed on the wall across the console table. Overall, these additions make the home more in tune with the voice and personality of its owners.

Unlike residential projects that prompt Interior Designers to fulfill the needs of the client through a family’s backgrounds and profiles, working with commercial clients lets IDr. Mikee adjusts to a broader scope. This allows her to see the other variables she needs to juggle and balance without losing sight of what truly matters in her work.




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