Gus* Modern – furniture functionality and style wrapped in simplicity

Modern, simple, versatile, functional, classy….

That’s my type of furniture. Something visitors and family can sit on without my having to grit my teeth out of fear that they could soil and spoil a very expensive piece of furniture.

In my corner of Metro Manila, I recently discovered that a Toronto-based modern furniture company – Gus* Modern – had set up shop. The young couple that brought Gus* here said they come from a traditional Chinese family involved in the traditional businesses but they found themselves more interested in furniture and fell in love with the simplicity and functionality of Gus*. They are now the first international dealer of the brand outside the US and Canada.

The first Gus* shop was set up at the Ground Floor of the Residences in Greenbelt last December 2010. Riding on the success of that shop, the first branch called Design Pod was set up just last February 2012 in Greenhills.

What strikes you first about Gus* when you see it is how simple it looks. Maybe it won’t catch the eye of those who go for more ornate furniture but Gus* is perfect for minimalist and practical furniture lovers. 
Gone are the days of homes that had elaborate, expensive furniture that guests could not freely sit on anyway for fear of soiling them. I remember wondering why I’d visit homes and find sofas wrapped in plastic (do people still do that these days???).
Many modern homes now have occupants who are newlyweds on a tight budget as they start life together; young parents with very young babies, toddlers; or senior citizens who do not want to be bothered with high maintenance furniture. Space is a premium so furniture that convert (like sofa beds) are so practical too. Gus* addresses this market and just about anyone who wants practicality, functionality, simplicity and the classy-look all rolled up into one.
Here are a few pieces that demonstrate functionality.
Prairie nested tables are great modern pieces that look like a sculpted piece of art when placed beside each other but can function as 3 separate tables when there are guests.
3-piece Prairie Nested Tables (when joined to look like one)

The same Prairie Nested Tables taken apart

Prairie nested table legs are made of solid oak

The limited-edition Cohen Chair is a small-scaled vintage club chair which comes in distressed brown leather, top-stitched, full-grain leather upholstery with a stainless steel base. We were told this is only available in Gus* Studios such as Gus* Philippines and only for a limited time.

Magazine racks can now be replaced with furniture that can hold magazines without the pain of dust gathering.

The Stump Storage Box is great to hide magazines & newspapers from view

Lounging chairs? Take a second look.

What looks like ordinary lounge chairs…

…are actually rocking chairs! My kind of chair!

And on evenings, there’s no need to turn on full lights if you have this…

Nice warm ambience, right? Table and light in one.

But what really caught my eye in the entire Gus* collection was my dream sofa. I first saw a sofa just like it at a friend’s house. And every time we’d visit, I’d sit on that sofa dreaming of the day we’d have one of our own. My friend’s sofa was imported so I really did not expect to see one till this Gus* event. There it was, in off-white!

It must be meant for me. In the catalog, this sofa bears my name – “JANE BI-SECTIONAL”!!!

The owner told me this sofa is bi-directional. The longer section can be reversed (the reverse side looks exactly the same as the top side) and placed on the right side of the couch. That way, it is good for any home arrangement. When I have my dream house, this dream sofa will be part of it!

There are actually other furniture items at the Design Pod including solid wood tables, cushions made from sack cloth, and many more. Their Spring 2012 collection catalog is out now so try to get a copy for yourself or visit their website to check them out.

Thank you to the people behind Gus* who gave us a tour of the Design Pod. It was a truly enlightening afternoon.

Gus* Philippines
Makati: G/F The Residences, Greenbelt, Esperanza St., Makati. Tel (02) 621-8171
Greenhills Design Pod: Connecticut St., Greenhills (beside UCC Cafe). 

Real Living Launches its Book on Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers

Thanks to Summit Media, I got to attend the launch of Real Living’s newly launched book “Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers”.
I’ve been living in our present home for as long as my married life. And a lot of the furniture and “look” of the house is as it was when we got married. It gets a bit tiring when the familiar becomes TOO familiar, right? So I’ve been trying to find ways to change the look of the house without having to go right out and spend a fortune. I felt that little touches here and there could really do the house a lot of good.
But, my creative imagination is really sorely lacking in this department. I always feel that if I walked into a bare room, I would not know what to put in it. I prefer to see a magazine or picture and point to stuff to say, “I want this. And I want that.”
The next best thing is of course to leaf through the glossy mags, right? But why, oh why, do they have to feature such expensive stuff that I can’t afford?
Well, this book is just the answer I need and for good reason:

~ It is NOT thick so it’s easy to bring around. It’s a small, compact book but packed with lots of great visual tips.
~ Many items used for doing a home makeover are things you have around the house, redone with a twist. When I flip through the pages, it doesn’t make me feel like all the items I need would set me back and burn a hole through my pocket. Ordinary canisters, vases, cups and many more you have around the house can actually be used as containers and makeup cases. They make you feel like you can actually DO and CREATE what are shown on the pages.
~ The hints for organizing, creating minimalistic look, making the old look new and more are really a-plenty. I think I could go over these pages several times and every time, find something new I can actually implement.
~ The book only costs P120. Isn’t that a steal? (But don’t tell the publishers…hahaha)
The launch, emceed by Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, introduced us to 3 creative women. I’ll tell you what was my favorite tip from each of them.

Real Living assistant stylist Coni Tejada also gave a talk on how to create instant tabletop pieces when hosting a party in your own home. I said I would tell you which was my favorite but I actually liked 2 tips of Coni’s:

(simple yet elegant)
(cheap and doable any time!!!)

Next was contributing writer, Arlene Maslog, who showed ways to organize your desk, pantry and kitchen cabinets. I loved her true-to-life example of a corner of her room which was disorganized and how she eventually organized everything with a simple cabinet she had made.

(what a difference a cabinet makes!)
I am very happy to own a copy of this book already. Can’t wait to try my hand at making over my home.
Real Living’s Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers is now available in newsstands, bookstores and supermarkets nationwide for P120. For more of Real Living online, visit and become a fan of Real Living on Facebook via

Real Living Gives Small Space Storage Tips – in a Book!

My problem at home is always space. I can’t believe how fast gifts and purchases fill up closet space.

So when my friend Fran invited me to the launch of Real Living Magazine’s Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions which focused on what else — small space solutions! I immediately said YES!

Knowing how to maximize small space really is an art in itself. Many times, we tend to fill up horizontal space and forget that there is such a thing as vertical space. Our floors and closets fill up quickly but if only we viewed air space around us, we can still actually fit more if furniture was designed to take advantage of the space ABOVE the floor or closet levels.

My girl and I went to the launch at Megamall’s Atrium. There we were greeted by living room, dining room and bedroom sets done by 3 different designers who were challenged with a very tiny space to work with.

Living Area (by Frenjick Quesada)

Dining Area (by Kristine Neri)
Bedroom (by Grace Moslares)
Wow, look at those tiny spaces.  They were able to maximize the space to produce 3 areas! I think even a small bachelor’s pad will fit these 3 sets in it.
There are more such ideas in the book Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions. The book is divided into three parts. The first chapter deals with different kinds of small homes and allows the reader to identify which type is most identical to the one he or she owns. The second chapter is all about small space tricks, which gives storage and furniture layout ideas. The third and last chapter gives tips on how a homeowner can go about renovating a small space and what to remember before retouching a small space home.

Real Living Editor-In-Chief Rachelle Medina says of their latest release, “Small homes are a reality for most of us these days, and this book will show you how to make the most out of the situation – from maximizing available space, and creating an efficient room layout, to choosing stylish but flexible furniture pieces. So whether you live in a condo, a studio apartment, a tiny, single-detached house, or a room in your parents’ home, you can still have a beautiful place, regardless of floor area or budget.”

The Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions book is available in bookstores and magazine stands nationwide for only P195.