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Modern Living

A showcase of everything beautiful

SAVOIR FAIRE - Mayenne Carmona -

It doesn’t matter if the name of the street has been changed to Nicanor Garcia. For me, it will always be Reposo Street, home of the circular St. Andrews Church, Budji Layug’s showroom, Alliance Francaise and a lot of good Italian restaurants that my friends and I patronize every so often.

 So when my New Yorker friend Lily asked me to take her to Jeannie Goulbourn’s new showroom at LRI Business Plaza on Nicanor Garcia St, I asked: “Where is that?”

Now I know better but I still call it Reposo Street.  LRI Building is a revelation. It’s one of those charming buildings that have been there since forever but usually go unnoticed because they’re simple and unostentatious. Even after LRI’s renovation, it has maintained its charming façade and simplicity.

A stone fountain on the ground floor can be viewed from the spiral staircase that leads to the second floor.

 Lily and I went there to buy curtain materials from Jeannie Goulbourn’s Silk Cocoon for her new condo at Serendra. Little did she know that the whole building was a one-stop lifestyle center for decorators, art collectors, jewelry afficonados and curios seekers.   LRI (short for Luzon Rattan Industries )Business Plaza is almost one kilometer deep and has at least  40 stores. It is a showcase for indoor and outdoor furniture, home accessories, artworks, native crafts, Oriental and Filipino antiques. It also has a Prana yoga studio (with Ina Sibug as teacher), the photography studio and workshop  of photographer Mandy Navasero, coffee shops (The Room Upstairs and Café Ricco Renzo),  Italian  restaurant Caffe Carusso and Foot Options, a reflexology spa for tired shoppers.

Lily furnished her condo with pieces sourced from different stores there. It was so much fun and so convenient shopping from one store to another.  Lily fell in love with some pieces (like the retro mirrored drawer for her bedroom) and deliberated on other items. She ended up buying a modern sofa and coffee table from Bontempi, a patio set from Luzon Rattan Industries, curtains from Silk Cocoon, lighting fixtures from Clicks and lamps from Elizabeth Payte, a set of mirrored drawers in retro design from The Room Upstairs, a four- poster bed from Origins, an abacca rug from Erfe, an accent chair from Kish and some oriental antiques from Noble Antiques. After that shopping trip, she went back and bought other pieces to complete her new pied-a-terre.

When she finally completed her unit, it was a winner!  Veering towards eclectic minimalism, the mix of retro furniture with Filipino and Oriental antiques, modern Italian sofa and coffee table, soft lighting fixtures and pineapple silk woven fabric for her window treatment spelled elegance. The items blended well together.

I attended a group exhibit at the LRI Business Plaza and I remembered the shopping trip with Lily. I arrived there one hour before the exhibit so I could check out the shops. I was not disappointed as I saw  beautiful pieces of furniture, accessories, jewelry, lighting fixtures etc. in most of the stores there.  I bumped into building owner Tony Lo whom I congratulated for LRI’s success.

“It’s truly a decorator’s haven. We have beautiful craftsmanship and talented designers in the Philippines and I am happy that  my building is a showcase of design, art, and everything beautiful,”  he said.

JEANNIE GOULBOURN

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