Sunday Lifestyle

1120 house is the newest lifestyle place

ALL IN MY HEAD - Monique Toda - The Philippine Star
1120 house is the newest lifestyle place
The welcoming interiors of 1120 House are like a beautiful home.

There is a buzz about a house. I’ve been seeing social media posts of a new lifestyle retail space that combines food, flowers, and interiors. This cool new concept store that provides relaxed shopping, and where one feels like a guest in a friend’s lovely home, is called 1120 House.

Behind 1120 House is marketing and creative director Pam Gonzales-Lopez, who explains that “it really feels like you’re going to someone’s house — there’s a garden, there’s food and dining, and beautiful things. We preach ‘slow living,’ which embodies our brand.”

Under its roof are three popular brands, namely: Lady Scott Jones, Rustan’s Flower Shop, and Bon Appetit Café. Though distinct and separate with different offerings, they complement each other. One can walk into 1120 House, linger and browse their merchandise, or have a leisurely meal amid a tasteful setting of fine furniture, well-curated home décor, and the positive aura of flowers. It’s what we need right now with the ongoing pandemic and the frenzy of the upcoming holidays:  stress-free, pleasant, and all-around good vibes.

The idea for the store started when Pam created a pop-up called The House at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell two years ago. It was quite successful. Pam thought, though, that their concept was really not suitable to be inside a mall. “It was a good jump-start to get a feel of things but I felt that the strong concept of the house needed its own space.”

Being a fan of putting multiple brands together, she then presented her vision to her mother-in-law and mentor, Menchu Tantoco-Lopez.

“My mother-in-law (and my boss!) has a gift of knowing what will work and what will not, and there’s never a gray area with her: it’s either a yes or a no. When she asked me to present the concept board and plan for 1120 House, she immediately gave it a hard yes, to my delight! She gave me the green light to round up my team and run with it. She believed in the concept more than anyone, and she trusted me with it.”

Pam Gonzales-Lopez, marketing and creative director of 1120 House: “I feel like I was blessed to really have that passion to see things in a different way, to see beauty in anything mundane.”

Pam, who has a model-like beauty, adds, “She was also very hands-on with the construction and technical side of building 1120 House. That is something she always enjoyed doing — she likes analyzing blueprints and renderings, making sure each brick made sense and no stone was left unturned.  Every day I learn from her. At the age of 74, she is still going strong in the business and very much involved. She is larger than life, and I consider myself very blessed and lucky to be around her.”

Since Mrs. Lopez is an integral part of the creation and development of the store, 1120 in the retail space’s name is an homage to her, as her birthday falls on November 20.

As the proverb says, “It takes a village.” 1120 House is a collaborative effort. Maricar Lopez-Tiangco, Pam’s sister-in-law and partner in Lady Scott Jones, handles the “back responsibilities,” which include finance and operations.

“Maricar and I have worked very well together over the years as we complement each other’s values,” Pam says. “As she always says, I’m front end and she’s back end! It’s one thing to have a good project, it’s another to turn the project into a proper business model. Maricar makes sure that all the boxes are ticked from the administrative and operational standpoint of the business. While I may be looking at the best printed fabric for a chair, for instance, Maricar considers how practical it will be in the long run. She keeps me in check and manages our numbers pragmatically without discounting the image of the brand. She is the yin to my yang. Our roles are very clear and we respect each other.”

Pam also worked with a young and vibrant team that included architect Jacy Medina of OpenHouse Design, graphic artist Mia de Lara and space stylist Kitty Bunag, both from Craftsmith Guild. She wanted to collaborate with like-minded people who understood her concept and share the same aesthetic sensibilities. “We all come from the same age box and have very similar wavelengths that, I believe, helped mesh our work contributions cohesively.”

Amazingly, this all happened pre- and during the pandemic, and it was a brave decision to proceed. “We started planning all this a month before the lockdown last year. We also had our construction in the middle of this pandemic, adhering to safety protocols, of course.”

In fact, people were amazed that they were opening during this time. Pam onboarded her team members and everything fell into place. The timing of opening their doors to the public could not have been better, as businesses are revving up and COVID cases are going down. Most of all, people want to go out as the holidays have begun.

Pam’s business background is fitting for her position at the creative helm of 1120 House. She has been in the marketing side of publishing and retail. Her very first concept store was Theodore’s The Store in Bonifacio High Street.

It was the first of its kind in Manila and ahead of its time. It had high-end independent streetwear brands from Italy to Japan. Currently, Pam wears many hats. She is partners with Maricar Lopez-Tiangco in Lady Scott Jones, the furniture shop. She does marketing and PR for Benny’s Place, the restaurant on the ground floor of Rustan’s that serves excellent Filipino food. Pam is also creative director and merchandiser of Rustan’s Flower Shop, and handles marketing for Pinkberry.

Pam has always had an eye for good things. “I feel like I was blessed to really have that passion to see things in a different way, to see beauty in anything mundane. I think I got that from my mom’s side of the family. I would always see my aunts fixing things in the house and I would join them.”

Fresh flowers and potted plants from Rustan’s Flower Shop adorn the store: For the holidays, they have poinsettias and imported Nobilis trees.

Travel has also helped, as it made her immerse herself in art and interiors. She believes they both go hand in hand. Her love for food was a happenstance since Menchu Tantoco-Lopez is a foodie and has successful food businesses that include Gourmet Garage. Her mom-in-law also started Bon Appetit in Rustan’s back in the day. Food and the love for food is all around Pam.

When I was younger, I loved going to Bon Appetit Café at Rustan’s Department Store. This charming restaurant has been revived but with a modern take and has launched a new menu. A few of the tempting dishes offered are freshwater shrimp and crab pasta; Cote d’Azur squash blossoms with flaked free-range chicken; roasted pork ribs and truffle mushroom sandwich; and dark chocolate cheesecake that is gluten-, dairy- and soy-free, among other dishes that piqued my interest.

The kitchen of Bon Appetit is in the hands of chef Booj Supe. Pam speaks highly of the chef: “We needed to make sure that the new and modern Bon Appetit has the best to offer because it is the heart of 1120 House. And that’s where chef Booj comes in. His signature dishes remind you of your grandmother’s kitchen. I would call his cuisine ‘elevated comfort food.’ Maricar and I worked with him for the menu of Bon Appetit, with the approval of Mom. He presented the dishes and we curated the menu to match the Bon Appetit essence. His plating alone speaks of how dreamy the dishes are. Each dish is meticulously cooked and prepared by chef Booj.”

Flowers are always a delight and to be surrounded by them just adds joy to a room. Rustan’s Flower Shop provides the beautiful floral décor at 1120 House. They have potted plants and blooms like Phalaenopsis, calla lilies, anthuriums and fresh seasonal stems. This Christmas season, potted poinsettias and imported Nobilis trees are available. A florist can create customized arrangements catered to the personal preference of clients as well.

Lady Scott Jones is known for its well-curated furniture and home decor. Currently online, the fine furnishings offered by the lifestyle store were carefully selected by Pam and Maricar to reflect their classic, eclectic and creative tastes. At 1120 House, their pieces and collections are aesthetically put together as it would be in a beautiful abode. And, just like in a real house, one can sit among these exquisite items, be surrounded by them — and feel right at home.

* * *

1120 House is located at the Metropolitan Compound, Amapola corner Estrella Streets, Makati City (behind One Rockwell). House hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.


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