Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ask Architect Reena: Old Sink

Bebeng of Bebengisms asked:

"I recently moved in to a new apartment. The old sink in the dining area is now covered and painted. What could I use to cover up the whole area so it looks decent and not tacky? Thanks! :)"

Since Bebeng wasn't able to supply me a photo of her kitchen problem, I surmised that only the kitchen sink was covered by maybe a plywood or other covering material while the rest of the countertop is either tiled or   made up of another material. 

Given that situation, here are my tips to make the kitchen countertop more presentable and functional.

1.   Replace and cover up the entire kitchen counter. Why was the old sink covered? I will assume that this is probably because the users need additional preparation workspace or that the sink is no longer functional. If these were the case, then maybe it's time to just totally cover it and make the counter more useful. This may seem expensive at first but in the long run, the practicality and presentability of the counter will have added value to your kitchen.

If you are going in this direction, let me give a few suggestions on the type of materials you can use. In the Philippines, we usually just have a few options due to availability and cost efficiency of the materials: 

MARBLE. Marble is a natural stone so its length and design is usually limited to what's available. Its thickness can either be 1/2", 3/4" or 1". It's durable but over time it can crack and when not regularly cleaned and maintained it will show off some stains.   

GRANITE. Similar to the marble, granite is also a natural stone that is used as an alternative to marble. Its length, design and thickness depends on the availability in the market. And like the marble, installing it can be a bit expensive because of the layers of materials and the skills of the installers. However, using natural stones such as these will surely make your kitchen very presentable and elegant.

SYNTHETIC STONE. The use of synthetic stone has been a trend especially for the condominiums because they can be cut and manufactured according to the specifications of the builder. Since your apartment kitchen is just one counter, you may have to check the local hardware depots for the ready-made counters and check which one fits your existing counter. What's good about this material is that it can come in many colors. You may go as bold as red or as conventional as white. And since it's synthetic, it is non-porous and doesn't have the problems such as stains like in natural stones. The disadvantages? It's not as available as the other materials so it can be very expensive.

CERAMIC TILES. This is your best option in this situation. What is good about this material is that it has so many designs and colors, it is very easy to install and it is the least expensive. All you just need is to choose your tile, call a local carpenter and it can be installed over a weekend! But if you have chosen this option, just make sure that the old counter is removed first to maintain the optimum height for kitchen counters.

2. But if replacing the counter is not in your budget yet, then here's my tip:

Do not cover your old sink with a painted material. What you do is just plug the sinkhole with a rubber stopper which you may find in the hardware stores to keep the bad odors that will eventually emit from it. If the plumbing system (like the P-trap) has been removed then just keep it that way.

Buy a rack with a drip tray and place it in the sink, so eventhough there is no additional counter workspace, it is still usable and at the same time it looks nice.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ask Me Anything

Hello there my blogger friends.

So are you having design problems with your house? Can't decide which color to paint on your bedroom wall or whether to install wall paper on your toddler's play area? Does your kitchen look cluttered all the time? Is your living space pet friendly? I bet that there is that one spot in your house that you would really like to make-over.

As a special treat to all my blogger friends on this special day, I'll let you ask me anything related to architecture or interior design and I'll answer it through this blog. You may send me the photos of your rooms  and I will answer back with my professional tips and helpful designs! Leave your questions on the comment box or through my email address at

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,

Architect Reena

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shabby Chic Bedroom

I renovated my bedroom late last year which I used to share with my younger sister. It was a small room for two single-sized beds so our beds had been obscurely arranged ever since we were kids. One was placed perpendicular to the other which we know is bad feng shui. But that is not why I renovated the bedroom. My sister got married and I finally had the bedroom to myself which gave me more freedom to impose my own design ideas. :)

I have always liked shabby chic designs since college days. I always watch out for Rachel Aswell's television shows, the shabby chic tv guru. There is something really charming and comfortable about this design which makes it perfect for my ideal bedroom.

Because this was my first shabby chic project, I had to turn to the internet for more inspirations. My research proved to be very useful. Below are just some of the bedroom designs I really, really liked:

 Like many other designs, this shabby chic blog features a white monochromatic bedroom using light veneers on the walls, white ceilings and natural looking carpet on the floor.

Shabby chic designs usually use white and pastel colors and distressed furnishings just like in the bedroom featured in tumbler site
This blog attests that floral prints are a staple in any shabby chic design.  

My bedroom has been completely renovated but it still lacks some of the small details that will make it a true-blue shabby chic model. I will blog about the outcome of my bedroom in the succeeding posts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Online Coffee Table Book

One of my hobbies as an architect is browsing through books and magazines for design ideas. My habit is to bookmark each idea with post-its and sometimes even write some notes on these pieces of paper. It's not actually as tedious as it sounds. In fact it's something I enjoy doing.

However, the books especially the hard bound architectural books are becoming too expensive already. That's why I've turned to the internet for inspiration. But I still would like to be able to leave notes on each design I encounter, thus the creation of this blog!

As my personal online coffee table book, this is going to be a repository of all design ideas for that dream house that I would like to build one day. I hope this blog will not only be useful to me. I hope this also becomes a source of inspiration to all those who plan to build their own designer homes.

- Architect Reena