Elegance Within Reach: 5 Easy Design Tips from Kristine Neri

Interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo shares her go-to tips for an elegant space. By Kathleen Valle

Kristine Neri-Magturo
For Kristine Neri-Magturo design awareness and accessibility has been instrumental in empowering clients

With a design career that spans over a couple of decades, Kristine Neri-Magturo is the right person to ask for advice on keeping things elegant. The Interior Design alumna from the University of the Philippines honed her craft by working in architectural and design firms, taking on freelance design projects, and running an interior design and furniture company. Today, Kristine has her hands full managing her design studio Kristine Neri Interiors and her furniture shop Urban Abode.

“Loving what I do keeps me going forward and in the right direction. This was just as important when I first started and interior design was not really valued as a commercial profession, unlike now when there are so many interior design programs and so much industry competition,” she says.

As her craft evolved through the years, so has the local design landscape and client behavior: “Nowadays, clients knock on our door with a stronger sense of what they want. They are more interested than ever before in being part of the design process. I think the surge of interest in interior design reflects a cycle of education and passion in artistic, visual mediums that’s been put on super fast forward by social media.”

Kristine observes that this design awareness and accessibility has been instrumental in empowering clients. “More than before, folks seem to have the conviction that they can influence how their space, even their circumstance, takes shape in a way that expresses and celebrates their uniqueness.”

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Furniture Pursuits

When Kristine and husband Michael Magturo opened their furniture store, Urban Abode, in 2012, they mutually agreed on designing and crafting only pieces that they themselves would love to have in their own home.

They started out with a collection of “warm industrial meets rustic chic” furniture items and décor, integrating authentic vintage pieces and upcycled works. Their latest collection, Idyllic: Days in the Sun, is a showcase of modern vintage flair boasting a vibrant color palette that feels nostalgic and new all at once.

Idyllic Collection
Idyllic: Days in the Sun is a showcase of modern vintage flair boasting a vibrant color palette

As is true with their first and current collections and those in between, Kristine considers their Urban Abode offerings as a reflection of their growth as creatives, a couple with a young son, and as fans themselves of interior and furniture design.

READ: Meet the Creative Minds Behind La Union’s Vessel Hostel

Kristine’s Five Easy Tips for an Elegant Space:

1. Level up your olfactory game: “Our olfactory memory is so strong. So for condos, especially those that are a bit tighter, an oil diffuser can transform the space. I mix my own oils at home for aromatherapy customized to my family’s mood and needs. Lately, I’ve been mixing lavender, frankincense, and cedarwood to relax.”

Kristine Neri tips
Tip 2: For a given room or area, decide on one or two focal points and keep everything else simple. In this particular residential project, Kristine opted for modern lighting fixtures and a high-back accent chair in punchy mustard hue.

2. Invest in less: “Well-curated pieces (versus accessory overload) usually convey simply and clearly what a person or family is really about,” she says. For a given area, decide on one or two focal points and keep everything else simple. For this project, Kristine opted for modern lighting fixtures and a high-back accent chair in punchy mustard hue.

Kristine Neri tip
Tip 3: Incorporating a touch of green is possible in either a sprawling space or a tiny vignette. For big spaces, potted plants and even a vertical garden (for balconies) would work. For nooks and crannies, clear glass vases with cut flowers or greens like eucalyptus stems.

3. Let the light in: “Allow lots of natural sunlight and plants to be part of your home’s interior design. Nature offers some of the best and classiest home accents.” Incorporating a touch of green is possible in either a sprawling space or a tiny vignette. For big spaces, potted plants and even a vertical garden would work. For nooks and crannies, opt for clear glass vases with cut flowers or greens like eucalyptus stems.

Kristine Neri tip
Tip 4: For one of the bedrooms in Henry Hotel Cebu, Kristine’s team accentuated a wall with a painterly mural depicting Masskara Festival. Though the mural is striking, the overall look is seamless and cohesive because of the carefully chosen color palette that is also echoed in the room’s decorative elements.

4. Combine with caution: “Mixing and blending of color combinations and tones is always fun, just not too many variants. If you’re not sure if it looks right, it probably doesn’t.”

Kristine Neri tip
Tip 5: Here, the Earheart throw pillows from Urban Abode’s Idyllic: Days in the Sun collection injects just the right dose of personality into a timeless, mocha couch. The same approach can be seen in the foreground center table with a trio of small ceramic pots adding splashes of solid colors in the midst of neutral-colored accents.

5. Accentuate in small doses: Keep the biggest furniture pieces in a neutral color and pattern. Add understated elegance to the space by adding throw pillows, rugs, or light fixtures.

Urban Abode is located at CW Home Depot Ortigas, #1 Dona Julia Vargas Avenue near corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. Take a peek at Kristine’s past projects here. Get in touch with her at design@kristineneri.com.

See how easy it is to add a whiff of elegance in your space? Keep these tips in mind when you move into your condominium unit. Consider any one of Avida’s developments in the most vibrant locales in the metropolis.