To focus on work and school, actor Martin del Rosario has opted to live in a house that’s strategically located, as well as comfortable.
Martin is taking up Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He stays with his uncle Caloy and aunt Chi Gutierrez in Cainta, Rizal, on weekdays and goes home to his parents in Quezon City on weekends.
“My uncle’s house is very near UP and most of the sets of my recent TV shows, in Tanay or Antipolo. It’s very convenient.”
The set of Martin’s 2011 drama series, “Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin” was in a village just across theirs. “After a taping, I can go straight to UP, then come home. This has been the setup for four years now—or since I joined show biz. I was here so often that my aunt decided to build me a room. Sometimes, I bring friends along for a drink in her garden,” he told Living Stars. Martin was last seen in the fantasy series “Juan dela Cruz.” More recently, he was cast in the romantic comedy “Bride For Rent,” starring Kim Chiu and Xian Lim.
The Gutierrezes acquired half of the current property (about 700 sq m) 12 years ago. “We started with 215 square meters,” said Aunt Chi. Later, we bought the lot behind ours and turned it into a garden.” Now in construction is the “barn house,” which will have five guest rooms.
Chi sought the help of her brother-in-law, Chu-Chu Gutierrez, to design the garden. “I wanted one like the ones I saw in Tagaytay or Baguio,” she said. “He planted flame and pine trees.”
The garden looks “super cool at night with all the lights on,” according to Martin. “It’s my favorite place aside from my room.” Chi added, “I let Martin and his guests stay out there so they don’t make a mess inside the house, and so that my husband and I can sleep early. They’re good kids, though; they clean up when they’re done.” Chi and her husband are childless.
To have a country-style home in a blue-and-white color palette, with hand-crafted furniture and vintage accessories was Chi’s dream. “Even before it was built, I bought decorative stuff whenever I went to the (United) States,” she said as she showed us antique telephones, cameras and figurines in the living room. “Relatives and friends gave me more on my birthday.
Chi also got a lot of help from her sister, Gigi Go, a professional interior designer. “She picked the wall paper and curtains made from plaid fabric. She put down our ideas on paper and had carpenters work on them. Most of what you see here are custom-made,” she said, pointing to the wooden swing on the front porch and the quirky cabinets around the house.
The antique jukebox and slot machine in the lanai area came from a supplier in Kamuning, Quezon City. “I like things in my house that tell interesting stories. The jukebox is special for my husband because it was built in 1959, the year he was born,” Chi said. The rattan ottoman and vintage lounge chair are gifts from Chi’s mother-in-law. “The chair is a replica of one that John F. Kennedy used in the White House.”
Chi’s most interesting project so far is the toilet linked to the master bedroom—it has an Old Hollywood theme. She hung an antique chandelier from the ceiling, and framed photographs of comedy icons Charlie Chaplin, and Laurel and Hardy on the wall. There’s also a huge mosaic of British actress Audrey Hepburn’s image made from black and white tiles.
Martin has a small room in the attic. Chi and Caloy are using his old room while theirs is under renovation. From the attic, Martin has a full view of the garden through large glass windows.
“It’s the perfect ambiance for when I review for school. It’s like I’m in Forks,” he said, referring to a city in Washington state that serves as a key setting in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series.
Photos by Rodel Rotoni
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