Space stylist Kitty Bunag - the force behind our gorgeous pop-up stores (along with her talented team) - welcomed us into her beautiful home
If you’ve been to one of our recent pop-up stores, allow us to toot our own horn and say that they were nothing short of breathtaking. Our secret weapon: Kitty Bunag and the rest of the amazing team from Craftsmith. Kitty not only creates the most beautiful spaces, but she also takes equally beautiful photos of them.
Having inherited her grandparents’ old house, it was only natural for us to become curious about the space she calls home. Kitty welcomed us with open arms as we peeked into her abode – and we were not disappointed. The darkened walls made full with earthy accents showed off Kitty’s – and Craftsmith’s - signature look, this time with the lived-in footprints of her warm and lovely family.
Get to know our space designer extraordinaire Kitty Bunag.
Woven baskets contrasted with black and gray accents show off Kitty's unique aesthetic
Kitty's workspace is like a page torn out of Kinfolk
Tell us a bit about the history and vision you have for your home.
Our house belonged to my late grandparents from my dad’s side of the family. The walls of this ancestral home have gone through many changes - structurally & within.❤️
How do you integrate your love for photography into your home’s design?
I actually started with space design. I majored in interior design back in college. I started with mostly events and residential projects while keeping a corporate job. I also ventured into unique handmade fashion and home accessories before I finally worked as a full-time interior design consultant and photographer over the recent years when I co-founded Craftsmith with my cousin-in-law, Mia.
The way I style pocket spaces is highly influenced by the disciplines I learned in photography & interior design. Same principles apply actually. Like the use of good natural light in spaces. Not a whole lot, just the right amount of light to create moody cozy spaces. Like the skylights in our small dining room, and living room.
According to the space stylist, plants are her greatest home hack
Add a pop of bright colors, prints, and wooden elements to create a calm contrast
We noticed that your walls are mostly a dark shade of gray – a color that most homemakers would be scared to try. Can you tell us a bit about how you decided on the color?
Our walls used to be bright - like whites and oranges. Coming from that, I decided to go dark for a change. Paint is key when doing a dramatic makeover without necessarily breaking the bank. Also with dark-colored walls, in my opinion, you immediately feel a sense of calm wash over your entire being. It’s also such an easy palette to work with should you decide to throw in colors and textures and patterns.
Which room do you spend the most time in? Which room do you spend the least time in?
Most: In the lanai and work area just because there’s so much work lately and these areas are where I’m most productive even with my kids alongside me.
Least: In front of the TV.
Kitty shares that the principles behind photography are applied the same way to space styling
If you could change something in your home, what would it be and why?
The little indoor pond! We’ve had this since before I was born I think. And I love it. I love any water feature. But I’ve always wanted a little indoor pool! Lol. :)
We love the vintage closet by the doorway, as well as the quaint stuff in it. Is there a story to that?
My family is very sentimental. Upcycling is our thing. Things are passed on from one generation to the next. My family loves art & music. Both my parents collected records, tapes, & CDs. To turn the closet into an entertainment cabinet only made sense. :)
What is the best bargain you’ve ever gotten when hunting for home pieces?
The recycled gates/frilly metal frames in the kitchen where we hang pots & pans, also used as details on the skylights in the little dining nook & garage.
Name your favorite home hack.
“Put a plant!”
Just the right amount of lighting can make a big impact on a room
Who are the people who influence your style?
My mom, Ilse Crawford, The Black Widow, Satoshi Kawamoto, Beth Kirby, The Olsen Twins
If you could visit any home in the world, whose would it be?
Ett Hem and Giselle Bündchen’s homes.
Your kitchen is probably one of the most spacious kitchens we’ve featured thus far. Is there a special reason for that?
Our family hosts small gatherings quite often but apart from that, a lot of DIY stuff happens there - both kitchen & non-kitchen crafts.
Coming from a sentimental family, Kitty shares that she loves to upcycle furniture and find places for them in her home
It has been said that lighting can make or break interiors. Do you have any advice on how one can choose home lighting?
Good lighting does wonders. Using LED halogen track lights is another home hack for me. It’s easy & fast to install/uninstall, doesn’t require destroying or reconfiguring ceilings, it’s flexible, and very aesthetically pleasing.
What makes a house a home?
A whole lotta love. :)
Meet Kimmi Siu-Dewar - the lady with a larger-than-life personality
Anyone who meets Kimmi Siu-Dewar is likely to spew something along the lines of "I can't believe you already have two kids." The self-professed tiger mama doesn't shy away from form-fitting clothes, crop tops, and other risqué OOTDs. This comes with good reason: Kimmi is basically all muscle. In the spirit of the time-tested adage, we say, "when you've got it, flaunt it."
The extroverted Aussie gal opened up her Manila home and showed us what styling prowess really means. But don't take our word for it - we've got more than enough pictures (and words) for you to see for yourself.
Sweet but bold, and sometimes risqué, is how we would describe Kimmi's style
Describe your daily uniform.
I need to dress accordingly to my day and night ahead. What meetings I have and if there are events. And it also depends on my mood and the weather. Luckily it's always tropical weather in Manila, so I wear a lot of skirts and dresses made from natural fiber fabrics to stay cool. They're also easy to take from day-to-night.
Sneakers and slip-on flats have always been my favorite since my job requires a lot of walking around. However, I recently discovered block heels, that has been a welcome addition on my shoe rack, to give me that extra height and confidence in corporate meetings.
I run around with a huge work tote that fits my laptop and document (and a shawl for fierce aircon). Inside my tote, I carry a clutch or mini sling purse with all my essentials. This clutch usually becomes my evening bag or lunch date bag!
Oh, and earrings. I feel naked if I don't wear statement earrings!
Kimmi can't do without her statement earrings
This Aussie gal's choice of footwear is as colorful as her personality
What are three staple items in your closet that you can't live without?
Only three??? I guess my top 3 go-to's for when I pack to travel are:
1. Silk dresses (long, short or midi) - block colors and print!
2. Leather pieces - to me they are trans-seasonal! Whether it be a mini-skirt, leather jacket, leather leggings or camel shorts, leather will always give your OOTD an extra edge. Looks great with silk pieces all the time!
3. Cotton shirts - as long as they are 100% cotton, you can't go wrong. Think white t-shirt or a black t-shirt. Then think collared structured business shirts. Your boyfriend's oversized collared shirt you wear as a mini dress, or one you tie in the front with your leather skirt, you can even belt it if it's extra long, or tuck it in a midi-skirt. It can be loose or tight, buttoned up or buttoned down!
In Kimmi's book, straight lines and polka dots are meant to be mixed together
A classic Chanel purse is a staple for any stylish lady
What is one thing you’ll let yourself splurge on?
Great luggage/suitcases. I've traveled around the world too many times to see my suitcase destroyed once it arrives on the conveyor belt. Don't scrimp on this, it protects ALL your belongings and saves you from tears and wasted time at the airport. And more often than not, it does some serious mileage when being pushed around from airport to your next destination.
We can't get over Kimmi's embellished headband
Nude ankle strap sandals provide grounding for Kimmi's eclectic look
Less or more? Why?
More is okay. You can always take something off if you don't feel the vibe en route.... but it's always too late to go back and get that item!
If you could design a piece of clothing, jewelry, or footwear for Seek the Uniq, what would it look like?
Happy, bright and comfortable.
Which style icon would you want to have lunch with?
Giovanna Engelbert over champagne, cheese and caviar.
How to own the Strazo set look: wear it with tie-up sandals and a statement bag
This mom-of-two is not afraid of crop tops
If you could ask one thing to that style icon, what would it be?
"Can I please have a sleepover in your wardrobe?"
Favorite fashion hack.
Never be afraid to use stick-on (nipple or boob ones) to give you oomph and confidence and a touch of extra sexy!
If your style had a soundtrack, what would it be?
The cardio/work out playlist on Spotify. Nothing puts me in a better mood than that!
Three words: urban Coachella chic
Always on the go, Kimmi likes to balance her effeminate looks with a pair of sneakers
What are some of your biggest fashion regrets?
None. It’s all about living, learning and becoming more confident with who you are and what you wear to express yourself.
Fashion pet peeve?
Kimmi has perfected the art of perfect proportion dressing
Apart from earrings, Kimmi loves her statement bags
Have you ever lost sleep over a piece of clothing or accessory? If yes, what was it?
Anything I miss on sale!
Four looks, one top: sky's the limit with the Onesti top
When it comes to wearing crop tops, rock hard abs need not be a prerequisite - it's all a matter of proportion. One need not go full-on Britney Spears to pull off the cropped look. You can go from little to no midriff exposure depending on how you pull your outfit together.
Let us show you what we mean. Here are four ways to wear the Onesti polka top:
1. The Festival Babe
Add a little spunk to your look with a denim skirt, boots, and a chunky pair of sunglasses
If you're looking for a little rock and roll in your life, this would be one way to get it. Sport a spunky chic look by wearing the Onesti with a high waist denim skirt, white boots, and chunky sunglasses. Throw in a little bucket bag for a quirky detail.
Coachella optional. We'd totally wear this to the mall. Or to walk the dog.
2. Pattern People
Proportions aside, we also love mixing patterns
Move over party people - the pattern people are taking over. Play around with the polka print by contrasting it with a frilly striped skirt. Err on the side of tame eclectic with a pair of ghost mules, attention-calling earrings, and a teeny, tiny purse.
Fashion tip: wrap skirts are an easy way to control your amount of skin exposure.
What's not to love about this adorable teeny, tiny purse?
3. Almost Athleisure
Debunking the myth: Seekers actually love their sneakers
Let us debunk the myth that Seekers are not the sneakers type. Though this look may have missed the athleisure mark by a bit, we totally did that on purpose. After all, what is an OOTD if we didn't put our Seek flair into it?
Pair the Onesti with wide leg crop pants and your favorite sneaks. Add a sling bag and oversized glasses to complete the look.
Nerd undeterred: we'll gladly wear a pair of oversized glasses any given day
Sling bags hit the mark on comfort, style, and functionality
4. The Only Resort
The only resort look that matters is one that involves paper bag shorts
Stow away your sheer caftans for now and walk on the wilder side of the fashionable plantation look. That, for us, involves a pair of paper bag shorts, a wide brim hat, and sandals made from woven material. Add a bit of glamour with a pair of statement earrings.
Another tip: paper bag shorts are a great way to add some height to your waistline.
The season's plummeting humidity calls for the big moisturizing guns
As the season turns itself over to colder days, we find ourselves enjoying sticky-free days as the humidity of summer bids farewell. However, less humidity also means a need to compensate for your skin's hydration. The perfect time to switch to heavier skincare products is the season between extreme cold and heat. That perfect time is now.
When switching out your products for the season, it's important to note that there's so much more that can be done apart from moving to heavier creams and oils. We're about to share our must-do's for avoiding skin irritation with the changing seasons.
1. Exfoliate to prepare for richer skincare.
Argan oil-based products are a great first line of defense for your skin
A great way to prep your skin for new products is to slough off flakes of dead skin. This way, your skin will be able to absorb the product more easily. Use your favorite facial exfoliant to help set the stage. Just remember not to overdo it - two to three times a week for normal skin and once for sensitive skin are ideal. Make sure to use light strokes as well so as not to cause micro-tears in your skin.
For the colder season, we recommend argan oil and argan-based products. Start with a foam cleanser, then slather on a cream base layer for the face and around the eyes.
2. Create hydrating layers with serums.
Serums are potent hydrating products that absorb into the skin quickly
Serums are a much more potent and concentrated type of skincare product, often addressing specific skin concerns. They are formulated to allow easier absorption into the skin. Serums are known to be one of the most effective types of anti-aging products due to its active ingredients.
Active ingredients in serums help to target specific skin concerns
3. Seal and hydrate with facial masks.
A great way to seal in serum layers is by donning face masks
One thing that serums lack is a "sealant" ingredient, which allows the product to stay absorbed into the skin. Having an additional moisturizer like facial masks is a great way to make sure half of your serums don't go to waste.
Never leave face masks on for longer than 20 minutes so as not to cause skin irritation. Leaving the mask on overnight may restrict your skin from breathing.
4. Give your skin some warmth.
When warmed, these Thai coconut herbal compress balls help blood circulate better
Thai herbal compress balls are a great way to relieve stress and massage your skin in one go. The herbal balls contain coconut meat, which is widely known for its moisturizing properties.
Warm or steam the balls to a safe temperature before putting in contact with your skin.
If your skin is looking for something cooler, you may opt to massage it with a face roller instead. If you're not familiar with the different types of rollers, you can check out our list here.
You can also include a purifying face mask into your cleansing routine to get deep into those pores. Our current favorite is charcoal for its detoxifying properties.
If your skin feels dry in the middle of the day, we recommend carrying some dry oil with you. Dry oils are absorbed by the skin quickly so you can get that layer of moisture without the shine.
For a shine-free boost of moisture in the middle of the day, we recommend dry oils
Say hello to our Content Kween, Japs Medina
Before all the hoo-ha on the internet then social media, Bill gates released an essay in 1996 with the title, "Content is King". He said that the internet could be "a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products—a marketplace of content”, and look where we are now: the age of social media. Seek the Uniq is no stranger to this because after all, it was born in the internet.
More than being a fashion brand, Seek the Uniq is actually an online lifestyle mecca where you can shop almost anything (from fashion pieces to home decor), including beauty hacks and outfit ideas. The latter of course, won't cost you anything as this is the brand's way of letting you in on a full STU experience. This is where Japs comes in, Seek's very own Content Manager.
Upon meeting her, Japs may give off that coy demeanor but she is like any other creative, bursting with ideas. She is the person behind our weekly newsletters and most of the blogs, and possibly the reason why you're shopping our Instagram feed (wink, wink!). Japs is clearly a wordsmith who, like the rest of the STU team, has a penchant for style.
Ahead, get to know our Content Kween and learn a thing or two on giving ladylike dressing the right twist.
What’s your position at Seek the Uniq?
I am the Content Manager at Seek the Uniq.
Describe your style.
I usually only go in two directions: structured and an almost sickly sweet feminine. Haha. I can also tip from gray, blacks and navy blues to all-out printed florals and bows. Most of the time it’s a combination of the two.
Who are your style inspirations?
Victoria Beckham, Olivia Palermo, and Amal Clooney are three off the top of my head. I am also a fan of Zendaya’s stylist Law Roach. They all have this uncanny ability to create magic out of classic pieces. Their styles are classy, lady-like, but very fresh, and the fit is always incredible.
How do you plan your outfit for the day?
I don’t really take much time out to plan my outfit. I think fashion is more enjoyable when you don’t overthink it.
On a usual day, I dress according to how I feel in the morning. Some days it’s a knit-and-wide-leg-pants day, other days it’s a printed midi dress with bows kind of day. I usually take no more than five minutes to pinpoint what I want to wear.
I do love to add a pop of color somewhere – usually shoes.
Her ear candy of choice? This Lika multi-colored pair
Japs shows you why white sneakers are a wardrobe essential
What do you love about your job?
The clothes, the shoes, and the team. I also love that we’re able to see the merchandise before everyone else does. It’s like being in on a huge secret before the whole world knows about it.
What do you do to keep yourself inspired for work?
I look at pretty things – anything from fashion to films to nature.
What is your signature piece?
I’m not sure I have a signature piece but a-line midi dresses always get my attention.
Japs' style is a balance of femininity and structure
How did you get to where you are today, career-wise?
I’m someone who would fall under the category of multi-hyphenate so I went through many paths before settling on the few I have today (though most of them were creative and analytical in nature). But I know that God had intended for me to go through that confusion so I can gain clarity. All I had to do to get to today was to trust in His sovereignty with all my heart.
If you could take only three items from the STU site, what would they be and why?
The most difficult question of all. Haha. Probably the Rotava set, Jill Lao’s Samantha dress, and alltheshoes. Can the last one count as one? Haha.
When in doubt, accessorize with these Heyjow beauties
Japs' take on tonal dressing via the Angel palazzo pants and latte colored mules
Favorite fashion hack.
Buying oversized pieces from the men’s area.
Are you a shoe or a bag person? What's a fave piece that you own?
I’m definitely more of a shoe person. My favorite is a pair of leopard print ankle strap flats that I had made locally. I got the leather abroad and had the shoes made in the Philippines.
What are some of your biggest fashion regrets?
The Havaianas-and-racerback-top combo. It was my college uniform.
Japs rocks one of Seek's most coveted dress styles, the Estepona
Japs says she is more of a shoe than a bag person. She is wearing the Herstal
Styling pet peeve?
More of pieces than styling: butt cheek-baring shorts, stiff peplums, skin-colored leggings, and cargo capris are some that come to mind. Also, those bulky Crocs. Haha.
If you could impart styling advice to our Seekers, what would it be?
Everyone starts out copying others and eventually realizing what works for others won’t necessarily work for them. That’s okay – keep going. Just have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously.
These 'rolling stones' are believed to reduce puffiness, and are also said to be helpful for sagging skin, wrinkles, open pores, firming and toning
Traditionally used by the Chinese, facial rollers are a renowned anti-wrinkle tool used to improve the youthful appearance of skin. The coolness of the gemstone closes the pores while the roller massage promotes lymphatic drainage, which can reduce puffiness, and is helpful for sagging skin, wrinkles, open pores, firming and toning. It may also be used on the neck, arms, legs and other parts of the body.
Know the story behind six handpicked 'rolling stones' below:
Amethyst is believed to stimulate collagen production that helps the increase of blood and oxygen flow
As part of the quartz family, amethyst is right up there on the beauty spectrum. This stone supports the healing process for your skin and increases circulation as it has magical far infrared rays (FIR) that gently raise the surface temperature of the skin to aid in cell repair & healing. It stimulates collagen production that helps the increase of blood and oxygen flow.
Amethyst also carries negative ions that draw out the positively charged toxic particles, to detoxify and cleanse your skin—giving your skin a clean, refreshed feel. It also emits anions that can promote sleep.
2. Cat's Eye - Dalmatian
The cat's eye is known to be effective in treating allergies, skin problems, and digestive diseases.
A lustrous gemstone that bears an uncanny resemblance with the eyes of a cat, thus getting this unusual name. It is a fast-acting gemstone which is said to help combat a series of diseases.
This gemstone is also said to transmit infrared rays which aids in treating chronic diseases like cancer and paralysis. It helps protects one from genetic diseases and is known to be effective in treating allergies, skin problems, and digestive diseases.
3. Lapis Lazuli
Known as the 'blue stone', the lapis lazuli is known to bring more restful and relaxing sleep
Lapis lazuli means ‘blue stone’. This stone is believed to help release stress, alleviate insomnia, headaches, body pains, vertigo, and PMS. It may also bring more restful and relaxing sleep. It also benefits the respiratory and nervous systems - the throat, vocal chords, and thyroid, cleanses organs, bone marrow and thymus. It is also helpful in cooling and soothing areas of inflammation.
4. Black Obsidian
traditionally believed to be a cleansing and protective stone, the black obsidian is said to draw out stress and tension
The black obsidian is known as a that draws out stress and tension. It brings skin imbalances such as acne, psoriasis and eczema to the surface and releases them from the body.
Jade has been used in Chinese traditions for more than a thousand years
Handmade from solid jade, the deep massaging action can help transform your skin and facial contours making you look younger. Jade rollers have a history of more than a thousand years. Chinese women have used jade rollers for centuries as a daily routine to promote youthful skin.
These rollers have been believed to prevent the loss of skin elasticity, promote circulation and integrate natural energy from the jade stone. The XL Jade Roller features a large rolling stone for bigger areas of the face, like your cheeks or forehead, and a smaller rolling stone for tiny areas of the face, such as eyes or nose.
6. Cat's Eye - Orange Marigold
Just like the dalmatian face roller, this cat's eye roller only differs in aesthetic
All cat's eye rollers are the same in nature, differing only in design and aesthetic. In addition to countering health problems, the cat’s eye is also believed to have mental benefits. It is said to help get rid of tension as well.
More than just a set, the Bystre has a versatility that sees no end
We love sets. They're a stylish, no-brainer way of getting dressed on busy mornings. Even on not-so-chaotic days, slipping them on just feels cozy and familiar - kind of like home.
On some days we like to mix up things. As much as we hate to break a pair apart, in certain cases we can't resist to mix-and-match set pieces and appreciate their versatility.
Such is the case for the Bystre top-and-skirt set. We came up with three ways to wear this beautiful printed duo.
1. The Staycationer
A woven hat is a must for wanderlusts in the city
If you're like most of us, sometimes the city life can get too stuffy. In lieu of an actual momentary recluse - which can be a luxury when life demands too much of your time - we like to at least dress the part.
Have a short coffee sesh with your best gals in your vacation's best. We like to pair the Bystre set with a woven hat and bag to get that glammed up outdoor feel.
We can almost smell the palm trees and coconuts.
A morning in solitude can feel like a mini-vacation with the right accessories
2. The '90s Kid
Doing the '90s look the Seek way
One need not have lived out the '90s to dress the part - binge-watching a season of Friends is more than enough to have one reaching for those mom jeans.
While we love the said fashion era, we couldn't resist inserting a bit of Seek flair into it. Wear the Bystre top backwards with jeans for a fresh feel. Finish the look with chunky sunglasses, a woven sling bag, and leather slip-on flats.
For a more sophisticated feel, switch out your sling with a small leather one in a sunny hue.
Wear the Bystre top backwards for an entirely fresh feel
A sunny-hued sling bag can instantly add sophistication
3. The Casually Dolled Up
Our tropical city take on athleisure involves a print ruffle skirt
There are days when our outfits are built entirely on contrasts
Sometimes we build outfits entirely on contrasts. Our tropical city take on athleisure involves the Bystre skirt, a white tee (knotted at the back for a more laid back feel), and flatforms.
To finish the look, don a just-got-out-of-bed hairstyle, drop earrings, and a leather sling bag with gold accents.
For chilly days, grab a cropped blazer to pull the outfit together.
Finish off your look with just-got-out-bed hair and gold accents
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