Rachelle Medina aka "museum girl" takes us on a quick tour around her color-splashed home
Interior designer Rachelle Medina is best remembered as the editor-in-chief of Real Living Magazine for 15 solid years. Behind the stylized pages, the more casual version of Rachelle is someone her friends would call a "museum girl", as she loves to visit museums or art exhibits at least once a week. This quarantine, she has settled for online art documentary viewing with her son, who has an inclination for the arts himself. Rachelle also identifies herself as a Philippine heritage fanatic, to a point where she dares to enter structures that are ready to fall on her head.
Since vacating her spot at Real Living, she has been writing for different lifestyle websites like Spot, GMA News Lifestyle, and ANCX. She has also been working as a consulting content editor for the websites of SM Home and Manila FAME.
Get to know the former EIC (and her lovely space) in our exclusive home feature:
The designer's living room is a hodgepodge of old things - the chairs are by Benji Reyes, the sofa throw is scrap fabric from Schumacher, the paintings are by Fred Ramirez and her son Goldo
Keeping crystals nearby are a must for Rachelle
Who are your design heroes?
I admire a lot of designers, but my true design heroes are all the homeowners I’ve met. I think I’ve seen more than 2,000 actual homes in my lifetime (yup, I counted!), and the best ones always tell a story.
And it’s the really personal homes that I never forget. These homeowners usually don’t even have an interior designer; they just fill their spaces with things that they love. Some are messy and others are crazy, but these homes are just full to the brim with personality, memories, and life.
Tell us about your design process in decorating your home.
My home is terribly modest and small, and there was no real design process. But I made it a point to make it colorful, since I wear black all the time—it would be incredibly dreary if my home was in black, too!
Rachelle's "happy wall" consists of artwork from friends: an Irish Galon from Wilmer Lopez, Mai Ongkiko, a sea goddess by Ram Lopez-Vito Bucoy, Popo San Pascual
This medicine cabinet was from Rachelle's grandfather’s clinic in the 1930s, which her late father painted red and gave to her
If you could sum up your design aesthetic in a song title, what would it be and why?
Waters of March by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, since it’s a song about the chaos and craziness and the cycle of life. I just mix all my stuff altogether—secondhand, inherited, dime-store, designer. And I only choose things that I attach memories to, things that make me happy.
What’s on your quarantine playlist?
A friend pointed out that my music was like a Classic Tito’s playlist, and I think he’s right! On loop: Steely Dan’s Gaucho album, Brasil 66, Carlos Lyra’s Influencia do Jazz. If I want to forget about the outside world, I’ll play early-aughts House music by Lars Behrenroth.
A George Nelson clock hanging on the wall was a retirement gift from a friend
A Tord Boontje lamp makes you feel like you’re in a fairy-tale forest
Which room do you spend the most time in? The least time in?
My bedroom, it feels cocoon-like in the afternoon. The least time: my son’s bedroom—all his mess is in there!
How does being an interior designer and a home editor influence the way you decorate your home?
I still remember home styling instructions from my former boss Tina Bonoan, like how to arrange pillows properly (give it a karate chop in the middle to make a notch), and how to style a room in under five minutes—this comes in handy when you have surprise guests!
Made from mouldings from the hardware store, Rachelle had her son's desk custom-made to look like a jeepney
Rachelle's son Goldo has been into art since he was five-years-old
If you could wear only one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I wear black, every day, all day. My mother complains about it so I jazz up my outfits with bold and colorful accessories.
Is there anything about your home that you wish to change?
I wish I had the kitchen space to accommodate an oven for quarantine baking.
Give us your five favorite Instagrammers.
@deborah.carminati because her style is basic but not ordinary-basic
@ilardeliza because I am a mixed-prints fan
@fifis.finds to check out all the new Filipino brands
@costarastrology daily, since I am an astrology fanatic
@eamesoffice because I love seeing archival photos of Charles and Ray Eames
The designer's friend Grace Moslares painted her bedroom light gray to make it relaxing, which was contrasted with bright sheets from Crate & Barrel
On Rachelle's dresser: a portrait of Rachael from Bladerunner (her favorite movie), illustrations by Raxenne Maniquiz, and a Bakelite necklace is her mother’s from the 1970s
How do you hope your guests feel when they visit your home?
That they could be at ease, and even jump around in it. There’s a lot of jumping around when my son’s friends visit.
Plants or flowers?
Vegetables! I have a black thumb, but by some miracle, I was able to grow tomato, eggplant, and pechay this quarantine.
Favorite city in the world to shop in and why?
No specific city, but I always shop at museum stores, in any country I go to. In museum shops, you’re sure to find objects and gifts that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Rachelle inherited this 1938 art deco dresser from her grandmother, which she restored it myself a couple of years ago
The designer parked her accessories on these shelves for now, but more are in storage in her closet
What does home mean to you?
Home is your personal sanctuary, only you would know what is best for it.
Follow Rachelle on Instagram at @anidemfinds and @goldosmom.