Amber with her trademark cheerful smile wearing a maxi skirt from our holiday collection while sitting in one of her "thrones".
I seriously think that Amber Folkman was Pinoy in her past life.
The American expat wife (originally from Seattle) has been living in the country for a couple of years now and with open arms fully embraced our ways, culture and even mannerisms that would put locals to shame. For instance, her easy personality, welcoming nature and relatable approach to decorating are very Filipino but she adds the extras, like embracing local products and haunts then generously sharing them to the world in her blog A Momma Abroad. Case in point: I talked about the challenge of finding locations for our weekly shoots and she readily shared about five charming venues right off the bat! Places I've never heard of or been to at that. Amber is one of those people who radiate positivity so much so, that I wanted to bottle some up and take home with me whenever the need arises. I kid you not, she is that infectious.
Her home is an homage to two cultures, the one she was born in and the other, grown to love. Every corner you turn, there's a touch of Pinas, may it be furniture, wall art, figurines, blankets and rugs, even a custom jeepney sign that we all found so cute. We brought our latest home collection to style and play around with, which is very much at home in her abode and just as festive. I'll let the photos do the talking.
Describe your design philosophy in three words.
Pops Of Color
Where do you get inspiration?
My inspiration usually comes from what colors make me happy and the stories around me.
Your home is part boho / part Pinoy / part Wanderluster. How did this come to be?
Ha, truthfully, a tight budget. So many of the things I bought are second hand or from markets and somehow it all works together. One of my favorite things while traveling is buying something from my home, usually it’s textiles. Part of settling into Manila life was inspired by a person design principle which is, bring the culture in. Surrounding my home with the local Pinoy culture has helped me plant roots and educated me about our new home.
How much of your personality is reflected in your home?
I think a lot! When I am in my home I feel happy, that’s a testament that I have created a space that aligns with my personal values.
Design rule/s you like to break?
People often think that to have a nice home you have to spend lots of money, or the other extreme, DIY everything. I’ve met somewhere in the middle. I don’t think you need to buy everything new and spend lots of money.
Best decorating advice you received, why and from whom?
Shop your closets! I was whining to a friend years ago about not wanting to spend so much money on new spaces in our home and she replied, “shop your closets girl.” It’s been one of the best pieces of advice, especially when I am in a creative rut or time crunch.
Decorating hack you love doing?
Large statement pieces for dirt cheap. Over sized black and white architecture prints are one of the easiest ways to make a bold statement for very little money. I feel the same about vinyl wall stickers, washi tap wall installations and maps.
Advice to those who are clueless on decorating a new space.
Surround yourself with colors you love and start simple with wall hanging and photos then move onto larger pieces.
Dream home decor purchase (if money was no object)
I can’t believe I have never pondered this question before! My answer would definitely be a painted family portrait and then a large rattan bed frame.
Favorite STU home purchase?
Hands down my Jaipur basket that sits next to me my the night stand. It’s cheerful, adds culture and inspires me to travel to Jaipur someday.
What’s your most favorite item in your home and why?
For sure my peacock chairs, or my thrones as my husband lovingly calls them. I fell in love with the peacock chair 10 years ago when it was revived in the boho decor scene. When I moved to the Philippines and learned of it’s origin story my heart was won over. The peacock chair symbolizes two things I love very much: home design and the Philippines.
If you could switch homes with someone for a year, who would it be and why?
Justina Blakeney of the Jungalow, because hello, the Jungalow.
A masterful play of mismatched dinnerware.
Bulol salt and pepper shakers add the Filipino touch.
And so does this nipa hut pair.
Her own work nook where the blogging magic happens.
Her favorite straw bag from Jaipur, Eva planter basket and Inabel slides provide the native flair in her work area. Not to mention that gorgeous solihiya couch on the bg.
We adore the family's custom jeepney sign!
Such an awesome way to teach the kids how to count in Tagalog.
Those are wooden candle holders, by the way.
Pinoy accents here and there.
Map of the U.S.A, a reminder of their roots.
The kids corner where they're encouraged to get creative.
Amber has a serious obsession with rugs and blankets.
Paper maché animals purchased in Myanmar found their home at the family's shelf.
Keep your eyes peeled here for our next STU home feature. Until then, go and get yourself those new leaf placemats for a little of the outdoors coming in (without the wilting).