At Home with Cris Bonoan

by Japs Medina October 07, 2018

Cris honed her love for culture and the arts through her travels

Stepping into Cris Bonoan’s home does one thing: it knocks the wind out of you. Nestled in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Makati, Cris’ home is an extension of the busy city - chaotic still, but the mess made absolute harmonious (and tasteful) sense. It was the kind of chaos that titillated the senses – and we mean that in the most gratifying way possible. The front door opens to a wash of light flooding through gigantic windows, eventually revealing a space adorned with personally curated pieces, each with its own story to tell.

It was pretty evident that Cris built her home around her love for travel. As we wandered around her halls, she was usually not far behind with an interesting travel tale or two. Having lived overseas for many years, Cris honed her taste for culture and the arts through her constant forays. A Malang painting, among numerous other art pieces, hung casually on her living room wall as a testimony.

A colorful table littered with interesting pieces greets you at the door

The doorway is interestingly Cris' favorite part of her home

Confident and quick-witted, Cris’ charm was evident in each room. We leveled with her on the pieces that make her heart flutter, as well as some of her pro tips for the traveling art connoisseur.

 Describe your style in three adjectives.

Unique, diverse, and casual.

Who are the people who influence your style?

I can’t really name specific people who have influenced my sense of style; I would say my travels have influenced my sense of style. Having lived overseas for many years has helped me embrace other cultures. My travels to other countries have shaped my diverse sense of style.

 Cris enjoys a cocktail in her meticulously curated living room

Intricately carved cabinets are a welcome surprise behind the hefty living room set

We noticed that you have a lot of art pieces in your home. What do you look for when you pick out pieces? Are there artists that your particularly favor?

During my travels, I always make it a point to bring home an interesting art piece from places I’ve been to. I am a very visual person - if I see what I like, it doesn’t matter who the designer or artist is, or whether it is cheap or expensive. I do, however, enjoy seeking and finding a great bargain or a unique piece.

Which rooms do you spend the most and least time in? 

I spend relatively equal time in all the rooms in my home. If I'm on my laptop working then I will highly likely be in the study room. Meals are a sacred part of our day and I do most of the cooking so I spend a lot of time in time in the kitchen too. My bedroom is my solace and I spend time there when I want to relax and unwind.

 Every corner of the home is filled with pieces that tell stories

Cris pays special attention to frames as much as she does to artwork

During your travels, what are the things you keep in mind when hunting for home pieces?

I try to find items that are unique and native to the country I am visiting, as well as the quality, the history and meaning (for example, I used to collect African masks so I would research on the different kinds of masks and their significance).

 What is your favorite country or city to shop in?

Africa, India, Turkey, and all over Europe.

Cris' home tip: copper keeps drinks chilled throughout the day

Cris lounges amongst art pieces collected over years of travel

 What is the best bargain you’ve ever gotten?

My Olazo.

What advice would you give to travellers who want to hunt for home pieces in foreign cities?

Don’t fall for tourist traps; always look for something unique and native to the place you are visiting. Buy something you truly like - it doesn’t matter whether it matches with your current theme or sense of style as long as you like it. I normally start palpitating when I see something I like. That’s when I know I won’t be able to live without it.

Cris' daughter, Amina, chose soft hues for her bedroom

The mix of romantic and eclectic pieces shows Amina taking after her mom's sense of style

If you could change something in your home, what would it be and why?

I wish I had a balcony. I love plants and unfortunately they don’t thrive in a condominium environment.

How did you marry your style with your daughter’s preference in designing her room?

My daughter has lived with art in our home since she was born and she is with me in all our travels. She's now 14-years-old and she chose the design for her room. Luckily, I approved.

Cool hues and romantic pieces make up Cris' bedroom

 Cris shares that the bedroom is her place of solace

Woven trays keep accessories organized and accessible

If you were stuck in an island and could only take one decorative piece from your home, what would it be? 

My bed! I'm a creature of comfort.

What makes a house a home?

 A house is a home when we create a unique place that meets all our needs and expresses our genuine character. A home is a place where one walks in and instantly feels at ease and welcomed. A house is a home when it feels authentic, not contrived and stiff but a true reflection of the people living in it. A house is a home when it is a sanctuary for you and your loved ones.






Japs Medina
Japs Medina


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