“I’m looking forward to great dinners and awesome conversations, and hopefully, I can start my own family in this home,” says the Habitat for Humanity ambassador.
Derek Ramsay has always been passionate about building homes. On one hand, he has been the longtime ambassador of Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines, supporting and participating in the organization’s housing advocacies for displaced communities. On the other hand, his current creative project—a four-level house in the South—is the fourth home that he has built in the last five years.
“Maybe I should try to [build, style, and sell houses] as a profession. Why not?” he quips. The actor confesses that he enjoys the creative process, and that people have complimented his taste in furniture, art, and interiors. “I didn’t study [design] formally. I’m going with what people say, and I hope that they’re being honest,” he chuckles.
Ramsay’s discerning eye does not come as a surprise, however. It runs in the family—his sister Rojinie studied interior design, and his mom Medy loves to take on artistic projects. “My mother is such a creative woman, and she has a beautiful home. I tried not to consult her as I was building the house. I wanted everything to be my own and see how it would turn out. Eventually, she liked how everything came together, and that meant so much to me.”
From as early as the planning stage to the actual construction of the house, Ramsay was involved in every step. “Everything about the interior is all me, down to the materials used,” he says, sharing his penchant for woodwork, dark walls and floors, stone elements, and sleek furnishings. “I worked with a brilliant architect—his name is Alex Co—and I told him that I wanted a house that would allow me to see everything,” he shares. “So, if you’re in the kitchen, you can see the dining area, the lanai, and other locations inside. I also told Alex that I wanted a house where I could entertain guests on the top floor. So, he came up with this layout where the roof deck is fully covered. There is also a secluded area for those who want air conditioning.”
This “upside-down” plan positions all the other areas of the house in the lower floors, similar to his relatives’ seaside home in the United Kingdom. “My aunt has this type of house. All her bedrooms are on the ground floor, and the living spaces are on the second. They did this more for the view, I think. They have these nice picture windows that look out into the ocean,” he says. From his own towering home, Ramsay’s rooftop views include the Filinvest cityscape and Tagaytay. He notes that the cool breeze also adds to the ambiance, making it easier to entertain guests.
Inside the house, sculptures and paintings from artists like Jinggoy Buensuceso, Dominic Jinon, and Hamilton Sulit find a home. He shares that going local was his way of both filling up the interiors and helping other/s out amid the pandemic. “The lockdown gave me more time to think about home renovations. As I did my research, I looked at various artists on Instagram and I realized how talented and diverse our creatives are in the country. I am proud to have their works on display here,” he says.
Complementing the actor’s eclectic art collections are statement pieces from renowned international designers. “The Zaha Hadid couches in the living room are works of art in themselves. They have this unique shape inspired by the buildings that she has created,” Ramsay says.
He admits that, while he fell in love with the couch at first sight, he wasn’t sure how he could style it at home. “I asked myself, how do you match something like this piece? And my mom goes, ‘Well, pair it with another one!’ and I thought that was a fantastic idea. I bought them on the spot, and I said, bahala na how I’ll mix and match it.”
While Ramsay has made a few design changes after he treated his followers to a virtual tour of his home months ago, the actor happily shares that everything is slowly coming together.
“Yes, I still had to redo a few pieces for my personal satisfaction, but that’s part of the whole process—editing or improving on ideas that you thought were already great before. The house feels more like a home now, and I am pleased with the outcome,” he says.
Ramsay’s passion for home keeps him motivated to maintain his new living quarters and find ways to tweak it further. “Having a roof over your head is one of the most important things you can provide for yourself and your family. It’s great to create memories within a wonderful space with your loved ones. I’m looking forward to great dinners and awesome conversations, and hopefully, I can start my own family in this home.”
Photos by Ed Simon of Studio 100
The full spread on Derek Ramsay’s new home can be found in Volume 1 of Lifestyle Asia 2021.