Shabby chic is how GMA 7 actress Bianca King describes the look of her bachelorette’s pad somewhere in Taguig.
Before moving into this townhouse two years ago, she started doodling a few interior design ideas on her own. Then she stumbled upon the books of British designer Rachel Ashwell and was awestruck.
“That was precisely the look I wanted,” she tells Living Stars. “Classic and distressed country –like a beach home.”
She combined modern accents with heirloom pieces from her grandmother and parents. A ceramic elephant figure is from her lola Nancy. A wooden chest is from her grandmom’s cousin. “The baul is 80 years old. I got a lot of antique pieces from my parents’ old house in Parañaque” – like the native chairs and golden mirror from mom Suzanne. The crystal lamp and blue-and-white ceramics are also from Nancy.
Bianca has lined the staircase with black-and-white photos of mom and lola and a wedding portrait of great-grandparents from the early 1900s. “Old pictures go well with the look,” she says.
From a vintage store, Bianca got owl figures and a wall clock. She frequents an antique shop in Kamuning, Quezon City, she volunteers. “I got the chandelier there. The bell at the door is from a tiangge. The dining table is from a junk shop near GMA 7. I’m super practical. I don’t mind owning second-hand items.”
She has the cast-off items refurbished. “I designed everything. I made drawings of my bed, table and other pieces. Furniture maker Jeremy Guiab made my sofa and put the dining table together according to my specifications.” Actor-turned-interior designer Robin Da Roza crafted the office desk and TV console.
A favorite nook is the living room, specifically the L-shaped sofa. “I always get sleepy when I sit there. My toy poodles Burger and Amelie love hanging out there, too.”
The living room is painted dove blue; the bedroom, periwinkle. She fondly calls her home a little project in progress. “Every time I earn a little extra, I buy something new for the house.”
When it comes to decorating, Bianca has one ground rule. “The plants are real. I hate fake plants and flowers.”
To antique pieces, she has added modish items, like stools from Dimensione and high-tech kitchen appliances from Elba.
An avid fan of the Food Network, Bianca knows her way around the kitchen. “I love entertaining at home,” she reveals. “When I invite friends over for dinner, I cook everything from scratch.” When her old soap, “Sinner or Saint,” ended late last year, she whipped up a gourmet meal for the writers. “I prepared seared foie gras and squash soup in chicken stock. I also did the plating myself.”
For the Living Stars crew, she served lasagna with béchamel sauce. “I don’t eat rice,” Bianca says. “I’m into wheat pasta. I also make pizza at home. I roll the dough myself. I use Prosciutto ham and portabella mushrooms, but I prefer veggies. I Google recipes and learn them quickly.”
She’s a hausfrau in the making. “I like to cook and clean, like a housewife. In that way, I’m very Filipino, like my mom.” (Dad Bryan is Canadian.) She has a housekeeper, but Bianca does the laundry herself. “I’m pretty hands-on. I even bathe and walk the dogs myself.”
She and former co-star Dennis Trillo are said to be Show Town’s latest hot couple (they guested together on the series “Legacy”), but she insists they are “taking things slowly.”
These days, she explains, she is much too busy with the afternoon series “Broken Vow.” Plus, she’s graduating this month from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
She took six years to finish her Filmmaking course – shuttling between classes and tapings. Last year, she was often sleep-deprived. “The pressure was immense. I did pre-production for my thesis. I had to defend my thesis, too.” For that thesis, she wrote a rom-com script. “I made a 10-minute excerpt (with Aljur Abrenica), two scenes from the script which I hope to produce someday.”
A friend, Victor Consunji, led her to this “serene cocoon,” just a five-minute drive from The Fort. “There are no tall buildings in this area. It’s still breezy and cool at night. And it’s a double-gated village.”
Her parents are now based in Edmonton, Canada. “When I get lonely, I throw dinner parties or invite friends to sleep over,” she says. One house guest, fellow GMA 7 actress Michelle Madrigal, stayed for four months and a half.
In any case, she has her beloved dogs for company. “I also talk to my mom on Skype and WhatsApp almost every day.”
Actually, Bianca started running her own household at age 19. “I was the breadwinner at the time and I helped my parents,” she relates. “Now they send me money!”
But since she’s still paying for the house, she says, “I’m thrifty. I’m not into luxury … I don’t buy branded clothes or bags.” Her only indulgence is traveling. “Even so, I don’t go on random trips … only to visit my family.”
Photos by Arnold Almacen
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