Manila-based interior designer Claudine Medina builds good design by adapting to a household’s lifestyle. It’s a principle she lives by, proving making a home is about beauty and functionality–and taking pride in it.
Amid the sumptuous private residences and immaculate designs, Claudine Medina knows laying the foundation matters the most in making a home. “Interior design is not just [about] providing an aesthetically-pleasing space but it’s more of maintaining an efficient space that [fits] your client,” she says.
Through her eponymous studio, Interiors by Claudine, she transforms living spaces into places people can call ‘home.’ It may seem like a challenge. But the Claudine never considered the scope of space as a constriction.
“Being a homemaker means you’re able to create a comfortable life that works for you and your loved ones,”
She understands good design starts by knowing and adapting to the lifestyle of a home’s residents. And it is similar to how she views homemaking. “Being a homemaker means you’re able to create a comfortable life that works for you and your loved ones,” she says.
As an interior designer, she builds the foundations of good design to fit different preferences like her home now. “My husband and I love our lives here. Though we’re renting, we’ve managed to create a place that fits our needs and lifestyle.”
The Designer’s Vision
“I have to learn how to compromise and to prioritize their styles because at the end of the day, it’s their space—not mine,” she says. “I know when to give input and to determine if I’m still meeting their requirements.”
With Claudine’s fondness for photography, it was natural for her to take interest in design. “I’ve always been into making beautiful spaces. I am always attracted to beautiful things and putting them together,” she says. As a self-taught photographer, she took this inherent creativity to the world of design. It seemed like an organic path given their family business is in the field of design and construction.
Having embraced her artistic passions, now she enjoys her interior design practice. A glance at her projects shown on Instagram boasts of a clean and transitional style. “I think my mom made a huge impact on my design style,” Claudine shares. “She’s [into] very bright, airy, and comfortable spaces.”
Every design undertaking is not only a chance to show her style but to demonstrate her prowess in balancing preferences. She blends textures, patterns, and treasured pieces based on what her clients prefer. “I have to learn how to compromise and to prioritize their styles because at the end of the day, it’s their space—not mine,” she says. “I know when to give input and to determine if I’m still meeting their requirements.”
Such a perspective is similar to how she navigates a difficult situation. Like any creative in the industry, struggling with expectations is common. There will always be bouts of revaluations in hopes of making everything perfect. Claudine is no stranger to this experience. She recounts a particularly tough project where she almost gave in to self-doubt. It seemed to her that the work wasn’t up to par with her client’s expectations. Nevertheless, she followed her instincts and saw the project to its completion. In the end, the client turned out immensely satisfied.
While uncertainty is always lurking, making every project a nerve-wracking experience, Claudine chooses to have a positive mindset. She says, “You will feel it in your gut when something is best for you. Even when there are challenges, you will feel that it is just a hump that you will get over [with]. It’s just a hump that you have to go through.”
This strong mindset, together with her incredible skills, show Claudine as a talent to watch out for. With each project, she is proving herself in the makings of a powerhouse in the design industry.
A Look into the Groundwork
Homes are places to express personality and taste. Beyond these, it is up to its residents to create the kind of refuge they need. For Claudine, this solid understanding of a house’s foundation makes her a sought-after professional. “Before we start the design phase, I always ask [clients] how they use their spaces,” she says. She recommends systems to implement over time. For instance, people not fond of frequent tidying up, she suggests using closed storage units. The opposite works for those who prioritize easy access: open storage is ideal to let them know if they are running out of essentials.
“I've always been a supporter of the brand (Mayfair & Co.),” Claudine reveals. “I think it's the cherry on top of every project. It completes the look.”
In every design project, storage is a priority for many. Claudine further realized this when a client specified the need for organizers. It was her first experience and fortunately, she worked with Mayfair & Co. to address this. From the woven baskets to the decanters, the products worked well for the client’s house. “I've always been a supporter of the brand,” Claudine reveals. “I think it's the cherry on top of every project. It completes the look.”
A memorable project, she recounts, is when a client shared that their home still worked for their lifestyle even when the pandemic happened. “They appreciate that the space I designed for them still fits their lives,” she says. “They have space for storage, to cook, to bake… It was a proud moment for me.”
Aside from knowing the client’s requirements and lifestyle, she adds, “I would also ask for their design inspirations as a guide for the aesthetic part of it.” This is the part Claudine likes the most. Styling allows males her ideas come to life, and it is incredibly rewarding to see her clients pleased with the result.
She claims this as one of her design principles: “Looks don’t amount to much if it’s not designed efficiently.” The functional aspect matters the most, making lives easier for the people living in the home.
Having worked with numerous clients exposed Claudine to different lifestyles and preferences. However, when it comes to her home, she confidently claims it is the project she is most proud of. It is no surprise, especially since a home for her “is a place where I feel safe and comfortable. Home is not a place. For me, that’s my family and my pet dog.”
Their home feels larger than it is with how she designed it. Taking off from the cream hues of the unit’s walls, she integrated furniture, fixtures, and pieces that give off a bright and breezy aura—transforming the condo unit into its magazine-worthy form.
What breathes life into their home is the way she sets up their belongings. As she is working with a small space, she incorporates pieces that maximize what she has. It is a challenge as she needs to work with existing features and elements. Thankfully, Mayfair & Co.’s products provide the order the house needs and more. “Mayfair gives [me] the personality to our space,” Claudine says. The kitchen pantry and home organizing solutions have beautiful and functional pieces that help the designer declutter her home. “I also get the importance of having color or style-coordinated items. It’s my key to always having a nice and efficient space… everything looks put-together.”
The living area is her favorite where the family hangs out the most. From the sofa and carpet to the light wooden furniture and minimalist decor, everything is well-curated and overall inviting. “I love that it's bright, and breezy, and it reminds me of my efforts to make this rental space ‘home.’”
Fashioning a Home
“I think my close friends and family know this, but cleaning is my stress reliever,” she chuckles... “I can’t fully function in a messy space. I always have to tidy up [first]. Some people say it’s productive procrastination,”
As an interior designer, Claudine expresses difficulty in establishing boundaries with her work. Growing up, she witnessed her dad work hard, and this observation was practiced in her career. “[I tend to] value hard work over smart work,” she says. “[Maybe] that is why it’s harder for me to retain a smarter system.”
To counter this concern, she enforces strict schedules. “It is about creating a system that works for you and your house’s needs.” At work, she sets an alarm to remind herself of the time to clock out. Before this, she would stay up late to entertain queries and finish some tasks. But this blurs what is supposed to be a line between work and personal life. Thankfully, she recognized the value of keeping a healthy schedule.
Over her personal life, she admits having a tough adjustment period when she and her husband moved in together. “He is more cluttered, but he owns less stuff. I’m organized but I own more things,” Claudine reveals. “I get annoyed when my husband asks where things are,” she adds with a laugh.
“We argued a lot [at first] because we're still adjusting to each other’s habits, quirks, and how we deal with chores and other adulting tasks. So, we had to establish a system that works for us,” she explains.
Mayfair & Co. helped them in setting up this system. This is how she realized the ease of labeling things and organizing them by categories—products that the brand provides.
Organizing in such a way has made homemaking efficient. It also helps that Claudine has an enthusiasm for cleaning. “I think my close friends and family know this, but cleaning is my stress reliever,” she chuckles. It is a habit she got from her mom Thelma. “I can’t fully function in a messy space. I always have to tidy up [first]. Some people say it’s productive procrastination,” she says.
It may seem like a way to delay tasks but Claudine proves working and having a beautiful, organized home is possible. It is about finding the delicate balance between the two. She takes her mom, Thelma, as an example. “She’s a working mom and I admire that she’s able to make comfortable and beautiful places for us while being busy at work,” she proudly shares.
Women like them leave a meaningful mark on people’s lives. Be it at home or through one’s career, women have always been capable of succeeding in different roles. It is empowering, especially for an talented designer like Claudine who helps people make the home they love. This gives her pride and fulfillment in life, inspiring fellow women to do the same.