By Stephanie Zubiri
Dec 20, 2021

The lifestyle writer and former editor, Alicia Sy, opens her home for the first time and shares her ethos on what true luxury means to her

“If you saw me walking in the mall, I don’t believe you would think that I am the way I am at home,” says Alicia Sy candidly. “There are some people who are so chic all the time, but that’s not me. I’m not chic. I’m not into fashion but I am very particular about my home.” The former editor and lifestyle writer is all about fine living. “There are a lot more people than me who exude luxury, but I feel that this is embodied more through all the little things I do at home.”

Her two-storey residence was designed and decorated by the master of eclecticism, the incredibly talented Jonathan Matti. Sy collaborated closely with the architect to bring to life her vision. “These black windows and doors were a must,” she explains. “It reminds me of New York. At that time ten years ago, we were working with Kenneth and Mock, Kenneth himself was here to help install and he told me that it was his very first order for black. Most homes had wood brown or white, but I definitely wanted to have that Manhattan feel.”

ABOVE Eschewing suggestions to enclose the lanai, Sy uses the space from breakfast to afternoon tea and evening cocktails, making it the family’s favourite area

In the evening, we don’t use top lights; I turn on the lamps and our floor lights, and all the light is soft and golden
– Alicia Sy –

The vine-covered structure has the same grandeur as the stately townhouses that surround Gramercy Park. Big bay windows and French doors allow light to flood in at all times of the day, illuminating the richly decorated spaces. “Some of our friends have told us that we didn’t have enough walls for us to hang art on, but I love how the greens can be seen from every corner,” Sy explains. “I have to say, there is something special about this house at night. In the evening, we don’t use top lights, I turn on the lamps and our floor lights, and everything is soft and golden.”

ABOVE Wall crawlers lend the home an Old World feel

Apart from the lanai, which is unabashedly tropical and Filipino, the rest of the home feels very bohemian, in the traditional sense of the word. Far from the colloquial “boho” aesthetic, the living spaces of Sy’s home feel as though Oscar Wilde or Walt Whitman could be frequent guests. Layered with texture, colour, pattern, des objets precieux and curiosities, the space appeals to artists, adventurers, writers and musicians, where one can bare his soul over countless dirty martinis in crystal coupes.

“I love that layered look,” says Sy. “If I could, I would even add more layers, but I hold myself back a bit because I feel like that would be better in a cooler climate.” She shares that she is naturally drawn to cosier, heavier décor that is best suited to winter. “If you could translate collections and seasonal dressing from fashion to home décor, I would most definitely be that fall-winter kind of girl.”