When Mylene and Ramilo bought their 1948 Chicago Georgian home, they arrived with their dog, full hearts, and gratitude for their opportunity. In the four years they’ve lived there, they’ve added two sons (one of whom just came home from the hospital!), interwoven both of their cultures –Mylene is Puerto Rican and Ramilo is Filipino — and layered in thrifted, found, and garage sale finds to create a welcoming home that reflects them as a family.
“I remember when we first bought our home,” Mylene recalls. “It was empty and we brought in a bunch of pillows and fold-out small picnic tables. We ordered pizza and invited our closest friends and family over. We ate, played games, and then had a moment where we all prayed over our new home. It is one of the most beautiful memories I have here — friends and family all scattered around the house, in different rooms praying over the spaces. Also, of course, knowing this is the home my children have and will spend their first years is so precious to me, and simply the blessing of having a home makes me thankful enough.”
The love Mylene has for her family is clearly reflected in how she designed and styled her home, and the same goes for the actual items they bring into it. Mylene says they don’t adhere to a certain style, but more to the rule that they have to really love anything they bring into their home. She adds that a goal this year is to keep simplifying their home and to keep adding themselves into it. “The biggest decorating goal is to infuse us in the decor. For example, in our living room near our couches are watercolor prints of the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Over our nightstands are the words ‘I love you’ in our languages. I have small decor pieces throughout our home that are from our culture[s], and I desire to keep finding creative ways to represent us!”
The kitchen remains a space where Mylene dreams of knocking down a wall to create an open floor plan with the living room. In the meantime (or, in the event they end up moving some day down the road) she cleverly updated their kitchen with a twenty dollar can of “oops” paint and new hardware, painted the tile, added some additional storage, and most impressively covered the blue linoleum countertops with marble contact paper.
An equally impressive project is the “wallpaper” in their living room — except it’s not wallpaper, Mylene actually painted it by hand! “I knew I wanted a pattern on that wall and wallpaper was out of option, due to budget, so I pushed myself to think about things we already had in our home that I can use to create a feature on our walls,” she tells us. “That’s when I started to think of ways to represent us on that wall and came across the mud cloth idea! Mud cloth roots are African, and as a Puerto Rican my ancestors are African, Spanish, and Taino. So, I went at it, I had the paint already on hand and came up with a pattern that worked for me!”
Mylene’s background is in Elementary Education and after years of substitute teaching, she decided to take the leap to pursue her passion of interior design. While she was in her last semester finishing her thesis she became pregnant with her son, Ian. Now, almost two years since graduating with a Master of the Arts in Interior Design, she’s been hoping to one day offer e-design and create a vlog or blog of her own. If the intentions she’s added to her home can be any indication, we can’t wait to see where she goes from here! —Rebekah
Image above: “I love to repurpose things from various events and spaces. These paper airplanes I made for my son’s first birthday party were the perfect touch for over his bed. My son is obsessed with anything that flies, and planes are hands down his fave!”