As we entered the two-bedroom apartment of designer and multi-hyphenate creative Keith Brown, we were immediately transported from a somber looking hallway into a clean, well-lit, industrial chic space. From floor to ceiling (the whole 11 feet of its height), the unit was finished in polished concrete, accented with unstained woodwork, beautiful greenery, strategic lighting design, and different art pieces from around the world. It was, in the simplest way to put it, a feast for the eyes.
It is a far cry from how the apartment looked before Keith and his wife acquired the space. The first time they saw it, they knew it would require a lot of work. It a huge undertaking, Keith admits, but it was exactly what they needed to do to jumpstart their move back to Manila.
In 2013, Keith and his wife moved to Geneva, Switzerland after a three-year stay in Manila. It was where his wife’s work as a scientist and diplomat—and his as a designer and creative consultant—has taken them. After five years of living in Central Europe, the couple decided to slow down the pace and return to Manila where Keith can focus on touching base with the production of his clothing line Keith A. Brown Designs. They packed up their things, redecorated the apartment, and are now living in their newly refurbished home.
Walking into their apartment, we were welcomed by a flood of light hitting the polished concrete wall that continued from the entryway to the balcony. From the moment we stepped in we felt the heart and thought that went into designing their home.
“This space is a combination of a couple of different things. We hired an architect who’s also a builder,” Keith shared. “There’s no structural things for him to build so what we essentially hired him to do is to flesh through some ideas. In terms of design, it was a collaborative effort.”
Their industrial-chic space took Keith and their team 70 days to build, and it’s still unfinished. Their art collection is flying in from their home in Atlanta, and a few changes are still in order. But considering the fact that this is only their transient home until their house is ready in a year, it is, undoubtedly, a beautiful space.
“It’s all in how you execute it… It can come across as very cold, very sterile, and honestly very cheap. You get the impression that you didn’t have enough money to finish it and left it exposed. But when you finish it, when you got straight corners and when you got your skim colors thought out, it then begins to feel more polished.”
As we look throughout their space we can see the influence of their travels, their affinity for art, and the straight corners and clean lines that makes this house a stylish home. It’s an amalgamation of eclectic inspirations. A creation that stays true to Keith’s aesthetic.
Intent to Curate
Living in different cities and countries throughout their life has granted Keith and his wife an eclectic mix of friends from each of the places they've called home. The space that they create for themselves is something they always mean to share with their people.
“People who know us from our different stops, from living in the US to living in the Philippines and Europe, would tell you that we love hosting,” Keith shares with us. “For us, it’s an opportunity to bring people together.”
Growing up in Southern East Texas with his family, living in different places as an adult, and even with his line of work as a creative consultant, hosting has always been a big part of his life. From sit down dinners with a handful of friends to throwing parties for brands and clients, Keith always makes sure that everyone he invites goes home having a meaningful and memorable time.
It starts with the guest list. More than the occasion—as he believes that one doesn't always need a reason to have people over—it’s who they invite that matters most. From scientists to doctors, and even designers and hoteliers, Keith and his wife always intend to bring people together that they’re sure would spark up a conversation and make for an interesting dinner.
The music is next. To Keith, music can easily make or break the environment that his trying to set for any gathering—a common mistake that he has noticed in most establishments. Set a mood and set it right. Then comes the setting, the food, and the food.
Hosting is a huge part of their life as a expats—amassing a large collection of dinnerware and an even larger list of friends is a testament to this.
“We didn’t realize the void that we left,” he shares on their move in 2013 after seeing the number of dishes that they had to pack up and testaments from friends that shared their how they missed the parties that they couple threw.
Being an expat anywhere in the world is not the easiest life to live. One can fall into the trap of feeling a stranger a home they’re trying to build, or list in a sea of new people. But with Keith, it’s always about creating your space and meaningful connections.
“How we live and what we choose to surround ourselves around is extremely important to us—especially as a creative,” Keith shares on.
From the guest list to the food to the drinks to the ambiance—in the end, hosting a party is all about that right combination of everything. For you to achieve a fun gathering, Keith recommends throwing in these items to impress the guests on your next dinner party.