For more than 30 years, the Juco house has been both a sanctuary and a showcase for the passions of its owners, now is the time to let go
RHIA GRANA | February 06, 2022
More than 30 years ago, when husband and wife Alex and Paz Juco were looking for a home for their family of six, they had a few considerations in mind. Alex wanted a strong home, built to last, safe enough to protect his children from typhoons, earthquakes and intruders. Paz, on the other hand, was after the aesthetic value of a property. She would very much like to live in an antique house having grown up in a bahay na bato.
They checked out a number of properties until they came across a newspaper ad for a Spanish villa for sale in the QC area. “Pagdating namin sa bahay, sa portal pa lang, nagkatinginan na kami ng spouse kbAlex, now in his old age, recalls the day they first set foot on the property. They knew they had found the home they were looking for.
In fact, the house is barely visible from the outside – it stood on a hill and is partly hidden from view. The structure, built in the 1970s, looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale, covered in poison ivy and surrounded by tall grass and overgrown trees. A lover of medieval-style houses and castles, Alex had always imagined himself and his family living in a similar-style house. “Gusto ko na parang ako ang hari and the aking apat na anak ang prinsesa ko“, he tells the ANCX. “Napi-picture ko na kung ano ang gagawin ko sa paligid, ang mga ilalagay kong chandelier in iba pang lights.”
Alex is an avowed art enthusiast and craftsman. He has talents in wood and metal crafts, landscaping and calligraphy. He enjoys collecting vintage artwork and repurposing waste into functional art. He says he got his talent for the arts from his grandfather whose hobby was carpentry and his mother who was a skilled embroiderer.
Mr. Juco admits to being the sentimental type. He likes to recall memories of his youth, his relatives, the childhood of his children. All of these elements, along with her artistic inclinations, are everywhere in their fairytale home.
The stories between the walls
Real estate group Presello recently featured Juco’s shrine on its YouTube channel, and host Julia Richards hasn’t once expressed her admiration for the intricate ironwork that can be seen around the house. Needless to say, they have all been meticulously handcrafted by the family father.
The property has its own small courtyard. One of the four girls worked at a record company and invited artists for jam sessions. What Alex has done is turn the garden into a musical space, with an elevated section where guests can perform. He shaped the metal balustrades to make room for the musical notes. He wanted the area to have movement, so even the downspout isn’t straight but flows with its surroundings.
There are many other examples of Alex’s sleight of hand throughout the property. He showed us part of the Presello video which shows a framed antique vase mounted on a wall. He says the vase is quite a valuable piece and that he and his mother used to pull old coins from it when he was a child. He once saw the vase in his grandfather’s yard already thrown away and forgotten. He discovered it was made of brass and enamel, so he framed it in what was once a bathroom window, turning the whole assembly into a beautiful wall sconce.
There’s also a unique chandelier in their living room space, formerly a fiberglass planter he got from a bric-a-brac vendor; a beautiful antique wood carving spotted with a magkakariton. “Before, it was a headboard. Ngayon, part of pintuan namin“, says Alex. There is a built-in cupboard reused as a hob. The man of the house even built from scratch a wrought iron princess bed and a wine rack.
The house looks amazing in pictures and videos, which is why it’s a very popular location for photo and video shoots. Some of the videos shot here include “Kung Di Rin Lang Ikaw” by Sitti, “Gising Na Kaibigan” by Bayang Barrios and “Terrified” by Christian Bautista. One of Alex’s favorite places to recommend for filming is a British-style phone booth found in their lair. “When we went to the United States, mai nakita syang old phone. Nagustuhan nya, so binili nya. Hindi naman namin alam kung saan namin ilalagay dito sa bahayPaz recalls. Until one of their daughters suggested that Alex build an English telephone box to house the object, which he did using old French doors.
Alex is clearly a plant lover too, as evidenced by the vertical gardens surrounding the house. The whole place has been cemented to keep snakes away from the property, but that hasn’t stopped him from growing his collection of greens. What he did was build parapets for the plants, which made his yard even more enchanting.
You can see the love and care the owners have put into the property. It is therefore quite surprising that after more than 30 years of being established here, Alex and Paz have decided to part with it. The house is now on the market for 38 million pesos through Presello. “Kami na lang kasing dalawa [ni Alex] ang nakatira dittoPaz explains. “Our daughter is only here on Sundays. Two of our children are already out of the country. kami makaalis in hindi together because we are both tied to property.
Now in their 60s, Alex says he and Paz are now ready for a simpler life. “English goal Lang Namin it’s now to be together habang mai natitira pang time,” he said.
[Photos courtesy of Presello]