Finding Inspiration: Homes

One of my parents' at home-design projects: Installing a little fish pond  indoors, within the floor . Basically, they cut out our marble tiles, placed a backdrop of the ocean around the perimeter, and installed a very thin hose and filter. This was in my nursery. It didn't last long.

One of my parents' at home-design projects: Installing a little fish pond indoors, within the floor. Basically, they cut out our marble tiles, placed a backdrop of the ocean around the perimeter, and installed a very thin hose and filter. This was in my nursery. It didn't last long.

When I was about six or seven years old, I stumbled across a set of blueprints on my parents's coffee table. It was for a house set on the foothills of a mountain, a small villa for my grandmother. Neither of my parents are trained in design, but they both shared an affinity and love for design - specifically, for architecture and interiors; which they passed on to me. My father designed the first home we ever lived in: a two story narrow single family home in the middle of the city. Similar to a brownstone, but not quite. My mother headed many remodel projects - from a small bedroom wallpapering project, to combining two bedrooms into one large bedroom with a study, to building a small library in our front room.

In the six years I spent in Architecture school, I learned, read and wrote about, and memorized many buildings, monuments, furniture, art installations, and other works of graphic art and design. Interestingly (or maybe not so), I always gravitated towards homes and smaller scale architecture. Not that I didn't find interest in other categories (see below).


a few of my favorites:


the park by gustav klimt

my favorite painter

10_HenriMatisse_Head of a woman_n.d..jpg

Sketch by Matisse

Favorite all-around artist


Mobile by Calder

my favorite sculptor


Bench by Perriand

my favorite furniture/furniture designer (who is seriously underrated)


The first time I set foot on a construction site, I was about seven or eight. It was on my grandmother's villa, and I remember watching my parents talk amongst themselves over where certain aspects of the house will sit. I was fascinated by everything - but mostly, how something like a house can come from ideas on paper. When construction of the villa finished, we spent weekends there as a family, with aunts, uncles, cousins. In the side yard, there was a small playground. In the other side yard, there was a fire pit. The driveway had a rebar arch structure over it, where vines grew. The front gate had sprawling bougenvillea over it, which my grandmother and I planted. On cool nights, we roasted corn over fire, and ate outside.

There's something about homes that fascinate me. Not everyone is a designer, or an artist, or an architect, but a home is the reflection of its inhabitant(s). Whether a home is a cookie cutter construction, an architect-commissioned piece, or a simple rented apartment, the content has been designed, organized, and most importantly, lived in. Post-grad, I chose to work for a firm where I would do no design work (simply put: I have student loans and the pay is better). Nowadays, I am a simply a die-hard enthusiast of design, as it comes in all shapes and sizes. I spend my spare change collecting art work by artists, and filling my home with furnishings and fixtures that Keith and I deem are well designed (slowly but surely - we're at week 6 of being coffee table-less). Occasionally, I'd take on small design work - a house for my uncle and his family in Bali, landscape planning for an acquaintance, styling offices, styling my own home, etc. These side opportunities only affirmed my love for interiors and homes further - so I started offering house and architectural watercolor commissions as a service, here at PfK.

I must say - I've painted some pretty cool houses, interiors, and buildings over the years for some wonderful clients. Each time I get an architectural or locational commission, the little architectural nerd in me come happily alive. Clients have used these paintings in various ways: in wedding invitations, personal stationery, framed gifts, holiday cards - you name it. Below are some of my favorites:


English Cottage on Personal Stationery

Jing's Cottage2
Jing's Cottage

the Margaret Mitchell House as a postcard and bookmark


the first date location as a valentine's painting


the wedding venue as a wedding gift


wedding venue as first anniversary gift


first home painting as housewarming gift


One of the most frequent questions that come up in my Instagram messages is about style and technique. I like to think that the two go hand-in-hand: I try to focus on certain details that makes the building stand out - whether it be the symmetry of the structure, the tall roof pitch, or even the surrounding landscape. I initially hand draft each painting with some "old-school" tools: a T-square, a triangle, a pencil, and an eraser. Since I never have exact measurements of each structure, I try to focus most on the proportion of one element to the next, then as a whole. I tend to spend most of my initial drafting time on the major elements, aka the visually larger elements. Following, I paint the first phase of the larger elements. The rest of the time, I go back and forth between drafting and painting, each time adding more and more detail. It's as simply (said) and as complex (in reality) as it sounds.

It's probably better to show my techniques via video rather than explaining with words, so watch this 3-4 mins video below to kind of get the gist of how it's done. Sidenote: The actual video compilation without me fast-tracking it is about 2.5 hrs, and about 3/4 of that time is spent with watercolor.

Are you geeking out over this as much as I am?!

If you're interested in commissioning one of these babies, you can always place an order online here. My past clients have said that these make great gifts, especially for newlyweds, anniversaries (paper is the traditional first anniversary gift - ahem), or for really, any occasion where you want to give something personal, but also unique.

Hopefully this article has been at the very least, a good read - or better yet, inspiring. I love talking about homes and design, so thanks for reading about my favorite topic!

Share your favorite memory about your home below!