As she has done for magazines under Hinge Inquirer, publisher Bea Ledesma has transformed an outdated space into a cozy home with loads of character.
Words by Margarita Buenaventura I Photography by Ina Jacobe
When magazine publisher Bea Ledesma first walked into the apartment that would become her home, she knew there was a lot of work to do. The place had terrific structure—high ceilings and huge windows, for a start—but the outdated interiors were unsightly.
“It was super early ’80s,” shares Bea, particularly of the bathroom’s gaudy tiles. “Nothing like fancy ’80s, it was more like sh*t ’80s.” She adds that while she retained the unit’s white walls, she opted for a matte version. “It used to be an optic white, which is like a shiny, fluorescent white,” she says. “It never flatters anybody, except for Nordic people.”
Thankfully, Bea already had an aesthetic in mind for the space. Combining clean lines with retro furniture, vintage tchotchkes, and covetable art, her home has become an ideal reflection of herself. It’s a place where creativity and humor thrive, from the stacks of design books to an Alex Brown edition print of a little boy wearing a Darth Vader helmet at a McDonald’s.
BED, BATH & BEYOND
Bea says that the brunt of the renovation in her home happened in the bathroom. “I gutted it,” says she of the original design. She also changed the original shower curtain provisions to a glass divider to save up on space. “I painted it like a hunter green. Then I put some art inside.”
Her bedroom originally had white walls but she opted for a much darker hue. “I completely turned it dark cause I’m a night owl, and I prefer to sleep cocooned in a coffin,” says Bea. There’s not much else in the room besides her bed—Bea doesn’t want to add a TV because it might affect her sleep.
THE ETERNAL EDIT
Before moving into her current place, Bea wanted to be more conscious of the stuff she was bringing in. “If I change something, I have to remove something,” she says. “I tend to hoard stuff, even small stuff. That’s why as much as possible, I just have two bookshelves.”
Bea explains that it’s a way for her to discipline herself. Allotting more space for stuff would encourage her to fill it up. “That’s the problem of apartment living, right? It’s just continuous editing.”
While some of the furniture in Bea’s home came from her previous apartment, she also went on the lookout for pieces to add. Scouring estate sales or snapping up items during her travels, Bea has a mix of the kitschy and the exotic.
A cowhide rug graces her dining area, while her TV stand in the living room is a repurposed midcentury vanity. “I had it stripped because it was a garish orange finish,” she says of her TV stand. “As for the cowhide rug, my friend Maureen and I went to Turkey together… we were obsessed with cowhide for a while so we hand-carried these home.”
Bea also adds pieces inherited from close friends and family. Her coffee table, a hammered brass tray from a tribal region, was given to her after a friend’s apartment renovation. She also peppers her home with plants, located in her living room and the compact balcony. “The yucca tree and the orchids are from my mom,” says Bea.
An avid art collector, Bea’s Nikki Luna firearm installation sits between her living room and office. She also prides in a portrait of her dog George, also by Luna. Every room in the house is festooned with art pieces, both big and small.
She displays photos she’s come to admire. “My friend Tammy David, who’s a photojournalist, went through a phase where she would shoot beauty pageants,” Bea says of the unique print sitting in her home office. “This one is from a rack in a beauty pageant.”
WORK AND A WARM WELCOME
Having revitalized several titles under Hinge Inquirer (Northern Living and Southern Living, among others) and ceaselessly adding more to the lifestyle publishing group, Bea has her work cut out for her. As much as she would like to leave professional tasks and deadlines at the office, they have become a frequent houseguest. “A lot of times, I would dump my laptop [on my dining table] and work here because the light is good,” says Bea.
She also believes that a home workstation helps her focus more, so it became important to separate the hustle from the calm. “Before, my desk used to be in the bedroom, but now I just want that space to be a place where I can relax and not do anything else.”
Best of all, home is where Bea gets to entertain friends and spend afternoons vegging out with her canine companion. “He can recognize my footsteps, so he knows that I’m home [from work],” says Bea of her home’s warmest, most welcoming fixture, George. “He’s always so happy to see me. It’s like the coming of the Messiah for him.”