Photos by Ina Jacobe
In the home of Bong and Rossy Rojales, a poster on the wall says “Design Never Takes a Holiday.” As the couple behind home and lifestyle stores Heima and MY APT., they are testament to the maxim. As with their store catalog, most everything found in their abode is a conversation piece, from classic furniture reanimated in vibrant color to the wall mount that hangs alongside the poster: a deer head rendered cleverly in cardboard.
“The idea is to use this as a creative space also,” says Bong of their two-bedroom apartment, where the work of artist friends like MM Yu and Everywhere We Shoot hang on walls that are themselves a statement, painted in striking green or midnight. A brick wall in their living room was even coated in white, deviating from the look of a Brooklyn loft but retaining distinct texture.
“For most of the ideas for our stores, our home had a part in talaga,” says Rossy, who’s responsible for Heima’s playful aesthetic, as well as interior design projects that span restaurants to the homes of Solenn Heussaff and Kris Aquino.
Furniture is merely a vessel for the feeling their stores simulate, what is palpable throughout the Rojaleses’ living space. On a Sunday afternoon, a vinyl player fills the apartment with lighthearted folk-pop—the sort of sound Bong creates for in-store playlists—as we sit down to a dainty spread of fresh grapes, Brie, and baguettes. A candle burns the scent of vanilla, while behind Bong is an image of an ice cream cone, blown up in black and white.
Amid the festive spread and music, the source of Heima and MY APT.’s in-store events and live gigs is apparent. What the couple itself consumes, culture or otherwise, is what they share through their retail space. “Music, drinks, party, coffee—kung sino kami and yung lifestyle namin, the store becomes an extension of,” says Bong. Rossy agrees, vouching for a charged environment that is more than just its furniture. “At home, not everything is from Heima,” she says of items kept from Bong’s bachelor days, handed down by parents, or plucked from thrift stores. “It’s the overall experience,” she continues. “From the colors to the patterns.”
What their space asserts is Heima’s tagline: “Design Made Happy.” Considering the niche international magazines on their side table and souvenirs from jaunts to hip hubs like Williamsburg in Brooklyn, happiness comes from the stream of global creativity they constantly dip into. Their home has become a reflection of whatever tickles their fancy at a certain moment—wall color included. “We can’t say this place is 100 percent done. We always change,” says Rossy. “Sabi ko kay Bong, ‘Yung bedroom, gusto ko i-repaint.’ Sabi niya, ‘Kaka-repaint mo lang.’ It’s never-ending. (Laughs)”
Heima’s upcoming pocket collection titled “Life is a Party” only underscores their belief in design as celebration, from the table that brings people together to a chair that turns sound-tripping into a joyous occasion. “For us, our home is a work in progress. When we travel, we get ideas. When we see a new artist, we invest. That’s how we are—always in flux,” says Bong, delighting in the constant evolution of his space. At least for him and Rossy, a dream home is one where its owners never stop dreaming.