Our Kapitbahay’s Dream Retirement Home Has Finally Come True

Explore the incredible realization of this dream retirement home.

Our Kapitbahay’s Dream Retirement Home Has Finally Come True

Explore the incredible realization of this dream retirement home.
Photo by Mingy Cruz

Building the retirement home of your dreams can be a bit daunting. But this couple shows us that all the meticulous planning and construction are worth it. Meet Imelda, 58, and Romeo Cruz, 60 — our Kapitbahays who made their dream a breathtaking reality. 

A Peek Into Their Home

Building your forever home always starts with a vision. For Imelda and Romeo, their heartwarming vision was one of comfort, family, and ultimate relaxation in style. 

“We have always dreamt of finally relaxing in the afternoon, sipping our favorite coffee in our garden with less worries, and watching our grandchildren with our dogs.” 

As avid travelers, the married couple has undoubtedly seen plenty of architecture to draw inspiration from — and it shows with their stunning, European-inspired home.

Photo by Mingy Cruz

Upon approaching the house, your eyes will immediately be drawn to their tiered fountain, decorated with five chicken statues, representing the five members of the family as well as an ode to their business and dressed chicken distributors — hindi yan pang sabong ha! 

Outside the main house is a large yard, including outdoor seating for hanging out (or late-night muni-muni) and a gazebo that they use for setting up catering when hosting events. They also have a separate building featuring breezy glass walls as their gym, storage room, and dog house.

Photo by Mingy Cruz

Apart from the main house, their lot also accommodates a guest house with a kitchen, living room, and a bedroom, inspired by the Narra Villa in The Farm at San Benito — a dream for any of their bisitas to stay in!

Photo by Mingy Cruz

Taking elements from European design, they brandished white and gold as the main color scheme for an elegant home that oozes class. “Our kids played a huge role in the decision-making process, especially for the interior design of our house. They all wanted a white-themed house since they were little,” they said. 

With high ceilings that make the home appear even more expansive, plenty of wide windows for natural light, and a spacious layout, this home breathes luxuriousness. Alongside their crisp, white walls are modern-day, Victorian-style furnishings with gorgeous gold accents and embellishments, a beautifully marbled staircase, and a stunning multi-tiered chandelier. 

They even have an elevator to help Imelda and Romeo move with ease around the house. Plus, as the Cruz family loves to travel, this helps to bring their maletas up and down without using the stairs. 

Most notably, their gorgeous home also includes rooms for each of their children, which was something they didn’t have before. “We used to all sleep in one family room.  We have three girls. The eldest is 32, and she is an attorney; the middle is 28 and she’s a doctor. Our youngest is 26 and is an entrepreneur.”

Photo by Mingy Cruz

But apart from the aesthetics, they planned on adding a few things that held special meaning to them early on to make their house feel like home. For example, Imelda and Romeo knew they wanted to build a chapel — the perfect place for quiet contemplation, lifting their prayers, and having intimate masses. 

Imelda says, “It is the most sacred place in our home. My husband and I spend our Sunday Mornings in there praying together.”

Photo by Mingy Cruz

As the couple are also green thumbs, they knew they wanted a lush garden to grow their favorite vegetables and spend quality time in. “My husband and I have always wanted a garden to have coffee in and enjoy what we have worked for all these years,” Imelda says. 

The Journey to Fulfilling Their Dreams

Planning a dream retirement home comes with great joy but is also undeniably tricky. Luckily, Imelda and Romeo let us in on some of their invaluable experiences that can help us along our journeys. 

As we know, location (especially concerning our dream home) is everything. But finding the perfect spot can be challenging. For them, however, the decision was easy, as they decided on a place near their ancestral home, making it convenient to visit at any time. 

After deciding the location, a good next step is to find reliable people to get your dream home off the ground. Luckily, getting in touch with the perfect contractor and engineer was also a smooth process for the Cruz couple, having worked with them previously. “We were able to work with them multiple times before for my daughter’s condominium in Metro Manila. We have always known they were the ones we would like to work with when we were ready to build our retirement home.”

Photo by Mingy Cruz

One of the biggest challenges for many of us would be the budget. But the Cruz family persisted by staying frugal, all while strategically investing their money.

“We have always lived a simple life. We never followed any trends, and we only bought what was needed. We raised our children to be rich in education and experiences. We could say that saving and investing is our hobby.”

However, there are inevitable moments when we get carried away in deciding what we want and need, but Imelda and Romeo stress the need to live without regrets.  “For the budget, we honestly went beyond what was planned but It did not become a problem because it is better to go all in to something that you finally want than have any regrets at all.”

As with any construction job, there’s always a possibility of things going awry. For the Cruz family, it was the unexpected rise of COVID-19 and the restrictions that came with it. Having started building their retirement home in 2020 —  right when lockdowns were reaching their peak — they needed to halt construction until restrictions were lifted. 

Another drawback of these pandemic restrictions was finding suitable suppliers for the European pieces they desired at the time. But with the help of friendly individuals on the internet, they were able to bring their grand home together. “Of course, we wanted to have the best and lasts-a-lifetime kind of furniture. We are lucky enough that the sales person and even the owner of Muebles Italiano went to our home from the South to North with multiple vans of furnitures that may fit our home. They brought a lot of pieces from wall decor, floor carpet, dining tables, side table, lamps, and more — and at that very moment we were able to fully furnish everything.”

Photo by Mingy Cruz

While this might get disheartening, the Cruz family offers guidance and the most significant lesson they learned through their experience. 

“Don't rush things,” the couple advises. “Good things really take time. No need to pressure yourself with what society says. Have a goal, consistently aim for it, and everything else will follow with God's guidance.”

Finally, after two and a half years of construction, Imelda and Romeo Cruz could proudly say that they built the retirement home of their dreams — an awe-inspiring feat many of us aspire to achieve. 

Since completing their beautiful home, the Cruz family has enjoyed their relaxed retirement life with their 15 dogs. But their favorite part? Now, they can welcome more loved ones to their humble home and host reunions, which they couldn’t do before. 

“It felt like a dream come true. This is one of our greatest investments,” they said.

Loved reading this dream-home success story? Find more home tours, inspiration, and advice on our blog!

This article has multiple parts
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3