The house in Silot Bay

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

People have different ideas of how their dream houses would be built, and most of them would be on some scenic hilltop locations or sitting on white sandy beaches. For Chris and Malou Hyden, they wanted their dream house comfortably sized for a family of four and spacious enough to entertain some 100 guests or so.

“So it would have to have a big exciting front yard or back yard with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi. It would include beautiful bedrooms with roomy bathrooms and walk-in closets. My beds would be queen-sized and fluffy, the windows would really be big so you could sit on it, and it would have a veranda all around the bedrooms,” thus mused Malou Hyden 17 years ago.

Today, that dream house has become a reality. The house that Chris and Malou built sits on a 3,700-square-meter property in Catarman, Liloan, overlooking Silot Bay.


The house, when viewed from across Silot Bay, would glow with varying colors of orange and yellow when sunlight floods through its
Spanish red roofs, the pale colors giving a sense of serenity while the bright ones suggesting elegance. And upon finally reaching the wide gates to the house, the lush tree-lined driveway greets the visitor. It is so soothing and fresh—truly a rustic atmosphere.

On the left side of the property, Chris’ vegetable garden grabs a visitor’s attention with the eggplants, ripe tomatoes and okras hanging from branches, and paleya and sikwa plants crawling profusely on bamboo climbers. This countryside scene will be a contrast to what awaits inside the house and the backyard.

The house is spotlessly clean—and empty because the Hydens have only two children, both married. Marie and her family are now based in Sweden while Karl and his wife are based in London. In the quiet elegance, a visitor can take in the couple’s marvelous collections of antique furniture and bric-a-brac, mostly heirlooms from Chris’ Swedish grandparents and Malou’s Filipino ones.

“Our house is simple yet elegant, not cluttered nor complicated, just like the idea of the art of Ikebana. Elegance in minimalism,” Malou, who happens to be the incoming president of Ikebana International-Cebu Chapter, stressed.

“I love flowers and plants, and this has influenced me a lot in decorating my house, in landscaping my gardens.”

Then she showed the main attraction of the house: her husband’s Captain’s Bar. Chris is a retired ship captain and his bar holds the various mementos of his trips and voyages as well as the intricate miniature ships he made himself.

“Now that my husband and I are alone in this house, we love to entertain and host our parties here. We usually have them by the pool, overlooking the bay,” Malou said. And what a vision to behold! Just like a tropical island resort. This is one house that has seen many joyous parties and gatherings, heard hundreds of people’s laughter as well as children’s giggles. This is the house that saw the dreams and aspirations of Swedish ship captain and his Filipina housewife.

If this house could speak, it would tell stories of how real-life inspiration can very well work out with achievable ideas. It would tell tales of how a Scandinavian culture can very well blend with that of the Filipino. As long as there is love and understanding, care and compassion, peace and harmony will prevail in an interracial household. For as the saying goes: “A house is made of bricks and beams; but a home is made of love and dreams.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 29, 2014.


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