Transcending Spaces: Katrina de Leon Shares the Harmonious Integration of Energy and Design at La Zarene

January 22, 2024



Christina Zabat

Capturing the idyllic charm of Bacnotan, Katrina de Leon turns inspiration into connective spaces through sustainable design and community integration

In a universe where energy comes to life through tempos, rhythms, and tunes, Katrina de Leon attributes the spirit of her creations to an abstract concept—energy. “Just so you know,” she says with a gleam in her eyes, “the furniture pieces that we’ve used here, radiate energy. The structure of the hotel and our furniture absorb and radiate energy.”

One of La Zarene rooms designed by Katrina de Leon

The gentle waves of the calm sea of Bacnotan, La Union seem to reciprocate this rhythm, giving the land a subtle sense of tranquility. The tapestry of what would become La Zarene began to weave itself during the global pandemic, arising from de Leon’s affection for the genuine warmth and integrity of the local populace. Her initial plan was to transform the area into her retirement sanctuary, yet this idea evolved into more than just founding a boutique hotel—it sought to create opportunities to foster a lively and sustainable economy in the municipality.

“Design is all about problem-solving. In the thought process, we all start with what we need first,” she declares. As a furniture designer and founder of Genteel Home, de Leon perceives furniture not just as objects, they are viaducts of connectivity. This bond harmoniously unites spaces and their inhabitants, creating environments where people feel valued. In a region where bespoke and exceptional furniture is not easily accessible, Katrina found a winning equation through the establishment of her seaside lodging.

One of La Zarene rooms designed by Katrina de Leon

Her belief in the dynamism of furniture is seen through her fond recollection of childhood days spent with her grandmother woven into the Filipino motifs adorning the resort, as seen in solihiya cabinets and wood furnishings from Genteel Home’s studio and mahogany farm in Batangas. Impressions of these memories echo from the lobby to the bedrooms, immortalized in seats, lounge chairs, bed frames, and cabinets.

True to its name, La Zarene transforms into an escape, offering a peaceful retreat where calmness is essential. The minimalist-themed rooms whisper of comfort and familiarity, blending smoothly with the distinguished solihiya details. They pulse with personality through the rattan stands, contrasting artwork, and textured, colored throw pillows and carpets, each acting as harmony and echo to the symphony of tranquility.

A bedroom designed by Katrina de Leon

“You want to find a place that speaks to your soul have an escape that can distance you from the bustling city life,” relates de Leon. “At La Zarene, you can feel the embracing warmth, irrespective of any conversation or company—it’s simply always there, like a reassuring hug.”

The spirit of La Union and de Leon’s eye for design coalesce beautifully. Her reverence for nature and commitment towards her craft and community is palpable in the hideaway’s aesthetic narrative. It isn’t just a boutique hotel, but a space that marries functionality, sustainability, cultural heritage, and authenticity. It stands as a symbol of the harmonious relationship between architecture, intricate, purposeful interior design, and a community’s spirit; creating not merely a resort but a sanctuary of relaxation and inspiration.

La Zarene's lobby with wood furntiure and rattan and stone fixtures.

For more information, visit Genteel Home’s official website.

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