Have you ever visited a house that made you want to break into a song? This one did it for me.
My friend Javi and his family started renting this San Juan compound back in 2014, but it was only two weekends ago that I finally got a chance to visit. Javi and I were celebrating our joint birthday party with our fellow Trumpets musical theater alumnus, Jaycee.
Javi gave us the grand tour. Floral designs and greenery filled almost every room in the house. The dining room reminded me of the Von Trapp family’s home in The Sound of Music, which is why my theater friends and I suddenly recited the lines and burst into song—all in good humor, of course. We all love the classics.
On the second floor there’s a garden-inspired veranda that overlooks the neighboring residents’ roof decks. “I come here to think, or to not think,” Javi said. Across is a prayer room left by the former renters, and Javi’s mom Carmen transformed it into her own version. There are bits and pieces of DIY art around the house, such as a mural of birds on the windows, a hand-painted watering can next to an array of house plants, and motivational lines decorating the brick wall.
The inspirational feel of the place reflects the personality of Sofya, Javi’s family business. I actually subscribe to their Facebook page because I enjoy the daily Zen reflections Javi posts on the company’s wall.
His mom did most of their house’s interior decoration. Her inspiration? “Pinterest!” Javi said. But the creative juices run in the family’s genes. Javi’s dad Caloy is a former theater actor who formed the Filipino TV show Bata-Batuta back in the ’70s and founded the famous Boyoyong Clowns in 1985. In 2011, he put up Sofya Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on creative human resources training. “My dad’s mission is to inspire change from within,” Javi said.
Javi’s sister Cristina is a schoolteacher. Their mom, with her background in finance, helps run Sofya, while Javi is the special projects manager. Javi continues to pursue musical theater on the side, as most of us fellow Trumpets alumni do. We’ve been a tight-knit group since that memorable workshop we all took back in 2010.
And now that we’ve laid eyes on this homey place, we’re finding more excuses to hang at Javi’s.