Singer-actor Ariel Rivera and actress-host Gelli de Belen with their sons Joaqui (left) and Julio. Ariel was a licensed architect in Canada before making it big as a singer in the Philippines. He made use of his talent and knowledge in architecture when he and his wife decided to renovate their New Manila home. Inset, above: the renovated dining room. Inset, below: the old dining room.

Photo: Courtesy of YES! Magazine

Ariel Rivera was a licensed architect in Canada, before getting discovered as a singer when he took a vacation in the Philippines.


That's why when he and wife Gelli de Belen decided to renovate their New Manila house instead of buying another property—they already have a designer's masterpiece townhouse in Tagaytay that was featured in the October 2006 issue of YES!—Ariel took charge in its complete renovation and redesigning.


Gelli tells the story of their decision to renovate their house. "Lagi kaming, ‘E, kung maglilipat tayo ng house, we will have to get another mortgage, we will have to work hard, nang todo-todo.' Well, siya, talagang nawo-work. E, ako? Sis lang, di ba? ‘Tapos, kailangang mag-iiba kami ng lifestyle, kasi hindi kami makaka-travel. Kasi we'll be paying for the house. So, naisip namin, ‘Ano ba'ng priority natin? Bahay o mag-travel?' Aba, e, mag-travel! A house is a house is a house. Especially with me—hindi ako metikuloso at maarte. Basta meron akong tinitirhan, maganda-ganda naman, ‘yong maayos lang, doon na ako. So, naisip namin, ‘Sige, renovate na lang tayo.' Less gastos."


Ariel and Gelli's New Manila house was first featured in the September 2001 issue of YES! magazine. Back then, their house had a simple, country-style design with almost everything made of wood.


Seven years later and after the renovation, YES! features the Riveras's New Manila house again, which now has a minimalist but functional and masculine look, courtesy of Ariel.


But it was not all Ariel though, Gelli also put in some needed "girly" aspects of home design, which Ariel admits is not his department. "I'll do the structural—okey ako diyan. ‘Yang nagbibigay ng kulay sa bahay, ‘yong mga paintings diyan, paintings dito, ‘yong mga whatever it is—that needs a woman's touch."


People who like things clean, orderly, no clutter, and fuss-free will like the house. The house also highlights the people living there, with Ariel, Gelli, and their two sons Joaqui and Julio's photos displayed around the house.


See more of the changes Ariel and Gelli made in their New Manila house and read more about the Riveras in the August 2008 issue of YES! magazine. Now available!