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Family Builds A Bahay Kubo In The Mountains (It Has An Indoor Pool!)
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva
  • What do you miss most these days? Given the intense heat we experience on a daily basis, we’re sure you’re longing for fresh air, the cool breeze, and simply being outdoors.

    If you have space to spare for your outdoor pursuits, would you build a second home where you can simply relax and spend time with the family? For Karen Christine Riva and her husband Richard, the answer is a resounding yes.

    In a post on the Facebook group Home Buddies, Karen shared how she convinced her husband to build a bahay kubo where their family can enjoy fresh air and be surrounded by trees. With Karen in-charge of the design and Richard serving as the foreman on top of construction, they were able to accomplish their goal of having a welcoming kubo, an indoor pool, and a tree house, to name a few.

    How to build a tiny home in the mountains

    The DIY project of the couple is found on a piece of land in Romblon which they purchased in 2019. It’s located around eight kilometers from their home.

    “We started construction during the rainy season. Mud was everywhere, it’s very slippery, and hauling construction materials was a challenge as well,” Karen recalls in a quick chat with SmartParenting.com.ph.

    Aside from taking things in stride, the mom of three shared that it helped that the whole family was involved in the project and they were having fun.

    “There was no timeframe so we were taking our time — slowly but surely. The children were involved with the decision-making and we ask for their opinion. May point din ang ideas nila,” she shares.


    With the kubo finished, the indoor pool usable, and the tree house standing tall, you might think the Riva family has already finished their DIY project — but there’s more. They also created an outdoor dining area and a special home for their cats.

    “Kasama sa eight months na construction ang tree house and cat villa,” Karen says. “We are currently thinking of adding another A-framed house. The design should be a bit different from the first one but still unique to serve as a guest house,” she adds.

    Learn more about the family’s labor of love below:

    Karen and Richard were very hands-on during the construction period even if they hired workers to help. 

    “My husband also did the engineering, plumbing, and some electrical jobs which he can handle. I was in-charge of designing, planning, and some DIYs,” says Karen.

    Karen and Richard working on the kubo.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva
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    The couple’s three children — Charlyn, Samantha, and Chris — helped in making their kubo happen. “We let them help, giving them assignments so they will understand the feeling of accomplishing a task,” Karen shares.

    The Riva children hard at work to build their bahay kubo.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva
    The finished kubo is enchanting and welcoming. It houses the indoor pool of the family.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva

    Karen chose to have an indoor pool to avoid sunburn, plus, her kids can jump into the water whenever they want. The room on top of the pool is a camping style bedroom where everyone can rest and sleep.

    “I always tell my children to appreciate such moments and never complain about being in a small bedroom because the time will come when they will have their own lives and will miss these times. I’m happy because my children grew up family-oriented, respectful, and humble,” she shares.

    There is a small room on top of the pool where the family can rest and sleep.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva
    Dining al fresco is made even better with such a calming view. According to Karen, they regularly eat outdoors.
    PHOTO BY Courtsy of Karen Riva

    Karen worked on the kitchen herself – including the decorating. “After working on the whole project, I learned that when you really do things you’re passionate about, it will come out beautiful,” she says.

    The kitchen is small but neat!
     PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva

    They also built a tree house! Having one is a dream come true for Karen and Richard as they’ve always wanted one since they were children.

    The tree house is the best spot for taking in the view of the outdoors and relaxing.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva
    The family’s furry friends get a villa of their own, too. Since it’s connected to the cabin, they can go to and from the family’s room with ease.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Karen Riva

    The Riva family takes pride in their own cabin in the woods. “For parents who want to work on something similar, do it because of love. It’s the love for our family and our children that can make us do things beyond our capacity. This gives us inspiration to think of even the smallest of details para maging happy sila,” Karen says.

    Want to share your home makeover and get featured? Email us at smartparentingsubmissions@gmail.com and tell us about your project. For more home improvement and renovation ideas, click here.


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