We shot Mikey and Marian just a few weeks after they moved into their apartment. They just got married and I was so excited to be able to document this season in their lives. I’ve known the both of them for a while now, primarily through the gig scene and Mikey and Marian are as creative as it’s going to get. Both of them are musicians (Ciudad! Hannah + Gabi! Soft Pillow Kisses!) and they also have fun day jobs — Mikey does music for a production house and Marian is a writer for Every Nation.
Marian is also one of my favorite girlfriends and one of my birthday twins. We share the same strange quirks about friendships, relationships, peeves, and being aloof but secretly emotional Aquarians. So when she got married, I found it really cool that we still have similar parallels. We both live in itty bitty apartments filled with musical and arty ephemera and we both are breaking so many married coupledom stereotypes.
Bia, Wanggo, and I spent an afternoon over their place where we drank beer and watched Wanggo Just Dance!
Photos by Bia Catbagan
Is there a room that is solely yours? That you designed yourself, for yourself?
Marian: Our home is a studio type condo unit, so the entire place is one room and we share everything—the couch, the bed, the bathroom, the kitchen. When you get married, you just have to prepare yourself to give up some space.
We got this unit furnished, so everything’s pretty much set when we moved in. We just displayed a couple of artworks made by friends, along with posters from previous Attraction! Reaction! gigs. That’s the extent of our home decorating because we’re not really staying here permanently. We’re actually moving out in a couple of months.
Mikey: Since our home is a studio unit, the whole place is my room, and hers. Aside from the Attraction! Reaction! gig posters and the artworks from friends, I put my whole video game collection on display on the big cabinet along with Super Mario action figures I got from McDonald’s Happy Meals.
What room do you do your work? And can you work while the other is present?
Marian: We rarely work when we’re at home. Mikey makes music for a living, so he walks a couple of blocks to his studio when he needs to work. I’m a writer but I’m #blessed to be working in a place that doesn’t require me to bring home workstuff. The rare times I do have to work at home, I use our dining table as my workspace. Then, I block off Mikey with my earphones. I can’t really write when he’s present, unless he’s asleep.
Mikey: I rarely make music in our home because we don’t have the proper space and equipment. But I do have a small room in the studio where I work. In fact, the studio is considered a second home to us. We hang out there sometimes outside of work hours to get free air-conditioning and internet. Sometimes, she stays with me in my little arrangers’ room while I work. I don’t mind, she’s just on her laptop. Once in a while I ask for some feedback from her, and often, some lyric suggestions.
When you know your partner is working, do you do anything different to help them?
Or do you just disappear in the background and let them be? Or do you go out of your way to make the place more creative?
Marian: Mikey kind of disappears in the background by playing video games with his earphones on, or he stays in bed and ignores me. That’s how he helps me when I need to work, because I need silence or good music when I have to write. He brings the occasional glass of water to me, though, when he sees I haven’t moved much from my laptop.
Mikey: Marian always needs peace and silence whenever she writes, so I give that to her. It’s my opportunity to catch up on some video games. Sometimes I run to the convenience store to buy her some chips and drinks. Sometimes I sneak in a hug to let her know that I’m still around.
What has changed in your creative process since you moved in together?
Marian: When I was single and had no roommate, I would stay up late and listen to different kinds of music to get new ideas. Nowadays, it’s not really possible to stay up late without him waiting for you to go to bed, as well. It’s probably a newlywed thing. Like your bed is empty without the other.
Mikey: A lot of household chores now get in the way. But that’s the reality of married life and adulthood, and I’m not complaining.
If you had to describe your home, how would you describe it?
Marian: It’s very basic. When we moved in, we were just happy to have a place in Makati all to ourselves. We didn’t really think long term about its size, or our future kids’ rooms, et cetera. We knew we weren’t going to stay here for more than a year, so we didn’t really bother decorating much. We just made sure we could function, so we have the usual newlywed things—silverware, glassware, microwave oven, washing machine, fridge, oven toaster, rice cooker, et cetera. When you enter our place, you’ll notice Mikey’s collection of game consoles and video games. Then, on the other side of the divider, you’ll see all my clothes and shoes. So, our place is literally our single lives combined.
Mikey: It’s a “transition” place. Of course the goal is to have a bigger space of our own in the future.
What are your future plans for your home? What’s missing? What do you want to improve on?
Marian: We’re preparing for our own home soon. We have a lot of ideas for that place, like an entertainment area where all the gaming and music playing will happen, a rooftop for parties, and a bigger kitchen. That’s our main concern now as newlyweds without kids yet. We also want to be able to invite friends over for dinner or drinks, so there will definitely be a space for that. Eventually, we know we should set up rooms for our kids in the future, but that’s not what we’re thinking of now. Haha. (Sorry, mom and dad).
Mikey: One of our requirements for our future home would be a space big enough to play Just Dance on the Kinect!
On the flip side, what do you love about your home right now?
Marian: I love how it’s so close to everything. We live near a park and a Family Mart, so wow, plus points for location. I also love our landlady, who happens to be a good friend of ours. One time she sent their household helpers to tidy our place for free, and when I got home, everything was spic and span. I will definitely miss that special treatment when we move out.
Mikey: This is our first year of marriage, and the first place we ever shared together. So even though the place that we have right now is not really that spacious and well-decorated, I know that in the future, we will always look back to this with good memories and much fondness. #BLESSED