An Insider’s Look into Diego Castillo’s Home

Diego Castillo has carved his name right into the local music scene as a force to be reckoned with. He’s conjured up a lot of creative feats, after having amassed an impressive set of skills from being a music fan, professional guitar player, radio announcer, producer, basketball lover, sneaker freak, movie director, and DJ. With his wide range of interests always taking things up a notch with his already eclectic set of skills, Heima Home and Lifestyle takes on the challenge of revamping his home and building the HQ for this local personality. Scroll down to check out photos of his condo prior to styling, and meet the man behind the turntables!

(But also curious to see the brand new look to Diego’s condo? See the new look here!)

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy  An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

The Heima team got to know more about Diego through various stages of the interior styling process: from the initial scoping, to brainstorming, to designing, and all the way ‘til the construction of his condo unit. A lot of technical jargon is thrown into the mix, but what’s important was seeing eye to eye on the design aspects that’d make Diego’s pad a place that was truly his.

The first visit to his place was less of a meeting and more of an introduction to Diego himself. Every corner of his home was filled to the brim with vinyl toys, album records, CDs, books, and a barrage of various knick knacks. The fridge’s magnets held in place concert tickets and setlists from his travels all over the world. Every bit of the space was a smorgasbord of Diego’s personal experiences and interests, and it was without a doubt heavily personalized. We took in the sights, the sounds, and the stories behind it all, with the plush toy of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog perched on top of his book case sending us off from our first visit.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy  An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

After building up an impressive collection in his condo over the course of 10 years, Diego wanted to go for a fresh new look to shake things up a bit. After a few more visits and meetings down the line, I got to sit down with Diego for an interview as he was finishing up with packing up all his things before the big renovation. Surrounded by boxes in his otherwise empty condo unit, and with Triumph still taking his spot perched on one of the boxes, we stitched together a few stories that would shed light to the personality that would inspire this Design Made Happy.

  • Me: Just by stepping into your home, you can easily see that it follows a crazy mix of various items that go for the eclectic look. Can you share more about the look behind your space?

Diego: I won’t lie. When I first moved in here, it was just a square. It was literally just an empty space. Then, I just sort of accumulated more stuff. A lot of the things that I like represent who I am – the guitars, the keyboards, and the vinyl records. I also realized that these had an aesthetic value for me, and were great for display purposes.

I like looking at the guitars, and the records I’m accumulating. And since I’m a big movie buff, since I also do music videos and film, I also like collecting movie posters. I also collect a bit of art – stuff like that. It’s a hodge-podge-y kind of weird.

The bottom line is that, at the end of the day, it was my house and it felt very much like home. I didn’t feel like I presented some fake persona, and it made me really happy to say that “aaah, these are all my little things”.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy  An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

  • If you had to narrow down your biggest cultural influences into a list of five, what would you write down?

The first four would be: music, art, movies, and literature, since my father’s a writer and my mother’s an english teacher. I collect a lot of books as well.

I’m basically just like everybody else. I think all of us, as human beings, enjoy these things. It’s what encapsulates humanity for us. I like having those around, and they make me very happy. Those are important to me.

The fifth would be the guitar. I owe a lot to the guitar in general. Because even though I’ve been a big music fan as far back as I can remember, it wasn’t until I picked up my own instrument did I actually feel like I became a part of something bigger than just the listener aspect. Inspired by all the music I hear and all the art I see, I wanted to be a part of it. But I couldn’t sing, you see. I could not sing to save myself. maybe I do a little back up with the band Sandwich, but I knew that when I picked up an instrument and I studied it and learned it, I knew I could be part of this tribe.

The guitar was my move from music fan to a participant in the whole music scene. That’s why they’re prominently displayed. And even if they weren’t displayed, I still know that they’re nearby, and I can see them any time. I play the guitar a lot at home, whether I’m watching TV or whatever, and I just like strumming around and hanging out.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

A scene featuring the character Happy Harry Hard-On from the 19990 movie “Pump Up The Volume”

  • If your life were a movie, who would you want to portray you and what would be the angle to the story?

The actor that I remember growing up (and I have a lot of favorite actors) would be John Cusack. He was always the guy I liked. I like the old John Cusack, the one in “Better Off Dead”. The old stuff. The stuff I saw back in my grade school years. Hmmm… kasi ang cliché kung sabihin ko na “Cusack in the movie High Fidelity”. But yeah, I’d like John Cusack to play me.

I want a combination of High Fidelity meets the character “Happy Harry Hard-on” played by Christian Slater in the movie Pump Up The Volume.

The movie Pump Up The Volume is something that was very instrumental in me wanting to become a radio DJ, which I was for a long time also. More importantly, I just didn’t want to be on the radio, but I wanted to have my own show which is the impetus of me joining Myrene (bandmate in Sandwich) when I was like 15 years old. I’ve seen this movie and I said “Uy, gusto ko rin gawin ‘to!”. Back then, there were no laptops for us to do shows. You actually had to have a radio station for you to make a show and be heard. That was so important to me.

In the movie, Christian Slater moves from New York to some middle America place where he has no friends. There, he made a pirate radio show and he would play The Pixies, Beastie Boys, etc.

I do a podcast now, although I haven’t been doing it for the longest time, but I have around 25 episodes called Foaming at the Mouth, which is basically me doing my Happy Harry Hard-on in Pump Up The Volume. I do anything from an hour and a half, sometimes 4 hours, of just me talking. Talking. Talking. And obviously playing music. It’s also a commentary on the things that are important to me, or are funny. I tell a lot of stories on how I got from point A to point B. I talk about local bands and all my other experiences. It was exactly how he was doing it in the movie! so I was all “this is what I want!”.

Not that I have anything really valid to say, but I’m surprised people email me. Their kids find it funny! I make a post in the bedroom, I put it up, and I see if how many listen to it. There’re shows with around 3,000 or 4,000 people that listened to it, and it’s so mind-blowing! There’re so many shows out there, and almost everybody has a show, you know? It’s funny, and many people ask you pretty cool questions about it.

To answer you question: it’s not exactly a movie, but a show with a combination of these things.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy  An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

  • Do various spaces elicit an on-off mindset to how you think or act? Just like how you allot certain spaces as a no-work zone?

I think that if a space is made up, it helps the process of setting your mind to things. Wherein, when I get home, let’s say either from Sweet Ecstasy (the restaurant co-owned by Diego) or from a gig, it’s nice that a space affords you to really unwind. It calms you down.

Sabi nila, a cluttered space shows a person’s mindset. So if your place is cluttered, cluttered ka rin in the way you think.

I love the idea that if it’s fixed in a very zen-like state, then you’ll also get to that state as well. When I get to the room, and I sit down in front of the computer, I know that I’m just gonna lay in music.

Now, I did say earlier that I’d occasionally pick up a guitar. i pick up a guitar for fun! That’s different, because that’s not for work. The space affords me the relaxation. I can say, “Hey! I feel like playing a Beatles song just about now. Or a Belle and Sebastian song or whatever”. It’s very inviting. I think even in my old space, I tried to evoke the spirit of creativity. As it is, I am really manic, so I would like the space to be leveled out with that.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

  • You’ve explained more on how this mindset has influenced you with the current aesthetic to the place. Why the sudden change for the interiors with this new design coming up?

The sudden change was decided on because I felt like I was getting older. I felt like I wanted a little more matured space. Matured, in the sense that it’s a little more decluttered. I realized when I was moving out, that I threw out around 17 trash bags of stuff… that were very useful and very sentimental, sure,  but since i just stored them, it just creates clutter.

I read somewhere that you say thankyou to the things that gave you pleasure and joy but then if you’re not using it already you either have to either give it to somebody else who’ll appreciate the stuff, or you throw them away. That involved random things! I kept so much trinkets from other countries. The truth is, hindi ko rin naman talaga sila sinisilip. I have pictures to remind of those memories, so it’s fine too. I kept tickets to the places and museums I went to, and I even kept the electronic IDs from hotels! I don’t know if that’s illegal though *laughs*. I keep all of those from Japan, from Australia, from Malaysia, from New York, and I thought “jeez! it’s so much stuff!”.

It’s also a good process of finding stuff that were really important to me. I kept things that really had sentimental value. To me, you should keep certain things because there’s immediate value to why they’re there. For example: research books! art books, or books about movies. I keep a lot of that because i reread the stuff. those are very important. Even if there’s the internet, i know… but i know exactly where something is in the book! I can also go back to an old magazine or newspaper interview of mine that I’ve compiled.

You guys in Heima have designed a new breakfast-slash-prepping-area. There’s gonna be a bar, which I’ve never had before. I’m looking forward to all the shelf space that I need, so I can display the stuff I have… because I like displaying! Anyone can take a look at those things that I already deemed important.

Especially the records. They get to be finally housed in one section alone. Unlike before when they were in so many parts of the house. Now, they can be in one section dedicated to… I like what you say about the “zones”. I can make it into my “music zone”. No matter how small it is in my house, it’s still going to be my little music zone. The turntables are going to be there, so that’s one whole section where it’s just “Party time! Excellent!”.

I’m so excited to be able to organize the records. I know this is for a geek like me, but I get to organize them in the order I want. Not necessarily alphabetical. Maybe by genre! Because I have real space, and the order can even change monthly. I’m gonna do it with a psych theme, or maybe “cinema barkada”. That’s gonna be fun, and I’m really looking forward to that.

Also, ever since I moved in here 10 years ago or so, all the furniture used were never changed, and I’m just super excited to see my house in a new light.

An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy  An Insider's Look into Diego Castillo's Home | Design Made Happy

  • When you first moved in here, did you get to choose the furniture?

I brought them in from another place I was living at, so it wasn’t curated, like how you guys are doing now. It’s not like I had an actual interior design team to take a look at it and say “hey, masyadong funky yan”. I also like the idea of a streamlined minimalist look, so that’s gonna be great.

It’s kinda weird because this is gonna be the fun part. it’s gonna be a contradiction: Ok, so I have so much stuff, right? But i think that if properly placed (and you guys are gonna be the excellent people to do this) I think to display the art and the posters and everything in a streamlined space is gonna be great!

It might be weird to listen to it, parang “huh? minimalist pero dami mong gamit?”. But it’s in the way you present it. Hindi porket walang laman, “minimalist” na yan. “Bare” ang tawag dun! because you want your personality to show as well.

  • It makes sense! It’s important to have your own new specific space, while still injecting your personality through your own stuff.

I have a lot to thank to you guys. I gave a lot of pegs to you guys, and it was pretty cool that everybody kind of understood everything. I don’t think I should be ashamed to hang my paintings – I mean, I like them! It’s just the way you’re able to display them nicely.

I was thinking that one wall can be the crazy wall where the paintings are, while opposite it are the streamlined stuff. That’s pretty cool. Kind of like going to a museum.

  • Why approach Heima Home and Lifestyle in redesigning your home?

I knew Bong and Rossy from before, and I’ve already played in Heima’s gigs. I’ve also been to my good friend Quark Henares’ place, so I knew that you guys understand the psyche of what i like from the music aspect. because you also sell records and turntables, and I also like the other bits and pieces.

Other designers might not necessarily know where I’m coming from, and it might not translate well. It was easy enough to share my ideas, since you guys took into account who I am, and that I was a musician and there are quirky things I like.

I want the place not to be void of my personality, which is my fear! My fear is that, yes, it would look cool like it was from a magazine, but then it wouldn’t show who I am. Your home is a completely different place that needs an element of who you are.


Keep tabs on Diego Castillo and his gigs over at!

Heima Home and Lifestyle is a Manila-based store that’s also open to interior styling services and designing custom-made furniture. Find us at and and drop us an email at!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *