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Maria's Journey: An Immigrant From the Philippines to Age-Inclusive Homes in the United States

Maria Photo Meridew Kitchen.jpg

Maria's story began in the vibrant landscapes of the Philippines, where her father, a successful entrepreneur, instilled in her the value of commitment and dedication to make a difference.  The construction of their home in the suburbs of Manila ignited her passion for design and architecture. Growing up watching her father Valentino run a successful business with his courage, creativity, collaboration, and compassion, Maria knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps.

But life took an unexpected turn when tragedy struck, and Maria lost her father. His untimely death at 59 from complications brought about by his surgery, left a void in her heart, but she found solace in the memories of his inspiring work. Determined to carry on his legacy, she channeled her grief into studying and honing her skills and nurturing her love for design. Throughout her journey, Maria found strength in her mother Lydia’s resilience.  Her mother who is a pillar of support encouraged her to pursue her dreams fearlessly.  With her mother’s unwavering love and encouragement, Maria ventured to the United States a land of opportunities, where she aspired to make her father proud.

In the United States, Maria's talent and dedication to her craft shone brightly. She met her soulmate, Calvin, a brilliant and compassionate man, who not only stole her heart but also became her partner in turning dreams into reality.  

As they embarked on their professional journey together, Maria's mother remained a guiding light, cheering them on from afar. Her mother's love for them fueled their determination to excel, and they founded a successful remodeling business, creating spaces that intertwined beauty and functionality. They were able to convince Lydia to move and live with them in Maryland and help them raise their two lovely daughters Meagan and Lauren.  They wanted Lydia to nurture and instill the same values to their growing daughters.

In 2009, Maria and Calvin together with their daughters moved to Orange County in Southern California.  California has always been a part of their big dream. Their joy was boundless until fate dealt them another blow—Lydia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia and stage 4 kidney failure. Calvin and Maria had no choice but to place her in a skilled nursing facility where she can have the 24 hour care and attention of medical professionals.  In 2014, Lydia passed away not because of Alzheimer’s Dementia or her kidney disease, it was a fall at the nursing home that ended her life. The pain was deep, but Maria drew strength from her mother's enduring spirit. Inspired by her mother's life and influenced by the challenges faced by seniors, Maria embraced a new mission—to design age-inclusive homes.

Calvin wholeheartedly supported her vision, and together, they delved into the world of age-in-place design. They combined aesthetics with accessibility, creating spaces that catered to the needs of seniors while preserving the essence of comfort and beauty.

Maria's transformation into an age-in-place specialist was remarkable, a reflection of her resilience and compassion. She is now a Certified Age in Place Specialist by the National Association of Home Builders. She knew her father and mother would be proud of the path she had chosen—a path that merged her passion for design with a deep desire to make a difference.

Today, Maria and Calvin's legacy lives on in the homes they remodel including the age-inclusive homes they create, where love, memories, and the promise of forever reside. As they continue to craft spaces that accommodate all generations, Maria's journey from the Philippines to the United States becomes a story of hope, inspiration, and the enduring power of love.

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