Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Syrian" Nights - Design Destination

It is funny how things always happen in clumps, whether that may be tragedies or in celebrations it seems that like attracts like. It is not often that one gets to work with people of an entirely different culture background who hail from the most ancient city in the world, that being Damascus, Syria. But now it seems I have met yet another family from this culturally rich land and have the opportunity to help shape their house into a home from the ground up. The first family's home will be complete in the next few months, but is unlike any project I have worked on or may ever work on.

The client had a lot of ideas from his homeland that he wanted to incorporate into the property, including a hand carved stone horizontal striped facade in the gold and black colored stones shown in the images below. We worked with the stone carvers from Syria where all of the stone fireplaces, moldings, and fountains where fabricated, managed by Stone Carving Unlimited in Dallas. I hadn't really been exposed to this type of design before but now I am absolutely smitten, it is not something you see every day, especially out on large estate homes that dot the outskirts of Dallas. The high walled facade incorporates an iron gate that suggests the luxurious property behind, opening up to an oasis and outdoor living area to transport guests, making them feel as if they just landed at a 5 star resort. In the courtyard there are two fountains, one make from handcut mosaic work and another that fills most of an entire wall. Of course there is a fireplace as well to ward off the frigid temps when need be or used just for ambiance. Throughout the home there are Italian and Greek influences, as Syria was inhabited by many different civilizations including those of Christianity and Islamic descent. The remains of many Christian temples still exist today as evident below and the architecture remains an influence throughout the region.

Images - Ian Cowe via Flickr

Traditional Damascus facade - very similar to what will be gracing our client's home

Interior design by Joseph Karam from his personal Parisian apartment nods to a Damascus motif

The past meets present in this modern stylized lounge by Sawyer Design Associates based in Dallas - you can see how the ancient designs of the past are interpreted by today's designers

In Syria, there are souks abound that sell their wares that the region is eponymous for, including richly dyed fabrics and hand woven rugs and textiles, vibrant colored glass and of course detailed cut out designs that only the most skilled artisans can could create by hand. These cut outs grace anything from the lantern hanging above casting its provocative glow, to the mosaic floors below slippered feet step upon. In our clients home we used water jet mosaic stones throughout to bring a sense of this craft to their home.

The fixture above and the following are both from Fine Art Lamps, similar ones grace one set of our client's galleries to create a pop of color and bring a touch of whimsy to a casual wing of the home

From the quarry where the facade, fireplaces, and fountain stone are pulled
from. I think this puts perspective on what you are paying for when you make a custom piece stone piece. There are so many moving parts and details that most people are not aware of when they see the finished product. And in the end, that is all they see, so in essence the grunt work does not matter, the end product does-that is forever. That is the bottom line. We have handpicked sodalite slabs - a very rare vibrant blue stone - coming from Carrera, Italy for the master bathroom that come from a quarry not much different than this. Because of the downturn in the economy, many stone yards were not stocking this rare material, as it is expensive and hard to move in this economical climate. It was up to us to source this material for our client, looking as far as the quarry where David was carved from. And yes, I mean THE David.

Images above by Stone Carving Unlimited

A sneak peak of a corner of the clients foyer, covered in stone mosaics from the floor to two stories above in the traditional Syrian stripe motif

A detail from our client's doors that will open to his formal study area. Throughout Islamic design the geometric motifs repeat themselves over and over again, creating a sense of unity and order versus the free flowing nature of European designs.

A have this on my TO BUY list - a Middle Eastern piece to add a functional art to my home, whether it be a chest, table or simply a decorative box. Hoping for the chest below, though! It is gorgeous. All images from 1st Dibs.

Many designers are bringing pieces of Middle Eastern inspired furnishings into their designs. Lynne Scalo features a chest next to bed for storage in her design and Bunny Williams below adds an octagon inlaid table in her Punta Cana vacation home.

I will be posting some more shots of the home as we get closet to a completion date, for now, I hope you enjoyed your mini vacation!

Maktub - "It is written"

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