Situated in a quiet, high-end residential area called Al Khaldiah district, Jeddah-based interior designer Rawan Alsahsah’s home has been completely reimagined to reflect her personality and aesthetic. The award-winning interior designer and founder of RIS Group moved into the home over a year ago and redesigned the double storey abode from scratch, from breaking down the walls and replacing the wooden door at the entrance to reconstructing the entire kitchen, taking five months to complete.
“The second people enter, the energy is unbelievable,” Rawan tells me. “It’s very comfortable and welcoming – people say it feels as if they’ve shifted and travelled somewhere else.” Reminiscent of a traditional Parisian home with modern influences, the eclectic style of the space was influenced by the six months the designer lived in La Ville-Lumière.“ I used different materials, designs, styles of furniture and wallpaper lighting,” she says. “I mix a lot of vintage pieces and I collect antiques and art.” Mostly bought from auctions, some antique pieces in the home include a beautiful cabinet in the living room, a brown classic buffet table and an exquisite, luxurious chandelier in the salon.
Artwork which Rawan sourced from her travels, auctions and galleries, by artists from around the world including Turkey, Indonesia and Morocco, hang on the walls. Featured are works by Beirut-born Khaled Takreti, Thailand-born Virut Panchabuse and Edirne-born Bahar Kocaman, to name a few. “When it comes to art, I buy the piece that speaks to me and is simply a work I love,” she smiles. “Even if a work is by an amazing artist, if I don’t like it, I won’t buy it.” The same philosophy applies for the design pieces, lighting and furniture in her home, which include styles from Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler and Lindsey Adelman. “I like pieces that are unique and where I feel the concept of design is out of the box.”
There are many vintage Italian finds and French antiques on display and the walls are adorned with hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper, creating a sense of an ‘escape-to-the past’ vibe throughout the space. “I like pure, modern houses
but I always enjoy adding some antique pieces because there’s a story around them and they bring a sense of culture and depth in a way,” Rawan says. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the living room overlook the lush green garden outside, where she can often be found meditating when the weather is good. “I do believe that to have a nice place you have to invest in all the basic things around you because that’s what gives you the feeling of luxury.”
Most recently, Rawan’s work has seen her launch RawanIsaac, a high-end furniture and design firm which first made its debut at the High Point Market furniture fair in New York City. The line is inspired by the designer’s love for the Art Deco era and mid-century modernism. Each piece such as ‘Luna’, ‘Elektra’ and ‘Aria’, is named after a constellation and crafted with pure organic materials such as wood veneer. Featured in the collection is a dining table which was first produced three years ago, understandably a best seller. Today it sits in Rawan’s home.
A testament to her love of rugs, there can be one found in each and every part of her home. There’s a handwoven Khazak rug at the entrance which the designer bought from an antique market in Turkey, another handmade rug in the living room by Iwan Maktabi and over in the salon is an antique Veramin carpet.
“I love every part of my home,” Rawan says with a smile, revealing that she spends most of her time in the living room downstairs while in the mornings she enjoys relaxing upstairs. On the weekends she loves to entertain, hosting dedicated cooking nights with a friend or two. “I love cooking,” she shares. “I have gatherings and dinners with friends and it really brings the house to life.” The upstairs terrace is where she practises her daily yoga. “I’m a person connected to nature and spirituality.”
But she’ll never be found in one area for too long. “I like change,” she admits. “I don’t have a certain routine – I’ll be moving between three places in the house on a daily basis.”
The eclectic abode is the first one Rawan has redesigned with utter freedom. “The home is purely what I believe in and it reflects my personality,” she expresses. “It’s an open space which mirrors my open character. The colours of the home are my colours. I always wanted to have my own house where I can just do whatever I want and showcase what I truly love.” The home is a canvas and she is truly the artist
From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia March 2020 Issue
Images courtesy of Rawan Alsahsah