Inside Jeddah-Based Interior Designer Rawan AlSahsah's Eclectic Home

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Nov 26 2019 / 11:42 AM

Acclaimed interior designer and founder of Jeddah-based RIS Group opens the door to her living, breathing Parisian style abode that has formed a personality of its own

Inside Jeddah-Based Interior Designer Rawan AlSahsah's Eclectic Home
Courtesy of Mokhtar Chahine
Rawan AlSahsah

Tucked away on 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.

A view of Rawan’s living space

“The second people enter, the energy is unbelievable,” AlSahsah 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 her travels and especially 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 Art Deco vintage chandelier in the salon.

An interior view of a bathroom at Rawan’s home

Artwork which AlSahsah 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 of art that speaks to me and is simply a work I love,” says AlSahsah.

“Even if a work is by an amazing artist, if I don’t like the work, I won’t buy it.” The same philosophy applies for the design pieces, lighting and furniture in her home, which include pieces from Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler and Lindsey Adelman. “I like the pieces that are unique and where I feel the concept of design is out of the box”

The entrace of Rawan’s home featuring a handwoven Khazak rug

Various Italian vintage pieces and French antiques are on display and the walls of the home are adorned with hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpaper, creating an ‘escape-to-the-past’ vibe throughout the space.

“I like contemporary spaces but I always like adding some antique pieces because there’s always a story around them and they add a sense of cultural depth to the space,” says AlSahsah. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the living room overlook the lush green garden outside, where AlSahsah can be found meditating (when the weather is nice). “I do believe that to have a nice place you have to invest in some statement pieces to give the space an artistic feeling.”

An interior view of a bedroom

Most recently AlSahsah’s work has seen the launch of her New Yorkbased, high-end furniture brand Rawan Isaac, which first made its debut at the High Point Market furniture fair in North Carolina.

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 by highly skilled craftsmen. Featured in the collection is a dining table which was first produced three years ago, understandably a bestseller. Today it sits in AlSahsah’s home.

Dining table designed by Rawan from the Rawan Isaac collection

A testament to AlSahsah’s love for rugs, there can be one found in each part of the 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 at the salon is an antique Veramin carpet.

“I love every part of my home,” admits AlSahsah. The designer spends most of her time in the living room on the ground floor and in the mornings she enjoys having her breakfast on the terrace upstairs overlooking the garden. On the weekends she loves to entertain, hosting dedicated cooking nights with friends. “I love cooking,” she shares.

“I have gatherings and cooking nights with friends - it brings the house to life.” The first-floor terrace is where she practises her 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 says. “I don’t have a certain routine – I’ll be moving between three places in the house on a daily basis.”

An interior view of Rawan’s kitchen

The eclectic abode is the first one AlSahsah has redesigned with utter freedom. “The home is purely what I believe in and it reflects my personality and lifestyle,” she expresses. “It’s an open space which reflects 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 the artist.

From the Winter 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors

All ImagesAbdulrahman Bayashout