A middle eastern kitchen expresses my fascination with rustic kitchens in the European style.
Each time I lived in a house or apartment in Europe, the kitchen resembled this middle eastern kitchen owned by a French archaeological engineer in Damascus, Syria. This one is especially interesting for its typical rusticity and for the fact that is is accessed from the second floor of the house by an exterior staircase.
In the kitchen, stone is a major element – both in the adjacent hallway and in the tile floor. Marble comprises the framework for the open storage except for makeshift doors below the double sink. There are no lower cabinets — just an open vertical slot for trays and square storage spaces for pots. This no-doors approach is common when maximum utility is required in a narrow space. Low marble shelves, holding utensils, piggyback the counter to the left and behind the sink. A plate rack above the sink provides dish storage. On the wall, almost behind the door, a hanging pot rack supports Middle Eastern utensils. Higher up is a fragment of a painted mural, with a typically floral motif, salvaged from an old house while a tiny table affords seating at the window. No one would describe this kitchen as fancy yet the storage areas are built of marble!
The kitchen and bath were renovated by an Italian architect who helped the owner restore the house, which is adjacent to the Ottoman-era palace of Beit Mujalled in Damascus’ Muslim quarter.
The story of this renovation is that the owner moved to Damascus and fell in love with the ancient wreck of a house. It had modern tiles applied over the ancient stone walls of the outdoor room and courtyard and he undertook a complete renovation.
The apartment hallway leading to the kitchen, is reached from outside, via a stairwell in the courtyard.
(Source: WOI, flickr, travelv&a)
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