I have this thing for Lebanese heritage buildings, and I look for them wherever I go. Every time I come across one of them, I stop to admire it. The best ones I find are around 200 years old, and they are simply remarkable. Such architecture never ceases to impress me.
I go around Beirut trying to find some of these gems, but most of the times they are just inaccessible or are being replaced by modern, commercial buildings. Nonetheless, I get lucky sometimes!
I found this house in the middle of Beirut.
As you walk in, you see all these distinguished characteristics, starting with the high-rise ceilings that contain architectural and design elements so unique that I doubt even the best designers or laborers of today can replicate. Then there is the garden. Honestly, I did not expect much from a house in the middle of Beirut, but I was wrong. The garden is magnificent, and although it is located in the heart of Beirut with its busy streets, the fragrance of the garden just blows you away. Going back inside, you notice that all the rooms are comfortably big, following a very open concept of living that supports huge families, which the Lebanese are known for. The rooms are many, with different shapes and different functionalities; that shows the versatility of such a house. The house is very bright, and when you look around, you can see why. The balconies and windows are brilliantly designed to let the light in and bring the best out of every single element in the house, even the furniture.
This specific house is from the 1800’s. Today, part of it is a restaurant, and another part is a catering house. Paradoxically, part of it also serves as an AirBnB location, mixing the old with the new, the great past with the present.
Although the house has new functions, it still has its 1800’s charm and details. The owners have not compromised on the beauty of the tiles or any feature I can remember. But this house is a dime in a dozen; sadly, not everyone appreciates these old houses. Each of them has unique characteristics and an original charm in which dwells the Lebanese spirit. Unfortunately, the houses of our predecessors are being lost. Today’s commercial ventures and high-rise buildings are replacing them… yet I still have faith that these buildings will be maintained instead of being lost.