Beirutful House by WHAT _ Architecture

The Beirutful House is owned by French-born architect and designer Annabel Karim Kassar. The house is set into the side of a hill, and is blessed with two generously sized reception rooms over two floors. The living space on the lower-ground floor backs onto a charming private garden (featured in the film Notting Hill) and has been transformed into a light-filled family room, dotted with acid-bright Knoll furniture.

The entire house is inconsistent – every room is completely different to the last. The panelling around the large window was made by Ateliers Perrault in France and conceals shutters inside clever recesses.

Shadows dance on the walls and ceiling like an art installation courtesy of crochet-covered ‘stocking’ pendant lights by Beirut company Caï-Light. ‘Downstairs is a fairly minimalist space compared to the rest of the house, and it’s given ornamentation by the shadows,’ explains Anthony. The lights, he says, were chosen for purely aesthetic purposes rather than practicality.

On the ground floor, blackened French oak parquet sets the tone for the seductive ‘night-time’ living room. The staining was done by a French artisan, who was flown in specially for the purpose.
The Antique chairs below were brought from China, the Facett Armchair from Ligne Roset and
Eero Saarinen Tulip Side Table is by Knoll.

Splashing lighting is also by Cai light. It is a small pattern-perforated lamp.

Handmade embroidered and printed cushions were made bespoke in Paris

Annabel Karim Kassar in her bedroom
Goat leather embossed doors
‘Beirutiful Circle’ hand-made tiles designed by WHAT_architecture and made by Al Andalous, Morocco

This mirrored ceiling is an articulated “fractal” mirrored surface from Cai lighting.

‘Very few clients would allow us to do anything like this,’ says Anthony of the dazzling kitchen. ‘But these owners have very sophisticated tastes and believe minimalism can lead to banality.’ Unable to find a kitchen that suited their needs, Anthony started from scratch, and was drawn to the Moroccan motif thanks to the client’s love of geometry. The opulent tiles are all handmade, but were fairly inexpensive to make.

The house features a number of innovations and bespoke details like the deer head Trophee light and ‘Beirutiful Circle’ hand-made tiles designed by WHAT_architecture and made by Al Andalous, Morocco
Elegant white bathroom with stylish retro freestanding bathtub, Silver Pompadour Lavatory Set from Herbeau and
original Pipe Modern Pendant Lamp from Artemide lighting.
Translucent glass from Lumisty  becomes partially fogged in a step or two away. Two or three steps later, the same window is completely fogged. Walk backward or forward, and it’s clear again. As the viewer’s angle shifts, so does the transparency or translucency of the film.

The master bedroom occupies the entire fifth floor of the house and is a unique blend of minimalist and ornate styles. A Lebanese-style bespoke wooden doorway with a gothic twist was made in France by Ateliers Perrault and separates the bedroom and dressing room areas.

The glass doors separating the walk-in wardrobe from the bedroom make it a real feature of the room. The carved wooden screen divides the areas nicely while keeping the continuity of the light, white space. The carved transom windows add decorative detail to the simple scheme.

The door frame goes really well with ethnic African boubou wax printed curtains. The dressing room leads to a TV area in the master suite, which also features a whiter-than-white carpet. ‘There’s no greater luxury than a white carpet – it’s very decadent,’ says Anthony.

An attic bedroom was created for the kids’ grandma, who is an eccentric figure. ‘It’s a quite typically French room and the bathroom has been left purposely open,’ explains Anthony. ‘It’s a very decadent room.’ Another decadent touch is the the screen, which is fabric that has been painted over by an artist.

If your budget won’t stretch to some of the bespoke solutions, such as glass doors and double-sided fireplaces, a freestanding screen can look amazing for a modest sum. Scour second-hand shops and vintage fairs for something a bit different and link it with your bedroom scheme. Choose a carved wooden fretwork screen for a Mediterranean or Moroccan look, a white-painted screen for a Scandi or New England space, or an elegant Victorian tapestry for a traditional room. They can also be given a new lease of life with new fabric or by wallpapering wooden panels.

‘We obtained permission to open up this window and make alterations,’ says Anthony. The client is a big fan of traditional English-style panelling and wanted to incorporate it throughout the house. In the distance is the communal garden – a feature of many Notting Hill homes – views of which can be enjoyed from the Turkish-style chaise longue.

 I love the incredibly serene nature of this low-slung day bed, which exudes a Zen-like calm for an afternoon’s read – with space for two if you fancy some company. Reading lights and piles of cushions at either end only add to the appeal.
Black staircase and K box lighting by Cai light. K Box Lighting is a suspended box, exists in plain, cut or stickled finish surface

Bespoke throne toilet built from Moroccan tiles with “Zellige” pattern, hand – printed on top them by a French artist.

This house is full of bespoke details. The red balustrade is a construction barrier
Bespoke cornice plaster cast, unpainted, Classic wood panel from France, Black Marble Eero Saarinen Tulip Dining Table, Black Eero Saarinen Tulip Armchair by Knoll and French oak floor.
Beautiful eclectic staircase

Annabel Kassar in her apartment.