When I first walked into Zainab’s home, I knew straight away that this was a girl with a really good eye, and she definitely wasn’t going to let anyone get in the way of making her home super stylish and comfortable.
She had not only done what we all normally do (paint, decorate with accessories, bring in some light fixtures, rugs, etc.), but had carefully crafted parts of her space to make it look quite different from your average compound home…
Years in Saudi: 4 years
Uncluttered. I try to keep things to a minimum. I have 3 boys in the house, and a chorus of objections when I try to bring anything new in. I keep open floor space, and not too many breakables. You won’t find clusters of pretty things on tables in corners in my house.
I’m not any one style. I wouldn’t call myself contemporary or traditional. I’m more transitional.
When you first walk in, you can’t help but notice that Zainab is a serious art collector. She collects paintings, small decorative items, and anything else that holds meaning and adds visual interest to her space.
She has 18th century religious texts up on her walls, paintings by famous Pakistani artists that she admires, artwork created by friends, small decorative antiques, as well as many other interesting pieces.
She has carefully collected and strategically placed every single piece. No joke.
How she makes it work…
I was really lucky that I was able to transplant everything from my Chicago home, and it kinda worked. I also really like low-lying furniture, which works well here. Your eye has more space to go around.
Zainab painted her walls a beautiful gray – more of the gray-green color (Jotun 2005Y)– and has an accent wall with grasscloth wallpaper in her living room that I couldn’t stop drooling over!
I chose the paint color keeping in mind that there’s not much natural light coming in the house so I didn’t want anything constricting.
Secondly, I really wanted a neutral that would not compete with any of the artwork I love collecting.
Her light fixtures are incredibly tasteful and perfectly suited to her space. Even the furniture is the right size and color!
Every piece in her home has an individual and unique twist to it. She adds critical details to everything to make sure that they work for her and her family’s lifestyle.
I can’t wait for you to see how detail-oriented designing can dramatically change your space…
Informal Sitting Room
I love how pretty this room is. It’s intentionally not matchy matchy, but still works so well together. I also think that this design choice to not match pieces makes this smallish room look much bigger!
Living & Dining Room
This space is just so cool. It looks modern, yet comfortable, and still has a sense of formality for entertaining guests. She makes it look so easy to achieve that look!
The calligraphy pieces above the custom shelf were made by Zainab’s friend Roxy, and are of her boys names. Clever!
I’ve always heard that when it comes to selling a home, kitchens and bathrooms can really make or break it. Not that Zainab is selling her home, but her kitchen and bathroom have me totally sold…
This kitchen has convinced me that having my own pretty appliances is a MUST if I want my rental space to feel like my own. I even think that the stainless steel appliances that Zainab brought from Chicago make the existing features in these compound home kitchens look 10 times better!
I’m also convinced that having a backsplash is a brilliant idea, and is totally worth it. You can pick up a mosaic tiled backsplash like this one at Abyat or venture out to King Khalid Street (between 16th and 18th Street) for a variety of natural stone tiles.
And now on to the super pretty bathrom. How cute is this space??
I know that most of us neglect sprucing up our bathrooms here, but I’ve come to realize that it’s incredibly important to do this, even in a rental space. I feel like a styled, neat and tidy bathroom gets noticed and always leaves a lasting impression.
It doesn’t need to be a dramatic change, but there should be some attention to detail here.
Zainab has incorporated so many beautiful and creative ideas in her kids’ rooms! You have to check it out…
I could sleep in this bedroom. The colors are so calm and soothing. It almost makes me feel like I’m not in Saudi…
Since the time that I photographed Zainab’s home, she has added a few paintings that I really wanted to show you! They look sooo good!!
And of course, the outdoor space is just as put together as her indoor space 🙂
Tips & Tricks…
While Zainab is more of an overseas shopper, here are some of her tips!
- The only place I like shopping is at Hazzaz.
- If you go to Midas, go to the second floor for good items! You can avoid the glitz and purple of the first floor that way…
- I shop Amazon and Overstock.com a lot, especially for home organization stuff. Amazon Prime is probably the best investment you can make. I haven’t used it for international shipping but I send everything to my US address. I’ve also ordered a lot from CB2.
- I never buy sets.
- I bring a lot back from Pakistan. I have stuff made there all the time.
- I never buy from big stores. There’s always a back warehouse that I would prefer to go to.
- I leave my husband and kids at home, and do my own thing.