RK Interiors

I met Racha Kayali at the opening of the Arabian Collections Gallery a couple months ago. She was introduced to me as the mastermind behind the showroom, as her company had constructed and designed the entirely new space in Amwaj Plaza in Al-Khobar. After chatting with her about her amazing work at the gallery, I walked away with her business card, and noticed something very strange. Her title had her listed as an “Interior Architect.” I mean I’ve heard of an Architect, but an Interior Architect? Interesting…

The Interior Architect: Racha Kayali

Racha Kayali

I later met with Racha at her fabulous studio in Dana where she helped enlighten me on the role of an Interior Architect.

We provide a service to think about your interior… to help you change an existing space or a space that you’re planning to build. If you’re planning on building your home, we can be with you from the beginning. Our skills lie between an architect and then to arrive to the area where you can decorate. The architect works very well on the outside of a home, but when thinking about a room, an interior architect is more focused on the functionality of the house itself.

Racha came to Saudi Arabia 13 years ago from Paris. She’s originally Syrian, but had been living and working in Paris after having studied for 4 years at École Supérieur des Arts Modernes – ESAM Design, to become an Interior Architect. After finishing her studies, she worked with Jean-Michel Wilmotte, one of the most famous architectural agencies in Paris. Racha worked on a redesign of the interior of the Louvre Museum, a project with the National Museum of Beirut, and worked on the new conceptual designs of the Cartier boutiques.

After getting married, she moved to Saudi Arabia, and her career officially started with her own home. She created her own agency 7 years ago, RK interiors, and since then has been creating beautiful interiors in Dhahran – private villas as well as commercial projects.

RK Interiors
Office of RK Interiors

RK Interiors: Commercial Projects

The Arabian Collections Gallery space, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of Ale Studios.
The Arabian Collections Gallery space, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of Ale Studios.

Many of RK Interiors’ commercial projects in the Kingdom have been for Al Rashid Mall. Racha’s company was responsible for designing The Rashid Avenue, The C, The Collection Kids, The Collection Men, Ladies Boulevard (Reception area), as well as some areas of the Food Court. 

The C, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of www.rachakayali.com
The C, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D [caption id="attachment_2030" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Collection Men, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of www.rachakayali.com The Collection Men, designed by RK Interiors. Photo Courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D

Ladies Boulevard was the company’s first project with Al Rashid Mall. They were brought in to redesign a space that had actually already been finished! The completed space was not projecting the look that the mall was going for, so RK Interiors was brought in to help bring a more “feminine look” to the Reception area of Ladies Boulevard.

[caption id="attachment_2078" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Photos courtesy of www.rachakayali.com Photos courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D

While Al Rashid Mall is part of a big construction company with their own architecture offices, The Rashid Avenue became a challenge for their own company. The original space was designated as a parking lot, but when they realized that it wasn’t going to work, they contacted RK Interiors. They needed professional advice to help them to translate a commercial space into a luxurious one.

The real challenge was to make the inside look luxurious. We came up with the concept, the materials, and proposed the color scheme. This is part of our job. People come to us because they have a problem and they need someone to solve it, as well as make it look nice.

Al Rashid Mall BEFORE

[caption id="attachment_2080" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Al Rashid Avenue The Rashid Avenue. Photos courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D

RK Interiors: Private Projects

Not only has RK Interiors worked on commercial projects, but has also worked on many private ones, including the layout of a compound extension.

Racha often meets with architecture offices, along with the home owners, to draw sketches and plans for houses right at the very start of the construction of a home. Actually, the best way to utilize an interior architect is to include them from the very beginning. The interior architect fulfills the needs of a home owner by translating their particular needs to an architect.

The plans are put into a layout, given dimension, and then organized as a series of layers of technical tasks that have to be accomplished – from plumbing, lighting, HVAC ducting, and even the final decorating touches.

In my profession, we do things by layers and steps, and we know how to do it in a gradual way. We are the maestro on site. It’s our job to coordinate the contractors…

[caption id="attachment_2008" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Racha Kayali A beautiful space, designed by RK Interiors, in Doha. Photo Courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D [caption id="attachment_2075" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A gorgeous dining room in a villa in Khobar, designed by RK Interiors. Photo courtesy of www.rachakayali.com A gorgeous dining room in a villa in Khobar, designed by RK Interiors. Photo courtesy of http://www.rachakayali.com[/caption%5D

One of RK Interiors’ projects was to design the layout of a compound approved extension. It was a “L” shaped space that the home owner wanted designed to maximize space and functionality for her family. The original plans made by the contractors were not to the home owner’s liking, as she was looking for a space that was not as compartmentalized as the homes in the compound. She asked Racha to take a look at the plans, and help solve her design dilemma.

After about a week, Racha came up with a beautiful open-concept layout with 3 separate rooms built into one space. The design incorporated a TV room, a work space, and a large playroom for the children.

Compound Extension

Compound Extension BEFORE

Entry & Living Room

Compound Extension BEFORE & AFTER

[caption id="attachment_2089" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Entry into the extension Entry into the extension
Living Room of Extension
Living room of extension
Window Transformation
Transformation of a window

Office & Playroom

The Office, located between the living room and the playroom
The Playroom
The Playroom
Passage back into the living room

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Racha’s Tips & Tricks:

Where should you start when decorating?

Things have changed a lot from before. Now, because of the internet, and applications like Houzz and Pinterest, I think people are becoming more cultured in decoration and interior design. It’s very good, and I think people should start with those pictures to help them decorate. When you see an interior that you like, you can try to figure out what it is that you like about it. Once you pair things together, you can understand your own taste. 

I mean, we’re all decorators by nature. We all have taste. Most of us enjoy decorating our spaces and rooms, and many people are quite good at decorating. You don’t necessarily need an interior architect to pick out your taste.

Where should you start when building a home?

Again, things have changed so much. Before, you would have to go to an architect’s office, and you often wouldn’t know what you wanted! Now you can just browse the internet and applications for ideas.

I would say that one should first go to Houzz.com and try to make your own library. Every picture you like, keep it in a folder for each room (bathroom, dining room, etc.), and every time you like a chair or a sofa, just put it in a folder. After a couple of months, you have a library with your taste. With this, you can go to an architect or interior architect and actually show them your style. This is a great shortcut, and helps the architect and interior architect to define your style. 

Which stores are your favorites or help inspire you in the Eastern Province?

The Gallery (the modern one), which is across the street from Bo Concept. It’s very trendy, but quite expensive. I also think Bo Concept is very nice. Also, Natuzzi Al Mutlaq is another great store.

For a smaller budget, I suggest visiting ID Design & IKEA. IKEA has very nice and trendy accessories. In Bahrain, I suggest visiting Minotti, Oriental, Roche Bobois, and Ligne Roset. 

For my own inspiration of interiors, I mostly go to Milan and Paris. I often find things that you can’t find here, and can either bring them here for a client or can have custom designs made. I always customize as it is a limited market.

I also love art work. I’m very inspired by artists as they are very sensitive and are visionaries. 

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Contact: RK Interiors

Tel: + 966 13 861 1082

Email: rk@rachakayali.com

You can see Racha’s other projects and pictures of her interiors on her website, http://www.rachakayali.com

RK Logo


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