Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

flea market old jaffa

No vacation or trip is complete for me without finding time to hunt down an antiques market or neighborhood. Even with the rampant globalization which has started to blur trade borders for even the old junk of the world, somehow each city maintains its own unique vibe when it comes to vintage. Tel Aviv was not highlighted in my post the other day as it is less a treasure trove of ancient history and more a city that feels like New York met Miami met Europe hanging out in the Middle East. And while we wanted to shop and eat at every cafe and boutique that lined the streets, we simply didn’t have the time. Instead, we prioritized Old Jaffa, perched at the southern end of town, in no small reason because of its famous flea market, Shuk HaPishpushim.

Directly next to the unmistakable clock tower and lying below the more picturesque Old City, the flea market has supposedly been in operation in this spot for over 100 years. It it quite easy to believe that to be true. Selling things from every corner of the world, from carpets and textiles (of which they had wonderful ones although I forgot to photograph them) pottery, metals, paintings, old hardware and devices, ephemera, bric-a-brac, junk and all kinds of furniture, you can imagine the ancient port being a center for trade. And in that sense the market at Old Jaffa and its big sister city Tel Aviv had something in common, a real international sensibility.

The open outdoor stalls of the flea market were in many ways an example of flea markets at their worst. There was a great deal of absolute garbage, literally things that looked and sometimes smelled as if they had been pulled from trash bins. But in between lurked some treasure, from old aluminum and enamel cookware to brass ewers and pepper grinders. Some stacks of old encaustic tiles caught my eye and I heard that unusual tiles are a fairly common find here.

encaustic tiles

My favorite find was a bin of old printing rollers, perhaps for wallpaper or fabric, I wasn’t quite sure. They were short ones or I might have bought the whole shebang to turn into lamps.


Much more impressive than the open air market was the ring of surrounding shops and more permanent covered arcades. I was amazed by the quality and variety of furnishings and objects that were available as well as artisanal jewelry, clothing and home accessories. I was very busy thinking about what I wanted and less about what a post might need so I don’t have as many personal photos that give a feel for the hustle and bustle of the place. But in addition to loads of regional items, like the giant Arabic brass and copper trays my friend almost bought until she realized they were too large and heavy to fit in her duffel, there was a treasure trove of international design.

From classic mid-century modern…

mid century modern

…to trendy rough luxe (although this is clearly all new). Does anyone else think this screams Restoration Hardware?

Restoration Hardware

My favorite shop Nekudotchen was a cornucopia of styles and periods and I would have liked to do real damage in there. They had shelves loaded with antique bottles and industrial lighting.


This tiny mint green bench would be ideal in my entryway at the beach house. I am having a fetish for benches these days, although this one has about a quarter of the size of the ones I have ordered here in Qatar.

mint green bench

And speaking of soft Scandinavian painted pieces I was desperate for this long low sideboard tucked away upstairs. It needed a wee bit of TLC but would make such a lovely TV console. The reeded glass and those kinda quatrefoil-like cutouts were darling.

gray scandinavian sideboard

Chandeliers were in no short supply – and you knew I’d be getting around to mentioning them. This antique crystal one had a really unusual shape with horizontal branched arms. There were even a few other shops lined two floors to the rafters with fixtures.

crystal chandelier

The big find of the day for me was this lavender (!) Murano glass chandelier in a small mixed shop. It was one of those have to have it moments even though I have absolutely nowhere to hang it. I played pantomime with the owner, bargaining away, but honestly the price was good from the get go. We talked about breaking down the pieces and wrapping it tightly and carrying it on with us. The big problem was that I knew we had our time banging around in open jeeps in Jordan ahead of us. Caution and common sense won out and I left it behind, although I am still carrying the shop owners card around with me.

lavender murano glass chandelier

After all, he said he could ship it…

The flea market seems to be open every day but Saturday and closes earlier on Friday. We also strolled the wonderfully restored upper city which is full of art galleries and creative boutiques and dotted around the area are numerous cafes and old local food hangouts.

Don’t miss Old Jaffa and be sure to save extra space in your suitcase!

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Dome of the Rock Wailing Western Wall

This year we took the dream trip of a lifetime – visiting Israel and Jordan at the holidays. We gazed out at the sites sacred to three of the world’s great religions, from the golden Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third most holy site which happens to directly abut the Western Wall, all that remains of the destroyed Jewish Second Temple. On Christmas Eve we walked the Via Dolorosa to arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre just as the priests began their procession to the spot upon which it is believed (by the Catholics at least) that Jesus was crucified.

Church of the holy sepulcher

The Old City of Jerusalem was truly magical, both weighted by its incredible history and bustling and real with residents at the same time. The tightly knit Armenian Quarter yielded up a few treasures, like this massive crystal chandelier spied up a hidden staircase.

Armenian chandelier

Chandeliers were a highlight of this trip – maybe they always are for me and I just hadn’t realized pre-Instagram? Spied this massive Dale Chihuly, a sister to the one I saw at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London this summer, at the Aish HaTorah Center in the Jewish Quarter. From their rooftop I took the “money shot” photo that starts the post. The view was incredible.

Dale chihuly chandelier

In the Arab Quarter we saw this amazing graffiti on the walls around a residential door. It’s a celebration and advertisement that someone in the home had done the Hajj, meaning they had made their pilgrimage to Mecca. Before moving to Doha, I would not have known was it was, but now I do, as here people put out flags and decorations for the same reason.

Hajj return grafitti

We went to Bethlehem for the graffiti as well. Our friends that we travelled with have been following the career of graffiti artist Banksy who has numerous pieces up along the walls in Bethlehem, including this one called Armored Vest Peace Dove.

Banksy armored vest peace dove

But the real reason for going to Bethlehem was obviously the Church of the Nativity, although honestly it was so crowded I found it nowhere near as interesting as the Holy Sepulchre, except of course for the chandeliers…

Church of the holy nativity

… and not to get ahead of myself, but I must mention the amazing lavender Murano glass chandelier I found in the flea markets of Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv. But more about that in my next post.

lavender murano chandelier

We caught the Herod’s Tomb exhibition at the Israel Museum along with the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few other “old” things. Personally I was obsessed with his bathroom!

Herod's bathtub

Tiles and mosaics always grab me and this trip was no different. There were Roman and Byzantine bits to be found all over, some out in the open, protected only by sand. My girls loved playing archaeologist and sweeping to make discoveries. We also worked on a real dig one day and found pottery shards, bones and other detritus of the ancient Edomites.


The old crusader fortress and UNESCO World Heritage City of Akko (Acre) was fascinating. It is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the region and felt as impregnable as it looked. Napoleon lay siege to it for two unsuccessful months as did many other potential conquerors. It truly felt like we stepped back in history.


My favorite takeaway from Akko was these hexagon tiles in the old Turkish Hammam. I’d like to order some for a kitchen backsplash, wouldn’t you?

Tiles in Turkish bath hammam

We hiked up Masada on New Years Day after an extremely tame Eve.


Our outdoor activities continued into Jordan where we slept (froze!) in a bedouin camp one night in Wadi Rum. My camera wasn’t good enough to photograph the incredible stars and confetti of the Milky Way, but let me tell you I have never seen the likes of it. We awoke in the morning to a red desert and scenery that seemed as if it had been painted by Hollywood. We hiked, we climbed, our guide cooked us lunch from scratch over an open flame and basically we had the entire place to ourselves.

Wadi Rum

From Wadi Rum we went on to the pièce de résistance of the trip – Petra! We had lowered our expectations, thinking to find it crowded and full of hawkers and simply unable to live up to the spectacular emptiness of the previous day. Instead, it was full of surprises and majesty.

Treasury peek at Petra

Coming out from the narrow canyons to the sight of the Treasury was every bit as exciting as we had hoped.

Treasury at Petra

Even more amazing was the huge Monastery, reached after a long hike. The scale and the location left us speechless – be sure to notice how tiny the two people are in comparison to the structure. These two buildings are the highlights of Petra but everywhere you turned there was something to see.

The Monastery at Petra

We had passed all opportunities to take donkeys or horse carriages preferring to walk the whole way. But the youngest amongst us was determined to at least get a camel ride in. It was a pleasure to grant that wish.

Miss P on a camel

Of course the most pressing thing on my mind was where to buy one of those gorgeous camel blankets, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get that answer. Oh well, an excuse to go back!

For more photos from our trip and to keep up with my day to day finds, check out my Instagram feed. And from my family to yours, we wish you all health and happiness in 2014!

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birthday cake

There is nothing like a big birthday and a move to spark a bedroom re-do. Both of my girls were due for a change, moving from their tiny closet sized bedrooms in Tokyo to their much more expansive bedrooms in Doha. The elder had a plan and a Pinterest board from the beginning. But the younger wasn’t sure of what she wanted when we first moved in. Personally I had a plan in my mind for a full size bed using this wedding noren as part of the bed hangings. Once settled, she had other ideas, mainly a desire to keep as much floor space as possible for play area, so a single bed against the wall made more sense. She quickly commandeered the French iron campaign bed and the painted French armoire from her sister’s room. She wanted to keep her Claire Murray Alphabet Garden hooked rugs (which have since become collectors items I am given to understand) because they are soft and provide interesting backdrops for imaginary play – and even nixed the idea of a Madeline Weinrib dhurrie. Can’t argue with the recycling or the continuing interest in play!

The bare room had a lot of promise, including this very sunny east facing window. All varieties of small birds come and perch along the windowsill to my daughter’s great joy. The campaign bed fit perfectly underneath it, leaving lots of play space as requested. But my daughter felt something special was needed, some pretty girly centerpiece to make the room special. I suggested bed hangings and some kind of fitted valance/canopy as the solution and she was hooked.


We went straight to images of Katie Ridder‘s whimsical bed hanging designs (and frankly, you know you are in trouble when your nine, soon to be ten-year old tells you she has a favorite designer). Here in Katie’s own daughter’s room she has installed the basic combination I am planning on – valance type canopy, roman shade for light control and ornamental bed curtains.  It looks like there may be real curtains as well in the pink fabric although I am not planning to make those.

0109_ed_katieridder_waldron_daughter's room

We knew for sure we wanted to pair two different fabrics, a solid and a pattern, just like all these examples.

canopy bedroom ridder from rooms

This bedroom designed by Katie has to be one of the most pinned girls rooms ever and continues to be a favorite of mine. It demonstrates how successful this kind of arrangement can be with a daybed. I also love the idea of a small light fixture tucked into the canopy and you can just see the pierced brass lamp peeking out here. Many of these brass globes with scrolling arabesque pattern or karakusa were made in Japan and I am lucky enough to have a few.

Katie Ridder pink girls room Muriel Brandolini

I can’t resist showing how pretty this one looks in the stair hall. And I have another one if I wanted to use it over the bed.

pierced karakusa light chandelier brass

Back to the topic at hand, Barrie Benson has a similar set of bed hangings made from an Indian block print in this lovely bedroom. I really like a soft fabric valance for my project, rather than a stiff pelmet.

barrie benson canopy bed indian block print

All of the above designs have the canopies mounted to the ceiling. With the crown molding in the room, ours would need to be placed below it and I was a bit worried about whether or not that would look good. Inspiration examples were not hard to find, including Rebecca de Ravenel’s lovely blue and white New York apartment recently featured in Vogue. The dreamy soft canopy in her bedroom has just the feel I am going for.

apt-with-lsd-rebecca-de-ravenel-bedroom canopy

Palmer Weiss used the same wallpaper as Rebecca in this oft blogged about show house bedroom which is another example with a daybed against the wall. Note that the box is also below the ceiling…

palmer weiss girls room 2

…as are these in another showhouse room by Elizabeth Dinkel.

Elizabeth Dinkel canopy beds veranda-show-house-bedroom

Since I have arrived here in Doha I have been farming out projects to different upholsterers and fabricators to find the ones that I like and I think I have found the right person for these. Ironically Qataris love incredibly ornate over the top window treatments which means the skill set here is high. It’s just a matter of simplifying the fabrics and details. After a bit of searching through all the velvets and brocades I found a very nice cotton just the color of the walls (Benjamin Moore Silver Crest 1583). And as the client requested girly, I went into my stash (yes I even have a stash with me abroad) and pulled out a huge amount of yardage of an old and discontinued Rachel Ashwell Bemberg silk fabric called Trellis Rose or something like that. One of the main things we are planning on doing differently from all the examples above is reversing the fabrics – in other words, having the solid on the outside and the pattern as the lining. To jazz up the plainer exterior curtain and valance, I have found an elaborate and detailed trim.

pips room fabrics

For those of you who have been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen the incredible trims I have been finding here. Both vintage and new, made anywhere from Oman to India, designed for trimming abayas and saris, they are extraordinary and I have been incorporating them into decorating projects wherever I can.


Screenshot 2013-11-18 03.31.44

Nathalies living room curtain trim

I have one sweet ten year old who is very excited about hers!

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