Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Dreaming of The “Not-So-Big House”

I’ve been dreaming lately of the house I want in my future. I’ve visited a couple houses in Kuwait lately, houses I liked a lot, with beautiful spaces, intimate dining rooms, a variety of ceiling heights, cozy seating areas that invited conversation and large, light bedrooms that also had seating areas, grown up retreats with Jacuzzi style bathtubs and places to curl up and read, along with a whole lot of closet space.

I told you a while back about a book we were told about, Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House Book. The book is about making every part of your house work the way your lifestyle needs it to – cutting out space wasted on impressing other people and maximizing areas of the house where people actually hang out.

As she introduces the book, she talks about how you throw a party and everybody ends up hanging out in the kitchen, that the living rooms we create are not welcoming, and she has good ideas how to make all the spaces in your house more welcoming.

She emphasizes also the use of high quality materials and workmanship.

I know that a little bit of heaven for me is getting up every day and looking out on the Gulf. I know that when I am working, I work facing the same view. It gives me such joy. I might get some of the same satisfaction overlooking a forest with wild animals (I know AdventureMan would love to have that not-so-big house be in Africa! Imagine! You’re sorting through your books and an elephant sticks his trunk in!) or the Puget Sound with the Olympics in the background. I know I am addicted to big windows and watching the weather change.

I need privacy. I don’t want other people looking in my windows.

My best friend has a round dining room table, and my sister, and my Chinese friend tells me those are the best for family “energy.” I want a big round family dining table, in wood, like my sister and like my friend.

I love glass brick, and would love to have it in bathrooms and entries and have walls of it letting light stream into and through my home.

I love glass tile, especially the watery shades of aqua blue and aqua green.

(photo courtesy Bedrock Industries)

I love light wood floors, honey oak, birch, even knotty pine planks I had in an old German house where I once lived. I love the feeling of wood underfoot; it is gentle and forgiving, and so classically good looking.

(Photo courtesy Pennington Hardwoods)

I love second floor loft libraries, overlooking the lower living areas of a house.

Dream along with me.

Think about YOUR house. Now, close your eyes and think about what goes into making a house your very own special hideaway. What makes it special for you? What would you do with your living space if time and energy and money were of no importance?

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Building, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Privacy | 16 Comments

Traditional Clothing Exposition

Last night I was invited for a very special occasion, the Tarek Rajab family had a private showing of their unparalleled Arab Dress collection for the Kuwait Textile Arts Association. We enjoy their two museums so much – we take our friends and visitors there, sometimes we just visit the calligraphy museum to watch the film on calligraphy one more time! We learn something new with every visit. If you have never visited either of these museums, you are missing one of the rare treats in Kuwait.

On top of their value on traditional items, their foresight in beginning the collection decades ago, their two museums are open to the public, entirely free. Free of charge. Free admission. I never can get over it; the entire country of Kuwait is an honored guest in these museums. Imagine.

Denise Rajab, the museum curator, was on hand to answer questions about the costumes, which were displayed hanging against backgrounds showing photos of the countries and surroundings where these items of dress would be worn. White gloves were available to all present, and people were encouraged to (gently) handle the garb, so that you could see front and back.

There was so much loving attention to detail, so much handwork in these items of clothing!

I encourage you, my friends in Kuwait, to do two things. First, visit the two Tarek Rajab museums (located in Jabriya, near the New English School.) Here is their website: Tarek Rajab Museums

Second, if you want a window on a whole new world, join this group, Kuwait Textile Arts Association. Take their trips (this year the group just got back from South Africa, and are whooping with delight!) and attend their monthly meeting, meet some of the most interesting people in Kuwait, interesting because they have wide-ranging interests – like yours!

Here are some photos from a truly remarkable evening:

I hope I’m in town next year for all the meetings, and . . . I’ll see you there!

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments