Since we had our first dinner gathering last night and our house is pretty much guest-ready, I figure it’s time for a virtual house tour. Plus, it feels like all my awkward adolescent years spent watching HGTV (when I thought I could be an interior designer) have been leading up to this moment.
Living room before & after. I think the only thing we kept is the little white lamp on the table (now in the kitchen), and the coffee/side tables,which we want to replace eventually. Next task is to get some art on the big blank wall and probably paint the green wall a different color. We got the new couch, curtains, and floor lamp from Ikea. Carpet is from Kashmir by way of Sri Lanka. Pillows are from Jordan and Turkey.
It’s taken us several months to get the house looking like this – while the house was fully furnished, and we kept some of the big things like the bedroom sets and a lot of appliances and accessories that were in the kitchen – we replaced a lot of furniture and most of the decor. So that meant slowly moving furniture out of this apartment and into another, or deciding what to donate/sell, and slowly buying furniture as we were able to afford it. I bought a chaise longue that was crazy on sale when a store was closing down. And with my first paycheck here I bought the kitchen table and chairs.
Usually, this meant me and Layth’s mom sneaking over here during the day after she had brought grandpa to a relative’s house, or while he was taking a nap, so that we could redecorate without him “supervising.” But one day we did come home – before we had fully moved in – to find him standing in our living room, upset and confused about why we had moved the furniture. What to say? He’s 95 but still not used to slowing down – he’s used to running a hospital with hundreds of employees, having a busy social life and a big family around him. It’s difficult and it makes me feel guilty about changing things – especially since everything was in good condition, just either felt way too formal for us, or outdated – but ultimately we’re the ones who will be living here every day, so we might as well like it.
The house is still a work in progress, and maybe not ready for prime-time yet, but it’s definitely starting to feel more cozy as we settle into a routine here and start getting art on the walls.
Master bedroom before and after: We switched the bedroom furniture with the guest room (sorry guests! this one was just more to our taste. I promise the other bed is comfy too.) Curtains are Ikea, the bed cover and sheets are Vera Wang and Bloomingdales (purchased at an outlet shop in Swefieh), and we added some more of our own carpets.
The bathroom’s not much different, but we did change the shower curtain and bathroom rug, and we added a corner storage unit and a new medicine cabinet, replacing the little mirror that was above the sink before (all from Ikea).
The guest room! It has a queen-sized bed, two nightstands, a dresser, and a big wardrobe for clothes or extra storage space. Other than moving this bedroom set from our room and removing some of the extra accessories that we didn’t want to keep, this is pretty much the same as before. I would’ve liked to change the curtains in this room (they’re the same blue drapes as in the “before” photos) – but judging by Layth’s grandfather’s reaction to us changing the curtains in our room (”but the blue color is nice! but they are good material! why don’t you like them? why did you spend money?!”) Changing these curtains will have to wait a little while.
The office, before & after: AKA, my new favorite room in the house. We got rid of that bizarre desk and moved in the desk and shelf unit Layth had in his old place (from Ikea, per usual). There’s also a comfy chaise longue next to the window, and a TV. There’s still some bulky cabinets on the left wall, but once we figure out what to do with them we might move things around a little in here.
Sadly, this made me realize that I have only four physical books with me in Amman – and most of them are language-learning books. Granted, I have at least 60 books on my Kindle, but I do miss my books back in the US, especially photography books and poetry, things that don’t translate well on a Kindle.