This vintage home in Cairo’s Garden City was carefully renovated by Laithy+ Architects to suit the needs of the artist who now lives in it, searching for equal parts comfort and inspiration.
Comfort comes in monochrome at this renovated Garden City loft, where contemporary furniture is sandwiched between the chequered flooring and coffered waffle ceiling. Designed by Laithy+ Architects, the opposing surfaces change in pattern as you exit the foyer – the heart of this home – into other carefully poised spaces separated by arched French-style wooden doors which were painted black, and guided by the wainscoted accents on the walls.
“Vintage homes like this one had big rooms connected by a centre space,” Laithy Mekawy, founder of Laithy+ Architects, tells #SceneHome. “We wanted to maintain this layout and complement the enduring elements that decorated it.” The architectural style is common in Cairo’s affluent, tree-lined neighbourhood of Garden City. The design firm took a balanced approach to preserving its classical aesthetics, like Greek columns, and adding traces of modern design dialect to create spaces that are sophisticated yet laid back.
Setting the tone for the palette that is to come, a black door with golden panels opens up to a sofa of flirtatious curves. The sofa offers itself along with dark green chairs within the foyer, which is anchored to the past with two Greek Corinthian. Bringing this centre space to the present, a modern lighting fixture drops from one of the recessed squares of the coffered ceiling, while floor lamps add warmth. “Warm lighting makes any space more endearing,” Mekawy adds.
“The client was an artist who wanted a second home suitable for hosting work colleagues, with different settings for rewinding,” Mekawy explains. Meanwhile, the dining area was made to feel like a restaurant with an array of diamond checkers, which were reflected by the statement kitchen island’s tinted mirror cladding. One of the rooms presents a chance for the homeowner to contemplate his art next to a fireplace built under a slab of Panda marble, as the design’s alternating choices of lighting maintains warmth within the calmed and composed atmosphere of this metropolitan abode.
“The corner had to be dark to be suitable for contemplation,” Mekawy says, gesturing at the fireplace room. “We needed to arrive at something that didn’t feel too private but also felt like home.” Here, the glass reinforced concrete ceiling’s eloquent motifs are made more intriguing by an uncompromising shade of true black. To maintain the balance between the old and the new, sleek lighting profiles were added for familiarity.
Nothing speaks of hosting more than this loft’s kitchen and dining area, which – oddly – has an industrial ceiling, which the firm also preserved. Atop the dazzling flooring, a metal dining table with black glass and golden legs is accompanied by desaturated dijon chairs in a setup that faces the kitchen cabinet, which keeps all the cutleries and utilities behind glass and glossy wood.
In the living room, all formalities are dropped as the flooring shifts to engineered wood. “We wanted the mood here to be comfortable,” Mekawy says. “The lighting and furniture had to reflect that.” Opposing sofas with soft textured upholstery fabrics centre the space with overlapping rings that vary in size provide the light. “They added some fun and contrast, making this space appealing to the client and his guests.”
At day’s end, the master bedroom echoes its calm with its minimal walls and subtle lighting, which Laithy+ Architects used to play around with the perception of the space. In a neutral canvas dominated by highlights of muted greys, a lighting fixture is suspended above the bedside commode which reflects its illuminance -and the entire room- with its mirror surfaces. When the lights are out and this timeless abode and its eloquent spaces are in idle rest, the wide French-style windows await dawn, to bring sunlight and garden city’s lushness indoors.