Dream space abroad

Today, I had intended to share a couple “bons adresses” D and I ran across last weekend in New York; however, this post on DesignSponge altered my artsdevivre schedule for the week. I had to share because it spoke so much to what artsdevivre is all about, specifically travel and home. I love the intersection between these two seemingly opposite ideas, especially making a space abroad feel like home. To understand why I found the article so compelling, you have to first know a couple of things that I have not yet shared (to my memory, which often fails me) on artsdevire ~

~My grandparents were in the Foreign Service for many years, living in places like Iran and Vietnam, and traveling to dozens of others like Russia, Korea, Egypt and Lebanon.

~I’ve always wanted to take the Foreign Service exam myself, but am still working up the courage to do so. (I’m afraid I just can’t acquire all the knowledge necessary.)

~D is currently in the process of applying to the Foreign Service. He’s done really well so far and we should have some definitive answers in about a month. I think I’m more nervous than he is!

~I dream of traveling to the Arab world. To be exact, I would really love to spend time in Beirut.

I don’t know where this fascination all came from, really. Maybe it’s hearing about my grandparents’ time in Iran (before the Shah was overthrown, in the 60s). My earliest memories of my grandparents are marked by hazy summer evenings in their old house overlooking the South River near Annapolis. For hours, we would look at grainy slides of their home and life in Teheran. The images of the mountains and fruit trees have stayed with me for twenty-five years, and I still love learning about the history of the eclectic objets they acquired through years of travel. Maybe it’s my former boss in Paris that I adored, and whose family is from Lebanon. Maybe it’s because I’m such a gourmande, and I just can’t get enough of Middle Eastern cuisine. I’m thinking it’s probably a mixture of all these experiences, plus a healthy dose of curiosity.

I usually strive to stick to concrete ideas on artsdevivre – easy ideas for recipes, home, travel or shopping – but sometimes it’s nice to just dream. Make sure to click on the link to this foreign service officer’s home (currently in Tunisia, but about to switch to Baghdad for a year before a move to Paris), and really take the time to peruse this amazing mix of old and new, antique and Etsy, handmade and Goodwill. It’s spectacular, and something that I am slowly trying to cultivate in my home, bit by bit. I’ve posted a couple of my favorite images of her home, of course giving credit to the original source in the process. Do you dream of living abroad? If so, where?

I love this vibrant blue chair (which the homeowner re-upholstered with her grandmother), against the beautifully worn carpet. I’m a sucker for books, too, so it looks like the perfect coin to curl up with a book.

I especially love the fabric wall hanging, the brass table in the bottom left corner and the mixture of soft pillows and poufs with hard wood.

This one about stopped me in my tracks since my grandmother still has an almost replica of this brass tray hanging in her entryway. The similarities between her home and this one are astounding.

I’m a sucker for maps, especially old ones, so I love the focal point this map from the 1930s plays in the dining space.

All photos via here.

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