Sola Kbaitry's abode pioneers a wabi-sabi design philosophy and extends the joy of laidback living.
Words by Laura Cherrie Beaney in Design & Architecture · Sep 19th, 2023
The Lebanese interior designer has carefully curated a home environment that nurtures her passion for wellness and contributes significantly to her overall sense of well-being. During her travels in Japan, Sola discovered and became enamoured with the wabi-sabi philosophy, which centres around finding beauty in imperfection. This philosophy unfolds in the details that bring life to Sola's home, whether it's the natural folds of her linen, a cracked piece of pottery, or the subtle imperfections in a slab of wood. In the process of renovating her own three-bedroom home, the designer sought to infuse her environment with the mood-enhancing visual codes that characterise the Mediterranean. Her calming colour palette and deliberately relaxed aesthetic approach encourage those who enter her home to embrace the unhurried serenity of slow living.
Sola: My name is Sola Kbaitry, and I’m a 44-year-old Lebanese soul. I have a Business Administration degree and have been living in Dubai since 2002. After residing here for such a long time, I consider Dubai to be my home!
Interior design is my passion, along with reading and yoga. My passion for interiors started when I was young. I’ve always had an eye for aesthetics, and I tend to find beauty everywhere, even in the darkest of places - for that, I feel blessed.
After years of working in the corporate world, sitting behind a desk, and commuting between my home and the office for long hours, I decided that I had had enough of that busy and empty life. I realised that this lifestyle was satisfying my daily needs but not my inner self.
I started studying interior design while still working at my office job from 8-5 each day. I received my diploma and started working even before I graduated.
We purchased our three-bedroom home in Dubai in The Springs community in 2012. Shortly after, we began major renovations. We removed walls, changed tiles, added new doors, painted, and added wall cladding. I love open spaces - we have a no-walls policy, so there’s lots of natural light to enjoy. And that’s how our zen, slow-living home first came to life!
When you enter the home, you’re greeted with a sense of Mediterranean serenity, a feeling that seeps from each and every corner. I come from a Mediterranean country, Lebanon, which I think stimulated my connection to this type of aesthetic. I always feel happiness and pleasure when I’m in authentic, clean, light, and simple places. I believe that our environment profoundly affects our mood.
Inside, calming light walls come into dialogue with sandstone tiles, wood, and an abundance of greenery. I truly love plants, trees, and nature, something that really comes across in my design ethos. We employed a palette of neutral colours that complemented a hand-painted feature wall that I worked on myself.
We love to entertain at home, but we always employ a slow living approach. Slow living is a lifestyle choice. It is a state of mind where you choose to be mindful, organic, and natural. It’s a balanced, easy way of living that helps you appreciate what you have and express gratitude for it.
Our interiors maintain the principles of slow living with elements of wabi-sabi punctuated throughout our abode. Wabi-sabi profoundly impacted me following my visit to Japan. While there, I noticed the Japanese attention to detail and a shared desire to keep all aspects of design as simple and well-balanced as possible.
Wabi-sabi embodies the 'beauty found in imperfection' philosophy. It celebrates the imperfections of everyday life and combines natural inspirations with a neutral palette. Unlike minimalism, which seeks to streamline and eliminate clutter, wabi-sabi celebrates the knots in the wood or the wrinkles in the linen, the cracks in the vase. It alludes to seeing the beauty in imperfections, the value of the passage of time and openly accepts the deterioration and transience of existence, both human and material. Hence, you can see in my home a few cracked vases, imperfect shapes, and imperfectly built walls.
My favourite pieces in the home are the pottery vases and jars that I collected from different places, displayed on built-in shelves. They offer the space a sense of simplicity and cosiness.
Right now, I’m working on different interior projects, from residential to commercial addresses. My latest exciting project was working with a solar power company that sells containers produced using solar energy, it's a bright new concept that’s been so interesting to work on.
Images credit: Sola Kbaitry
Follow Sola on Instagram.