Thursday, October 16, 2014

SHOPPING: right now I am loving...

Right now I am loving the 'looks for less' posts featured on Mademoiselle Shosho's blog. I am so pregnant that walking around the malls browsing is pure torture. These posts helped me find a really great pair of shoes for a quick-in-and-out shopping trip:). See her blog for more great steals

HOUSE UPDATE: a change in plans

So the floorplans are finalized. Laying the foundation will start soon inshaAllah, as soon as we decide on a contractor---scary that. What we haven't decided on exactly is the facade (architecturally speaking, all Omani-Omanis involved prefer European which, let's face it, I am good with, and I am the only one who wants something influenced by Oman) so here's couple quick sketches and ideas for my townhouse/villa that were approved by the Omani owner purchasing the twin villa we are building next door. I grew up with a love of English architecture (Tudor revival, Victorian [that has to be pretty grand however, Georgian],  French stone work, ect..., and the Omani buyer loves Paris, and French country. So the compromise is looking like this (all lovers of Arabic and Omani architecture, I know, that's soooooooooo sad:( but inshaAllah depending on laws from the Ministry of Tourism, I may get to run the design on a hotel project so that will definately satisfy in regards to Omani interior design. Funny thing is, I always felt I WOULD end up in a Georgian-style townhouse, just in another country lol, so we'll see. Plans always change in Muscat. No Omani woman I know ever keeps a plan. So now, the mix of French and Georgian is making me think Charleston, USA... but so on we go. The front foor and shutters and stone are pretty much sourced, and lanterns, so only windows in our chosen style have yet to be priced if we do go for this type of facade.

I had forgotten. Back in Canada I always used to watch Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report, and Rick Mercer;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Getting an Omani Passport, UPDATE: Ministry of Interior announces new 10-year law

Oman's Ministry of Interior announced a new law: if you are married to an Omani and have permission, you must stay married (and in the country) for 10 years to recieve an Omani passport.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Eid Mubarak Oman

While Eid Al Adha is technically, officially, today, no one I know is cutting the meat or going out for Eid prayer. A fatwa from the Ibadhi Grand Mufti told Omanis to not cause fitnah (trouble basically is the translation for it) by disagreeing with the government over the official timing (since Islamically it is by moon-sighting which makes Eid al Adha technically tomorrow not today) and the Mufti told Omanis to pray the Eid salat at home, rather than going out tomorrow for it (which looks against the government). Saudi Arabia (Sunni Authority) decalred today Eid, and I didn't check Iran (not exactly Shia authority but I don't follow them ever so I dunno). Anybody? Anyways... beyond all the initial whatsapp angst pre-{government declared} Eid morning, everyone seems happy today.

I'd just be like, go out for Eid prayer and cut your sheep/goats/cows tomorrow (Islam) but don't be mad at the government ect... because like, tomorrow is still a holiday anyways right? :). I don't see how the government could be offended if people prayed tomorrow instead of today.... It isn't exactly something scary.

Anyways, an earlier start for Eid makes travel a lot easier, and without all the meat cutting, everyone I know is relaxed and visiting and having fun. It actually feels like a holiday doesn't it?  A day off from tradition?:)

Eid Mubarak Oman.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HOUSE UPDATE HORRORS: why I don't go into business with relatives

Thankfully, I don't have to deal with this, but my SIL {sister-in-law} just had her foundation collapse. The foundation for her dream home. She's dealing with a contractor that she'd love to fire, but of course can't, because "we're Omani ya'll" and her contractor is our relative.

Of course, her engineer TOLD HER this would happen, but our cousin/nephew/what-have-you/her contractor knew better.

"Ma mishkila" to do it differently than the 30-years experienced engineer whose done some lovely things like Chedi-style infinity pools and 'my-gosh that's fine' examples of government architecture informed her. Until it was a "mishkila".

Since the house is practically a palace (compared to my humble townhouse-style abode to-be) it will be so sad to see all that marble and mouldings and fabulous furniture overshadowed by bad wiring, cracking walls, and 12 toilets out of 18 that never work...

But they can afford the finest bukhoor {that's Arabic for insence} ya'll, so they can't possibly fire the humble relative contractor now can they? Even if stinking bathrooms that require buckets for flushing will be the result...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

HOUSE UPDATE: floorplans are finally moving along... almost to the architectural concept phase

The new engineer working on the floor plan for our villa/Muscat townhouse actually seems to have listened to what I need and have in mind. I like how he also came up with alternatives to my suggestions so that we have options. I meet with him in a couple of days to see if I approve the finalized floor plan since his design did need a few minor changes (doors to open differently---kitchen to be increased in size, and balconies to be added). Following that, and during the process of getting the plan approved by Muscat Municipalities, I'll meet with his consultancy's architect to come up with prospective sketches for the facade and landscape. I've already been toying with a few ideas of my own... and have a couple of prospective sketches so we'll see where that goes... based on the new revised floorplans of course, and the buyer/owner of the other half of our twin villa design. Since it is a twin villa design, everything has to flow together, from the paint colour to the lighting fixtures and planting, when it comes to the facades. There can be two distinct styles... but they have to match somehow. That'll be tricky. 
The trick is curb appeal, since I am a very traditional girl but I don't necessarily use a home like your average Omani family...: My style is either full out traditional Arabic architecture (I like dark, earthy paint colours, natural, uneven surfaces, and more Arabian elements) or definately very English. For example, Omani and Qatari rooflines... smaller windows, beautiful dark wood doors, plain square walls but with intricate detailing... My other options are Georgian townhouse (I love Georgian architecture) or some sort of new take on Tudor since Omani cement engineering just doesn't suit the timber and plaster architecture I grew up on. My other requirement for myself is that the facade, and the interior match.
Not so for Omanis, who like to mix and match. Interior and exterior totally don't have to go together.
So the other owner/buyer and myself, we've been trying to come up with inspiration photos to see how we can go it in a way that doesn't skimp or sacrifice on either of our styles.
My architectural loves:
So, some ideas resultant (not sure yet however):
The second villa will have an Omani buyer/owner who will use it in a very Omani-way. However, they grew up in a mud brick and stone house with small windows. The result of that is a love for modern shapes, and big windows. However, European shutters and balconies rule supreme.

So...if we are to do my first preference for a house in Oman (Contemporary Arabian) these styles require compromise.

The other villa's inspirations:
Possible result????:
So that's it for now....  it's coming along.