Beyond The Massive Door of This Seashell Summer House

Stepping through its two-storey high door, this North Coast home’s vibrant natural materials and open plan makes for an airy living experience full of The Design Code’s signature highlights.

By Karim Abdullatif


First impressions last, which is why we can’t help judge a house by its door. In this Seashell summer house, Sahar El Ghoul - founder of The Design Code - sought to make visitors look up in awe with its two-storey high wooden door; a sign of things to come beyond its threshold. Inside, El Ghoul integrated her firm’s signature parametric functional art with roaring waves, marking furniture with subtle features to make them stand out. While it may be easier to accept a compound’s design as-is, Sahar El Ghoul came in with her prolific design flair to adapt this house to its homeowners tastes. 

“It was a spacious house but had a small entrance,” El Ghoul tells #SceneHome. The seven metre wooden door was designed to turn the narrow entrance to the house into its most striking feature. “We call it ‘The Giant’, it didn’t feel right that the house had an understated entrance so we tried to make it look special.” Throughout her career, El Ghoul often puts emphasis on doors. To her, it sets the tone for the rest of the home. 

“When by the Mediterranean there are certain natural elements which have a meditative aesthetic to them that need to be present,” El Ghoul continues. “They wanted a house that was airy, easy to navigate and boasts clear views of the lake.” Birds are present in many forms throughout the summer house. Some hang above the Italian Carrara marble staircase in the form of custom made lighting units, and others find their lodging in paintings.

Beneath the stairs, a swing is suspended while an abstract artwork features a different point of view of this same scene. “This one I sort of did for myself,” El Ghoul admits. “I love swings for the joy they bring and here it was placed in view of the pool, greenery and sky.” 

Many styles went into this design. El Ghoul’s subtle approach to colour allowed for the furniture to define the patterns throughout the house, so that if a homeowner changes their mind or seeks a different mood, all they would need to do is swap out some cushions. “The big items get plain colours while the smaller ones get accents that add character to the space,” El Ghoul explains.

Outside, perforated metal leaves blend with the landscape as a shower unintentionally mimics the giant entrance, while a seating lounge on level with the pool offers a chance to kick back and enjoy the Mediterranean evening. Here, you can either look out at the North Coast view, or look back at the open interior; both are equally entrancing.

Photography Credit: Nour El Refai


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