GUEST EDIT | CARMEN DE BAETS

Lebanese-Dutch Carmen Atiyah de Baets is CARMEN’s co-founder, a multifunctional guesthouse, kitchen, gallery and shop in the heart of Amsterdam. After having worked as a stylist and creative strategist, Carmen is now launching her eponymous guesthouse as an ode to her heritage and the creative community around her. The space functions as an alternative to a traditional hotel, providing a space that first and foremost feels like home, a home where you can stay, dine, create or just relax.

Alongside her husband Joris, Carmen has imagined and curated the entire guesthouse, with a philosophy and sensibility that honour Joris’ grandmother's original design of the house, which she originally bought in the 1980s. Inspired by the history of the house and the couple’s own travels, the rooms are designed with a strong belief in simple but high quality furniture, materials and products.

For ISHKAR, Carmen selects a few of her favourite products and tells us a bit more about Lebanon, alongside a series of photographs taken by her.


Six Lapis Tumblers

“I'm in love with lapis blue and big tumblers are great for your daily water intake!”


Beirut Quilt

“I recently re-discovered quilts and what a beautiful addition they are in the bedroom. It's like an art piece on your bed, crafted by hand. Lebanon also has a longstanding tradition for this craft so it's very nice to see it being made available at Ishkar.”


Arak

“Arak is my favourite drink in the whole world, it makes me feel free and think of Beirut summers… but, for me, this picture is more about the essence. It reminds me of my mom’s and aunt's childhood room in my grandmother’s house in the mountains around Beirut. It's what makes Lebanon special: there are still so many unrenovated parts with so much history and heritage to be felt. Those houses, like the one Bachar captured, are time capsules.”

 

We also asked Carmen which side of Lebanon she feels is often misunderstood by the general public. 

“I think a lot of people in the west think that the government in Lebanon is chosen by the people and therefore that the problems the country has are the fault of the people themselves- and how can it be that I go visit there, it must mean I support Hezbollah? Really, this is totally not the case, Lebanon’s system is immensely corrupt and there are many world powers at play that benefit from keeping it this way. We keep going, we keep persevering because we know how beautiful it can be, how much potential there is in Lebanon. Lebanese people will never ever give up hope and will continue working hard towards a better future in their own land.

Another misconception is that Lebanon is a very religious country where you cannot walk freely as a woman. This is absolutely not true. As in any country, you have to know where to go and where not to go, but I have always felt very safe. People look out for each other.

Lebanon has the sun, the sea, the mountains, and really good food. It is a super fertile country and you can even ski or snowboard there in the winter! I always laugh at patriotic Lebanese people who tell this to other people and now, here I am telling you this! But it’s because it's true!
A lot of Europeans came over for my wedding in 2018 and another thing they said to me was that they were blown away by the hospitality and openness of people. There was one group that went to a natural wine bar in town and, the next day, they were at one of the owners’ mountain-home, before being taken on a hike down into the valley.

Leave all preconceptions at the door and take the trip. Lebanon needs tourism and positive energy.”

 

See more:  https://www.carmenamsterdam.com/

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