Architectural Digest (UAE)
The entrance to Cana Guesthouse in the hilly Lebanese village of Bhamdoun is unassuming. A mosaic of grey and yellow limestone forms a retaining wall that connects to rock boulders. There are no windows on the side facing the village and nothing that suggests a warm welcome for weary travellers. But, of course, looks can be deceiving: upon entering this seemingly arid stone monolith, sunlight unexpectedly flows into a cosy cavern housing a living room and kitchen. Earth-coloured walls border pivoting glass panels, which slide open, instantly merging the indoors with the outdoors and capitalising on impressive views of the Vallée Lamartine.
It’s the first of a series of guesthouses that are planned on the site among the ancient rocks and vines, each unique and built around the topography and sitting lightly within it. “I really wanted to focus on the rock formation,” explains Carl Gerges, the architect behind the novel dwelling. “Every time I work on a new project, especially when it’s in nature, I spend a lot of time on site and try to highlight the beauty of the land and the natural world. I try to make minimal interventions on the landscape.”
There are nods to the terrain inside, too; reclaimed timber beams are set in the concrete ceiling, while a humble fireplace and an assortment of nature-inspired oriental patterns (think leopard print seats and Moroccan rugs) add warmth to the living space. The rustic kitchen, meanwhile, invites gatherings around an island topped with a A Lebanese bolthole embedded within ancient rock formations