Interior Tales

26 September 2021


Meet Ruba: An interdisciplinary creative who specializes in all things design. Whether she’s leading brand strategy for a new fashion company, healing a client through hypnotherapy or recreating someone's personal style; everything she does, she does intuitively. A modern sage, she leads those who work with her through a journey filled with connection, sensitivity and beauty. Her goal is to help those around her reshape the way they approach the world, by letting go of the insecurities that they carry, and function instead, from a place of empowerment. Thriving on the pleasures the world has to offer, Ruba combines both grounded discipline and indulgent luxuries into her everyday life and does it with such subtle ease you can’t help but be drawn into her authentic coolness. Join us, as we chat with @rubasidani and leave feeling as awestruck as we do.

What’s your name? Horoscope sign?

My name is Ruba Sidani and I’m a Taurus sun, Leo rising, and Capricorn moon. My ruling planet is Venus, which governs love, pleasure and beauty. Taurus is one of the most sensual, indulgent and luxurious signs of the zodiac. It’s a large part of why I prioritize and enjoy self care as much as I do. I am very sensory, too. One of these expressions is a deep appreciation of aesthetics in all forms and a sensitivity to beauty, in general. Most of my charts are very earthy, so I place high value on grounding, stability, and realism, as well.

Where do you live?

I actually just moved to Dubai from Beirut.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?

It would have to be London. I find it as beautiful as it is practical. I’m drawn to the balance of honoring the heritage as well as the new. It also feels like there is always something happening. It's a great scene in art, design, food... each area of focus tickles the senses in a way that leaves me feeling awakened and inspired. It’s also the city I’ve spent the most time on my own in, making my relationship with it intimate and special.

Where does your focus lie career wise?

I thrive in the fact that I am multi-passionate and trying to shed the pressure off of having to choose just one thing to do professionally. My career exists because I have merged all my disciplines together rather than choosing one over the other.

I am a designer, yes, but my skills are equal parts fashion styling, brand design, and healing.

Psychology and healing bring sensitivity, insight, and understanding to my work. Design and styling bring in aesthetics. Everything is interwoven. It sounds complex but it's simple.

So, instead of my career focus being a job title, my focus is to honor my humanity and truth through my channels of passion: design and creativity. I’m open to wherever that may lead. And perhaps that isn’t something that exists, but rather something that I need to carve for myself.

What are you currently working on?

I am a freelance designer and I work mostly on branding. I also do one on one ThetaHealing and hypnotherapy sessions, as well as personal styling sessions.

What’s your process for when you feel creatively stuck?

I don’t actually have a process for when I feel stuck. Instead, I’ve learned to lean into the feeling that when I’m not feeling creative it’s my body and mind telling me it’s time to rest and retreat. I know I am not meant to be continuously creating. I operate in bursts. Instead of stressing over the block, I rest and wait for the next urge to come, and it always does.

What is your morning routine like?

I've gained a sense of normalcy and structure since moving to Dubai. I see off Ayla to the schoolbus, then I work out. I then walk Yamen to daycare, I come home, meditate, fix myself a nice meal or smoothie, shower and start my day.

What 3 items do you not go anywhere without?

●  Airpods for my music.
●  A book for anytime I'm going somewhere where I know I have to wait. I usually keep a book in my car, too.
●  Essential oil, usually Lavender or Frankincense, for grounding.

What are your current activities or Hobbies?

1.  I’ve been taking drumming classes for almost 2 years now. Originally my daughter was taking the classes until one day she decided she wanted to switch to piano because “There aren’t any other girls who play the drums”.

So after that I decided I would start taking drum lessons to lead by example for my daughter. I scheduled my drum classes at the same time as her piano classes, so I made use of my time instead of just waiting, and I had no excuses to miss classes.

2.  I love to walk. I take a 30 minute to an hour walk every day with music on. It’s a great way for me to disconnect and lift my mood.

3.  I love styling my house and doing floral arrangements. Flowers make me happy.

4.  I also really enjoy cooking, when I'm in the mood for it.

Who inspires you?

Athena Calderone, her career is informed by her talent and passion and not by what necessarily makes sense. She is multi-passionate, and she’s unapologetic about it. She is inspiring in fashion, cooking, and interior styling. She focuses on what she cares about most, creativity and living beautifully; because of this, she can’t easily be defined or categorized. This is why Athena resonates most with me.

Another is the elegant and graceful Leila Moussa. She's a very interesting and strong woman. She's multi-passionate and doesn't adhere to a label. She places the greatest value on quality and aesthetics in everything she does. She's all about creating, be it in fashion, interior or art. I'm lucky to have met her in Jeddah, she has left such an impression on me!

How would you describe your interior style?

I don’t think I adhere to a set style, but the interior styling I resonate most with would be similar to how I perceive myself.

My ideal space always has a duality between respecting tradition as well as a value for innovation and originality. I like there to be a clear mix of old and new reflected. I like to design in a way that creates an irony between how bold a space is (whether color, pattern, or styling), yet how simple it feels at the same time. I always make sure to honor my Middle Eastern culture, as well as art and nature.

What is your interior styling motto?

Make it personal.

What do you like more, things that are vintage or new?

I can appreciate individual pieces whether they’re vintage or new. I think I hold less value in whether a piece is old or new and rather focus on its quality and how it will be incorporated in a space.

What is your favorite house/living space/hotel? What's it's aesthetic?

Two similar spaces come to mind.

One is the home of Carole Chocaire, an old Lebanese home in Beirut’s Gemmayze, rented from lady Yvonne Sursock.

The other is the Beirut studio of fashion designer Rabih Keyrouz.

They are the perfect marriage of old and new; of Arabic - Lebanese and European. They are bold in many ways but there is a simple and elegant balance about them. They are naturally lit with their glorious arched windows that look onto beautiful greenery, while their interiors are these curated spaces of art and design. Both were impeccable gems that were sadly destroyed in the Beirut port blast.

What are your tips for making flower arrangements at home?

I find that making floral arrangements is much like the way you dress or paint, it’s a layering process. Also, the same elements of design apply to a poster, as to an outfit, or a floral arrangement: lines, shapes, color, composition and texture. Start with a base you love and experiment by adding layers of color, shape or textures until you reach a composition you’re happy with.

When I first started I would use one flower type in one color in my arrangements. Flowers are beautiful in and of themselves and so just grouping them can be enough. I then started experimenting further. One thing I do suggest is to arrange using odd numbers, it makes a big difference in the balance of the composition. I also find that greens add warmth and texture, so don't shy away from branches, berries or leaves, even on their own, in an arrangement.

Favourite item from Once Upon a Chair?

The Set of Vintage Coffee Tables. They’re very elegant. They have the minimalism of a modern piece but the charm of vintage. I feel they serve as a statement piece while still being understated.

Favorite quote or words you live by?

“Keep the company of those who seek the truth- run from those who have found it” - Vaclav Havel

What would you tell your 8 year old self, knowing what you know today?

It’s ok to be a child. To be careless sometimes, to play and laugh loudly.


Photography by Ray Chehab
Interviewed by Serena Maris