The Damascene courtyard, in progress
Ghassan, one of Abu Mousa’s sons, is planning to move his family next year into the bottom floor of the house, currently rented out to students. Ghassan is a petroleum engineer in Abu Dhabi, and when he comes home to Damascus, he finances a home improvement project. He is mostly transforming the first floor into a new, old Arab house, tastefully constructing a marble fountain, and now, overseeing the addition of a new stone floor in the courtyard, made of basalt from the south of Syria and rose-colored stone from the north. The colors are banded in the style of old Damascene courtyards. Few craftsmen still know how to make these floors, Ghassan said. Later, he will sandblast the old stone walls, which Abu Mousa once painted white. For his part, Abu Mousa, wearing his long, white thob, proudly surveys the progress.