I've had the pleasure of exploring the city of Jerusalem many times over the years, both with family and as part of tour groups. No matter how many neighborhoods I check out, Yemin Moshe is still my reigning favorite. There is something so beautiful about the stones and these homes have the most exquisite landscaping!
The two days I was in Jerusalem this trip happened to overlap with an annual celebration called Open House Jerusalem. It was started in 2007 and each year museums, cultural centers, art studios and even homeowners open their doors for private tours and free events. We took full advantage, managing to get to four of the items on the schedule in less than 24 hours.
One of the Open House events was a tour of a private home in Yemin Moshe and a chance to meet the owner, artist Birgitta Yavari-Ilan.
We knew we'd found the right house when we spotted the Open House event flag flying on the side!
I loved this carved wood sign over Birgitta's collection of trees and plants.
How gorgeous is her cobalt blue front door?
As we stepped over the threshold I started to freak out with excitement. I have walked among these houses many times, admiring their stunning exteriors, and I never dreamed I'd be allowed in!
Once inside, we were encouraged to take a seat and Birgitta began to share her story with us - where she grew up, when she moved to Israel, how she decided to live in Yemin Moshe, the additions she has made to the house - it was all fascinating. She spoke for about 15 minutes and then invited us to walk through the house.
Staying true to the look of the neighborhood, Birgitta included the signature Jerusalem stone indoors by exposing it on her living room walls.
An artist, she proudly displays her work in every room.
I swooned over these sketches, which reminded me of the illustrations in the early days of the Daily Candy emails. Remember those? Back in like, 2005 - 2006?
While we were certainly enchanted by our hostess Birgitta, the highlight of the tour was stepping out onto her balcony overlooking the old city of Jerusalem. Here is her quiet reading spot:
And here is her epic view of the old city:
This quite literally took my breath away.
I feel so lucky that the one weekend I happened to be in Jerusalem this year was also the Open House festival. After wandering through Yemin Moshe many times, it was truly amazing to be welcomed into one of these stunning homes.