Architect by Day, Artist by Night: Inside This Guest's Ukio Life

Learn how this guest juggles the roles of founder, artist, and student all from her Ukio home.

May 28, 2024
woman paintingwoman painting

Ukio guest, Samira, leads an interesting life. When she’s not running her Lebanese architecture firm from home, studying for her master’s, or entertaining friends on her terrace, she’s painting beautiful portraits reminiscent of home.

We sat down with this dynamo guest to understand how she manages it all and how Ukio living has helped to aid her multidimensional lifestyle. First, we wanted to know a bit more about her background.

“I’m Samira and I'm Lebanese. By trade, I’m an interior architect and product designer. I moved to Barcelona about six months ago to start a master's in Design Management. Barcelona pulled me in for the school, the beautiful city, and the nice weather, of course.”

A Long Way from Home

Barcelona, in all its wonder, is an attractive option for many looking to live abroad. We were curious to learn how she heard about Ukio when she was 4,370 kilometers away.

“I did a lot of research. As an interior architect myself, I knew exactly what I wanted. When I came across Ukio, we did a bit of a team effort where we were searching together, me and the Ukio sales team, for my perfect home. Then one day, one of the Ukio employees said, ‘I have the perfect house for you.’ So I came to Fuji. I hadn’t seen Fuji before I moved to Barcelona, but I felt a deep sense of trust. I trusted what Ukio does, the style, the architecture, the interior design, everything.”

interviewing someone on couch

Searching for a place while you’re in another country can be nerve-wracking. Samira cites her trust, but we wanted to know what was the most important thing for her while searching abroad.

“I needed something comfortable. Something that reflects who I am. I'm an architect, designer, and artist so I know exactly what I want. The location was also really important for me. I wanted somewhere safe, but Ukio made me feel like I would be put in the safest neighborhood, which has proven to be true.”

Operating a Business While Living Abroad

Beyond the location of the home, the functionality was equally vital. Samira was operating her business out of her home, so having a space primed for work was of the utmost importance. She shares her experience with us:

“I started my business three years ago in Beirut. After a while, I knew I wanted to live abroad and now that teleworking has become so easy I felt like I finally had the opportunity to do it. I’ve got such an inspiring workspace here, I feel like I can manage everything from home. I do travel back to Lebanon occasionally though.”

Curating Community

When Samira speaks of Lebanon, her face glows and her words soften. It’s ever-apparent that she holds home dear to her heart, so we asked her how she’s made the transition and if she was able to create a community here for herself.

“I love Beirut. My heart belongs in Beirut. So it was really hard to leave everything behind and move to a new city. But what helped me the most was finding my people. There's a big community here of Lebanese people, and I’m sure other nationalities. You just have to look for it.

This made the transition much easier, but you’ll always miss it [home]. I found my way around homesickness. In my free time, for example, I paint. I paint things that remind me of Lebanon. Right now, I’m painting Fairuz who’s a Lebanese singer. It’s my way of bringing some small piece of Beirut and keeping it here in Barcelona, which I think can be beautiful.

And the food, of course! I host many dinner parties at my house - another reason I love Ukio. I have an excellent entertaining space to welcome all my friends and family.”

woman sitting infront of eissel

Samira, who runs her entire business from Barcelona, has made a smooth transition to her new city, and even manages to satisfy her creative outlet. For others looking to juggle it all like Samira, here’s her advice:

“If you’re coming abroad to study or work, push to meet your new colleagues. This will make you more comfortable and open you up to new cultures. Bring a small piece from your home that reminds you of your country. This will help on the low days. And try to just enjoy the ride in the beginning. You'll adapt and meet new people every day. Barcelona, in particular, is very easy to meet new people and you’re sure to learn new things every day. So just relax and enjoy the journey.”

From the source herself, we gain a bit of insight as to what it means to be an entrepreneur, artist, and ex-pat all from the comfort of her Ukio home.