"With rich and distinguished people, rooms are furnished more or less in the following style. Persian carpets or the finest soft mattings cover the floor. The whitewashed walls, which are rather thick, are always divided into partitions by matching deep recesses which reach from floor to ceiling. The recesses are again divided by shelves of wood, painted green, forming a kind of etageren.
The deep recesses described by Emily
Upon these shelves the choicest and most expensive objects of glass and china are symmetrically ranged. To an Arab, nothing can be too costly to decorate these recesses. A handsomely cut glass, a beautifully painted plate, an elegant jug may cost any price:if it only looks pretty, it is sure to be purchased. One also endeavours to cover the bare and narrow walls between the recesses. Large mirrors are placed there, reaching from the divan, which is only slightly elevated above the floor, to the ceiling. These mirrors are all expressly ordered from Europe. As a rule, pictures, as they are imitations of divine creation, are prohibited to a Muslim; of late, however, they are tolerated now and then. On the other hand, clocks are in great favour and often the richest collection is found in one single house. They are placed partly over the mirrors, partly in pairs on each side of them.
Ceilings in old houses sometimes have fine floral painting
In the gentlemen's rooms the walls are decorated by trophies, consisting of all kinds of costly weapons from Arabia, Persia and Turkey, a decoration with which every Arab is accustomed to adorn his house, according to his rank and riches.
In one corner of the room is placed the large double-bed of so called rose-wood, very prettily carved all over; White muslin or tulle covers the whole. Arab beds have very high legs; to get into them readily, one first mounts upon a chair, or makes use of the natural step of the chambermaid's hand or that of a lady's maid. The lofty space under the bed is often used as a sleeping-place by others, for instance by small children's nurses or women attendants of sick people.
Example of an Omani bed
Wardrobes, chests of drawers and the like are not in use; instead, we had a sort of chest or trunk with usually two or three drawers, and inside a secret hiding place for money and jewellery. These trunks, of which there usually were several in each room were very large made of rosewood and beautifully adorned with thousands of small yellow studs with brass heads.
Fine Omani chest made of rosewood with the many brass studs!
Windows and during the day, doors stand open all year long; at best the former are occasionally shut for a short time during rainy weather"
Even the open windows can be finely decorated
Comment: Emily's description of Mirrors and Clocks applies typically to Omani houses in Zanzibar and much less to traditional houses in Oman.
The deep recesses described by Emily, the sticks between the recesses would typically be used for displaying the guns, swords and daggers.
The magnificent carved doors found in Zanzibar / East Africa are also found in houses and castles of Oman and many are much older than those in Zanzibar, so it is justified to call them Omani doors. However also many have been destroyed during Oman's Renaissance over the last 45 years.
Omani carved door several centuries old (twice as old as stonetown in Zanzibar)
Detail of the above Omani carved door