The typical Egyptian house was a one storey compound, semi-covered and constructed of mudbrick walls on top of a stone foundation. Roofs/ceilings were formed by wooden beams and joists, squared, and supported by the exterior walls and central columns. The roof was finished with reed thatch and a thick layer of mud plaster. A wooden staircase or ladder inside the house compound would give access to the roof for additional, and more comfortable, living space. The interior was dark, lacking windows, but cooling in the hot climate. Perhaps there were clerestory openings allowed in at the top of the walls, below the roof framing. There was usually a common room in front with two smaller rooms at the back. Some rooms had no ceiling and so were essentially walled patios useful for cooking or sleeping. One must imagine woven mats, clay pottery, and linen canopies. In Egypt then, as now, people would spend much of their leisure time on the roof. One can further imagine that they might erect lightweight wooden frames on the roof, creating more private shaded space. This retreat could be open to the stars or shaded from the sun by colourful mats and fabrics.
For the Egyptian aristocracy, the country house offered respite from the squalor of the growing towns. Unlike the famous monumental stone architecture, these villas were made of thinner brick walls and slender wooden supports. Ornamental masonry walls surrounded an artificial garden of shady trees such as figs and pomegranate as well as fragrant flowers and shrubs. In a corner of the lot, the small house consisted of two storeys fronted by a large veranda. The first storey was built of whitewashed brick surmounted by a lightly wood-framed second story with shade provided by mats and curtains. The front of the house is open, covered by a large awning supported on posts. These were supplied by the skilled carpenters who also fashioned lattices and shutters for windows, post and beam frames, stairs, doors, and furniture. In its elegance, the Egyptian country house was as perishable as the pyramids are eternal.