Tabatabaei House is a historical house in Kashan. It was built in the early 1880s for the affluent Tabatabayi family. It was designed by Ustad Ali Maryam, architect of Borujerdi Historical House and Timcheh Amin od-Dowleh.The House, which has been built in an area of 5000 square meters, has 40 rooms, four courtyards, four basements, three wind towers and two Qanats (underground water canals). Tabatabaei House has traditional Persian residential architecture features and is divided into three sections: an Andarouni (interior), which was the private quarters used by women and servants, a Birouni (exterior), which was the public quarters mostly used by men, and living quarters for the servants. The house has five doors. The main door of the house leads to two separate doors opening to the Andarouni and Birouni. Of the four courtyards of the house, two belong to the Birouni, two belong to the Andarouni and one belonged to the servants. The Andarouni consists of a modest living room in the center and two courtyards on either side as well as several basements.
The Panjdari (five-window or -door) room, which is a central living room overlooking the main courtyard, has stained glass windows and doors as is customary in such homes. With the help of the wind towers raised above the house, the basement areas had natural air conditioning and remained 20 degrees centigrade cooler than the higher parts of the house during the warmer months of the year when they were used as sitting rooms. There is a large central pool in front of the Birouni with surrounding gardens containing fruit trees and grape vines, which is an essential part of traditional Persian homes like the Tabatabaei House. The Birouni has a large hall at the center with lightwells and elegant stained glass windows. This hall has wall paintings, mirrorwork and unique stucco reliefs that resemble pieces of fine lace. There are two small rooms on either side of this hall and a terrace in front of it with detailed stucco reliefs and mirrorwork.
The lavish wall paintings of Tabatabaei House are attributed to Qajar painter Mirza Abolhassan Khan Ghaffari (Sani-ol-molk), who is said to have used his talents in the house and overseen its stucco decorations due to his close friendship with the owner. The servant’s quarter includes a courtyard, living quarters, a basement, kitchen and summer and winter stables. The house is a registered National Heritage Site.