We wanted to create a home full of memories, full of pieces on display with meaning. We’ve lived in Dubai for eight years and in this house for six, and during the past six years we’ve got married and had our baby son Hugo, so the villa really has grown with us. We’ve collected so many bits and pieces that mean a lot to us, and I think we’ve managed to create a warm, homely environment for our little family. We love being surrounded by pieces that remind us of events and moments from our time here.
We’re big fans of the TV DIY show The Block, and we get lots of our interiors ideas from it. It involves contestants renovating dilapidated old properties and we find it really inspiring.
All of the prints in the villa are from the same designer, Bernard Villemot. He began designing them in the 50s and 60s, but they’re still on trend today. The blue artwork that hangs on the stairs was an impulse buy; we were at a brunch in Media City and a Filipino artist there created it in five minutes with his bare hands. We bought it there and then and it takes pride of place on the stairs to remind us of a great day with friends.
The lounge is the cosiest room in the villa, and it’s the perfect place to relax in after a hard day at the office. We found the ceiling lights at the bottom of a bargain bin a couple of years ago and I love them, although they’re a nightmare to clean; suggestions welcome! They work really well in the room and add to the feeling of calmness. The coffee table is made by my husband so it ties in with the dining room. Having the rooms work well together was very important for us, as the downstairs floor is open plan. My favourite piece in this room is the gel fireball, which, granted, doesn’t get much use here in Dubai, but it’s great in the evenings in the cooler months.
The staircase in my family home was covered in photos of all the family, and I spent a fair bit of time sitting looking at them as I used to get sent to sit there if I was naughty! Being reminded of all of our outings and events as a family always made me really happy so I wanted to create the same effect with our own stairway. My favourite wall on the staircase is our wedding wall; I love walking down the stairs in the morning, and reliving that special day brings a smile to my face every time.
I love the gentle calmness of the bedroom. The grey paint gives it a clean, modern finish with a neutral tone. Of course, we’ve carried on the family-memories theme here. We have a collection of photos taken with a selfie stick on our first holiday together as a family, and the simple white Ikea frames have made them an ideal feature against the neutral grey wall.
We do most of our home shopping here in Dubai, from a wide range of shops. We’ll visit everywhere for ideas before we make a purchase, from places like Pottery Barn through to malls such as Dragon Mart. Also, my husband Nick is really creative, so often we’ll find an idea we like and make it ourselves if we can. We did that with the pendant lamps in our bedroom – they’re created from the leg of an Ikea stool and Dragon Mart lights – and we also made the dining and coffee tables ourselves.