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23 May 2017Last updated
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Katherine Stealey Tranter’s villa in Al Waha

Katherine Stealey Tranter gives her three-bed Al Waha villa a vintage-yet-modern vibe by blending retro memorabilia and distressed materials with a trendy industrial-chic edge

Tabitha Barda
20 Oct 2016 | 02:00 pm
  • I love our dining room table from The One Fusion. It’s such a statement piece and always a talking point.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 1 of 7
  • I start the design of a room with one key feature –wallpaper or an artwork, for example – and build around it.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 2 of 7
  • I love the upstairs ‘pub’. It’s where we spend most of our evenings whether it’s just the two of us or if we’re entertaining.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 3 of 7
  • I wanted to create a clean, sleek design in the kitchen and I love the subway splashback tiles – they’re glossy and reflective.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 4 of 7
  • These trunks were Dh60 each from Pan Emirates and illustrate perfectly how you can blend high-end and bargain pieces and get a good end result.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 5 of 7
  • I had a wagon wheel repurposed as a chandelier by a family in Wyoming, US. It used to hang on their barn wall.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 6 of 7
  • Katherine Stealey Tranter

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 7 of 7

I would describe my interiors style as eclectic, nostalgic and family-friendly. I’ve lived in this villa with my husband, Jason, 13-month-old son, Jack, and two rescue dogs, Tennessee and Indiana, for three years now, and it’s a very relaxed, well-loved and ‘lived in’ family home.


We have filled our villa with pieces that evoke memories from trips and reflect who we are. Jason loves classic movies, so he spent time sourcing vintage movie posters for the walls. We also have a memorabilia wall in our ‘pub’ room that is covered with all sorts of signed pieces or limited-edition prints. There is a guitar that once belonged to Slash from Guns N’ Roses, some signed rugby and football shirts, as well as a newspaper from the day after the 1966 football world cup – everything has a story behind it. 


We also spent a lot of time designing the exterior. We learnt how to use spaces from living in our last villa, and the garden has everything we’ve ever wanted; a fire pit, a hammock, a swim-up bar, a putting green. We can come home on a Thursday evening, spend all weekend here and feel like we’ve been away to a boutique hotel.

I usually start with one key feature – an artwork or piece of furniture – that I love and allow the scheme to develop around that. In this villa, the strong identity was the various Andrew Martin wallpapers. I loved the library wallpaper, which we’ve put in the pub, and that developed the British gentleman’s club feel. In the master bedroom it was the luggage wallpaper, so we included a lot of leather and trunk-style pieces.


I’m a big fan of British designer Kelly Hoppen. Her projects are usually very calming with an interesting twist. I like the airy feel she typically has, and with our big windows I used some of her tricks to allow maximum light.

I’m happy to shop anywhere for home items if the pieces are right, the design is good and it comes within budget! In Dubai, I love the Andrew Martin showroom in DIFC. We used a lot of the wall coverings in the villa and they create such a statement that the furniture can be relatively simple. The One Fusion on Sheikh Zayed Road is great, too, as it has really interesting pieces and only limited quantities, so it means you won’t walk into someone else’s house and see your table! 


I love being able to mix a designer piece with a bargain item. For high-end furniture, Caspaiou on Shaikh Zayed road supplies Italian Meridiani furniture – quite possibly the most comfortable sofas and chairs you’ll ever find.
I think it’s worth spending money on the high-use items such as sofas, beds and so on, but then shops with lower price points such as Koala and Tree at The Outlet Mall or Pan Emirates Furniture are great for occasional furniture and accessories. If I’m back in London, I love visiting the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. All the big brands are under one roof and there’s such a great atmosphere there.


I’d love to commission some artwork to have some truly original pieces. Artwork can be tough to source because it’s so personal. To be able to have something exactly as I want would be amazing.

Tabitha Barda

Tabitha Barda

Deputy Editor