I think a home should be a reflection of the people who live there. To me, a minimalist style, although it looks good, lacks something and doesn’t say much about the people who live there.
My childhood in Scotland has definitely influenced my interiors style and choices. My parents had some eccentric friends when I was growing up, and I went to many homes where individuality and character just jumped out at you. I remember one family friend who lived in a cosy stone cottage by the sea; each room was filled with china dolls, Barbies and Action Men – it was like a museum!
My husband, Imran, and I have lived in our one-bed Jumeirah Village Triangle townhouse with our pet chihuahua, Milo, for just over a year now. It’s a work in progress – prior to moving in here we had only lived in furnished accommodation or with family and didn’t even own a toaster. With our first baby due in April, we’re looking at converting the upstairs landing into a nursery; I’m excited to get my teeth into the project.
I’m a thrifty girl who enjoys a challenge, so I set a modest budget and got into kitting the house out in a style that suits us. Most of the furniture has been sourced from second-hand sites, shops and facebook groups and I’ve upcycled many items, which I do as part of my work at The Joinery Shop.
I’d describe my style as romantic, soft and calm. The items I love have character, charm and imperfections and they don’t need to be loud or garish to get attention. Although I do like bright colours, I prefer to keep our home cosy and full of old-world charm.
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from my dad, who is an artist in his own right. His home is like a gallery, it’s very eclectic; from his vast vinyl collection, to his Lowry prints, to his antique dressmaker’s mannequin, everywhere you turn there is something of interest and each item has been carefully selected and gives you a little hint at another aspect of his personality.
Our house reflects our lifestyle in the sense that I work from home, so it’s got to be a practical space where I can paint and get on with my woodwork as well as relax. We recently closed in our garage to make a workshop and storeroom for the messy bits and bigger items, which had all been cluttering the house, so we’re enjoying having the house back.
Our open-plan lounge, dining room and library is definitely my favourite part of the house. It’s flooded with daylight and I think we’ve created a very charming and calming space.
When it comes to shopping in Dubai, I am generally quite self-sufficient. I favour second-hand options and when looking at what to buy I focus on the shape of items, as I know I can change the finish and colour. But for bed linen I think you can’t beat The White Company. It’s an investment but so worth it.
I love finding hidden treasures: if a piece is handmade or one of a few then it’s worth a bit more, but if it’s been run off a factory line it loses value, in my opinion. Our bookshelf that we bought at Cash Converters on Shaikh Zayed Road was a real find. Everyone who sees it compliments it and enquires about it. You can see from the finish that a lot of love and care went into making it and the detail is just exquisite. I especially love that no one else has it as it was the only one.
If there was one improvement I could make to the house, I would love to change our patio doors to bi-fold doors. It would completely open up the living area and merge it with the garden. Unfortunately, as we’re renting it’s not something we can do but if I owned the property I’d do it in a heartbeat.