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14 November 2018Last updated
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Aquarius reader Kelly Crane's Al Barsha apartment

Kelly Crane’s Al Barsha apartment blends diverse travel trinkets with shabby-chic accents and meaningful memorabilia for a creative and comfortable family home

By Tabitha Barda
11 Nov 2014 | 09:22 am
  • I’ve bought files and boxes in a matching aqua tone from Ikea to hide away all those random bits we can’t find a place for.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 1 of 6
  • The tree picture is a collage of fingerprints from the wedding guests and there’s a print of Elliott’s footprint.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 2 of 6
  • The pink candle was a second-anniversary gift from my sister, Jo, and the patterned bowl it’s on we bought from Turkey where JD proposed.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 3 of 6
  • The doors in the background of the wedding picture are painted in a colour reminiscent of French vineyards, it reminds JD of home.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 4 of 6
  • The surfboard was made in the south of England, where I’m from, and reminds me of home.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 5 of 6
  • I fell in love with these lights a few years ago in a lighting shop on Umm Suqeim street.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 6 of 6

I want people to feel welcome when they come into my home. I want it to be homely and cosy, somewhere my friends and family can kick off their shoes and get comfy on the sofa.

My style is influenced by… nobody really. I guess it’s a mix of things I’ve seen in the past. For example, I have a very random figurine of a duck in wellington boots. Perhaps it represents a subconscious need for a country home in deepest, darkest Hampshire in England, which is where I am from.

I’ve lived in this apartment with my French husband, Jean-David (JD), for almost five years. We have a one-year-old boy, Elliott Marque. My favourite part of my home is the living room, when the toys are tidied and Elliott is in bed. It’s my catch-up TV-watching haven!

I’m lucky to have so many fab pictures of my family and friends to remind me of home. The picture wall is something I add to all the time. Originally I wanted it all to match but as I went on I changed my mind. The big picture of Louis Armstrong I bought for JD because he fell in love with it and he loves old-fashioned jazz. We keep adding to the wall as we go along, as it’s supposed to be a reminder of milestones in our lives.

Our bed is one of my happiest places on earth. I call it The Cloud because we have 12 pillows of varying sizes, which drives my husband mad!

I’m inspired by shabby chic meets beach house. I tend to google those words, and then pick things I like from whatever website comes up. I wish more than anything I’d gone for more light or white-coloured furniture instead of the dark wood though. It would have helped create the sense of a bit more space.

For soft furnishings I go to The White Company. It is my now-not-so-secret-from-hubby guilty pleasure. I also collect pointless and barely used expensive throws and blankets. The best-used blanket in our house is a cheap fleece one from Ikea. Don’t ask!

It’s important for me that my home is clean. Mess I can just about cope with. Dirt brings me out in a rash! But most of all, it has to be happy.

My home reflects my lifestyle in that it’s ordered. I tried to be a bit more spontaneous and have the picture wall in a more random arrangement, but that’s not me, so I had to take it all down and do it in a more regimented way! I grew up in a house I’d affectionately describe as organised chaos, so now I like order.

By Tabitha Barda

By Tabitha Barda