My clients approached me to do the interior design for their Villa in Dubai. They were taking the plunge and doing a full refurbishment of their Villa, which entailed practically gutting the Villa, from floor to ceiling, a few walls lost and gained along the way, refitted bathrooms, lighting and replacing all doors and windows. A professional contracting team made all of the difference. We did have some of the repercussions of “Covid” to deal with in terms of logistics, which was challenging and resulted in frustrating delays, but all in all- the build and installation was completed in 8 months.
It was a great experience for me in many ways. I gathered connections and gained new experience. Most satisfying though was dealing with fantastic clients. They trusted me completely and gave me creative freedom. They were enthusiastic and supportive and excited about what we were creating. Bespoke and personalised interiors for gracious living. It brought me great JOY to help them to realise their dreams. It is a joyful and a peaceful space. It is testament to the spirit of the family that the design has been such a success.
As fellow South Africans we wanted to showcase the work of South African designers and artists. d. The result was a combination of some of the best South African design and iconic international design- with pieces also sourced and shipped from Canada, Denmark, France, Belgium, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey.
Each piece has a story, has some meaning and is relevant in the lives of those who live here.
Making an entrance through the crafted ribbed hardwood door- a “piano” Hat stand which I sourced in Belgium through Per-use is a functional art piece. Looking up into the triple volume space, the spectacular Bocci light fitting with its 19 hand blown coloured glass “satellites” sets the stage. In the entrance a sculpture by Ozan Organer from Turkey- aptly named “Gratitude” quietly welcomes. SA James Mudge’s “Pick up sticks” consol sits below Lebanese designer Nada Deb’s “Arabian Night” Mirror. The area is further personalised by the owner’s brass etched Koranic prayers and handblown “evil eyes”
Entering the living space- 3 artworks by Nelson Mandela have pride of place in the hallway.
The family’s TV room and study- practical, fun and joyful -epitomises the lifestyle in this home. Sacha Lakic designed bubble chairs- innovative and functional, SA designer Haldane Martin’s Cha Cha tables in the TV room join Dokter and Misses’ Heartbeat lamp, hatstand and multifunctional cork stools from “Wiid” in the study. David Crakov’s “Love” artwork and Robert Mars’“Superman” complete this family space.
Moving into the main living space- the lounge is a peaceful space- with the superbly handcrafted Casamento Sofa quietly taking centre stage. Jon Vogel’s “Love me love me not” table is another functional artpiece with each petal forming a side table. The ceramic side table was custom designed by Gerhard of Ceramic Matters.
A place for reading, napping, chilling and playing games is formed by the oversized pair of daybeds and copper topped James Mudge coffee table. Embroidered African Wild flower cushions by Eve and a bespoke striped carpet made in India keep this area simple and functional. It is considered design for conscious living. South African Kilmany Jo Liversage’s painting adds vibrance and shares the space with the Angelo Accardi piece.
A private space in the alcove is formed by the also aptly named Marcel Wanders “Globetrotter” table and Opera chairs for quiet writing and tea drinking and the yellow Marshmallow chairs are reminiscent of the “Minions” depicted in the Accardi painting to their left. This is a perfect space to feel part of the outdoors in the warm Dubai summer.
The dining area is defined by the Bocci Armature overhead. James Mudge made the Y table in oak, as well as the classic modern server. The design is clean and simple. The carpet was customised to tie together the colours throughout the space. The colours are vibrant and bright, but great care was taken that they don’t overpower. The ribbons of colour are interwoven throughout all of the spaces. It was important that the space was able to “hold” the vibrance and remain a peaceful space.
Stackable art pieces from Utopia and Utility are important components of this space, combining elements of metal, glass and wood.
The clients existing personal pieces as well as a large piece by Oda Tungotten “little Fires Everywhere” is a great addition to the living space and link lounge and dining areas.
The kitchen is very much the heart of the home- it is a practical clean lined space- not fussy. I didn’t want to allow it to feel “left out” though so brought in a wallpaper- with bright butterflies and birds.
The interior spaces throughout all flow outside with large sliding doors. Landscaping has been kept simple. The colourful interior is echoed outside with Fermob chairs and Rockers bringing through the fun element in the outdoor eating and braai areas.
The stairwell leads to the top 2 storeys. Breaking away from the previously very heavy marble stairwell- we created a stairway with hardwood treads, downlit risers and simple metal handrails which transformed this area. A few flying birds also add meaning to the space as they fly upwards leading to the gallery wall on the landing and ending in the top floor.
I kept bedrooms very personal and specific to each family member. Each has commissioned artworks, by SA artists. The one that is most mentionable is one named Ubuntu- by Claude Chandler- which has special significance to the family and has pride of place in the central area on this floor .
The Master bedroom or “Love Nest” (children cringe, parents chuckle!) is a peaceful space. Nada Debs Marquetry Madness side table and Pebble chair form the sitting area. Vanessa Berlein’s Water Lillies were commissioned for this space, introducing the palate of soft pinks and olive greens.
I designed a Swallow Marquetry cabinet made up of African hardwoods and a Lilly table to bring some detail and some of Africa into this tranquil space.
The top floor is the hangout room- a gym space on the one side for this super healthy family and a space for entertaining friends gaming on the other side. The roof space here enjoys spectacular views and outside space is relaxed for fun for entertaining.