Design Home: Carla Hansen and Laurent Riche

A Shoreline apartment that summons the sensorial delight of a beachside getaway.

06 Apr 2022, words by Laura Beaney in Design & Architecture

Palm Jumeirah shoreline apartment

Palm resident Carla Hansen proposes a feel-good philosophy in the home. Together with her husband, she renovated her Palm Jumeirah apartment with the intention of retaining a connection to nature in the lived environment. Calm, contemporary interiors are uplifted by artworks collected during international adventures while statement furnishings straddle comfort and character.

Carla: When I moved to Dubai in 1998 the city was reinventing itself as an international strategic business hub. It was an incredible opportunity for me to develop my career. 

Carla: Working in tech for Intel and later Microsoft has been inspiring. Technology has been at the centre of transforming Dubai and the world at large. I am in awe of how technology has been a catalyst to shift perspectives, regionally and globally, broadening expectations for innovation to achieve more in every corner of the earth. 

 Carla: I’m incredibly passionate about the role that technology plays in empowering women today, enabling greater awareness and building confidence to take the 'chance' to prove what is possible in shaping individual identity and shedding light on the importance of diversity. Having raised my own girls in Dubai, this sits at the centre of my heart, I am so incredibly grateful to Dubai for the opportunity it offered me to develop my career and I'm encouraged to see the evolution of female leadership in the country.

Balcony Palm Jumeirah

Carla: I’m drawn to nature as a source of inspiration and recharge. Over the years I've had an active life, hiking and rock climbing in the UAE mountains. So many great friendships from every corner of the earth, forged over laughing around a campfire. Sea swimming has always been a passion. There’s magic in these incredible Dubai waters which motivated a move to Palm Jumeirah to live closer to the sea. 

Carla: We moved into our Shoreline apartment in November 2021. We renovated the entire place with Smart Renovation, adding new bathrooms and a kitchen. We wanted to add more efficiency to the flow of the apartment, to create more light and modernise the design. We squared the arched entryway to let more light enter the back of the apartment and widened the kitchen nook to draw more light into the kitchen. There’s a very subtle pink rose wall in the bedroom. It lifted the tone of grey and white and added the feeling of a warm boudoir. The maid's room became a walk-in wardrobe and the maid's bathroom a laundry room. We also resituated the door from the spare room to establish a home office and guest room. We completely altered the bathroom designs - a master bathroom with a big stand-alone bathtub was a must for me!

Living area Palm Jumeirah shoreline apartment
 Palm Jumeirah shoreline apartment bedroom1
Bedroom2
Over the years I've had an active life, hiking and rock climbing in the UAE mountains. So many great friendships from every corner of the earth, forged over laughing around a campfire. Sea swimming has always been a passion. There's magic in these incredible Dubai waters which motivated a move to Palm Jumeirah to live closer to the sea.
Kitchen
Kitchen2
Kitchen detail

Carla: I would describe our style as 'Beachy Elegant', the sea has always been an inspiration while living in Dubai. My taste has evolved over the years, influenced by the dynamic in the home and location of different properties we lived in. I believe a family shapes the rhythm of style, as my girls have grown up and we are now empty-nesters in apartment living, one thing that has remained common over the years is the motivation to feel a connection to nature's energy flow through our home. 

 Carla: I’ve always loved design, I remember pouring over design magazines when I lived in Canada scouring antique stores to style my home. I grew up with a mother that had a collection of Royal Doulton china and doilies which would be used every week for Sunday lunch, maybe one childhood memory that shaped my respect for elegance in detail. I adore the French for their subtle elegance, attention to detail and their pride of quality in the small choices, perhaps in some way this influenced my marriage to my French husband! 

 Carla: My design aesthetic centres around relaxed elegance, calm colours and natural elements such as wood and marble. I prioritise art that holds significance and thoughtful approaches to design. 

Carla: Our chaise lounge in the living room was from Cozy Home and is an addition that an interior designer encouraged me to go with, everyone fights over it, it’s so comfy for a Netflix binge!

Living dining
Living area
Living area detail2
Bathroom

Carla: A trip to Nepal in the early 2000s was pivotal for me as a young woman, hiking through villages and feeling a sense of happiness with little material wealth or possessions. We were embraced with a smile everywhere we went, crazy colours and a spiritual connection intersecting with design as witnessed in Nepalese prayer wheels. The prayer wheels were embedded into walls, waiting to be touched and spun as passersby encountered them. I came back armed with prayer flags and painted my house crazy colours, my children loved it at the time. My love for energetic colour on walls has been replaced by a need for a quieter visual space, however, my desire for meaningful details in my home has persevered. 

 Carla: I love candles and incense. I'm very conscious of light and smell. Diptyque fragrances and candles are my all-time favourite - it’s our subtle home signature.

My love for energetic colour on walls has been replaced by a need for a quieter visual space, however, my desire for meaningful details in my home has persevered.
Dining
Art1
Art2

Carla: My attraction to art is triggered by feeling or meaning. I have one treasured piece that I picked up during a trip to Vietnam with friends. It's an embroidered piece that was crafted by a centre that trains victims of Agent Orange they offer all kinds of wonderful embroidered creations. My piece depicts an old woman smoking. I was caught by the detail, each thread defines a small flyaway hair on her head and the power that comes through in her age - smoking and not giving a damn! 

Carla: Entertaining has always been important to us, especially during the holidays. In an apartment, this has to be done at a different scale, instead of big parties we are now hosting intimate dinners on our balcony. Our relaxation time is spent on the beach, it's like living on a resort with the sea on our doorstep. 

Carla: Every home has its own energy. This place is our own special sanctuary, it's a place of calm, a place of love, our nest, a place of fun with friends, a place for reflection. It's a place that offers a chance to recover and rest and be grateful for all we have.