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Saudi designer, Urjowan Alsharif, takes us on a tour of her newly renovated Palm Jumeirah apartment
Words by Laura Beaney in Design & Architecture · Apr 24th, 2023
Unexpected details like kelp green marble and Philip Jeffries mural wallpaper mark out this Shoreline residence as an enchanting family refuge. Interior designer Urjowan pioneered an entire renovation, transforming a tired space that once lacked lustre and light. The result was a vacation home that offers the sense of a luxurious getaway while delighting those that enter it with an eclectic material palette and thoughtful detailing. Urjowan offers insight into her renovation process and takes us on a tour of this Palm Jumeirah penthouse, designed to facilitate the lifestyle of a person of determination.
Urjowan: This penthouse project is located on the 10th floor of the Shoreline building which is on the Trunk of Palm Jumeirah. It’s one of the oldest buildings on the island with spectacular sea and Burj Khalifa views!
The apartment was pretty rundown when we arrived there so the project required a full renovation. This included the ceiling, floors, all of the bathrooms, the kitchen and the doors. Nothing was usable or salvageable.
One of the challenges that we were excited to embrace was the need to make the space accessible for a member of the family who is a person of determination.
The penthouse is spread over two floors with 340 square metres of interior space and double-height ceilings. There are four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two living spaces. We proposed a design aesthetic centred around effortless luxury. The Shoreline building offers beachfront living that we wanted to maximise for the clients, we wanted them to feel as though they were in a 5-star resort. The design took three months to plan with a further three months for execution.
The clients are a family from the Gulf that acquired the penthouse as a holiday home. The space was to be used by the extended family whenever they visited Dubai. With the exception of the master bedroom, none of the bedrooms were assigned to a specific family member so it was crucial that we cultivated an environment that would appeal to a range of tastes.
We introduced a design palette with soft textures and hues that reflect the sand and sea. We used seven different stones and marbles throughout the project that all play so well with one another. Colour is injected through additions like the mural wallpaper by Philip Jeffries in the dining room in hues of blue that connect to the sea outside, this works in unison with the custom-designed silver travertine dining table that features gorgeous smoked oak legs. The table is surrounded by modern Gallotti and Radice dining chairs and overhung by a blown glass light fixture from Bocci, suspended from 7 meters in the air.
The powder room features a bold green marble called Cipollino Nuvolato, it reminded us of sea kelp and we loved that it tied in so beautifully with the storyline of the home. We also introduced a wall light by Kelly Wrestler.
Throughout the home, you can encounter a mixture of rich and natural textures. We used natural Carrara marble flooring with a herringbone light oak floor and the soft grey walls feature molding which I think adds sophisticated character to the space. We used a beautiful floor-to-ceiling Palasandro Blue marble as a backdrop for the TV in the living room, the stone echoes the blue tones in the dining room wallpaper.
In terms of architectural changes, we created two bespoke Statuario marble arches, one on the ground floor framing the entryway to the double-height space and the second on the first floor that reveals the bedrooms. The same rich Statuario marble was then used to create high, 250mm, skirting that wraps around the entire space, the beautiful high skirting serves as protection for the wall from the wheelchair.
The staircase features a new glass railing with a bespoke, smoked-brass metal frame. The same bespoke metal was used as a trim on for the 7m high ceiling. The stairs are in a beautiful grain Statuario marble that flows seamlessly from the ground upwards.
On the first-floor living room, travertine and oak are in harmony creating a warm secondary seating area, with meticulously crafted detailing on the oak timber joinery.
We designed three guest bedrooms each with the same concept yet distinct accent colours differentiate the spaces. Bespoke headboards have been created for each room, fully upholstered with built-in automation systems that offer a customised user experience. The side tables and consoles are also bespoke and feature intricate floating marble detail. I’m particularly fond of the painted grasscloth wallpaper we sourced from Designers Guild.
Our studio team love to work on vacation homes, this is our fifth in Dubai alone. We see second homes as an escape, a sanctuary away from daily routine. With second homes clients tend to be more receptive to bold design choices.
We loved the challenge of creating an accessible space in a very old building on the Palm, all the doors needed to be enlarged, a glass lift installed and the bathrooms designed to meet ADA standards. Another major challenge was creating a light and airy atmosphere in a space with small windows and limited daylight but I love the final result.
Photography by Natelee Cocks