We get to know Studio Van Oliver founder, Becki Willis
Words by Laura Beaney in Design & Architecture · Jun 21st, 2023
In a city of opulence, residential design studio, Studio Van Oliver prides itself on offering an aesthetic approach that prioritises the luxury of contentment and peace. Brand founder and designer, Becki Willis champions harmonious and simplistic design choices that contribute to the emotional well-being of her clients. We sit down with the British designer to learn more about the Studio Van Oliver journey and ethos.
Becki: I’ve been in the UAE since 2008 when I moved over from London as a fresh university graduate. I spent over a decade working in communications in the Sports and Entertainment sector before launching Studio Van Oliver in 2020.
My journey into interiors is all thanks to my husband – he enrolled me onto an Interior Design diploma as a Christmas present a few years ago and I loved it! This newfound passion ultimately shaped my decision to leave the corporate world and start my own business.
At Studio Van Oliver we focus on residential design. What I love the most is being able to create space for people that feels like a hug for the soul. We live in a world that can be overwhelming, and what I try to create in all my designs is a certain type of feeling; of calm, contentment, and peace. Ultimately, somewhere to decompress at the end of a hectic day.
Our Studio tagline is "spaces that feel like home". As a child, I moved houses and countries often, but wherever we lived, my mum always created a home for us; somewhere that felt stable and welcoming. It’s easy to see, now, how that has inspired and influenced my work today.
I design from the heart. In a region where opulence and luxury surround us, I think my work brings a more humble type of luxury. The luxury of contentment and peace. We love creating spaces that - quite simply - feel like home, warm and welcoming spaces that evoke that ‘ahh’ moment. The feeling you get when you flop into bed after a long day; the glow of a lamp at night; a cup of tea in a quiet house.
Our clients tend to be families or couples who are moving into a new home or upgrading their existing property. Many are in a transition phase. They shift from seeing Dubai as a temporary stop to making it their home.
I am a firm believer that your design style should be a reflection of what you like; what makes you feel good. I try not to get too bogged down in design styles and trends. They can make you feel boxed in, as if you have to stick to a certain set of rules and execute a style in the 'right' way. Most designs are a mix of many different influences and styles anyway, and all that really matters is how you and the people you share it with feel when you're at home.
Aside from the work itself, it’s important to me that we deliver a positive overall client experience. When you are working in someone’s home, developing a good relationship is key and that comes through honest communication and care – I treat my projects with as much care and diligence as I would in my own home.
The best projects are the ones where you feel you’ve really made a difference. We worked on a master suite renovation for a lovely client who had recently lost her husband. In her words, we were able to create ‘a safe haven and sanctuary’ for her. It was really meaningful to me that we were able to give her that feeling in her home.
We are currently closing a project we’ve been working on for the past six months, helping a growing family move into a 5-bedroom villa in the Dubai Hills. We will then start the design and planning for a series of villa renovation projects so that the physical work can commence after the summer.