In this edition of 'Open House', we tour Sahar's Palm beachfront home equipped with the best home technology one has to offer and hotel style living in an impeccable balance. Designed in a contemporary style, she used a blend of European furnishing & fixtures and modern technology to deliver the ultimate beach home that promises beautiful sunsets everyday.
Sahar: When we moved from London to Dubai in 2010, it was a very easy decision to live on the Palm Jumeirah due to the beach, which is a contrast from what we were used to in London with its city life and greenery. We used to live in O frond in a standard Garden home villa and after being there a few years, we decided to buy a plot and build from scratch. When we saw the land, we decided we wanted to build an LA-style beachfront property. I helped determine the layout, the functions of each room, the furniture & fittings and my husband was more focused on the technical side of things with technology, materials, and specifications.
For the color palette of the home, we went with a neutral one. I love neutral colors that are calm and smooth. I've always liked of whites, grays, earthy, and natural colors. I wanted to highlight the colours of the nature that surrounds us as opposed to the furnishing inside. All the finishing is matte, understated and minimalistic. My house looks spotless and clean everyday- and it should be as when things are in order, you're happy, everyone is happy and it’s so pleasing to the eyes.
We drove the entire project and went through several architects to get our vision to come through and to get approvals from the developer. We found a Finnish architect to help enable us get through the permits and that was our starting point. We were one of the first people building here, so we had a lot of challenges fitting everything we wanted in the home. We even bought a bit more square footage to build. This home is 8,600 sq ft of usable space, as opposed to the standard 7,000 sqft, but a smaller plot. We had to truly optimise the space. The joinery was done with the help of BW Interiors.
Sahar: As soon as you reach the doorstep, you already can see through the peepholes the views of the pool and the sea. I use my front door a lot as opposed to entering through the garage. You can easily enter using either a phone or thumbprint and the door will open; we don’t need to carry keys anymore. We used SIEDLE for this technology. This house is so easy to use and live in. The home automation by Crestron is great, and all programmed by Alexa. Wherever I am, I know what's going on in the house. You've got cameras everywhere as well for security. I can make an announcement on the way from school that the children are on the way home and to have their food ready. The smart home app controls everything, from the blinds to the ACs. Even the lighting is smart home controlled. We used lighting designers who used Italian brands like Viabizzuno and Terezani. There's only indirect lighting; in the living space we used recessed lighting to add an effect that show rays of light but not the bulb itself. Ikonhouse did the AV for the home, we have 14 different speaker sound areas powered by SONOS that we can isolate, so the kids can have different music playing as compared to the rest of the home.
Sahar: We wanted to create a space with an open plan feel, but also with plenty of options to privatize the space when needed through Italian pocket doors. I wanted guests to walk in the door and immediately see the space, pool, and sea. When we envisioned the house, we wanted a lot of glass and high ceilings so that natural light can flow throughout and to create more space for us. We used high-end Swiss floor to ceiling windows with 20mm frame sliding systems and 3m high frameless doors by LUALDI.
Sahar: To ensure flow of the home, we used Italian travertine from indoors to the outdoors as opposed to white marble that goes yellow over the years due to harsh sunlight. We went for a leather finish because it looks more organic, and you don't see the reflections as in typical shiny marble. When the marble came in, we made sure they were laid perfectly and symmetrically, we even put labels on them so it was vein matched and laid out perfectly.
Sahar: This is truly an ultimate beach house; possibly better than ones you would find in L.A. or Miami as our home is literally situated on the beach. The beach is our backyard where our kids can enjoy themselves as well. We have access to a 3km beach, and we can swim in the sea. We also added an infinity style pool with a swim jet where you can relax, swim, and entertain. It extends out into the water, often matching the color of the sea. The outdoor and landscape lights are by Arcluce, Lini Led & DGA lights from Italy. It's a calming & soothing space.
The sunset is beautiful - I think this year we've really settled down in the house, with all the work completed and my husband I make it a point to catch sunset from 5 to 6:30. I kind of block my diary and I say I'm not going out anywhere. I don't even go for a walk on the beach at that time, because it's just so peaceful at home and just seeing all the different colors and the sky - I love to sink it all in. Every day is different.
Sahar: All the furniture is Italian, with brands like Minotti, Flexform, Poliform, Galotti and Radice, Rimedisio Lago, Paola Lenti, Meridiani and Poltrona Frau. The day the furniture came in in three trailers was the best day of my life!
Some of the pieces like the dining table was something my husband saw in Italy and then approved by me. All the upholstery was chosen from swatches and we made a mood board because they didn't have everything here in Dubai showrooms. We approved on photos and I even went to London to see some pieces. That was the scariest part - I took a big gamble because everything was on paper. Everything had come from Italy, from the pool tiles to the doors and door handles. We didn't bring anything apart from maybe the two armchairs and one table with some side tables, but everything else is new.
Sahar: The feature wall in the living room featured book matched marble that runs upstairs. In terms of art, the main piece in the living room by celebrity artist Christie Lee Rogers is something we picked up during Art Dubai from a London gallery exhibition. It looks like a painting, but it’s not. It's actually her in a pool of water and a composite image of her twirling in a dress underwater. Again, there is water connecting to the home from the outdoors. We haven't gone overboard with the art, but we believe the home is an art piece in itself. The best piece of art work we have are the brass sculptures of our kids' hands and feet by Wrightson & Platt. You can see every detail and each crevice. We also have a piece in the living space by NFT artist Amrita Sethi.
Sahar: In terms of the kitchen, I wanted it to be quite sleek and modern because I like to cook, and we like to entertain. We got top of the range equipment from Miele and a Polyform Vernna kitchen with extractable hood. A Quooker tap enables us to have hot, cold and sparkling water. We also have a prep kitchen for heavy duty cooking and made sure it flowed design-wise from the open kitchen; we added the same marble to add continuity. I think we we ticked all the boxes that we wanted with this home.
Sahar: The LED-lit stairs going up are all book matched and vein matched with a provision for a lift if needed. We also added a skylight to accentuate the brightness of the home. Upstairs, we have three bedrooms and an entertainment room. The master bedroom has his and hers wardrobes with a skylight. We also have an ensuite bathroom complete with a Duravit bathtub and TV. You can also play your own music here. The showers and mixers are by Hansgrohe and steam unit by Steamist. All the bedrooms have their ensuites with the same travertine marble finishing and skylights to brighten up the bathroom. Everything in the vanity cabinets are hidden away and all organized. We’ve made provisions for plenty of storage throughout the home to keep it clean, organized, and minimalistic.
The entertainment room has a rotating Bang & Olufsen TV and sound system that can also be converted into a fourth bedroom if needed.
We like to believe we've created a home with all the benefits of a hotel, but you never need to check out!
Sahar: The rooftop is a stunning place to entertain. We have almost 360 degrees of beautiful skyline views of the Dubai marina, Sheikh Zayed Road and Ain Dubai. We also have a wonderful whirlpool jacuzzi to enjoy. We also have a study on this floor that can be used as a home office with beautiful views of the sea to soothe you and keep you calm as you take on the day’s work.
At the end of the day, we’ve managed to build a home that has all the benefits of hotel style living. If you have your home set up and running nicely, you can enjoy it; life is calm and organized. We like to believe we've created a home with all the benefits of a hotel, but you never need to check out!
Update (May 2022): The property is now sold.