Open House: A penthouse on the Palm


Julia Polo talks about a dreamy penthouse with pool she designed on the Palm Jumeirah

Words by Aneesha Rai in Portfolio · Jun 16th, 2021

In this edition of the 'Open House', we chat with Julia Polo of Julia Polo Design who walks us through her approach while designing a serviced penthouse in the Palm Jumeirah while playing an ode to the surroundings and simultaneously offering a cosy and social space.

Julia: My vision for the penthouse  was to create a unique, open-concept living area with a modern and sophisticated touch, which still embraces it’s laid-back beach resort surroundings. We achieved this by first completely changing all the interior walls, doors, cabinets, and trim from its original outdated colors to a simple bright white throughout the home. This change alone dramatically transformed the primary living areas into much brighter and more open spaces. I enjoy experimenting with new paint schemes and bold feature walls whenever possible. 

We reupholstered over half of the existing furniture. This is one of my many passions in the design process - to challenge myself to bring life back to old and outworn pieces. Oftentimes it is a practical solution that if done thoughtfully, can have a dramatic and conscientious impact on the overall design.

I believe in being bold; having a bold vision and a bold attitude towards my work.

Julia: Delicate beige and gray fabrics were selected to implement a simple color palette in line with the beach theme. We replaced the remaining furniture with custom designed pieces manufactured locally in the UAE including a marble top dining table with seating for ten people. I believe each home should be designed to bring people together and add an element of fun wherever possible. 

We knew with this home, we wanted to take this to the next level, so we pushed out the walls and extended the existing living area to create room for a full-size pool table. Then we designed a custom leather wrapped C-shaped bar for next to the addition, with a butler’s door leading directly from the kitchen, and re-arranged the original furniture layout to create a flow from the kitchen, to the dining room, to the bar, to pool table, to the main living area which leads out to garden and pool. I believe in being bold - having a bold vision and a bold attitude towards my work. I believe that is the only way to grow as a designer. From architectural elements, to paint, to fabrics, to lighting - I think that every home deserves to make a statement.


My favorite room in the house is the living area. It is a large space (dimensions) and we have it just off the main entrance on one side and wall to wall windows that open out to the pool and garden on the other side. We pushed the sofa chairs closer to the TV to make room for the custom marble top bar and cocktail table. The kitchen is directly accessible via a butler's door and the billiards table is adjacent to the main living area. I especially enjoy the circular flow from the kitchen to the living room, to the bar, to the dining room. It is ideal for entertaining guests without compartmentalizing the living space.

Update (May 2022): The property is now sold.

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