With a fabulous shortlist of seven beautiful homes from around the UAE, the InsideOut team will sit down on April 23rd with a host of the region's most prestigious design professionals and tastemakers in order to select the Home of the Year 2018 sponsored by 2XL Furniture and Home Decor, in association with The Home Arabia. With the quality of entries going from strength to strength in each iteration of InsideOut's innovative initiative, celebrating the abodes of the magazine's inspirational and passionate readers, gathering an impressive panel of designers, consultants, stylists and influencers was essential to making what is guaranteed to be a very difficult decision.

Read more about the professionals tasked with crowning one of our shortlist Home of the Year 2018:

Ellen Søhoel, Managing Partner, XBD Collective

Ellen Søhoel, formerly Bishop, is one of the founding members of the International Award Winning company Bishop Design LLC, which was established in Dubai in 2004. The Norwegian Designer has an astounding reputation as a leading name in the UAE, with more than 15 years of expertise.

Ellen possesses an innate desire to create customized, signature interior designs both regionally and internationally. As a managing partner for 12 years in Bishop Design she won over 40 Awards worldwide, including for various sectors at the International Property Awards in London and at the International Design Awards, as well as the IIDA Global Excellence Award in Los Angeles. Throughout her 15 years in Dubai, Ellen has completed projects across all sectors in the industry, and designed for some of the most prominent names in the hospitality, residential and commercial markets such as Emaar, W Hotel, The Fairmont Hotel and Dubai Properties. She is also well known for designing some of the most luxurious private residences in the world.

Her recent expansion into XBD Collective allows her to provide an extended array of services within Interior Design, Architecture and Procurement. The well-planned formation of the Collective Group instantly transformed her existing brand into a multi-disciplinary organization representing a portfolio and set of services more diverse than ever before.
 

Linda Dekkers, Founder, Live Loud Girl

Linda is the mastermind behind, and founder of, Live Loud Girl - a creative blog and brand focusing on interior styling, brand styling, visual merchandising, photoshoots and events. Her ambition to share her inspiration and bring brands together allowed Live Loud Girl to grow from just an idea to the creative platform it is today.

The Live Loud Girl concept began with a notebook and a name just before Linda’s move from New York City to Dubai. Her first blog post was at the beginning of 2014 when she started to share her flair for interiors which eventually evolved into interior styling projects where Linda could make her ideas become a reality.

Linda is a perfectionist with endless energy. Over the years she has moved around the globe, pushing her boundaries. This gave her the inspiration to develop, connect and create. She considers herself one of the lucky people that can truly say her passion is her full-time job.
  

Neel Shukla, Creative and Managing Director, Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery

Neel is an art consultant, interior designer and entrepreneur in tune with the global art and design scenes. Having been exposed from an early age to the arts, Neel understands the ever-evolving world of art expression. His eye for design and practicality have made him an influencer and consultant in the interiors world.

Having lived his whole life surrounded by art and as the son of a renowned artist, as a child Neel learned to appreciate and understand the ever-changing world of art and art expression. This early exposure to the arts came in the mid 1970’s when his parents; Ramesh and Taru, started the first art gallery in Dubai. Neel was actively involved with the gallery, assisting in organizing exhibitions.

Later, Neel was educated at the University of Miami where he obtained both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Management. These provided him with the tools to carry on a legacy and sustain his true passion, art. His father’s experience as one of the pioneers of the UAE art scene in 1960 also allowed him to benefit from his knowledge and experience to launch Neel’s own gallery in Dubai.

During his schooling in Miami, Neel connected with Fine Art Lamps, a 67-year-old lighting company established in Miami furnishing high-end lighting projects globally. His first project in Dubai was the provision of decorative lighting for the Burj Al Arab. Neel envisioned the need for a Dubai-based company that could offer creative and professional solutions for art, lighting and decorative elements in the region’s upcoming luxury hospitality and residential projects. At this point, Neel established Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery and set up the largest picture-framing factory in the region, which has now framed and installed over 50,000 artworks.

Neel’s latest venture is the formation of IV in Dubai Design District. A space of creative and eclectic designs, including the work of Jonathan Adler, it offers an all-inclusive solution for those in pursuit of contemporary, stylish and functional home interiors.
 

Pallavi Dean, Founder, Pallavi Dean Interiors

Pallavi is the founder and creative force behind Pallavi Dean Interiors. PDI is a boutique design consultancy with an award-winning portfolio. The company’s mission is to create great experiences through design. The firm has an international portfolio spanning three continents, flagship projects include the Delano Dubai, Paramount Residences, Edelman HQ and Sheraa Entrepreneurship Center.

Pallavi is a trained architect and sustainability specialist, she’s won multiple awards for work across a range of sectors including commercial, hospitality and residential. She was born in India, raised in Dubai and spent years working in London; her designs reflect these eclectic influences. A professor of design theory at the American University of Sharjah, she strives to implement the latest theoretical and practical research into the firm’s designs.

Pallavi debuted as a product designer at this Dubai Downtown Design 2016. 'Tension' is a line of furniture that documents her design journey to date. The lights are now a part of the Preciosa’s Lighting International Catalogue. The Collection also won the Harpers Bazaar Design Award in 2016.

PDI is a Dubai-based interior design studio. Since launching in 2013 it’s built an award-winning international portfolio spanning four sectors: hospitality, commercial, residential and education.

Flagship projects include the Edelman head office in Abu Dhabi, the Sheraa entrepreneurship centre at the American University of Sharjah, and the forthcoming Delano Dubai hotel.

PDI is a home grown success story. Half the eight-strong team at the studio in Dubai Design District –including Pallavi – studied in the UAE. In September 2017 the firm won Boutique Interior Design Firm of the Year at the Middle East Commercial Interior. The team strives to support the local design community by teaching university courses, a mentoring programme for interns, and collaborating with international brands at regional design fairs.
 

Asif Siddiqui, Operations Director, 2XL

Asif has more than 22 years of experience in the home décor industry. Working with Home Centre from 1996 -2004, he then moved to Homes R Us to be Head of Retail Operations from 2004-2014. Asif joined 2XL Furniture & Home Décor as Director of Operations in 2014. He is an industry veteran with a versatile experience in home interiors.
 

The panel is completed by InsideOut editor Mairead Walsh who will join the judges in one of our most qualified and esteemed judging line-ups yet.

Once a winner is selected they'll be announced at the exciting award presentation event on May 1st where the magazine's newest cover star will be revealed.

Find our more about Home of the Year 2018 here

Discover last years shortlist and winning home here