The small ‘White Moss’ sign by the front door of this regular-looking villa in the leafy Springs neighbourhood may provide a hint, but few visitors are prepared for what’s to come when Leanne Moss welcomes guests into her home.
The light, fresh interior is predominantly white – from the walls and wood-effect floors to the sofa and drapes – which not only provides a cool respite, but immediately sets the scene for her very own creative enterprise. Against this neutral background, an effortless blend of decorative pieces – from vast rattan platters and pendant lamps to textured poufs, wooden stools, mirrors, baskets and more – showcase the natural, beautiful handmade items Leanne and her husband Rob have sourced for their online interiors venture, White Moss.
‘This is our home, of course, but it’s also a great way to see how the pieces in the collection work so easily in any space,’ explains Leanne, whose passion and enthusiasm for the business is, she says, a complete reflection of her own sense of style and ethos. ‘I love simplicity, natural materials, handcrafted work and traditional craftsmanship,’ she adds.
Describing herself as a bit of a free spirit, Leanne’s love of adventure has seen her travel the world. ‘I’ve always loved going to different places, seeing new things, and meeting interesting, talented people,’ says this 36-year-old entrepreneur, who spent five years living and working in Panama. ‘I wanted to do something that really tapped into that passion.’ Having taken courses in photography and graphics in the past, she was also keen to make the most of her creative energies.
By the time she met up with Rob again – whom she’d known as a friend since university days – and moved to Dubai with him in 2013, her interest in design and style had really begun to evolve. She took several interior design courses and began helping friends to decorate and style their homes, but it was only after being seriously ill in 2016 that the germ of an idea she’d long considered began to grow. ‘We went to Bali so that I could properly recuperate, but the trip quickly became so much more than a holiday,’ she recalls.
The couple were fascinated by the Balinese artisans who used traditional methods to produce beautiful homewares and decorative items from locally sourced and sustainable materials. ‘We hired a motorbike and spent our days visiting craftspeople all over the island,’ Leanne recalls. ‘It was so exciting to realise that a business opportunity could not only help them, but make a dream come true in the process.’
And so, the company, White Moss, was born. ‘It seemed a good name for all sorts of reasons,’ says Leanne. ‘A white canvas means a new beginning, which was what we wanted, while Moss, of course, is my family name, though it also means strong and adaptable. As well as that, I’ve always been drawn to touches of turquoise – which I’ve introduced here and there in our home furnishings – as it’s believed to be calming and have a spiritual connection.’
In Leanne and Rob’s home, the White Moss collection is very much in evidence, of course, but it’s just one element of this entrepreneur’s clear sense of vision and style. ‘We persuaded our landlord to let us lay white laminate flooring and paint the walls white, which immediately transformed the villa, and gave us the right backdrop for the relaxed look we wanted,’ she says. Throughout, clever ideas have been fully utilised: old packing pallets have been inventively used to create everything from the top of the rustic dining table to the painted headboard, along with cabinets, chairs, and even the generous garden loungers. Simple wooden stepladders have been repurposed to form the base of a rustic dressing table, while treasures from Leanne’s travels are effortlessly included in the overall scheme: the turquoise roll of suede she picked up in Panama several years ago, for instance, has now been used for the upholstery on the dining benches, adding a welcome splash of colour to the scheme.
The overall impression is one of laid-back calm… though things may change just a little when another addition – the couple’s first baby – arrives later this summer. ‘I think,’ Leanne laughs, patting the pristine white sofa cushions, ‘we’ll start sourcing some lovely – and very useful – throws on our next trip!’
The owners British-born Leanne Moss is the founder of White Moss, and lives with her husband Rob, who works in education as a regional finance director, in Dubai.
The home This Springs villa has an open-plan layout downstairs with a cloakroom and separate office to one end. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms including the en suite master bedroom.
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Photography by Stefan Lindeque