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23 Mar 2017Last updated
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Explore the festive cheer of this Umm Suqeim home

For this Dubai family the festive season is about spending time together and embracing traditions

SHaron Parsons
Added 17:40 | December 22, 2016
  • The Christmas tree takes pride of place in the open-plan living room, dressed with decorations that are added to every year.

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  • The sofa is given a splash of festive cheer with a red throw and striped cushion while on the coffee table, delicate tea lights twinkle.

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  • Deep red pillar candles make a great centre piece while sweet tree decorations combine with more sophisticated baubles and bows on the Christmas tree.

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  • The artwork on the wall is by Louise – a vivid splash of colour in the otherwise neutral scheme.

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  • Elegant Vera Wang for Wedgwood china, Arthur Price cutlery, and silverware is offset with finishing touches to make the festive table special.

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  • Pretty silver trees from Blanc D’Ivoire Dubai enhance a teatime setting. Baking is an important part of the Christmas preparations.

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  • In the hall, an office space is enlivened with a montage of family photographs and the family's intials on the wall.

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  • Even Louise’s desk is given a touch of festive cheer at this time of year.

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  • The heart-shaped blackboard from Typo welcomes guests in the hall.

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  • In the master bedroom, the iron bed is dressed with a quilt and selection of cushions from Blanc D'Ivoire Dubai.

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Christmas really is my favourite time of year,’ enthuses Louise Mamarbachi. ‘I love everything about it – from the anticipation, preparations and traditions to the big day itself.’ Indeed, as early as September, this enterprising mother of three is busy hand-making cards, picking up little gifts for family and friends (‘my poor husband Jade is always the last one I buy for!’), and making lists in anticipation of the approaching festive season. By early December, the scent of pine fills the air in the family home as the huge Christmas tree takes pride of place in the living area, and the house is decked with garlands, decorations and festive greenery.

This year promises to be extra special for the family, because not only will 10-month-old baby Jack be celebrating with his parents and big sisters Milla and Emilie for the first time, but it will also be the Mamarbachis’ first Christmas in their new Umm Suqeim home.

‘We moved here from Jumeirah 1 in August because we needed more space for our growing family, and liked the fact that the children would be able to enjoy the community pool,’ says Louise. ‘We were especially attracted to this villa because it has such high ceilings and an open layout that makes it feel really light and airy, yet the garden at the back is very quiet and private.’

While no major renovating has taken place, Louise’s signature colour palette – muted, soft, calm tones – is much in evidence throughout, apart from at Christmas when splashes of red and green bring a festive flavour to the scheme. ‘I want it to feel especially warm and cosy for all of us at this time of year,’ she explains, and indeed the decorations incorporate an easy mix of grown-up silver and white baubles and bows with cute decorations that the children love.

‘We’ve already established seasonal traditions that are special to us,’ she continues. ‘Jade’s family is originally from Syria where the main celebrations take place on Christmas Eve, so now we have special presents for the children to open on that day as well. They each get something to wear, something to read, something to eat and a decoration to hang on the tree.’

On Christmas day itself, the family join friends for breakfast on the beach, before heading back home for a big lunch (‘either turkey, goose or beef – and always Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes and all the trimmings!’). Later on, the family open presents, Skype far-flung relatives overseas, play games and visit friends, before settling down for a quiet evening at home.

And once the children are tucked up in bed, another tradition takes place. ‘I always insist Jade watches Love Actually with me on Christmas night,’ Louise laughs. ‘It’s something I used to do with my sisters, and to me it’s the perfect end to a perfect day!’ 

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Profile

The Owner

Louise Mamarbachi is a freelance writer with a blog called The Gift Paper (thegiftpaper.com), which seeks out unusual presents. She is married to Jade, who works in financial communications, and they have three children – Milla, five; Emilie three; and Jack, 10 months. They moved to Dubai from the UK in 2008.

The Home

This Umm Suqeim villa has an open-plan layout downstairs incorporating a hall and office space, sitting room and dining area, with a separate kitchen, and cloakroom. Upstairs are four bedrooms – one of which is used as a playroom – a family bathroom, and en suite leading off from the master bedroom.

SHaron Parsons

SHaron Parsons