On the 23rd of April our judges - a line-up of Dubai's design elite - will sit down to review our seven shortlisted homes and crown one the winner of InsideOut's Home of the Year 2018, sponsored by 2XL Furniture and Home Decor, in association with The Home Arabia.

Get to know the homes and our finalists below, pick your favourite and stay tuned find out which one was selected as the winner at our big reveal on May 1st!

Alma & Ibrahim Jimoh

Mudon, Dubai

The couple moved from Germany to Dubai 12 years ago and opened their boutique for babies and young children, Bumblebee, in 2008. Their sons are Yunus, 10, Noah, 8, and Harun, 3.

Alma and Ibrahim bought their four-bedroom villa off-plan two years ago and completed the renovation last year. Downstairs, there is a living room, home office, kitchen and dining room. Upstairs, there is a reading nook, a playroom, two kids’ bedrooms and the master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom.

Structural changes include partitioning the living room to create a home office, and removing walls to make a larger kitchen open-plan with a dining area for everyday use.

They called upon colour specialist Toni Snyder for advice on their walls and curtains, using cushions that Alma had already bought and stones picked up from a holiday in South Africa as a starting point. 

Jorg & Michele Fahr-Becker

Arabian Ranches, Dubai

The South African family bought their four-bedroom villa in 2013 and spent a year renovating it to create a “holiday at home feel”. Jorg is a pilot and Michele works in private aviation operations. Joshua is 6 and Savannah is 8.

Downstairs, there is a living/dining room, kitchen, playroom, and a guest bedroom. Upstairs there is an office, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

They knocked down the walls in the living room and installed bi-fold doors opening onto the garden, which they designed to include a gazebo, bar, outdoor dining area, and pool.

Michele reupholstered and painted their old furniture to complement the fresh, light, coastal scheme. She also painted the stairs to match the furniture.

Key features include a spa-style bathroom Jorg designed, and a wooden wall feature in the stairwell, made from salvaged wood from the Netherlands.

Kaltoum Dumonceau

The Meadows, Dubai

Since moving to Dubai last year, Kaltoum has launched a blog, Bayt Kalthoum, inspired by their new home and her passion for interior decorating. Husband Arnaud is a finance director at Proctor & Gamble. Their sons Adam and Gabriel are aged 5 and 3.

This spacious villa has a large living room with two lounge areas, a dining room, kitchen, and a guest bedroom. Upstairs, there is a play area, four en-suite bedrooms and a terrace.

Despite renting they’ve made some changes, including removing faux-wood ceiling beams and opening the kitchen-dining serving hatch.

Kaltoum has drawn upon her Moroccan heritage, mixing Arabic elements with contemporary European pieces and new purchases from Dubai-based stores.

She likes being creative, making a feature wall of framed posters from art exhibitions she’s been to, recovering chairs, and embellishing cushions.

Bettina Frimann Larsen

Mira, Dubai

Danish expats Bettina and husband Jacob have been in the UAE for 15 years and bought their first home in Mira last year. Their son Oliver is 12. Jacob works in the energy sector while Bettina is the director of strategy for Marcura.

There are two en-suite bedrooms and an office upstairs, a guest bedroom downstairs, plus a living-dining area, kitchen and laundry rooms.

Downstairs, they recovered the floors in a soft, smooth concrete, painted IKEA furniture black to match the living room feature wall and installed a custom-made kitchen with marble countertops.

A keen amateur artist, Bettina has filled the walls with her paintings of local culture, animals and abstract scenes.

Bettina designed the Art-Deco-style marble en-suite bathroom, the kitchen, and the wooden dining table, hammering the top with chains for a rustic look. She landscaped and planted the garden herself.

Nawal Farah

Golf Gardens, Abu Dhabi

Emirati Nawal bought this four-bedroom property in her home city four years ago. She has two children, Layla, 14, and Ali, 11. While her background is events, she loves interior design and has taken a course with Kelly Hoppen.

Two extensions – a conservatory and a reading nook off the living room – boost the floorplan, which features an informal TV room and dining area, a kitchen, a formal living room and a separate dining room, plus three bedrooms and a maid’s room.

Highlights include a marble “rug” feature in the entrance hall, cement-style tiles in the conservatory, mixing with natural textures and plants, and a white chandelier from Cairo seen from the landing.

She mixes investment artwork and high-end pieces from Roche Bobois, Pozzoli and Oso with Blanc D’Ivoire, THE One and Home Centre, styling them to create distinct spaces that are high on comfort.

Humera Siddiqui

Dubailand, Dubai

Humera, her husband Fuad, a banker, and their sons Saif and Shamir moved to Dubailand in 2016 where they rent this spacious, four-bedroom villa. Humera is from Pakistan while her husband and sons are British-Pakistani.

A large living room with two separate lounge areas, an open-plan kitchen and TV room, a home office and maid’s rooms are on the ground floor, while upstairs there is a library, master bedroom, guest bedroom and the kids’ rooms.

When they moved, Humera bought furniture from Pakistan and repainted the framework in a vintage look and reupholstered them in a mix of plain and patterned fabrics of her choosing.

A keen creative, she’s designed some of the side tables and mirrors herself, commissioning carpenters in Dubai to bring her ideas to life. She designed the library, customising IKEA shelves and painting a household ladder gold. All the framed sketches and paintings are by Humera.

Eman & Taha Bani Hashim

Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi

Eman and Taha have two daughters, Reem, 32, and Noor, 30, who now live in Dubai but helped design their dream three-storey family home. Taha is COO at Al Dhafra Co-Operative while Eman is an Emiratisation support centre manager at the UAE Academy.

After receiving this plot of land from the government, the family spent three years designing the architecture and interiors. They completed the project four years ago.

The front door, modelled on Ralph Lauren’s store front, opens onto a spiral staircase. At the foot is an open-plan living-dining room, leading to a TV room, kitchen-dining room, two offices and the maid’s rooms. The first floor has a library, an en-suite guest bedroom, and the master suite with a dressing room and a bathroom. The second floor features another guest bedroom.

A professional architect, Reem helped design the building and was inspired by the mansions of Beverley Hills, where the family lived for several years. The interior décor is influenced by Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior stores, which Eman loves.

The family have a “do it yourself” attitude, creating concrete side tables, building a pool house and bathroom sink units from salvaged wood, and spray-painting ornaments.

Find out more about our Home of the Year initiative, as well as seeing previous finalists and winners, here 

Explore more stunning local homes in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE here