Architect and talented amateur artist Neda Kavousi transformed a nondescript villa in Dubai’s Victory Heights into a light-filled, open-plan haven accented with her sculptures and bespoke furnishings, surrounded by beautiful Thailand-inspired gardens. Her home was one of only seven shortlisted for the coveted InsideOut Home of the Year 2019 award and her striking living room, dressed with artisanal accents and white brick walls, was chosen as the eye-catching cover star of InsideOut magazine’s summer issue, showcasing an inspiring family living space to its discerning readers.

Originally from Iran, Neda is married to Irishman Stephen Venney, the MENA operations director for Mace, a consultancy and construction company; they have two boys, Ethan, 8, and Arad, 6. While they met in Dubai on holiday 17 years ago, the couple moved to the emirate in 2005 and have lived in Victory Heights for the past two years.

When Neda and Stephen bought this four-bedroom villa, the interiors and finishings were dated and the kitchen was closed off to the rest of the downstairs living spaces. Preferring an airy, sociable, open-plan arrangement, they renovated the ground floor, opening the kitchen onto the living room by knocking down an interior wall, adding brick-effect wall tiles, and laying white floor tiles to enhance the clean, light atmosphere. They transformed the bathrooms into spa-at-home retreats and landscaped the garden with Indonesian and Thailand inspirations.

Stephen Venney and Neda Kavousi with their sons, Arad and Ethan

A keen artist, Neda creates sculptural artworks made from mixed media, displayed in her home as gallery-inspired installations or as a decorative accent on a wall. She says her works are lyrical translations of an idea she has, or inspired by famous Persian poems. Other items of interest include cowbells from Iran, a painted beaded chandelier, a wood bottle rack repurposed as a planter and large frames with the mirror removed.

A notable piece of furniture she designed is the living room coffee table. Once cast and set, she chiselled chips into the concrete top to add character. Also in this room, she installed a partition wall two foot in front of one of the many French windows to house the TV; this contemporary design keeps the TV unit looking sleek and free from cables, while allowing the light to come into the room.

In the hallway there are two shelves made with wood from Iran: one features a mirror framed with card Neda repurposed from furniture packaging and painted yellow; the other features ceramic disks she made that flutter up the wall. Thanks to Neda’s talent for art and design, her home boasts handcrafted pieces and unique Iranian accents.

Watch the video above for the full home tour, and read our interview with Neda to find out how she created such as creative, tactile and comfortable home for her family.

Read more on InsideOut magazine:

See Neda Kavousi's Dubai home in pictures

Watch: the winning villa of InsideOut's Home of the Year 2019

Look: the InsideOut Home of the Year party in pictures