Being the owners of baby boutique Bumble Bee, you would expect Alma and Ibrahim's kids to have exceptionally decorated rooms - and you wouldn't be wrong. With funky paintwork, customised LEGO-embellished cabinets, built-in bespoke bunk beds, slides and ball pits, the bedrooms and playroom of their three sons, Yunus, Noah and Harun, aged between 3 and 10, are filled with thoughtful, playful details.
There is also a wonderful sense of consistency and comfort throughout the four-bedroom family townhouse in Mudon, with the children's rooms drawing upon the soft greys, serene blues and natural elements that inspire the décor downstairs and in their parents' bedroom, creating an aesthetic that is fun and engaging yet has longevity.
The Jimohs bought off-plan while renting in Mudon, soon after their third son Harun was born. However, they weren't able to move into the property until March 2017 and their interior design ideas became a pet project for the couple. 'We were renting in Mudon and thought we'd finally found the family-friendly area we would like to buy in, as it has a really nice community spirit,' says Alma, who moved from Germany to Dubai with Ibrahim 12 years ago. 'Three months later we signed the contract. Because we bought off-plan, there were the usual delays as expected, but it gave us more time to consider our ideas for a makeover once we had the keys. There are so many identical houses that we wanted to make it our own.'
Often working from home to be with their sons, an office was essential, so they partitioned one end of the living room to create a dedicated workspace. The garden was transformed from a sandpit to a verdant multi-functional area with an al fresco kitchen and dining area, swimming pool and a lounge area furnished in the same cool tones as the interiors. The dark kitchen became an open, light-filled, contemporary space with sleek white cabinets from IKEA and a sociable breakfast area. 'The kitchen design was important to get right as it is where we spend most of our time as a family,' says Alma. 'Now the kids have space to do their homework while we cook and we can all talk to each other.'
Their master bedroom was upgraded with a dressing room built-into the entrance hall with crittal-fronted wardrobes, and a compact - yet relaxing - en-suite bathroom cleverly designed to include a walk-in shower and standalone bathtub.
'Our travels gave us a lot of inspiration for our home,' says Alma. 'The greyish-blue scheme we have was influenced by the colours and textures of driftwood sticks and stones we brought back from South Africa, plus hotels we've loved in Malaysia and the UK, as we wanted to create a home where we felt like we were on holiday. I think we have achieved this because now whenever we're away I look forward to coming home.'
They called upon the expertise of colour specialist Toni Snyder to help them create a cohesive scheme for the walls and drapes inspired by these natural elements, their existing furniture, and photos from magazines and social media the couple admired. On Toni's recommendation, each room is painted in calm shades of Benjamin Moore paint, from the pale grey-blue walls in the living room, inspired by the stones under the coffee table, to the steel blue in the master bedroom, and the statement murals in the kids' rooms.
Harun's bedroom has a subtle Scandinavian feel with white furniture and a blue-grey saw-toothed border painted on the walls at shoulder-height, creating a spiked mountaintop horizon. His cot bed is elevated so he can slip out down a slide into a ball pit with grey and blue balls that match the walls. His bed, the ball pit and various toys are from his parents' boutique, Bumble Bee, which caters to kids aged up to four years old.
'For Harun's room we wanted it to match with the overall scheme of the house in a playful way, so we added mint and turquoise, and brighter, playful accessories,' explains his mum. 'The ceiling light is like a huge bulb and the slide from his bed is really fun.
'Yunus and Noah were nine and seven when we moved and going into a pre-teen phase so we wanted to decorate their bedroom to reflect this. Blue and grey are boyish colours but in the soft shades Toni suggested they're more mature than colours for little kids.'
The fourth bedroom has become a playroom with a striking mural of blue snow-capped mountains and a rising sun. Alma painted the built-in wardrobe (used as storage space) sunshine yellow, reupholstered an IKEA daybed in royal blue fabric with yellow piping, and embellished a pair of wall cabinets with LEGO pieces, creating a bright, engaging den for the boys.
When Yunus was born they found that Dubai lacked the baby items they wanted and shipped many things from their home country. Receiving compliments from passers-by in the malls, they realized there was a demand in the UAE for quality, German-made baby products. They left their respective office jobs and founded Bumble Bee in 2008, just as the global economic crisis hit the UAE. 'There were a lot of challenges especially for a small company,' recall the couple. 'However, we are happy we persevered and now we have the flexibility to work from home when we want, to be with the kids and to have more time together as a family, which was our main aim.'
They now have three retail spaces: their flagship store in The Dubai Mall, plus concession areas in Level Kids, City Walk, and Tryano in Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall. Visit bumblebee-me.com
Styling Robin Collingwood
Photography Stefan Lindeque
The owners German nationals Alma Babic-Jimoh, her husband Ibrahim Jimoh, and their sons Yunus, 10, Noah, 8, and Harun, 3, live in a four-bedroom villa in Mudon, Dubai.
The home After moving to this villa early last year, the Jimohs then added a home office to the downstairs set-up of living room, dining room and kitchen, transformed the garden, upgraded their master en-suite bedroom, and created playful schemes for their boys' bedrooms and playroom.
Watch the home tour: