Treasured paintings and sculpture from her clients’ noted art collection formed the basis of the striking interior scheme Masoomeh Hilal adopted for the family’s ground floor entertainment and living spaces, reimagined with highly patterned, quirky accents that draw upon the visual displays on the gallery-like walls. A fitting rejoinder when artworks include ghostly skinny white legs by Lahore-based sculptor Amna Ilyas jutting out from a wall. The clients, an Emirati-Pakistani couple with two young boys, presented the ground floor rooms of their Al Garhoud villa as a blank canvas to Masoomeh, trusting her talent and experience as an interior designer, which spans more than 15 years. She describes her style as modern with an eclectic edge, revolving around neutral tones, which is evident in the design she’s applied here: white panelled walls, light brown wood floors, beige custom sofas and sheer white curtains, which enable the artwork and statement objet to stand out. ‘Art and accessories inspire me'.
My favourite designers include Jonathan Adler, Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Kelly Wearstler,’ says Pakistani national Masoomeh, who set up her eponymous design studio in Dubai in 2017. For this project, there are a number of funky accessories from Adler decorating the living room, along with eye-catching cushions from Jimmie Martin. ‘I like the fact that these designers are edgy, modern with a twist, and I like their use of colour, materials and textures,’ she adds. ‘They have personality and tell a story with their products, and these things attract me. ‘With this project, the whole idea was to create a place for entertaining that would be fun and you do get that feeling when you walk in. However, the décor suits the rooms and is not overpowering because of the high ceilings and spaciousness.’ Taking advantage of the large entry foyer, she clustered a trio of Ligne Roset Globe Sky pendant lights over the middle of the room like white disco balls over an empty dance floor. Statement artwork by Komail Aijazuddin and Shakil Saigol take centre stage with just a few choice furnishings accompanying them. These include a vintage settee and mirror that the couple already owned which Masoomeh updated with black paintwork, plus a few statement accessories from Kartell, Lladro and Dragon Mart. ‘I went all over Dubai sourcing for this project,’ recalls the designer.
In the open-plan dining-living room she utilised the length of the space with three zones: a dining area, a convivial lounge and an intimate seating area of chic B&B Italia chairs in between, for card playing and tea with guests. She accented the space with accessories that pick up shades of yellow in the paintings – a colour the lady of the house prefers. ‘She didn’t want a scheme that was too balanced so I used different shades of yellow to avoid it being matchy-matchy. I reached a certain point with the scheme then unbalanced it with the artwork, accessories, cushions; she likes things that are quite quirky so I could have some fun with these pieces.’
One of Masoomeh’s favourite items sourced for the project is the patterned rug from Abbas Carpets in Pakistan in the living space. ‘The client was not sure at first but I told her trust me, when it comes it will look amazing,’ says the interior designer who has a degree in textile design. ‘When it arrived she could see that it totally transformed the space and really pops.’ From the company’s contemporary Art Nouveau collection, the sketcherly pattern complements the artwork on the walls, while the glass Eichholtz coffee tables allow the rug to remain visible. Masoomeh spent an entire day configuring the artwork behind the two custom-made sofas, knowing the gallery walls would be the focal points and inspiration of the entire scheme, pulling it all together. ‘If you are creating a wall of artwork like this there should always be one focal piece,’ she advises. ‘You should mix mediums, sizes and frames but you must always start with the focal piece and build around it. The next step is to place the artworks on the floor so you can envisage how they will look and move things around if you need to before they’re hung.’ She reframed a few of the older pieces from the couple’s collection, which includes collectible artworks from celebrated Pakistani artists, includingAli Abbas, Unver Shafi Khan and Mariam Qureshi. ‘I always work closely with Art House in Jumeirah for reframing as they deal with many artists and work with Art Dubai so they’re very experienced handling valuable pieces like these.’
Another local company she called upon was City Palace Furniture, to custom-make a number of key pieces such as the dining table and sideboard, and the armchairs in the lounge, inspired by classic Eichholtz designs. The honeycomb rug in the husband’s study was custom-made by the Abu Dhabi boutique Infiltrada, where Masoomeh could define the shade of each piece of cowhide before the rug was made in Australia. ‘I always aim to harness the full potential of a space,’ she adds.‘I understand that every space and every individual is unique so I work closely with my clients to create modern, luxurious spaces imbued with timeless style and elegance.’
THE DESIGNER: After many years working in Pakistan and the UAE as an interior designer, Masoomeh Hilal set up her eponymous studio in Dubai in 2017. She creates modern, luxurious spaces imbued with timeless style and elegance.
THE HOME The clients – an Emirati-Pakistani couple with two young boys – wanted the ground floor rooms of their villa in Al Garhoud to be designed with entertaining in mind
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