I used to dream of having a home like this, and now that we are married with our baby Sadie this house is the icing on the cake,’ says Kate Smith, who moved to Dubai in 2014 six months after meeting her husband Ross on holiday.A year later they got married at Dubai’s luxurious Jumeirah Al Qasr resort, and many photos of the beautiful wedding accessorise the walls in their five-bedroom family home in Damac Hills, where they’ve lived since 2017.
The couple have dressed their rented, light-filled home with a particular signature style: largely monochrome, classic meets contemporary, with touches of wood that add a natural warmth, plus accents of silver that sparkle under the sun’s rays flooding in through the large windows. The framed family portraits add to the stylised approach of their streamlined, chic décor, with angular black frames symmetrically placed on shelves in the dining room, creating a curated, personalised wall feature that complements the linear framework of the dining furniture. While bright colour may be lacking, warmth and comfort certainly aren’t. Natural light washes every space with a soothing glow and Kate has conscientiously accented their home’s black and white palette with pops of honey wood tones. In the open-plan living and dining room, their statement coffee table – a glass-topped jigsaw of rustic wooden pellets – adds personality and draws the eye.
‘Because everywhere else is quite clean and crisp, we wanted a feature coffee table and this is a definite statement piece for us,’ says Kate, who works alongside Ross at the point of sale company he founded two years ago, iPad POS, assisting with business development. ‘We wanted something that attracts your attention and when we saw this in Marina Home we were instantly captivated.’
Taking style cues from the statement table, the wooden features inspired the couple to buy Scandinavian-style dining chairs from JYSK with wooden legs that help tie the two spaces together. This dining area remains predominantly white and minimalistic to balance the heaviness of the black sofas in the living space.
While these were bought for a villa in Sustainable City where they lived for 1.5 years, they fit their new space perfectly and complement the black framework of the windows that are signature to the Damac Hills community. For the drapes in the living-dining room, Kate chose a style of creamy linen framed with a simple black border, which has an air of Kelly Hoppen about it, creating chic window dressings that tie in with the sofas. ‘We both like a clean, contemporary style, which is why we chose a villa in Sustainable City as our first home that we could furnish together properly,’ says Kate. ‘Over time, we have developed each space with our preferred themes - minimalist, modern, with a homely touch.’ While a lot of the larger items of furniture, like the sofas, TV unit and some of the beds, came from their previous house, Kate has added to their existing pieces to create a comfortable, practical home infused with their sleek style and personal elements.
‘Our rooms are dressed to a point, but are comfortably styled and practical because of Sadie,’ Kate adds. ‘Each room represents what we like and the furniture we have chosen together. We also have lots of photos as we want it to feel like a family home full of memories.
‘We love how open-plan the house is. Whether it’s just the three of us, or we have a house full of guests, we have plenty of space to get together or to do our own thing, so it really works. ‘The villa was a blank canvas when we moved in because no one had lived here before, which was great as we could really put our stamp on it. We spent time dressing the windows and choosing the light fittings, and painted and wallpapered a few walls to make it feel homely. Everything we have bought is because we love it and fits this space but they’re also really versatile and can easily move with us.’
Their go-to stores for home fashion are THE One and Marina Home and contemporary pieces such as the concrete side tables, striking artwork, the black sofas and tufted master bed come from these homegrown stores. John Lewis, Crate & Barrel and IDdesign also contribute to their defined sense of style, while a number of accessories, such as frames and candles, plus the bedding, come from Kate’s preferred brands in the UK. She’s also scattered feel-good finds from England to remind her of home and to create a sense of familiarity and comfort, including a series of cute animal illustrations above Sadie’s cot by Wren Dale Designs. Because the family of the award-winning artist, Hannah Dale, are family friends, these pictures provide a nostalgic connection to life in the UK.
The biggest change the couple made to their new home was landscaping the bare bones of the sandy outdoor space into a verdant, sociable garden. ‘We are quite conscious that it’s not our house and we’re renting but we still want to live in a home we’re proud of and love,’ says Kate. ‘The garden gave us a chance to be a bit creative by having a seating nook made, but the clean, minimalistic look is still in-keeping with our interior style.
‘I think it’s taken until now to feel like we have our home exactly how we want it. What’s lovely about it is that this is how I originally envisaged what our family home would look like, with our baby and the style we share. This house is perfect for us now, it’s a real home-from-home in Dubai, and I can see us being here for a long time
THE OWNERS: Kate and Ross Smith, their 18-month-old daughter Sadie and dog Teddy live in a rented five-bedroom villa in Damac Hills. The couple work for the point of sale company iPad POS which Ross founded in 2017.
THE HOME: This contemporary villa has an open-plan living-dining room, a closed kitchen, and a downstairs bedroom that’s used as a playroom and a home office. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, Sadie’s nursery and a lounge area on the spacious landing.
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