As soon as the front door swings open to this Barsha Heights loft apartment, you can’t fail to feel uplifted and instantly happier. Swathes of natural light flood the open-plan living space and confident pops of colour are evident on every surface: a bright pink rug anchors the dining table, a bold purple sofa takes centre stage in the living space, while vibrant art and quirky objets d’art line the walls and shelves.

The owner of this eclectic space is Italian-born Ivana Maglione, who moved to Dubai in 2002 to work for Emirates, before swapping a career in the skies for life as a photographer. After living in The Greens for a few years, she moved less than a kilometre away to her new home, renting this loft for four years before eventually buying it a year ago. ‘As soon as the deeds were signed, the first thing I did was change the two bathrooms,’ Ivana says. Replacing the tired suite with streamlined sanitaryware from Bagno Design, Ivana also eschewed traditional tiles for industrial-style brushed concrete for the walls and floors. ‘I love this look, and I think it really works in the small space,’ she says.

Downstairs, the black high-gloss kitchen opens on to the dining area, which in turn leads into the living space: this is overlooked by the mezzanine, giving it a wow-factor double height. Ivana has deliberately kept all the walls of her apartment stark white, allowing the bold tones of her furniture and accessories to really stand out. ‘I’m very lucky,’ she says. ‘A lot of my favourite things were actually gifts, either from clients or friends, such as my throne chair, and Perspex coffee table, and some were even props from photoshoots I’ve worked on.’

Moving upstairs, Ivana’s creative approach to decor continues with a bed inspired by an installation she spied at the Burning Man festival in the US. It has light cotton strips suspended from wires that gently sway in the breeze of the air conditioning, making it a very zen place to relax. Innovative touches like bedside tables made from piles of books, map wallpaper, and oversized canvases of her own photography all allow an insight into Ivana’s unique character. The only design style she admits prescribing to is buying things she really, really, likes. ‘I see a piece, I love it and if I can afford it, I buy it. I don’t ask myself if it will fit with the rest of my things!’

Furnishing with her heart and not her head is an ethos that has definitely paid off as her loft is filled with personality and unique touches, which strongly appealed to our Home of the Year 2016 judging panel. ‘This is a fun interior and the homeowner’s personality really shines through,’ said interior designer Pia Lakshmi Sen, while colour consultant Toni Snyder applauded Ivana’s unafraid approach to vibrancy: ‘From a colour perspective, Ivana’s home is perfectly bold. She has the same intensity of colour in her palette throughout and has put lots of effort into the overall scheme.’

Anybody who visits this eclectic and individual home will surely agree. 

Styling by Charlotte Butterfield.


The Owner Italian-born Ivana Maglione moved to Dubai in 2002 from Brighton in the South of England. She owns her own photography business.

The Home This Barsha Heights loft is completely open plan, with a kitchen, dining and living space and cloakroom all on one floor, and a bedroom and bathroom on a mezzanine overlooking the living area. There are two balconies, one overlooking the racecourse, and one taking in the views of neighbouring The Greens across to Media City.