BetterHomes – January 2018

01 January 2018

I want to incorporate sustainable elements into my home. What do you recommend? Installing smart home technology enables you to have customised control over your heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, music and anything else electrical, which will save energy and, in turn, reduce utility bills. Meanwhile, solar energy is hot on the UAE’s renewable energy agenda. Another element to consider is using natural materials as much as possible in your home. Engineered hardwood uses solid wood, but is constructed differently to solid hardwood and is better suited to our extreme weather conditions. Just check the wood comes from a certified sustainable forest. Windows also play a role in saving energy in your home. Double glazing combined with frames that are recessed into the floor will allow you to keep the use of air conditioning to a minimum during the hot summer months.

My living space needs personalising. How do I create a perfect gallery wall? There are numerous ways to do this and the most common is to use a variety of frames for black and white photos. However, I think this is a little passé. I suggest cutting a 5cm niche into the wall and creating a frame of approximately 30cm around it so that you create a shallow groove to allow for two layers of textures illuminated with indirect lighting. In that groove, you can attach a panel made from back-painted glass or that has wallpaper or leather stretched over it. Frame the panel with LED lights and paint the wall behind it. You can then cover that whole wall with personal black and white or colour photographs or an artwork to create a personal gallery feature. Have fun with it.

I would like to give my villa a luxury hotel-like feel. What should be my starting point? Start with the entrance area to create a statement and introduce the personality of your home. Oversized lighting will immediately create an impact. Another great way to elevate your space is to clad the walls with texture, such as leather panels with a metal strip in between; a metal mesh; or a beautiful, textured wallpaper. Ensure your seating doesn’t get lost in the space. Consider organic shapes, such as placing a beaten up sofa in the corner or positioning circular seating in the middle of the space. Edra Furniture produces some fantastic sofa designs.

My little black book

For Finishing touches:

As well as the big furniture stores, including Natuzzi, Western Furniture, Aati, THE One and FUSION by THE One, I recommend checking out the retail shops in Dubai Design District (d3), such as Tom Dixon, Ligne Roset and Driade. If you bring an interior designer with you, you’ll likely get a 25% to 30% discount, too.

Favourite light:

Hendrix suspension light in a bronze finish by Delightfull – it’s very unusual and big enough to make a statement.

Dream buy: Hanging Hoop Chair (pictured left) by Lee Broom – I have one hanging from the ceiling.