Filling a home with furniture and accessories the whole family is happy to live with is a familiar challenge for many, but when the interiors you are creating from scratch have to appeal to three generations living together, the task really becomes interesting. This striking villa in the heart of Jumeirah, just a stone’s throw from the beach, is the perfect balance of contemporary and classic, with fun quirky twists.
Mona and Ashok Sharma moved to Dubai almost 20 years ago, with the plan of staying for just three years. “But Dubai is a place that grows on you,” Mona says. “It really is a second home to us now.” Two years ago the couple’s son Abishek, his wife Nidhi and their young son Atharv moved from London to Dubai, and it was then that the family started looking for a house everyone liked. “As soon as we saw the pool and the light pouring in from the modern, high, wide windows, we fell in love and couldn’t get it out of our heads and hearts – it felt like a very happy and peaceful house.”
Mona asked her friend, interior stylist Devjani Cox, to help her and Nidhi devise a style for their shared home that reflects both of their tastes. “I have always appreciated Devjani’s style and we share a passion for furniture and fine details. Most importantly, we shared a commitment to perfection. We asked to have a house that represented luxury, glamour, exuberance and faith.”
The first time Devjani saw the villa, it was a scorching summer afternoon. The grass was brittle and barren, the exterior of the house bleached an unwelcoming white in the strong sun. “But I could immediately see it held tremendous potential,” she says. “It had wonderful swathes of natural light and pretty vistas that could be seen from the courtyard garden; it was a challenge that was hard to resist.”
Faced with a blank canvas, Devjani took inspiration from the fact that both Mona and Nidhi are “style-savvy women when it comes to their clothes,” so she envisaged an equally stylish home. The sofas, from the family’s own company Spring Air, are in simple, muted shades of white and grey, enlivened with a punchy colour palette of red and fuschia accents that give the place the ‘wow’ factor they wanted. “I have always had an appreciation for the unusual,” Devjani explains. “Nidhi and I trawled through e-catalogues and of course the various stores in Dubai, and unearthed quite a few gems such as the pop art chair designed by Dubai-based furniture designer Noel Duigan, that we bought from Galeries Lafayette. We found the red Chinese cabinet from Marina Furniture, skin pouf from Ikea and coffee table from THE One.”
For the accessories, Nidhi was drawn to items reminiscent of the Art Deco era. She has taken courses in art and fashion and found an affinity with the 1930s Streamline Moderne movement – the zebra table is one example of this style that pops up around the home. Other objets d’art are global finds picked up on family travels.
Devjani explains that while most of her suggestions were welcomed enthusiastically by her friends, her idea of having a black entrance was not an easy sell. “When I first saw the lobby it looked rather bereft, just a large, beige space with no natural light and desperately in need of attention. Black is known to add depth to a space, but in my experience it also sometimes helps to cosy up an area. I insisted, as I felt that it would help to compartmentalise the space and would also add a mega dollop of glamour right from the get go. Thankfully when they saw the final result, they were delighted and very happy that I stuck to my guns!”