This beautiful five bedroom house is filled with warmth, light and at Christmas time, the laughter of four children who all return to the family home to enjoy the festive season together. Debbie takes InsideOut on a tour of her Hamptons-style home…
I have been in Dubai for 22 years, and my husband Ian has lived here for 23 years. I was a stewardess with Emirates when I met Ian, a pilot, but I run have run my own business for nine years now, House Hunters Real Estate. I have been selling Emaar properties since freehold was announced in 2003, which is what drew me to the Ranches in the first place.
We have lived in Arabian Ranches for eight years, we bought off plan in Savannah and recently purchased in Saheel. The Ranches is ideal for rearing a family, it is a very safe environment with parks, shopping centre, medical centre on your doorstep. You also have the golf club facilities and my children go to school here too. It has a small town feel about it, which I love.
When I originally walked into this house it was very dark and drab but I knew I loved the location and that I could put my own stamp on it and transform it into my Hamptons style beach house that I had envisioned – despite being in the desert! I like the open-plan layout of this house, as it suits my family’s needs and has a family room off the kitchen as well as a more formal sitting room, so you have two areas of living.
I started renovating the day I got the key! I removed the fireplace within an hour and it has been a work in progress ever since. I started by extending the upper floor and closed it in so we created a small study area. The standard for all the villas in the Ranches is a cherry wood and I set about changing the whole woodwork to white, including the stairs and doors. I installed oyster coloured floor boards from Nordic Homeworx and we are so pleased with them, it really finished off the house. I added a walk in robe to the master bathroom and gave the master bathroom a more contemporary feel with whites and grey colours to match with the rest of the house.
I love Pottery Barn, I think the staff know me by name now. Also Marina Home, Pier Import, Luz De Luna, THE One Fusion, but I did buy the bigger furniture items in Australia and ship them over.
I have bought a lot of accessories overseas as my husband is a Captain with Emirates so I get to visit a lot of exotic destinations. I went to Seattle a few months ago and bought some art from local artists at the Pike street market. I bought lovely candles from Nordstoms and some coasters there too. The following month I was in New York and I bought my handles for my dresser in my bathroom from Restoration Hardware, if I could have fit the chandeliers in my suitcase I would have!
Whenever I’m in New York I visit Macys on 34th ave. Its lower ground floor has so many Christmas bowls and old fashioned dishes. I bought a Le Cruset Demi Kettle which is an old fashioned whistle style one for the stove top. The Christmas food is fabulous too, with mustards, dips and chocolate pretsels in red white and green, puddings and chocolates. You get into the Christmas spirit there. I bought a lot of my other festive accessories in Pottery Barn. The candle holders and candles along with the cushions and throws and my fir trees there too. I had great fun accessorising. I bought my Santa Claus’ from Ace Hardware and my reindeers from Lakeland.
I have so many favourite rooms in this house, there are so many items I like in the living room, the big library, my dining room table where we enjoy nice family dinners and parties.
The piano has become a real focus point. Both my twelve year old son Jordan and I are taking lessons, it was on my bucket list to learn the piano and I told my piano teacher I want to be able to play a Christmas tune by Christmas day, but I am not sure that I will achieve this as I hardly have time to practice! Ian’s grandparents were famous musicians in Sydney; his grandmother was a pianist and her husband Sammy Cope had his own jazz band in Sydney’s nightclubs pre wartime, and so there is a great appreciation for music in the house. I suppose it is this room that really lends to the style that I wanted to achieve, it is very tranquil and a haven to come home to after a long day at the office.