Life & Style | Home & Interiors

An entirely customised penthouse in DIFC

Offering breathtaking city views, entirely customised furniture and a delicate colour palette, this contemporary apartment is the epitome of pared-down sophistication

  • By Angela Boshoff Hundal
  • Published: 00:01 September 11, 2013
  • InsideOut

  • Image Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • Inspired by a less-is-more philosophy, Zohreh and Medy painted walls in tones of crisp white and subtly dappled shell-pink, concealing original red wood finishes on doors and kitchen cabinets with lacquered PVC car-cover film.
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Anyone who has ever rented a residential property might be surprised to learn that this glamorous DIFC penthouse apartment is, in fact, a rental. What’s more, the polished scheme of muted pastels and modern-minimal furniture didn’t come with the home. The interior design is all down to the tenant, Zohreh Dasmaltchi, as well as founder and creative director of CLSE Interior Architects, Medy Nahravani.

Walking into the large, open-plan residence on the 53rd floor of an upmarket apartment block on Sheikh Zayed Road, the first thing you notice is the magnificent wraparound view of Dubai through the floor-to-ceiling windows. “On a clear day, you can see all the way from Atlantis and the Burj Al Arab to Satwa, Deira and Nad Al Sheba,” Zohreh says. The second thing you notice is the interior’s beautifully proportioned, entirely customised furniture and accessories, designed by Zohreh in collaboration with Medy, and manufactured by Dubai-based Jomayli Interior and Furniture.

Zohreh and her husband moved into the apartment a little over three months ago with the intention of using it as a place in which to unwind, entertain friends and family, and as an occasional office space for Zohreh’s husband. They left their previous home – a suburban Jumeirah villa – for the contemporary, two-bedroom residence because they wanted “a change in lifestyle and pace of life,” Zohreh says. “While we really enjoyed living in Jumeirah, we felt as though we were far away from everything. We wanted to be where the action is. DIFC is such a bustling place. We love the atmosphere here.” Having said that, Zohreh admits that she wasn’t entirely convinced about giving up her suburban life to move into a city apartment. She soon changed her mind when she was given free rein of the interior design:  “At first, my husband was the one who wanted to move to an apartment in DIFC. To keep me happy, he suggested that I design all of the furniture for the new space. I’m really interested in design, so it was a really joyful and fun thing to do, and I love living here now.”

Inspired by a less-is-more philosophy, Zohreh and Medy painted walls in tones of crisp white and subtly dappled shell-pink, concealing original red wood finishes on doors and kitchen cabinets with lacquered PVC car-cover film. “That was an ingenious idea,” Zohreh says. “Because it’s a rental, we can’t make massive changes to the structure, so we integrated the original architecture and fittings into the apartment’s new interior.”

While the interiors are beautiful, Zohreh and Medy agree that the apartment’s principal talking point is the view. “Zohreh and I consider it to be an integral part of the interior, even the main focus, so we wanted the furniture and colours to work around it,” Medy explains. “Being 53 floors up and quite literally in the sky, we opted for an interior palette of whites, silky pastels, cloudy creams, soft greys, Italian silver and a dash of lilac here and there. We wanted the home’s palette to draw people in but also match and complement the sky and skyline.”

The same is true of the furniture. In the formal guest room, two-metre-high armchairs in a decadent, marbled mercury hue work beautifully alongside six-and-a-half-metre-long sofas framed with Italian silver. “On this particular project
I saw the furniture as being the body of the home and the accessories as the soul,” Medy explains. “To bring the home’s body and soul together, it was crucial for us to design pieces – both large and small – that were in balance with the rooms’ proportions.” Zohreh says that the furniture in the formal guest room is her favourite. “It took a while to get the design of these particular pieces right. I am so pleased with the result.”

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The more informal sitting area just off the home’s generous terrace is no less sophisticated. Drenched in sunshine, it gives off a warm, golden glow, radiating glamour and luxury. The master bedroom exudes pared-down opulence with a hint at modernity. “We’re not flashy people, but we enjoy beautiful things,” Zohreh says. “I think this apartment reflects that perfectly.”

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