A royal majlis project by the design duo in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: One Tailored Residence

With over 15 years of design experience in the private residential sector in London, Fouad Qeblawi and Daniel Brooks recognised the boom in self-build developments in Dubai when they moved to the emirate. Seeing the demand for high-end interior, architectural and design solutions, the duo started to collaborate and form a design company that provides luxury bespoke services to families living here.

One Tailored Residences believes there is a clear trend in clients wanting to establish their roots here, with residences that are tailor-made to their requirements and family structures. There is a clear desire to stamp their own personal style on their properties.

Forever home

Qeblawi and Brooks, who have previously taken up projects for clients with dual residences in London and Dubai or Abu Dhabi, discovered that they were mostly catering to expatriates who were in the region a long time and wanted to embed their roots in designing their “forever home”. They have been working with developers who create “one-of-a-kind” residences that are ready to move in. One has worked on properties in Emirates Hills and, more recently, in Dubai Hills, where they have designed a limited collection of villas that were handed over as “shell and core” units.

The process, as Qeblawi and Brooks explains, starts with getting to know clients, understanding what they require from every aspect of the build, harnessing the functionality required from the residence, not just now but in years to come. Drawings are generated, re-worked and then a 3D design is created. Using computer generate imagery technology, the team provides clients an interactive simulation of their residence so they can walk through the home, as visualised on the computer. This allows clients to experience the parameters of the build: spiral staircases, furniture placement, even the best place for artwork before making the crucial decisions. “It brings your residence to life before it becomes reality,” explains Qeblawi.

Challenges

Qeblawi and Brooks say self-build and high-end design is a well-trodden path in London, where there are highly skilled artisans and contractors to choose from. In the Middle East, the use of skilled labour is a burgeoning market, but interestingly a lot of European companies have exploited this gap and are moving in.

While local contractors can deliver the structural framework, it is vital to have good quality architectural drawings to reduce the possibility of misinterpretation.

There is also the challenge of working in a culture where clients want everything done now, but One encourages clients to buy-in emotionally to their build and understand that it takes time to deliver a quality product; rushing a build may cost more as hidden cracks appear later.

From concept to design it takes an average of six to nine months. During the design stage, consideration is given to a multitude of elements: internal lighting, acoustic separation, insulation, air conditioning and so on. Complex and important decisions are made in collaboration with the client, hence minimising the stress of the build process. “We take a strategic and holistic approach to a build, working from the inside out,” says Brooks. “Following the design stage, completion of a build can take anything up to two to three years. Timescales vary depending on the nature and size of the project.”

Refined and elegant

Whether it’s a palatial villa in Emirates Hills with a decadent interior or a minimalistic beachfront villa on Jumeriah Bay Island with polished concrete floors, the residences are all refined and elegant. So does a tailored residence increase the value of the property? Quite simply, yes. However, this only matters if you are a developer or individual whose interest is in resale. For those wanting their forever home, the only thing that matters is that this is something you will cherish forever.