Shore­side Style

An eclec­tic, con­fi­dent ap­proach to dec­o­rat­ing has re­sulted in a stun­ning home by the sea on Palm Jumeirah

Inside Out - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND STYLING CHARLOTTE BUT­TER­FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY STEFAN LINDEQUE

Take a tour of this stun­ning Palm res­i­dence – one of the fi­nal­ists in our Home of the Year 2016.

There is rarely a day that goes by with­out Na­talia Vasileva feel­ing the sand be­tween her toes as she strolls along the beach, or cast­ing her fish­ing line into the sea to catch sup­per, so find­ing a house di­rectly on the beach was top of her list of pri­or­i­ties when she and her daugh­ters moved to Dubai nine years ago. ‘It’s not an un­der­state­ment to say that I am a fa­natic fish­er­man,’ Na­talia laughs. ‘I adore swim­ming in the sea too... It’s a big part of my life.’ This pas­sion for the sea is also a ma­jor in­spi­ra­tion for Na­talia’s decor choices in her home. De Gour­nay’s hand-painted Fishes pearles­cent wall­pa­per, used on a fea­ture wall in the hall­way, was one of her first in­vest­ments. ‘That pa­per is amaz­ing,’ says Na­talia. ‘It’s like hav­ing my own aquar­ium in the house!’ But this home didn’t hap­pen overnight: in fact, Na­talia and her daugh­ters lived in the house for seven years be­fore she de­cided the time was right to make some struc­tural and decor changes. Over the fol­low­ing five months, the house re­ceived a stun­ning makeover, and Na­talia made sure she was on-site ev­ery day to over­see the work. ‘I love the process of prop­erty devel­op­ment,’ she says. ‘I’ve done it a few times back in Rus­sia, and it’s es­pe­cially re­ward­ing do­ing it for your­self be­cause you know it’s you that’s go­ing to en­joy the end re­sult, not some­one else!’ First on the list was the kitchen, which was a dark, awk­ward space with two small win­dows and three en­trances. Na­talia closed off the win­dows and one of the doors, then knocked down the wall that sep­a­rated the kitchen and din­ing room, re­plac­ing it

with slid­ing doors, all of which made the space much big­ger and more func­tional. She chose a solid wood kitchen by Ital­ian brand Scavolini, team­ing it with a cooker hood and bar stools from the US. She also opted for two-tone cab­i­nets in­stead of match­ing units. ‘I like mix­ing things up,’ she ex­plains. ‘I would never buy shoes, a bag and belt of the same ma­te­rial, style and brand, for in­stance. It’s about com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent looks, and I like to do that with in­te­rior de­sign too.’ This ap­proach to dec­o­rat­ing is ev­i­dent in ev­ery room. There’s a clas­si­cal vase here, a con­tem­po­rary art­work there – an eclec­tic mix that’s de­lib­er­ate and painstak­ingly put to­gether. The first item that Na­talia bought for the liv­ing room was her cher­ished Ralph Lauren sofa – a tale of op­po­sites in it­self, with a tra­di­tional sil­hou­ette up­hol­stered in a mod­ern denim fab­ric. ‘It was this blend of su­per ca­sual with a clas­sic look that re­ally drew me to it,’ Na­talia says. Up­stairs in the master bed­room the story con­tin­ues, with a huge, or­nate Ralph Lauren solid wood bed as the room’s cen­tre­piece, with cus­tom-made white lou­vered cab­i­nets bring­ing a much more New Eng­land coastal feel to the room. ‘I wanted to con­tinue the colo­nial theme, to com­ple­ment the bed, but I didn’t want it to be dark, or too match­ing, so I de­signed these cup­boards my­self and got them made by a lo­cal crafts­man,’ she says. Me­men­toes from her trav­els can be spot­ted through­out the Palm Jumeirah villa: most of the art­work is from Thai­land, some vases are from China, the ze­bra rug was pur­chased on a trip to South Africa, as were many of the horns that fea­ture in the decor. ‘We have two Capri­corns and a Taurus liv­ing in this house so the horns seemed fit­ting ac­ces­sories, and I love their power,’ Na­talia ex­plains. Other ac­ces­sories in­clude those by de­sign­ers such as Jonathan Adler, Seletti, Mis­soni and Pols Pot­ten. ‘I choose things that lift my mood and give a nice, play­ful at­mos­phere to the house,’ she says. ‘I’m not a fan of or­der and sym­me­try. I pre­fer to cre­ate my own space and I love to see peo­ple smile when they see some of the funny things I’ve col­lected for my home.’

The im­pres­sive new kitchen is de­signed along clas­sic lines, with the large is­land pro­vid­ing a great op­tion for both ca­sual meals and en­ter­tain­ing. Right Na­talia re­placed the orig­i­nal stair­case balustrade with trans­par­ent glass to open out the space and fil­ter the nat­u­ral light through the hall­way.

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