2013 - Inside Out - (Mar - Apr 2013 Issue)

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When you own properties around the world, the temptation is to replicate a signature style that you know and love, regardless of which continent you're on. Not so for the Dutch managing director of an oil and gas company who owns this spacious four-bedroom penthouse in Tiara Residence on the Palm Jumeirah. He enlisted the help of interior architect Hadeel Abu Baker of Zen Interiors to design his newly acquired property. Hadeel says her client's words were, "I want to feel as though I'm living in Al Qasr Hotel, but apart from that, surprise me." Never one to turn down a challenge, Hadeel put her love of sleek contemporary design to one side and started researching and immersing herself in all things Arabesque. "I really enjoyed designing in a different style and learning more about the architecture and influences of my own culture at the same time,"she says.
When the homeowner first got the key to the apartment it was sparsely furnished and decorated in a simple, modern style with wall-to-wall carpets, dark wallpaper and leather bedroom suites. Hadeel began the dramatic renovation by studying the original floor plan. She decided td create a more traditional layout by adding a majlis and architectural details inspired by the Roman influence on Islamic architecture, like columns and architraves. "I also repeated patterns using techniques such as mashrabiya on brackets, television units and cushions," says Hadeel. 

For the furniture, large cream sofas designed by Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, sourced from Bloomingdale's Home, were the perfect blend of comfort and elegance, and Hadeel designed the wall and TV units herself. The Cocoon coffee table, Tribeka bench and Poet side table were all from Zen Interiors' Box range as its dark wood befitted the Middle Eastern theme. In the dining room, the Wedge dining table, Citie buffet counter and the large Baluga mirror are all from the Box collection. Dining chairs from THE One have been reupholstered in a neutral cream fabric from Silkland. 
The bedroom suites have different colour schemes, but maintain the same design parameters as the rest of the penthouse. Moorish patterned screens Inside and bedspreads, dramatically shaped headboards, opulent crystal chandeliers, Moroccan canopy designs and artwork with beautifully delicate Arabic calligraphy all work together to create restful Bedouin-inspired bedrooms.
Elements like the textured stucco paint effects, created by Dubai-based Glamour Paint who specialise in creative finishes for walls and ceilings, show attention to detail and authenticity. Each aspect of the home was meticulously researched before it was created. A transformation from new to old is a rare, but welcome journey we seldom see in homes across the region.