Dina Zahran, the well-known designer and co-founder of stylista staple Dinz clothing, isn’t afraid of a challenge. That’s why, upon taking over the Al Barsha villa she now calls home, she immediately implemented a massive redesign that took around four months to finish. “There were quite a few things in the house that we didn’t like, so we made a lot of changes before we moved in,” she says, “we changed the kitchen, bathrooms, the bedroom floors, and the complete paint job. We felt it was necessary to make these changes to really make it feel like our home.”
Dina’s husband, Hussein Abdul Rasheed, was a willing participant in the project that also boldly transformed an entire bedroom into a much-needed walk-in closet, a place that they both adore. “My husband and I designed and chose everything ourselves. We’re both into design and interiors so this was a dream for us to work on,” Dina explains. “We each have very different tastes but love colour and a little bit of quirkiness,” she says, pointing out a living room shelf full of fascinating bits and pieces. “We tried our best to show both of our personalities in the décor of the house.”
When Dina says ‘quirky’, she means one-of-a-kind design details that are both sentimentally significant and a delight to behold; from the custom-made Converse sneakers with their initials to an Arabic ‘Life is Beautiful’ pink neon sign that glows permanently, to a giant wall sticker that says ‘You’re Not Bored, You’re Boring’ (hung next to an ice-cream shaped installation bought on honeymoon in Venice Beach). Giant ants peer down from the living room ceiling. “They freak people out but I think they’re super cool. We have a strange obsession with oversized and miniature objects,” laughs Dina.
Their attention to detail (and fearless approach to demolition and remodelling) extends to their relaxing outdoor space too. “We designed the entire garden, added all the stones and the wooden deck. We went to suppliers to source grass and trees and hand-picked everything. We even have a little vegetable and herb garden in the back,” says Dina.
● The Houzz home design app (which you can download from the Apple store) can be a great source of inspiration.
● Don’t be afraid to experiment, but at the same time don’t go overboard! Look for pieces that are different and will make your home unique but don’t buy every single quirky object you come across or your home will end up looking extremely messy.