Having lived in the UAE for the past 26 years – nine of which have been spent in this five-bedroom Jumeirah Island home – Shabana Karim, owner and Managing Director of The Nail Spa and Marquee Hair Salon, should have her villa shipshape but admits that there’s still more to be done. “I absolutely love interior design, but for me, a house is always a work in progress. It’s never something that is ever really complete. I rarely get it right the first time and love to take inspiration from everyday life,” says Karim, who isn’t afraid to start from scratch when she gets something wrong.
“Eclectic” is how she describes her overall aesthetic, citing some of her favourite pieces that seem to be a study in contrasts. “I have everything from an antique Persian carpet to a modern Ralph Lauren sofa set. It really is just very ‘me’! There isn’t one particular style or look – except, I suppose, that it’s all comfortable and feels homely.”
This is a home that offers up delights and discoveries at every turn, inside and out. Karim is painstakingly particular when it comes to her suppliers – her home features Spanish tiles from Salahuddin Road in Deira, specially commissioned Brazilian jatoba hardwood floors, and a pergola and seating area that surrounds her pool, while her garden is perennially lush, thanks to a skilled gardener. A regular at international art shows, auctions and galleries, Shabana’s art collection is another of her home’s highlights. Of particular note is a triptych by Spanish artist Alfonso Alzamora, purchased at Dubai’s Millionaire Fair, and a modern expressionist piece by French artist Viviane Cisinski, snapped up at the Opera Gallery in New York’s SoHo.
Despite this plethora of treasures, Karim is quick to identify her most sentimental pieces. “A few of my favourite special pieces of vintage jewellery have been handed down and I have collected some over time and would hate to lose them. No amount of money could ever replace those,” she says.
● Your home should reflect who you really are and embrace your history and heritage, but try to balance aesthetics with functionality – an equal focus on both should be kept in mind when designing any interior.