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This Stunning Seven-Bedroom Dubai Beachfront Villa Exudes ‘Soft Luxury’

Kate Instone, founder and creative director at London- based design firm Blush International. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

Set across the exclusive shoreline of Dubai’s La Mer beach is an imposing seven-bedroom villa that is defined by the mantra of quiet luxury. The lush property, which features a masculine and contemporary external facade, is masterfully juxtaposed with a softer interior to create a subtle atmosphere of calm and tranquility.

The master bathroom has a vanity top made from hand selected silver portoro with brushed bronze Gessi taps and THG Paris heated towel rails. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

For this new, multi-generational home, fusing functionality and design was a major component of the project. Therefore, space planning was key to bringing the interior to life. Kate Instone, founder and creative director at London-based design firm Blush International, conducted several meetings with each family member to find out more about her clients and their partialities. With this, she began to understand their goals and their lives within their home. “I found it fascinating learning about everyone’s needs, tastes, and opinions and then finding solutions to create comfort and joy for all in their new home and personal spaces,” she says. “We all believe that design and functionality are permanently intertwined. The house must work once the designers have left.”

The relaxed family kitchen looks as luxurious as the rest of the house. All the furniture is upholstered in Perennials performance fabric, which is inherently stain resistant. The rugs are from Ferreira de Sá’s stain-resistant range. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

The home, which took 24 months to design and build, was to be split in terms of preferences. The brief was to create a timeless, elegant abode that could be enjoyed by all. The aim was to harmoniously bring together the family’s different personalities and design styles into one comfortable space. “As admirers of the art deco era, we drew inspiration for the interior from the furniture of Jacques Adnet, the French art deco modernist designer. His work was very understated with clean lines and simple forms,” Instone says. “The client’s focus was on the quality of the materials, down to the minuscule detail.”

The master bedroom has a color palette that’s light and cool, and all furnishings have soft and fluid edges with corners kept to a minimum, resulting in a cocoon of cotton velvets, silk wallpaper, brushed linens, and cashmere. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

Inspired by her client’s design ethos of a simple aesthetic, juxtaposed by complex finish and detail, Instone referenced Adnet’s art deco heritage to keep the interior to a limited color palette, while combining the renowned designer’s favorite materials by incorporating woven leather into the wall paneling. This intersected smoothly with art deco-inspired handblown glass wall lights, metal details to highlight the change in materials, and the use of mirrors to evoke a layered and visually interesting interior.

The dining room with its double-height ceiling and picture window framing ocean views forms a strong nod to the art deco designer Jacques Aden. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

From the entrance, guests are greeted by a double height lobby with reeded marble consoles, veneered columns, and antique mirror panels, leading into an expansive main hall. The dining room showcases a dramatic double-height picture window that frames the ocean for a serene view. “The thinking behind this room was that the design should be ‘quiet’ so guests can enjoy the view and not be distracted,” Instone says, adding that here the furniture was specially commissioned from Italy to perfectly fit the space and client’s specifications for comfort.

The center piece of this bathroom is the dramatic bronze and hand-blown crystal chandelier. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

For the kitchen, the brief was to design the space to be as practical as possible for a relaxed feel. All the furniture is upholstered in Perennials performance fabric, which is stain resistant, including rugs from Ferreira de Sá’s stain-resistant range. Avoiding the overly flashy or ostentatious, Instone’s client decided to invest in high-quality materials, including Loro Piana fabrics, heavy linens, silk velvets, delicate cashmeres, and fine wools throughout. The walls are exclusively lined with Phillip Jeffries silk or linen wallpapers, while the marble floors are covered by Ferreira de Sá rugs. The house is accessorized like a super yacht, with cashmere throws carefully folded over every chair, sofa, and bed. Each coffee table, bedside table, sideboard, and shelf is piled high with Taschen books, baobab candles, Diptyque, Lalique and other beautiful objects, all meticulously curated by Dahlgren Duck.

Kate Instone conducted several meetings with each family member to find out more about their partialities for each space. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

For Instone, this project marked decades of expertise in the architecture and design field – which has always played a significant role in her life. Before establishing Blush International in 2007, the designer started her career in London, working with her father and then embarking on a decade-long career with Agent Design. “My father is an architect and interior designer and remains one of the main sources of inspiration in my life,” she says. “He specialized in converting historical English country homes into country house hotels, and I spent much of my childhood visiting these grand estates. I watched as my father would take these crumbling and often neglected mansions and transform them back to their former glory. I was obsessed by this transformation.”

The contemporary new build sits on the shoreline of La Mer beach, its strong and masculine architecture housing a must softer interior. Photo: Aasiya Jagadeesh

Now the designer continues building on this legacy with an increasingly busy and diverse roster of projects across the world, including the renovation of a historic palazzo in Tuscany, a sophisticated private project in Bahrain, a Boeing 777, and villa projects in Dubai. She also hopes to finally launch Blush’s first furniture range in 2024, after years of planning. But Instone’s most important project now is a personal one: her own home: “It has taken me over 20 years of working in design to really define my own style.”

Originally published in the December 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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