Perched on one of The Palm Jumeirah’s fronds, beauty entrepreneur Mona Kattan’s Dubai villa is colorful, artsy and happy
Bright, beautiful, and peppered with dramatic design, when it comes to spectacular spaces, Dubai offers plenty of wow factor. As far as locations go, it doesn’t get more five-star than The Palm. It is home to Mona Kattan, one of three Iraqi sisters behind one of the world’s fastest-growing beauty brands, Huda Beauty. She is also the woman behind its fragrance arm, Kayali. The 34-year-old’s villa, which she purchased with her sister Huda, founder of the billion-dollar empire, features cinematic views of its location and the Atlantis resort, which reminds Kattan of Aladdin. “It makes me feel like I’m in a fairy tale,” she says. Here, expect the paradise vibe to rival the plushest beach club. Lazy days are for barbecues and loafing by the private pool, which leads straight onto the beach. “As soon as you drive onto The Palm, you feel like you’re going on vacation,” she says. “I’m a big believer in feng shui and I think that being surrounded by water is so good for any living species. It takes away negative energy.”
The villa has a big personality and its proportions are vast. At just under 1 500sqm, the grand scale of the property – epitomized by the seamless, open plan spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows – presents an opportunity to create a happy, art-filled interior. It is designed in the manner of any rock star Philippe Starck-planned home – incidentally Kattan’s favorite starchitect. Yet this cool, Travertine-floored interior has something else going on. On the one hand, the feel is floaty and serene; very much on point with the waterside location. On the other, it’s like a 90s bachelor pad with items such as a jukebox and Teckell T1 pink pool table. “I’ve always loved quirky furniture and art,” Kattan shares. “I like when things make you think, laugh, or smile. The house is calming because of all the water and white but I love the energy coming from the paintings and the fun aspects inside.”
After calling off her engagement to the timber trader Dominic Nowell-Barnes at the end of last year, this house is a true expression of Kattan’s personal taste. Her style pervades every corner of the space and she has created a home that she is happy living in on her own. Sheer white curtains form a halo and gold bookcases serve up dazzling lines, while a palette of ivory and gilding sets the chic island vibe. “Gold makes me happy,” says Kattan of the color scheme. “It is popular with Arabic interior design, so I feel like it’s my roots coming through.” Pushing the envelope with lashings of color, in the sitting room, huge pop art canvases are typical of Kattan’s appetite for fun. Each room is big on playful touches, which add energy and character. Disney princesses are a recurring motif and she has an anecdote for every piece. On the mezzanine, the paintings are by Italian artist Luca Valentini. Kattan says of the jasmine and unicorn piece, which she commissioned for the space, “I wanted to remind myself to have balance in life and to remember to dedicate equal time to love, romance, and happiness as much as I do to work. I’ve always been a workaholic but I’m trying to find more balance now.”
“Everything has a lot of meaning for me,” she explains, not only of the artwork she has commissioned but also in the creation of perfumes for her fragrance line, part of Huda Beauty. Launching later this month, the new Kayali Déjà Vu features jasmine, a flower Kattan’s father would always pick for her when she was younger “I would keep them until they dried,” she recalls. Two-and-a-half years in the making, the new fragrance is romantic and floral and is intended to be layered alongside the existing four-bottle collection of musk, rose, citrus, and vanilla-based scents.
Within the home, fragrance feature everywhere: in the office, bathroom, and dressing room but the majority of Kattan’s 2 000-strong perfume collection resides closeby at the Huda Beauty and Kayali headquarters in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. This way her fragrances are accessible at all times and can be used according to her mood.
The third floor of Kattan’s house is her haven and features her master bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet. A trove of accessories including sunglasses, shoes, and bags line the walls and the center showcases her wardrobe, featuring favorite designers Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yousef Aljasmi, Jonathan Simkhai, Alex Perry, Gianvito Rossi, and René Caovilla, as well as high street brands like Fashion Nova. Her bathroom is flooded with products, from scented candles to luxury skincare. Lab samples from the recent launch of her sister’s new skincare brand, Wishful, currently dominate the scene. Laughing as she explains that she lives only five doors down from Huda, she says, “You’d think that maybe we would want a break from each other after a full day at work. The only surprising thing about living here is that I didn’t realize just how amazing it would be.”
Originally published in the March 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia