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Emirati Jewelry Designer Salama Khalfan Opens the Doors to Her Eclectic Jumeirah Villa

Salama Khalfan in the family room, wearing a dress from Easy on the Eyes. The carpet is from the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed initiative. Photo: David Wang

Nestled in the quiet Jumeirah district of Dubai is a haven created by Emirati jewelry designer Salama Khalfan. The villa lies among the low-rise buildings in one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods and offers a setting of ease and comfort; a place Khalfan has made a home for herself and her family. Raised in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Khalfan moved to Dubai with her husband, where she founded her eponymous fine jewelry line. Following the launch of her first full collection in 2014, she was awarded best daywear jewelry prize at the Ebda’a Award in Abu Dhabi a year later and opened her flagship boutique in 2018. The designer now sells elegant pieces of wearable art across the GCC, Europe, and the US to clients including Kendall Jenner, Scarlett Johansson, and Meryl Streep.

The hallway features hand painted urns. Photo: David Wang

A self-proclaimed aesthete, Khalfan embarked on an extensive, one-year interior renovation for her home, designing it intuitively. Combining influences from the 1970s with a scatter of original furniture pieces from that period, sections of the home reveal a chinoiserie appeal with hand-painted wallpaper and an antique pagoda. “Here and there, you might even stumble upon a hint of French aesthetics,” Khalfan says. “In theory, it’s difficult to imagine all three working together, but somehow it does.” She grew up in a house similar to her current one. “When I got married, I moved to Dubai, where my husband lives, and adjusted fairly quickly. We are a small family, but I have a lot of requirements for a house. I do everything at home – from working and exercising, to spa – so many of the rooms have been converted to cater to these needs.” One such conversion includes her son’s playroom, which, Khalfan feels, was the best room alteration the couple had ever executed. “I always underestimated the importance of a playroom until I had a child of my own–it gives me peace of mind,”she explains.

Salama Khalfan in the main entrance to her home, wearing a vintage coat and Saint Laurent heels. Photo: David Wang

The home is brought together by an expansive family room, which is Khalfan’s favorite spot in the house. “It is where my family and I unwind every day and where I receive my closest friends,” she says. “The room has a lot of memories as well as beautiful objects acquired throughout our travels as a family.” Another special space is her expansive closet, which includes such a vast collection of clothes and accessories that the designer had to get it digitally indexed to keep track of everything. “It also helps me create looks for special occasions and travels without forgetting about the existence of a specific item.”

A collection of Chanel, Hermès, and Wandler showcased in the master bedroom. Photo: David Wang

A champion of carpets, Khalfan has adorned her home with decadent floorings, found across the property’s sprawling living areas. She has opted to invest in meaningful furnishings from the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI), a UAE-based social enterprise and joint venture between HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi and Tanweer Investments in Afghanistan that supports Afghan women and children by providing employment opportunities in the arts, crafts, and agriculture industries. “I collect and love to invest in beautiful carpets with a cause,” she explains. “I have deliberately elected to furnish my entire house with FBMI rugs because I have so much respect for the cause behind it – and the carpets are absolutely stunning.” The designer also amasses fine objects made from silver and porcelain, which make her “camp out at auctions” to hunt for special pieces, while artwork brings a personal touch to the grand aesthetics that characterize Khalfan’s classically inspired abode. “I have several pieces of artwork, but the one that is closest to my heart is a Bellini oil painting that I grew up admiring in our house in Abu Dhabi and that I claimed as my own when I was 15 – no objection from the parents,” she says. “I love it because it’s a beautiful depiction of my favorite season: fall.”

The courtyard showcases hand painted silk wallpaper. Photo: David Wang

Professionally, Khalfan continues to work on exciting new projects and collaborations, including her current partnership with Swiss and UAE-based jewelry and watch company Mouawad that has been in development since mid-2021. A magnificent show-worthy headpiece that took numerous hours from both teams to complete has reminded the designer how exciting it is to bring creative people from the same line of work together to produce beautiful designs. She looks forward to collaborating with more brands she loves in the future. “As jewelry designers, we have critical eyes for details by default. It comes with the job. I seek beauty in everything I make, whether in jewelry or at home,” Khalfan says. “Building an environment at home that helps me breathe also affects the quality of designs that I create.”

The amethyst and silver horses in the majlis were a gift from Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza. Photo: David Wang

A wedding gift from a friend stands in the majlis. Photo: David Wang

An antique miniature pagoda from a dealer in Rome, with Salama Khalfan anemone coral amethyst earrings and ring. Photo: David Wang

The bright and open majlis is filled with gifts and precious items collected over the years. Photo: David Wang

Style: Mohammad Hazem Rezq

Originally published in the December 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

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