My Own Home: Interior designer turns Dh3.6 million Dubai home into Scandinavian haven

Hanne Ommundsen wanted to bring a slice of her Norwegian upbringing into her UAE lifestyle

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My Own Home takes you inside a reader-owned property to ask how much they paid, why they decided to buy and what they have done with it since moving in

Norwegian interior designer Hanne Ommundsen and her British-Italian husband moved into their Dubai Hills home in March last year.

They have lived in the city for nine years, but this was the first time they had bought their own home, after renting in Dubai Marina since they moved to the UAE.

They paid Dh3.6 million for a four-bedroom villa in Maple 2, which is now worth more than Dh4.5 million without upgrades.

The National took a tour.

Please tell us about your home

It’s a four-bedroom villa in the Maple 2 community with a maid’s quarters, which we use as our child’s playroom.

Why did you decide to buy?

What was annoying us was not being able to do any renovations to where we lived. Our home means a lot to us and it’s really important to us to make it feel like a home.

That was the main reason why we really wanted to buy, as well as not having the risk of being evicted by the landlord. And, obviously, the financial reason – paying our own mortgage instead of paying someone else's mortgage.

I was also pregnant when we bought here, so we wanted somewhere quieter, somewhere with a lot of nature, the possibility to go for a lot of walks. Dubai Marina has a lot of tourists.

What facilities do you have access to?

We have a swimming pool and a gym. We still use the gym in Dubai Hills Mall, even though we have a gym right here, but it's very easy to get to the mall from here. It's seven minutes from the moment we leave the front door until we walk into the gym inside the mall. We've actually timed it.

There are lots of playgrounds and walking routes. We can leave the front door and walk for an hour-and-a-half around the community.

The one thing we're missing is a community centre, somewhere for the kids to play when it's so hot outside. And we're missing a local supermarket within Maple.

What is your interior design style?

It’s Scandinavian style. I have a certification in interior design and, being from Norway, I grew up with the Scandinavian style. I think living so far away from home, but loving living in Dubai, it was very important for me to create what I'm used to back home here.

The number one thing is to stay minimalistic. Look at whatever you have and if there's something you don't need, get rid of it. That’s going to make everything seem a lot cleaner and tidier.

I use a lot of white colours or earthy colours such as beige. The walls of the house are a beige, light brown. This gives us a nice contrast with the light furniture, so it doesn't seem too sterile and actually makes it look very warm.

What renovations have you done so far?

We've actually not done a lot. We've installed wooden flooring and we painted the walls. I think that's why people think we've done a lot to it, because it looks so different from every other house.

In the garden, we built an outdoor kitchen and a planter. I designed this myself – it was my dream for it to look like this.

Now with a baby, we don't like to go out that much, we like to have people over at our house so we can be with her.

It was important for us to build something that almost feels like we're in a restaurant, so it's very nice having people over and that our guests feel like they're somewhere nice.

Did you use one contractor for the garden?

I get a lot of questions about that. We actually did a lot ourselves. I designed it myself and then we got a contractor to do the bare minimum – they built the planter and the structure of the kitchen.

Then we got a different company to install the doors, we got the sink ourselves and all the decorative items.

I must have used at least 15 different shops and suppliers to build it.

By doing that, we saved a lot of money.

How much have you spent on renovations so far?

We’ve spent maybe Dh60,000 to Dh70,000. We’ve done other small things as well, like, for example, we installed custom doors under the bathroom sinks.

The garden cost about Dh40,000 on top of that.

Do you have other renovation plans?

We're going to do the kitchen soon. We’ll just completely renovate it.

We also want to landscape the front of the house next.

Then we always find something new, so I don't think we will ever stop.

Updated: May 29, 2024, 3:00 AM