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
During the pandemic Kelly Hodgkin and her family bought a six-bedroom villa in the Hillside community of Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates for Dh22 million ($6 million).
They moved into their four-floor “dream home” in 2020 and began a series of upgrades costing about Dh6 million.
Business mentor and entrepreneur Ms Hodgkin, 38, owns a Dubai modelling and promotions agency, is director of global media group PPMG and co-director of fitness brand Gym Clothing Co.
She has been in the UAE for 16 years and shares the villa with her husband, their three sons, aged two, seven and 10, plus two dogs.
Ms Hodgkin, from Britain, took The National on a tour of her home …
Please tell us about your villa
It has a cinema room, a gym and we built a salon/spa area as well.
We’ve an impressive man cave, which has two TVs so you can watch two different football games. There’s a bar, pool table, dartboard and a nice living area, so it's perfect for entertaining.
We have two big living areas downstairs, a dining area, my office and a play room.
On the first floor, you’ve four bedrooms and another living area with a big screen for the kids.
On the top floor is a master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, a master bathroom, a beauty room and another seating area/living room which I’m going to change into another walk-in closet.
Every floor has its own kitchen and we have an elevator.
What prompted you to buy this home?
It’s our dream home. We [initially] couldn’t afford it because it was at a time when maybe it would be risky to buy.
But then, because a lot of our businesses are e-commerce/online, we did really well. It enabled us to be able to buy the house.
We paid Dh22 million. One on the street just went for Dh70 million I think but we’ve upgraded ours quite a lot.
What drew you to this area?
It wasn’t the area, it was the house. It just so happens that the area’s really nice. The first time I came to Jumeirah Golf Estates was to look at the house.
It was very new on the market and it was like, ‘wow’. It was so different.
The finish is so good and they’re designed really well. We had seen so many and this was just much nicer than anything.
Where did you live previously?
A five-bedroom house in Damac Hills, Paramount villas. We still have that and rent it out.
If you name every area in Dubai, I think we’ve lived there; in Al Barari, we rented on the Palm, had a duplex penthouse in The Index Tower (DIFC), Polo Homes in Arabian Ranches.
Is space important to your family?
Yes, especially for me because I work from home the majority of the time. And my older child likes his own space so we created a gaming area in his room, and the other one’s got one in another living room.
And then the baby irritates the other two, so he needs his own space.
My husband comes home and if he needs some time out, he goes downstairs or has his meetings down there.
It’s nice that I can go to the gym in the house and he can go to the bar.
What other changes have you made?
The dining room and living room was open, and we’ve closed that off.
We redesigned the entire garden so we’ve got like a mini beach club.
We converted one area into an indoor/outdoor [section]. It’s got a barbecue, a big kitchen, multiple fridges, a pizza oven and AC running all through so we can use it in summer as well.
There’s a huge cinema screen for the football … you can tell it’s a football house.
We’ve got seating areas, cabanas, a big swimming pool and an outside toilet.
We bought our dream home – and then we’ve added our own touches. We host a lot of dinners and it is also a nice, peaceful house considering the size and amount of children.
Because it’s so vast, if I’m upstairs in my quarters I don’t actually hear anyone.
Is it a sociable neighbourhood?
Yes. I have ladies that live in Jumeirah Golf Estates come and train with me in the morning. And the clubhouse is just over the road, so that’s really sociable, we can go there for breakfast. There are tennis courts and golf.
It can be as sociable as you want it to be and as private as you want it to be.
Any more improvements planned?
I like to refresh it every year.
There are a few more things I want to do, like change the boys’ bedrooms. And my walk-in wardrobe needs to be done because my husband is acquiring more clothes and I’m getting slowly pushed out.
What advantages are there to owning versus renting?
At the moment, in the property market and financial climate, it’s really scary for anyone that rents because prices are creeping up and up.
And then if you do look to buy now, it’s so expensive.
Knowing that we own our own house, you feel a sense of freedom and security.
Do you feel you got value for money?
Yes, 100 per cent. I remember at the time we were umming and ahing: “Is it an investment worth making? Are we going to make any money on it? Or are we going to lose?”
I’m obviously super glad we did it now.
What would your home rent for?
I think, Dh1.2-Dh1.3 million.
Do you plan to buy more property?
We’re looking at properties in Tilal Al Ghaf we might invest in.
I don’t think the property market is going down any time soon.
If you have the money to invest, if you can, you should.