My Own Home: Skydiving adventurer snaps up Dh5.5m villa in Jumeirah Park

Captain Fareed Lafta, the first person to fly to the summit of Everest and skydive, shares the five-bedroom home with his wife and two children

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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

Captain Fareed Lafta made plenty of headlines as an adventurer who skydived thousands of times, swam with sharks and once attached 350 helium balloons to a garden chair to fly over the US for eight hours.

The Iraqi-born businessman and pilot also broke his first record after flying to the peak of Mount Everest and skydiving from a height of 9km, and held a Guinness World Record, one of several, for skydiving with the biggest flag in 2012.

But even a fearless adventurer has to come down to Earth, so Capt Lafta – a goodwill ambassador for the Iraqi Red Crescent who does charity work with young Iraqis – likes to relax. He does so in a spacious home in Jumeirah Park, a short drive from the Jebel Ali office of the family’s steel-trading business.

The 45-year-old, who once piloted a MiG 29 fighter jet to the edge of space, has a museum/office in JBR [Jumeirah Beach Residences] for his “boy's toys”, such as cartoon figures and aeroplane models, so he can keep the rest of his family home simply decorated.

Capt Fareed took The National on a tour of the house he shares with his wife and their children, aged 18 and 19.

My Own Home: Skydiving adventurer snaps up Dh5.5m villa in Jumeirah Park

My Own Home: Skydiving adventurer snaps up Dh5.5m villa in Jumeirah Park

What can you tell us about your home?

It has five bedrooms, with five bathrooms, on two floors. I love it because it’s very comfy. And I have a big garden with a huge swimming pool. It’s a quiet area with a lot of greenery. I like nature.

We bought it in 2019, before Covid, and paid roughly $1.5 million (Dh5.5 million).

It is about 10 years old and it’s well maintained, so it looks brand new. It has a high-quality finish.

We have a dining room, which is separate, and we have a reception area and lounge. I love books so I have space to go and read.

We have a large kitchen but I’m not a good cook – I’m just the consumer.

We turned one of the rooms into a gym. I also own a gym, Easy Life Fitness, in Al Quoz.

There’s plenty of parking space and a garage. I have a Cadillac Escalade, a Humvee military car and a Lexus. Some of my cars are parked at home.

What made you buy this property?

We were previously living in Dubai Marina. We owned a big apartment on the 23rd floor. It was nice but I prefer houses rather than flats.

I have a son and daughter and I wanted more space for everyone.

In fact, not just indoor space, also the gardens, the backyard and a swimming pool, plus you have your own garage.

Why did you choose this particular area?

Because it’s near my brother, my sister and my father. Everybody lives in this area. We have four villas.

It’s pretty quiet and has less people around. The ratio of people, because the land area and homes are big, means it’s less crowded, there’s less pollution and less traffic.

It’s greener, a lot of trees and flowers, so it's healthier. Even the temperature, if I go from some areas to our area … it drops.

We also have great maintenance here.

Where did you live before?

Ajman was the first place where I owned a flat. Then International City, in Dubai, also a flat. And then a villa in Jumeirah Islands.

Why do you own rather than rent a home?

I prefer to own since I've been a resident here since 2004. Dubai is my second home.

In Iraqi culture, we prefer to own.

If I stay in an area for a long time, it's better to own my own home. I love to feel that it is my home.

But I’m not fascinated with investing in properties. We have family businesses, so I want to focus on that.

Have you ever seen your home from the air?

When I was jumping from the plane with Skydive Dubai, I was always flying over Jumeirah Park and Jumeirah Islands. I love to see my homes from above.

I wish I could get permission to land as a skydiver but it’s too small an area to land here.

Have you upgraded your villa or the garden?

I love what I found here when I moved in so I didn’t and don’t want to change anything.

Unfortunately I don’t have time [for gardening] because I am travelling a lot. I would love to. I also have a farm in Iraq and I’m always planning to plant there but I’m always in a plane.

Decoration is simple. We bought new stuff [furniture], modern and simple. My concept is about space, not about filling the space. It’s very comfortable on the eye.

Also I have a big 1.3-metre scale model plane on a stand, a Czech Republic L39 training jet. I used to fly one.

Are there advantages to living in this area?

It’s very well connected. Sheikh Zayed Road is easy to get to.

We have Ibn Battuta Mall nearby, and JLT and the Marina is next to us. The beach is near and it's a five-minute drive to JBR. We are away from the traffic though.

I have an office in Jebel Ali for my family business and I have my museum/office in JBR.

I’m not social person. Maybe because I'm travelling a lot, I have no time. So what time I have, I prefer to spend it with my family.

Sometimes we come together here and we have a barbecue.

Do you think you will stay in this property?

I hope so. I don’t like to move around, unless something pushes me to do that.

I like to settle down and stay there for as long as I can.

We own two more villas and six flats as a family that we rent to people.

Updated: November 22, 2023, 12:37 PM