My Dubai Rent: Turkish 'fur mum' finds joy in decorating her Dh275,000 villa for Christmas

Seda Solmaz prepares to host loved ones in the spacious four-bedroom Dubai Hills property she shares with French bulldog Bruno

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don't like

Seda Solmaz is a food and beverage industry innovation consultant who has been living in Dubai for 10 years.

The Turkish national, who is single and “looking for my Prince Charming”, is also “fur mum” to Bruno, her four-year-old male French bulldog.

Ms Solmaz, 45, took him on just before the Covid-19 pandemic and wanted more space for him as well as from which to run her business, Idea Atelier.

So she began renting a villa in the sought-after Dubai Hills community 18 months ago, for which she pays about Dh275,000 ($74,880).

Ms Solmaz showed The National around her home, freshly decorated for the Christmas holiday.

My Dubai Rent: Entrepreneur pays Dh275,000 for tranquil villa

My Dubai Rent: Entrepreneur pays Dh275,000 for tranquil villa

What can you tell us about your home?

I am in a four-bedroom villa with three bathrooms, a beautiful corner unit which is close to the community entrance and exit, but also facing a playground and greenery so it feels spacious.

I enjoy the extra bedroom and bathroom to host guests, who visit in the winter.

The maid’s room is storage for luggage and used as my pantry, which saves me so much space in the kitchen.

I am a gourmet cook. I love trying new recipes and hosting people, so I love the open kitchen since I can still chat with my guests as I am doing final touches to my menu.

I am thinking about hosting my first supper club featuring modern Turkish food … so much more than kebabs.

Where did you reside before?

I lived in Dubai Marina for eight-and-a-half years, first at Cayan Tower, then at Bluewaters Residences when they were both new. I love living in new properties. It was the same here in Dubai Hills, in Maple 3.

Bills are higher versus living in an apartment, but everything comes at a price. I appreciate the spaciousness of my home; it inspires me in more ways than you might think.

I love having a garden, not only for Bruno’s purposes, and grilling outdoors, so I bought my first Weber.

How did you choose this area?

Through a realtor friend. I was looking in Jumeirah Park, as it was closer to Dubai Marina, but she instead showed me Dubai Hills and I fell in love with the property.

Living in a villa was appealing to me at this stage in my life.

Having a dog, I really wanted a garden. In addition, I love cycling, so being close to Al Qudra track was important.

I wanted to be close to everything since I enjoy going out and socialising with friends, so I didn’t consider Arabian Ranches or Damac Hills. I also wanted to live in a new property, so didn’t consider Springs, Meadows et cetera.

What are the advantages of this district?

Dubai Hills is 15 minutes away from Downtown, Dubai Marina and everywhere else. I love the location.

The gym is great, well equipped and maintained. I work out there four or five days a week, so I have no need for an additional gym membership.

In winter, I walk with Bruno every day for 45 minutes around the property. There are lovely paths, well landscaped and perfect for getting in our 10,000 steps a day.

Is it a sociable place?

It is a friendly neighbourhood, many families with kids and dogs.

We meet each other on walks, in the gym.

I love celebrating holidays here, like Halloween. Kids come around for trick or treat, it is so much fun.

And I love decorating my home during the holidays. It brings joy, not only to me but also to the neighbourhood.

How have you personalised the house?

Home has always been the centre of my life. It has special meaning for me, so I always make an effort to make it cozy, welcoming and warm.

My guests always compliment me on this, as they feel it.

I have decorated my home in a minimalist way – except when it’s Christmas and New Year, I go all out.

I love the festive look of my house, garden and the entrance and always get amazing comments from neighbours.

How have you used your space?

I turned a bedroom into a shoe room, since shoes are my passion and I have some very peculiar ones – handmade, one of a kind.

Finally, my shoes have enough space. It makes it easier for me to decide what to wear since they are all in front of me.

Bruno has his own room. I love having a separate space for him; as much as he enjoys cuddling and being social, he has a need for quality time on his own as well.

Since it’s my first garden, I also invested in a nice, modern and casual outdoor dining set from Crate & Barrel, my favourite home store. I got a moveable umbrella for sunny days.

I love gardening now and buy seasonal plants. My garden is my little sanctuary and I am grateful for it. It’s a lovely place to host get-togethers with friends as well.

Any favourite features?

When you walk in, seeing all the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room … it made all the difference for me. In all my accommodations, I always had a lot of light, which affects your mood in a positive way.

Early mornings are my favourite time to sit in the garden with Bruno, enjoying a cup of coffee while listening to birds. This is also when I get my best work done as an innovation consultant in the dynamic and vibrant food and beverage industry.

I work with manufacturers to grow their revenue and profitability and support my clients’ fast-track innovations by bringing fresh perspective into their business while powering their ideation efforts. I work out of my garden a lot … it is an inspirational place.

Any downsides to the villa?

Perhaps the only thing is the AC bill, which is quite a lot higher versus living in an apartment, but that is to be expected.

There is no such thing as perfect, there will always be compromises, but in this case I feel 99 per cent there, and so happy.

Does the address offer value for money?

I love my property. This is why I signed for another year.

Having said that, as much as there is great value, I still feel the price is too high; Dh25,000 lower would have been more fair.

It feels 100 per cent like a home. It is up to us to make any space a home, depending on personal style. I see myself living here for more years.

At this time I’m not looking to buy, but who knows in the future.

Updated: December 24, 2023, 8:16 AM