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
Just under two years ago Amberly and Christopher Frenken decided they were tired of renting so they bought a house across the road from where they had been living.
The couple, who have two children – a son aged eight, and a three-year-old daughter – now live in a large villa on the same cul-de-sac in the long-established Meadows community, in Dubai.
Ms Frenken-Metzler, 37, a homemaker from Canada, and Mr Frenken, 36, a strategy consultant from Germany, arrived in Dubai eight years ago and had rented for most of that time. The area they live in is close to where they both work.
Ms Frenken showed The National around the upgraded family home.
What can you tell us about your property?
The home is a six-bedroom ‘type 9’ villa located in the beautiful Meadows community.
It is between 15 to 16 years old and we did a full renovation, during which we removed one of the bedrooms to open up the landing, so it is now five bedrooms and five bathrooms.
The villa is on a cul-de-sac so it has a very large plot. We love the garden. We optimised the irrigation and planted a lot of plants and trees to give it a “Bali” feel.
We also replaced and optimised all the air-condition units as well as thermal windows to conserve energy.
When did you buy your home?
We purchased it in April 2022. We paid Dh7.75 million for the house. We had been living in a similar type of villa just across the street and had met the owner who was our neighbour.
What prompted you to take the plunge?
The decision to buy was based on not wanting to rent any more and to build a place of our own.
Because the villa we lived in was so similar, we already knew which modifications we wanted to make.
We knew we wanted this type of villa, so searching was easy. What won us over with this particular one was the huge garden and the location, just across the street from our old villa.
Why choose that particular area initially?
The community is surrounded by beautiful lakes and parks and green areas for cycling, walking and playing with the children.
We originally only wanted to purchase a villa on the lake as our old villa was on the lake and had a beautiful view in the direction of JLT (Jumeirah Lakes Towers), Dubai Marina and sunsets.
This was a trade-off between having an exceptionally large garden and losing the view.
The location is amazing. We are within walking or biking distance of shops, restaurants, schools and gyms and we are only 10 minutes away from Dubai Marina and Bluewaters Island.
How have you personalised the property?
We renovated and personalised everything for Dh3 million.
We got rid of three (all) balconies upstairs and expanded the indoor spaces, had customised closets put in every room, including a master bedroom walk-in, plus a brand new kitchen and washrooms.
We also removed all archways in the home and tore down many walls. We had custom-fitted stonework slabs placed in bathrooms as feature walls and even have a fireplace.
We opened up the downstairs living area with huge windows that open to make a real indoor/outdoor living space with tiles extending from inside to the outside.
We redesigned the entire kitchen. Everything is completely new including lighting, iron mongering, windows and AC units.
In the garden, we took out the large old pool and designed and created a new pool.
Any unusual features?
What was also exciting about this house was the previous owner had built a nanny house outside in the garden, with a kitchen, bathroom and a storage room. It was also modernised and fully renovated (by us), so our nanny has her own small house.
Do you feel better off owning rather than renting?
We purchased outright and believe we got a very good deal at the time. The process was smooth and surprisingly easy.
We haven’t saved by purchasing as opposed to renting, but it is nice to be able to own our home and put our style into it.
We felt happier putting money into our home rather than into a rental.
After the renovation and with the current market, we anticipate the house has doubled in price.
I think we bought it at just the right moment. Of course, you can always look back and see there may have been a better/cheaper time to buy, but it was the right moment for us.
The homes in Meadows are holding their value. They have a great reputation, they are large, and the community is established and has amenities.
Do you plan to stay at that house?
We love it, so we will not be selling. This is definitely a home we will be staying in for many years.
We have customised it very much to our taste and put a lot of heart into the renovations. I am never opposed to upsizing, but currently, this is the perfect home for our family of four.
We didn’t view it as an investment, but rather as a home.
Any plans to buy more property?
While the process of renovating and designing is fun, it is also quite stressful. We have thought about purchasing homes to renovate and sell, but that is not in the plans for the foreseeable future.