My Own Home: Architect transforms Dubai apartment into stunning show home

Jorge Rangel paid Dh600,000 for the off-plan property before giving it a complete overhaul

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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

Architect and interior designer Jorge Rangel bought his off-plan, one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Village Circle after renting in Dubai for seven years.

Mr Rangel, 61, from Spain, snapped up the apartment for Dh600,000 in 2020, intending to transform the “blank canvas” into a live-in showroom.

Now, two years after he moved in, the apartment is worth more than Dh1million and is unique to the building, with its formerly whitewashed walls transformed by stylish mirrors, mosaic tiles and modern art.

Here, Mr Rangel invites The National inside to admire his handiwork.

My Own Home: Architect transforms Dubai apartment into contemporary live-in show home

My Own Home: Architect transforms Dubai apartment into contemporary live-in show home

Please tell us about your home

I bought my one-bedroom JVC apartment for Dh600,000. I've recently been offered more than Dh1 million for it, but I don't want to sell.

I bought it off-plan and when I first came to see the mock-up, I really liked the neutral finishes. It was like a blank canvas that was perfect for me to redesign.

I ended up changing everything except the flooring. I love the floor-to-ceiling windows, they fill the apartment with natural light, which is very important to me.

What made you buy your own property?

I’ve been in Dubai for nine years and rented for the first seven. As contracts are usually limited to a year in Dubai, I felt like there was no security.

Every year the rental price seemed to go up and it just felt like a drain on my pocket.

Even if you stay in a property for 10 years, you have nothing to show at the end of it. At least if you own the property, you’re investing in an asset. You need somewhere to live either way.

I’d been renting in the area for five years and I was in a position to buy so I decided to go for it.

Why did you choose this area?

JVC is very convenient for me because most of my work is in the surrounding areas like Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach Residence.

The area itself is also booming. We have five-star hotels and lots of restaurants, so if you want to go for a meal or a drink there’s no need to go to the marina or anywhere else. Your social life is not limited here.

We also have a mall in the neighbourhood and a petrol station.

Most importantly, we have a lot of greenery, which can’t be said for some neighbourhoods in Dubai. There are a lot of small gardens and big boulevards full of trees and spaces to walk.

It’s very beautiful and one of the main reasons I chose to live here.

How did you discover this home?

I'm an architect so it's part of my job to find properties for my clients. When I hear about a new development or something unique in this area, it’s my duty to check it out.

When I saw the plans for this building, I felt it suited me and what I was looking for. Most importantly, it had plenty of natural light and a neutral design.

The new developments in JVC are very modern and contemporary with lots of working space, as well as facilities that enhance the value of the property and the quality of the neighbourhood.

How did you find the purchasing process?

I spent almost two months negotiating a payment plan from the developer before we agreed on the terms and conditions. After that, everything was smooth and straightforward.

Once the building was ready, we did the handover after about two weeks so it was pretty fast, mostly because I was going to change most of the features anyway so finishings weren’t a concern.

After that, I spent about two months on the renovations before I was ready to move in.

What upgrades have you carried out?

I changed the ceilings throughout because they were covered in aluminium tiles which I found disgusting. The lighting was also really harsh, so I replaced all of the fixtures.

In the guest bathroom, I changed everything and in the master bathroom, I replaced the shower area and redid all the tiling.

In the master bedroom, I added cladding with mirrors to the walls and in the kitchen. I installed a bar. I even changed the light switches to touch control. It was a full makeover.

I had planned to spend Dh50,000 on renovations but to be honest, I lost control. I just stopped counting after we went over that amount.

I also use it as a showroom for potential clients. I love to show off the before and after pictures. It’s quite a transformation.

What are the disadvantages of living in JVC?

The only issue that I found living here is the access, which is only possible by Hessa Street.

Traffic can be quite bad but there are plans under way to open up the roads that link JVC to Dubai Marina and JBR.

It’s a massive job, so it’s not going to be completed any time soon, but they are working on it and it’s great news for the future.

Will you stay in this property?

We never know what’s going to happen in the future, but I have no intentions of leaving Dubai.

I’m very happy here and I have a very comfortable life in my apartment.

Updated: October 25, 2023, 4:15 AM