This week I have decided to interview a good friend of mine, that has been living in Dubai for ten years. She has an amazing house on the Palm, with a beautiful outdoor space and an infinity pool where all our kids love splashing around when she host parties.
She is the founder of a beachwear fashion line named after her , Amos by Barbara Fotiadis, for which she collaborates with local tailors and fabrics suppliers. While we are talking I can see some of her stock coming out from her office and I can’t resist to go and have a look. Colourful stripy kaftans and beach robes, greek-arabic style pouches and funky beach bags. I bet she knows how to live this sandy side of life!
The sun brights up every little space of their home; compared to similar villas, this is the one with the largest made-to-measure foldable windows that allow continuity from inside to outside and viceversa. Barbara had opened up everything for me when I arrived, and it feels like having the sea at your feet when you take your first steps into the custom designed wooden entryway.
It is exactly like she and her husband say, a “mediterranean home with an oriental twist”, inspired by both their countries, Italy and Greece, with textures and materials that reminds us of another place they love, Thailand. They chose on purpose an architect that had already experiences in South East Asia to help them design this gorgeous villa, that is now their permanent home. Barbara and her husband participated actively on the renovation of the house, when they started the construction she went to Rome just to choose slab by slab the magnificent travertino you can see on the floor inside and outside.
Who is inviting The Sandy Side at home today?
I am Italian, born and raised in Milan, while my husband is Greek. We have three wonderful daughters that I follow quite closely, as you know in Dubai they do plenty of sports and afternoon activities, and we also travel a lot with them.
I have created a beachwear fashion line in 2015, called Amos, that means “sand” in Greek and “love” in ancient latin. My love for the sea and the sand is what inspired me, and I have tried to combine a mediterranean style with the luxury touch of Dubai using only high quality fabrics. The design of the kaftans is simple yet sophisticated, enriched by colourful details.
The best part about this job is that I can work from home, that is my favourite place in the world.
How do you manage family life and nice home decor?
Each one of my daughters has chosen her room decoration: colours, wallpapers and fabrics. You can see they are all quite different, in particular my elder one, that is almost a teenager, wanted all blue and kind of a rockstar style room!
At home we have some simple pieces and some more fragile items, we also love art, so there is a blend of many different things. The kids just learn to be surrounded by various objects, I think they are stimulated from the good design as we are.
Tell us the story of this house.
Since we arrived in Dubai we have lived only on the Palm and I would never live anywhere else. Seaview, beach, big spaces and a home full of light. After ten years living in Paris, with a good job opportunity for my husband here, we have chosen it to be our permanent home. When finally one day we met the right architect to help us design our dream family house, we just went for it.
It has been an endless project and construction, with long time obtaining permits and authorisations, but now it looks exactly how we wanted it. My husband was changing floor plans every other day, he was probably meant to be an architect in another life! I think we have been a good team, he was working on plans and structures and I was more on the decoration. I have chosen all the materials and in particular the bright roman travertino for the floor. It is cut differently inside from outside and I am very proud of it, it gives the house an elegant touch yet keeping a fresh style.
My husband’s favorite room is the kitchen; he is actually a great cook, and he has chosen all the equipments. We have designed it to have a family dining area in it, and it is for sure the most used room of the house!
How did Dubai become your new home?
I already knew Dubai and i liked it a lot. When my husband got a job opportunity here we just decided to come. Our other choice was Boston, but I am not made to live in the cold!
How would you define the style of your house?
A Mediterranean home with an oriental touch. We loved the idea of the greek houses where inside and outside are in a complete continuity, with a lot of natural light, and we wanted to mix that with the style of a south eastern country we really like, Thailand. I think that combination worked out very well, I like the carpentry works in dark wood just next to our huge windows and very bright floor. When i am home I have the feeling of a cosy place even if the spaces are quite big.
Where does your passion for interior decoration come from?
My parents were not at all into decoration, they have always been helped by someone else. For me it came naturally when we decided to create our permanent home. It was important for us to have our own designed space, a place where you can live in every room without formalities, very functional and well designed. Both me and my husband worked on it together and we agreed on everything even without knowing what the other was choosing.
In your home, which is your favourite object or piece of furniture?
I am very attached to my coffee table, designed by Chi Wing Lo, the only chinese architect and designer to be embraced by the prestigious circle of contemporary Italian design. The table top is made of slate, and it fits perfectly with all the other materials around it.
It was the first piece I have bought for this house and I would bring it everywhere with me, in any house I would move.
Any good decoration tip?
Always think about the ceiling. Never leave it flat. Give it a touch of colour or a texture, and it will impose itself as a big part of the decoration of the room. That’s what I did in my entrance hall and in the dining room with a golden ceiling; it reminds me of Thailand, and I really like it.
What is your dream object that you miss in your home?
I am dreaming of having a big piece of art like a Giacometti sculpture!!
DECO NOTES from Barbara’s addresses in Dubai
Showcase Gallery: http://www.showcaseuae.com/
one of my favourite art galleries, that represents many African artists
Create Hub Gallery: https://www.createhub.gallery/
another gallery for contemporary african art
Obegi Home: http://www.obegihome.com
the place for design furniture, home accessories and top of the line kitchens
Le Coccole kids atelier: http://www.lecoccolekids.com/
italian designed clothing for kids and home accessories as custom-made kids tepees