When the stylish founder of handmade indian rugs company From Jaipur with Love, Elizabeth, and her husband Elliott, moved from London to an old Dubai villa in Jumeirah, the result was a harmony of antiques and contemporary pieces, coexisting in a perfect blend. With its original charm, their home looks very different from what you can expect from this modern city; classic with a bit of an eclectic twist, inspired by the love of travel and handcrafted pieces. Elizabeth admires the artisanal aspect of objects and furniture, and her decor, therefore, is a craftmanship manifesto. Stepping inside was for me like a time-travel journey, surrounded by beautiful art and furniture which are all more than one hundred years old, coming mostly from their families, giving a great warmth and personality to the space. Listening to Elizabeth’s story, about her trips to India, her passion for beauty and appreciation for artisan masters, and especially her inspirational path that led her to set up her successful company was a total blast. This elegant Irish expat in Dubai, mother of two girls, threw herself in a new adventure leaving her career in the corporate world behind. During a trip to Rajasthan with her husband, she went to visit the local villages and had the inspiration of customising and exporting these amazing handmade dhurries worldwide, with the aim of keeping alive the ancient skill of weaving. Her rug company was born. She employes today a team of sixty people, and for her the best part is seeing the artisan’s children motivation to continue this ancient tradition.
Who is inviting The Sandy Side at home today?
Elizabeth, founder of From Jaipur with love, a company specialised in Indian handmade dhurries. Mother of two girls, India and Alexandra, and a true lover of travelling, passionate of human rights and longevity of traditional crafts. I love beautiful things, handcrafted pieces, and I am very proud of being able now to support the future of my artisans. During all my trips to India where I have seen all those artisans at work, I couldn’t believe that all the details of the rugs were done by hand. I was extremely impressed and inspired by it. In Rajasthan, where I go now at least six times a year, I spend a lot of time in the villages, to create relationships and see the handweaving tradition continue; this business is a story of love, and India holds a special place in my heart for me and my family, it’s also where my now husband proposed to me just before sunrise at the Taj Mahal!
How did Dubai become your new home?
There was a job opportunity for my husband, and at the time, being a Board Director of a big advertising agency, I thought ‘no way I am living London!’. But here I am, after 12 years in Dubai with my new business growing day by day. During the first years here I have continued working for big international clients as well as very refined local clients, like syrian and jordanians, I met amazing people from the region. At the same time I was having babies and one day I decided to resign. Just a few months after, my husband brought me to the most inspirational and enriching trip to India, and everything started from there.
Could you tell us the story of this house?
Living in Jumeirah is like living in old Dubai without being old – like Deira. I love this neighbourhood, there is an extraordinary melting pot of nationalities in this road, and a big sense of community. This particular villa is truly old for Dubai standards, and for this reason it has a unique charm and some details that reminds me of London, like the volted ceiling in the living room. It is also very smartly designed; all the bedrooms are en-suite and the living area is perfectly planned with different spaces, tv room, living, studio and dining. We have filled it with furniture coming from all our travels and from family homes, giving it a great sense of warmth. I wanted a home to feel like a home, representing our family history with every piece telling a story.
How would you define the style of your interiors?
Classic and eclectic at the same time. Of course I have a special affection for Indian artistry, but all of our furniture comes literally from everywhere. Both Elliot and I love art, especially Scottish and Irish art, for our origins of course. Around the house you can see my favourite Irish painters, Liam O’Neill, James Brohan, but also Vietnamese painters, all very different, and I like having them side by side. For this home I chose what I liked and they eventually fell into place.
How do you manage family life with a nice home decor?
Children adapt very quickly and get to respect their surroundings, so also my daughters from a young age have learnt not to throw food around the place… they know it is their home too!
Tell us more about From Jaipur with love.
We produce handmade dhurries that are lovingly woven by our artisans based in various Rajasthani villages, each aspect of the creative process is done by hand for every rug so that each piece is unique. We offer our clients the opportunity to purchase ready made rugs in a range of colours, size and patterns (with some of them that go back of hundred years, patterns that existed in the ancient indian palaces), and we also have a bespoke service, with the additional option of adding pompoms, tassles, gold or silver thread. We love to get creative and update some old designs with bright colours and every project is inspiringly different. The aim was to be part of something that wasn’t machine made or mass produced, it’s so sad to loose artisanal products; I wanted to keep the skill set of these artisans alive by bringing work to them, employing them and paying them properly while others in big factories are being used and not paid. The effect of this falls on the next generations: if the children see their parents working and not getting paid well they will not want to continue the tradition of handweaving… our team is paid regularly and we go visit them very often. I care about this the most. Those villages are actually different from other parts of India because they are starting to earn money, but there is still so much to do. Lately we have reached so many people that want to help in the region, many Indians as well, and schools in the UAE that are sending stationery. We also have a school project on the table!
Where does your passion for interior decoration comes from?
I have always been interested in interiors, and I share with my husband a passion for antiques and art. In our home you can see so many different pieces, from the hungarians green sofas – taken from a family room in Budapest – to my grandparents’s armchairs, to all the handcrafted objects coming from India, Vietnam, Singapore, and all the places that we have visited.
What is your favourite piece in the house?
I love the pair of hand painted Vietnamese chests in the tv room, over 100 years old, but lovingly restored. The also hand-painted urn on the living room table, purchased in a shop in Dubai that imported antiques from the Far East, owned by a very charming greek woman selling beautiful pieces with extraordinarly interesting stories, and this particular piece is made of the most exquisite Chinese porcelain. I am very attached to the hungarian console in the dining room, that is engraved inside. Then of course there is my favourite painting of all times, the portrait of Irish writer Samuel Beckett from James Brohan, a piece that has an amazing story behind it of how it became ours after many many years .
Any good decoration tip?
Personally I don’t need the most modern or trendy designer’s items. I just want a home to feel warm, to represent our family history, where everything blends together in a diverse style. Always look in your family or childhood house if there is something very meaningful to you that you would like to have in your own home; when each piece has a story, it will give relevance and personality to your decoration.
An address to recommend in the city?
I love walking around the old area at the Creek, Alserkal Avenue to see the latest art displays and DIFC for its architecture. My favourite store is Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah, and Opera Gallery for its modern and contemporary masterpieces as well as emerging artists works.
SHOP THE STORY
HOW TO GET THIS HOME’S STYLE