InsideOut’s Revealed the winner for home of the year 2018 – a stunning villa in Mira, Dubai.
Be inspired by this winning house, where Danish owner Bettina Frimman Larsen has created a cosy family space using a Nordic pallete and chic Art Deco features.
“For me winning is a stamp of approval for this kind of style that i have, it will really boost my self-confidence’, said Bettina Frimman Larsen, the winner of insideOut’s Home of the year 2018. “When people visit, they say it’s homey but all i see is what is missing – even when i knew i was shortlisted my first instinct was to change things”.
While the Danish expat remains modest about her sense of style and ability to accessorise, she displays a naturally talented eye for styling and design, custom-making furniture, upcycling pieces the family has had for years, and mixing a cool Nordic aesthetic with fashionable statement trends.
There’s a subtle cohesion between all the spaces, which the judges picked up on and praised. Brass flourishes throughout – living room vases, the kitchen cupboard handles, the bedside tables, the geometric detail on a wardrobe door – paired with green glass and marble, and offset with black accents, all subtly hint at one of the greatest movements in design, Art Deco. This meets a crescendo in the master bathroom, a stunning marbled space that perfectly represents this bold era.
This creative home, full of life and personality, is the result of a year-long project. After 15 years of renting in the UAE – and moving nine times – Bettina and her husband Jacob became homeowners in February 2017, buying in Mira where they knew they would feel at home amongst the other working families that are drawn to the area.
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Before they moved in, Bettina instinctively knew the property would benefit from a Danish uplift and she set to work creating an open kitchen with bespoke units, and resurfacing the floors in a satin-soft, cement-grey finish. ‘The house was brand new – it had just been handed over from the developer – so everyone thought we were mad demolishing the kitchen walls and ceiling,’ recalls Bettina. ‘While we’re used to open-plan living in Denmark I also think you need to have separated areas, so we opened the doorway and half a wall, making a window that overlooks the dining area.
Bettina has successfully created distinct zones on the ground floor, embracing the challenge of the compact rooms. She’s used paint to effectively transform the space and her furniture; in both the living room and entrance hall she’s given old IKEA furniture a new lease of life in dramatic black, painting cabinets, shelving units and walls so they blend together to create a feature wall or corner.
‘This dark colour was a big risk to do,’ she says. ‘Because we weren’t sure, we bought a sample pot and started in one corner…then we kept painting and painting and ended up covering the whole wall. It really works and I like that it gives the living room a more modern look.’
While she’s sourced the furniture, lighting and accessories from a variety of international and local brands, the master bedroom is a true nod to her home country. With only four pieces of furniture – a large bed draped with crushed linen, two repainted bedside tables, and a leather chair from Sri Lanka – surrounded by white, wood-panelled walls, the bedroom is a fuss-free, breathable space. ‘I love this room; it’s the first time we’ve had a bedroom where we think it’s a really lovely place to sleep,’ says Bettina. ‘Wall panels in this period style are very common in apartments in Denmark, and because I was moving towards an Art Deco style I liked the clean lines and bare walls that the panels bring to the room; they’re a focal point themselves.’ Using Pinterest for inspiration, she measured and drew the panels before showing the design to a carpenter. ‘It’s a cheap and easy way to change your walls,’ she says. ‘I would love to have them all over the house, however, the rooms are too small for this style.’