After being stuck inside for what feels like a life time, we recently saw the restrictions ease up which allowed us to go out again. And we immediately grabbed the chance with both hands. Not only because we were all desperate to get out of the house. Or that we were we dying to do something other than homeschooling and hiding in our temporary home offices. The possibility to get back to work allowed us to instal a project that we started designing at the beginning of the year. And it felt really good to be back in the saddle.
At the beginning of the year we were happily designing a large commercial project. A challenging job in the sense that we could not see the space, so it was off plan designing. And, like with most commercial projects, we had to be creative as the budget was not sky high. Also, due to the projects deadline, we wanted to source everything locally so we put a lot of time into shop visits and stock checking. And on paper, things started to come together.
Little did we know that the world would be punched in the face, stopping every kind of business. Our orders however luckily had been placed when a strict lock down hit Dubai. And most of the furniture could be delivered over the last few weeks. So on sight, we had rooms and rooms (and roooooms) full of goods just waiting to be placed into their own future home.
These 20 hotel apartments belong to the Zaya Al Barari complex. With a tight deadline of 6 weeks from start to finish, we just had to make it work. Even though we could honestly say that a project of this magnitude would normally be way out of our league, our Dutch blonde enthusiasm (being a mixture of naivety, bluff and eagerness to grow ) never made us doubt for one second if we would be able to pull this off.
Yet due to the scale of the project, Live Loud Girl – a team of 3 – could not do this massive installation alone. So we teamed up with my Fronteriors partner, our office sharing/ stylist colleagues / friends from the House of Hawkes team. Couldn’t have done it without them!
Obviously, the world looked very different to when we started the installation. Where safety was never a really fundamental aspect for interior stylists (the chances of being hit in the head by a pendant lamp is pretty negligible), now health, safety and protective wear is a huge thing. So even with temperatures passing 40 degrees, we dressed up into our very stylish overalls accessorizing it with caps, safety glasses and gloves. If you ever want to detox, this is the way!
Commercial projects vs residential spaces
We wanted all units to be styled in a way that goes well with the environment and to allow residents to feel at home. Our focus was on creating a minimalistic and eclectic style with lots of neutrals and natural materials. We chose to paint different walls in each apartment in warmer colors to complement this and give an impact to each space.
Because every person has their own preferences, we mostly selected modular furniture and items that can have various functions. Yet all of the apartments were given the same color pallet and basic style.
Although you won’t see it often on the blog or in my Instagram feed, we do quite a few commercial projects. Last year we did the design and styling of hotel rooms, a beach bar on the palm and we have another apartment complex lined up. Despite the fact that these projects are logistically more challenging than residential spaces, we do try and put our signature on it. Even when budgets are tight or deadlines are tough. But it doesn’t mean we don’t do homes anymore. We believe that our homes have become more important than ever now that we spend so much time in them. So besides having worked on our own home, we also are taking on residential projects again after summer.
Done and dusted
As we have now finished the styling and installation of these 20 apartments, we can’t wait to show you around. This military operation is done and dusted and showed us that we can operate well, even during these bizar times and weird situations. And that is the beauty of our job: it is never the same.
Hopefully this tour makes you feel the heat, the sweat and the passion that we put into it. Because, no matter what the circumstances are, this is what we love doing.
Photography Marli Smit
Interior Design Live Loud Girl in collaboration with House Of Hawkes
Project Zaya Al Barari Hotel Living