Tucked away on a quiet street in Umm Suqeim is Emilie Jacob’s tranquil abode, emanating an energy full of warmth and vibrancy from the very first step inside. Each room exudes joie de vivre — if happiness could be visualised, this is it. After meeting the home stylist and founder of Dubai-based interior styling firm, Stella and the Stars, it’s crystal clear what her home represents. Emilie’s bubbly personality is splashed all over the space in vibrant pops of colour, quirky wall art, pink neon lights, a poodle lamp… you get the picture. “It’s your house, it should be fun,” laughs Emilie, the mother of two, soon-to-be three in April.
The whimsical poodle lamp on the shelf is by British designer, Abigail Ahern
Upon entering we’re greeted with a statement banana leaf print wall designed by British artist-cum-designer, Rebecca Loftus. The founder of online store The Loft and Us, was one of the first to approach Emilie about a collaboration back when she launched her Instagram account six years ago. The living room, Emilie’s personal favourite space, features a bold teal-coloured wall (which was grey only six months ago), adorned with artwork sourced from Drawdeck and a few original pieces; a tiger print by London-based printmaker, Aida Wilde from Nelly Duff Gallery and a limited-edition print piece of a bear by contemporary British artist, Louise McNaught from an online gallery, Rise Art. All sat alongside digitalised works from a collection in collaboration with Ikea and visual artist Chad Wys – one of Emilie’s all-time favourite artists, an iconic David Bowie piece sourced from a gallery in France and other prints from US-based Society6, an online art maketplace.
British designer, Abigail Ahern's rabbit lamp adorned in front of a statement banana leaf print wall designed by British artist-cum-designer, Rebecca Loftus
The whimsical rabbit and poodle lamps that line the shelves are by British designer, Abigail Ahern, who is one of Emilie’s biggest inspirations since she began the quirky collection in 2008. Perhaps the artwork that says it all, however, hangs in her six-year-old daughter’s room, which reads, “But without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”
Prada wall piece from Drawdeck; custom-made bed; lip cushion from BEA Akerlund for IKEA; pillows from Honoré Deco
Emilie admits the daring style of her home may not be for everybody but is quick to add “it’s not boring.” “The mix of colours and the bold and playful accessories make it a fun and quirky space that makes me smile every time I get home after a long day.” The most recent additions to the space are the offbeat cushions layered on the large grey sofa in the living room.
She sourced them from Wear The House, a company launched by Dubai-based fashion designer and dear friend, Jennifer Black. Her absolute favourite piece in the house? “I can’t tell you that,” she smiles. Not because it’s a secret, but because it’s simply too hard for her to choose. "I love everything together.”
Wall above the dining table features a Prada artwork from Etsy, work by Chad Wys for IKEA, ‘CHIC’ print from Olive et Oriel, dog wall piece from Abigail Ahern, Benjamin Moore Turquoise wall, Queen Elizabeth pop art from Art & Hue and trinkets collected over the years during Emilie’s travels
Named after her daughter, Stella and the Stars has seen the design maven work across various projects, from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom villas across Dubai, including in Deira, Jumeirah Park and DIFC. Her fun, kaleidoscopic aesthetic is often inspired by up-and-coming cafés and boutique hotels in Dubai.
Teddy’s nursery features Zara Home bed sheets and a star cushion and canopy from Numero 74 at Smallable
Being in Emilie’s home, it’s hard to imagine that she once worked in the media industry in London for many years and that her studies were in fact focused in medical journalism. “I always felt like I was good at it, but it was never something I was passionate about,” she recalls. And so, while renovating her four-bedroom house in London from scratch in 2010, she not only discovered her love for interior design, but identified an important gap in the market – how can we utilise low budgets and achieve a big impact when styling homes? This became the philosophy behind her brand – low budgets, big impact.
Anna Hayman Designs DecoFabulous Green Dianne Lamp Shade
“It doesn’t mean cheap,” explains Emilie. “It means if you love designer pieces but you can’t afford to have a Jonathan Adler table, you can invest in a vase or an accessory instead. It’s about being smart in the objects you invest in and not being scared of mixing things,” she shares. “Be bold and don’t be afraid of going for something different.”
This mindset is certainly reflected throughout her three-bedroom home. She leaves us with one beautiful thought, “For me, the most important thing is that our home reflects our personalities. It doesn’t follow trends, it is a curated selection of pieces that make us happy. In the words of Marie Kondo, we only have things in our home that spark joy and make us feel great.”
All images photographed by Efraim Evidor, ITP images
From Harper's Bazaar Arabia February 2020 issue