Recalling a Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic comprising wood cladding coupled with silver beige travertine sourced from Italy, the tall-standing façade of Latifa Al Gurg’s three-storey Dubai home, situated in the serene Umm Al Sheif area, is only a glimpse of what’s inside.
An interior view of Latifa's office space at home
Latifa, the humble owner of the home, is also the founder of Dubai-based fashion brand Twisted Roots, which specialises in clothing inspired by travel.
Upon entering the utterly peaceful, brightly lit space, the Danish-Emirati home owner’s love for nature, books and oak wood is apparent. Natural light seeps in through large, floor-to-ceiling windows and the indoor-outdoor design intertwines the space with the surrounding architecture and nature.
The exterior of Latifa Al Gurg’s home in Umm Al Sheif Dubai recalls a Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic with wood cladding and silver beige travertine sourced from Italy
It feels as though I have walked into a retreat nestled in the mountains, definitely not one located amid the hustle and bustle of the city life in Dubai. Latifa and her husband started working on the home in 2016; the space has been built by Dubai-based Wanders Werner Falasi while the interiors have been handpicked and curated by Latifa herself, in collaboration with Dubai-based H&H Studio.
“We have always dreamed of building our own home,” she says. “The location is a little quieter than where we were previously and we built the house from scratch - so it is completely our vision.” The abode features a neutral colour palette, with touches of blues and greens throughout. “Neutral colours are flexible and you can always add a splash of colour through accessories to change up the feel of the room,” says Latifa.
An interior view of the master bedroom
Complementing the casual yet formal ambience, the living room - which also functions as a women’s majlis - features a beautiful light bronze coloured sofa and beige armchair from Minotti, as well as a chic transparent coffee table from Italian brand Gallotti & Radice, marrying comfort with minimalist luxury.
Latifa founded Twisted Roots in late 2014, in search for something in the fashion world which spoke to her identity.
An interior view of the downstairs living room
“Since then, of course the fashion industry just exploded and there’s a voice for everyone now, but [back then] I was researching into why there was no voice for modest fashion - there were no brands that really spoke to me,” explains Latifa.
An interior view of the stairs in Latifa’s home
“Then I came across London college of Fashion and they were doing short courses on establishing a brand. One course led to two and finally, eight courses later, I decided that I wanted to start a brand that spoke to me and is inspired by travel - because I love to travel and I love the idea of exploration and discovery and when you explore different cultures, you really bring that back to your life which diversifies your identity.”
Today, the brand has an atelier situated in a warehouse in Dubai’s Al Quoz area. Latifa believes the industry is heading in a direction where people are more appreciative of quality and craftsmanship and prefer to maintain the product, “rather than it be disposable fashion.” The brand’s latest collection has been inspired by the beauty, culture and liveliness of Seychelles.
“It’s a sight in itself, you should see how women there wear menswear and go about it so confidently,” she recalls. “It was such a dynamic part of their culture and the nature there has also inspired me so much. It might feel like a cliché, but trust me, when you go there, you realise that.”
Latifa sits in her downstairs living room. She wears Pantheon dress by Twisted Roots
A testament to Latifa’s admiration for the iconic, late American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, several parts of her home have noted inspiration from his work. “So form following function was an important aspect in tackling the use of space,” she explains.
“I also am extremely inspired by nature so I wanted to use different natural materials throughout the house like wood, stone and travertine, as well as a neutral palette that could compliment the outdoors.”
An interior view of the study space
A highlight of the home is the upstairs family room, which features a large wall made from reclaimed bricks sourced from a church in London. “It feels like having a part of history in the home,” expresses Latifa.
The space is complete with a deep blue sofa and armchair from Italy-based Black Tie, adorned with blue and mustard yellow pillows, along with a contemporary glass coffee table in hand-burnished brass from Gallotti & Radice. This is the room Latifa spends the most time in, understandably.
“On Thursday nights, we order in and have a movie night and on Friday mornings we have breakfast together and chill here,” smiles Latifa. “The kids love spending time there with us.”
An interior view of the kitchen
Latifa, her three kids and husband love to read, and there are also plenty of coffee table books in the home by the likes of Mexican Style and Chic Stays from Assouline and 300 Years of Fashion by Rizzoli.
The home also features a men’s majlis, a games room and even a gym. “The house is airy, grounded and casual,” says Latifa. “I feel safe and relaxed when I step inside.”
The view of the living room in Latifa's home
The dining table, another stunning feature of the home, has been sourced from Dubai-based Fritz Kohl, comprising a natural iron matt finish, complete with a transparent lacquered base with an alluring black oak top.
“We haven’t lived here for long but already there are so many memories,” smiles Latifa. “Thursday movie nights have already become a special trend in the home as we are usually always on the go and that is our family downtime.”
A view of the chic dining table sourced from Dubai-based Fritz Kohl, comprising a natural iron matt finish, complete with a transparent lacquered base with an alluring black oak top
The space has been personally curated to suit the family’s way of living and to complement their busy lifestyle. “It’s a journey,” says Latifa.
“Everything needs to mean something in the space you have decorated. I think a slow, steady pace is the right way to go about redecorating.” As Latifa warmly wishes me goodbye, she adds one last message, “you have to remember along the way that the journey matters - the journey of your home adds to your life for the future.”
Images courtesy of Latifa Al Gurg and Aasiya Jagadeesh, ITP Media Group
From the Spring 2020 issue of Harper's BAZAAR Interiors