Located just 20 minutes from Muscat on the shores of the Gulf of Oman in a hidden cove is Barr Al Jissah. A luxury haven known for its exclusive villas and mesmerising landscape, beautifully crafted homes are visually in tune with the surrounding cliffs and deep blue waters. It is here amidst this dreamy scene that Dubai-based Portuguese designer Sneha Divias created one of her latest projects: a 1,100-square-metre villa spread over two floors. Her client, a family that spends most weekends at the home, loves clean modern spaces and comfortable living. “A sense of character is key in residential projects, it should be all about the people living there and our aim was to reflect the lifestyle and personality of the owners,” says Divias.
Open living room and dining areas on the ground floor
This particular client desired a sleek contemporary aesthetic with a strong outdoor living component. “The idea was to create a habitat that reflected the location and worked as a comfortable base for socialising and entertaining,” she adds, stressing how she incorporated a harmonious flow into the plan of the space, allowing for a holistic style of living integrated into the social and private areas. The palette Divias used involves hard finishes with contrasting wood and brass metal details. These were then accentuated with glossy surfaces and warm hues of colour, further heightened by brass metal, elegant lacquer and wood – all serving the rich aesthetic of the villa. When one arrives they will immediately take note of the double height wooden shelving unit, complemented by the custom PS Lab lighting installation in brass. “This combination of materials, along with the marble flooring throughout, sets the tone for the design direction of the villa,” explains Divias.
Sneha fixing objects on the floor-to-ceiling bookcase
The open living and dining room areas on the ground floor is a particular highlight. In this space, adds Divias, a contemplative ambiance is reinforced by various seating, yet it is largely through the accessories that Divias has incorporated – the layering of books, vases, candles, objects and sculptures – that reflect her design philosophy. These elements bring out the delicate brass metal composition used throughout the villa. Moreover, Divias attempted to endow the home with aspects from the landscape outside. This plays out, she says, by contrasting soft elements with sharp lines. “These empower the contemporary mood of the villa,” she adds, explaining how such consistent details call attention to the property’s privileged views and outside areas. Also on the ground floor is a family lounge separated from the living and dining areas as well as a full height of shelving – a handsome addition serving to inject privacy and seclusion into the home.
A sculpture handpicked by Sneha Divias
A quick walk around this dreamy abode and the visitor will quickly notice the beiges and greys, which are accented with shades of blue. The space gives way to a rich feeling – the succulent forms and colours soak up one’s palette for design with alluring juxtapositions. The overall lighting incorporates brass while the floor lamps behind the sofa in the formal living area are from Flos. The lush blue armchairs, which give the villa vibrant spark, were supplied by Nakkash Gallery. Meanwhile, the family living area has a TV unit and it is ideal for relaxing in a U-shaped seating area. The dining room table is inviting and takes centre stage. Also here is the Cattelan Italia table with brownish marble veins complemented by Minotti fabric chairs. There’s also the Tom Dixon plane chandelier, which pops in form but allows for the incorporation of metal into the overall scheme. “The combination of these elements evokes this grander feeling that makes the dining area stand out as an entertaining space,” explains Divias.
The bedroom featuring furniture custom-made by Divias’s Atelier, with the brass chandelier by Lee Broom and table lights by FLOS
“The Prestige House rug grounds this area and it is a beige neutral silk piece manufactured in India.” In the master bedroom, all furniture was custom-designed by Divias's Atelier. The brass chandelier is from Lee Broom and was supplied by Super studio in Dubai, and the table lights are again from FLOS. Included is also a vanity area completed with an integrated sideboard. This is a home that prioritises an unpretentious attitude – one which caters to refined tastes of comfortable and uncluttered living. Divias, who moved to Dubai four-and-a-half-years ago after graduating in Porto, Portugal, worked as an architect for a couple of years before taking an interior design course at New York University to strengthen her craft. “I wanted to be able to work on architecture and interiors in an integrated and holistic way,” says Divias. The Muscat Villa is a fine example of the designer’s smooth lines, subtle luxury and emphasis on colour and materials. “I am currently working on interior architecture and design,” says Divias. “It is definitely an advantage to have the architectural background as it is a varied subject that gives me know-how in order to support my designs.”
Sneha on the terrace of her latest project in Oman
Over the course of her brief time in Dubai, Divias has worked on a number of major residential and commercial projects, including villas in Jumeirah Golf Estates, apartments and offices in DIFC and boutiques at the The Dubai Mall. “To me, great design is not solely about the outcome, but the essence lies in the process,” explains Divias. “It is about the impact it has on its users. What matters is how design makes you feel, as well as how well it was delivered in terms of time and budget.”
Villa Muscat couldn’t be more on point with her brand’s ethos. “Great design should be conceptualised to be timeless and respond to the context of the narrative,” she adds. “We believe that good residential interior architects contribute to improving people’s quality of life as the spaces and the way we live in them have a direct influence on people’s daily lives,” says Divias. “I relate to the subtle elegance of the project style, which is luxuriously detailed, without being ostentatious. That is what lies at the heart of our firm.” And this villa in Muscat is clearly, with its serene views and contours, like so much of Divias’s designs, one that embodies a beautiful soul.