Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home

BY Maddison Glendinning / Mar 29 2017 / 20:17 PM

With a passion for art, history and design, Nour al Nimer’s bold Istanbul home is a lesson in fusing culture with creature comforts

Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
Nour al Nimer atop the bespoke marble table that forms the centre of her dining room in Istanbul. The paintings are by Egyptian artist Omar El-Nagdi. Nour wears a jacket by Balmain and shoes by Gucci
Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
Nour wears shirt and trousers by Sandra Mansour. Shoes by Miu Miu. (On the floor) Bag by Sarah’s Bag. Shoes (from left) Aquazzura and Manolo Blahnik. (On table) Bag by Butler & Wilson. Sunglasses by Miu Miu
Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
Bags, Chanel. Boots, Saint Laurent
Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
Bags by Sarah’s Bag and sunglasses by Illesteva.
Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
“Most of the pieces in the library are personal items that were sourced from different places that I have visited over the years. The framed drawings are by Gustave Fraipont. They are sketches from his travels in Asia. They are a gift from my father and are especially dear to me,” says Nour. Dress, Rami Kadi. Bags, Céline
Inside Nour Al Nimer's Istanbul Home
“The hand forged silver and brass three-globes candleholders are from my favourite store in Stockholm called Svenskt Tenn. Sigurd Persson designed them in the 1960s and I just love their organic form. I travel a lot and I collect objects from most places I visit to create everlasting memories”

As the doors open to Nour al Nimer’s spacious Istanbul home, you’re immediately welcomed into a space that is part home, part private art gallery. The walls are lined with artworks – “most of which are from my father’s private collection,” the 32-year-old Turkish-Palestinian tells Bazaar – and the interior has been purposefully designed with copious amounts of character. Furniture is oversized, the colours bold, and that’s exactly the way Nour had envisioned her home of nearly two years to be. “The house has an eclectic, modern style. Our close family friend, the talented Berna Bora, orchestrated the construction. She has an early modernist style and impeccable attention to detail, which I greatly admire. Berna is heavily influenced by the legendary Pierre Chareau, Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray,a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture.” Before moving into the four-bedroom house, which she shares with her dog Mr Miyagi, Nour lived in London for 13 years. “I felt like it was time for a change,” she says of the move. “Even though I am half-Turkish and have spent a lot of time in Istanbul over the years, I had never really lived there full-time except for a brief period when I was very young. After a few years of construction work, the house was finally ready and I thought that it was the right moment to live in Turkey.”

The living room features lounge chairs by Carl Hansen, floor lamps “in the style of Angelo Lelli for Arredoluce, Italy circa 1952”, Murano, Gino Cenedese table lamps, antique carpets from her father’s collection and paintings by Laila Shawa, Abdul Rahman Katanani and Raed Issa
Istanbul is a city that’s close to her heart, and the Grand Bazaar is one of her favourite places in town. “There’s something so magical about it,” she says. “It feels like a maze, always leading you to something new and delightful.” The Chora church is another highlight. “It’s a Byzantine church which was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman era that has since turned into a museum. It has the most beautiful surviving mosaics and frescoes. The rich colour purple that’s very dominant in the mosaics is that of Byzantium, and you can also see it on the murals of the Hagia Sophia.” She adds, “If you visit Istanbul at the end of April you can see the Bosphorus lined with Judas trees and the city is cloaked in that magnificent purple.”

Nour describes her house as her sanctuary. “I aspire to have a functional living space that is aesthetically appealing. What I love about my home is the amount of light that shines through, the high ceilings and the garden. In summer, the garden is magical and the ultimate luxury.”

An avid collector, her home is decorated with artworks and antiques that she’s sourced “from various galleries and fairs in Brussels and Paris, as well as from Mozaik and 1930s antique shops in Istanbul.” She makes informed purchases and likes to have a good level of knowledge about the creator before investing. One of her favourite paintings is by Palestinian artist Abdul Rahman Katanani that hangs in the living room. “He lives in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon. Most of the materials he uses, such as barbed wire and scrap metal, are sourced from the camp. I visited his studio in the camp a few years ago before he became increasingly famous and I was impressed and moved by his work. I have the most profound respect for him and the work he does,” she explains passionately.

Nour wears dress by Erdem. Shoes by Gucci 

A supporter of Turkish artists in particular, other treasured artworks include three pieces by the up-and-coming artist Gokcen Dilek Acay, who uses human hair to create “the most beautiful and intricate art pieces,” and her living room ceiling, a masterpiece in itself, is encrusted with glass artwork by Muge Arslan, which is also present on cabinet walls. The next work she is hoping to add to her collection is a video installation by female multimedia artist Inci Eviner from Polath, who is based in Istanbul.

In the dining room is a rectangular 575 Gio Ponti wall lamp from the 1960s, one of her favourite antiques, and a bespoke marble table with brass legs that’s perfect for entertaining (her go-to dish is spicy minced beef tacos). This is fitting given that stylish entertaining is the driving force behind Nour’s business. She founded luxury tableware company Nimerology in London in 2012 after studying surface print design and mastering in Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design. “After college, I worked with ceramics, furniture, textiles and wallpaper and this is where my passion for tableware started,” she tells Bazaar, though she adds that her family also played an integral role in her career choice. “There’s no question that my interest in porcelain comes from growing up surrounded by my father’s Ottoman art collection. Plus, my mother’s elegantly dressed dinner table played a big role in what I do today.”

“These are plates from my Sunehra collection, which was inspired by one of my trips to Rajasthan”

Nour’s inspiration for new collections originates from her extensive travels, before materialising into her intricate designs – the collection she is currently working on is inspired by “Ottoman floral motifs and geometric patterns” that will launch in late spring. Overall, she says, Nimerology is about high-end, luxury tableware in limited edition designs using the highest quality European porcelain or bone china – “I like to think of it as haute couture tableware design.”             

With her eye for detail and heart for pieces with purpose, Nour al Nimer’s house is indeed a sanctuary. And whether in her plates, paintings or playful pieces of clothing, she truly leads a colourful life.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia.

Styling: Malak Rabbat. Photography: Ethan Mann