x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

A large garden where the children can play in Jumeirah

In My Place A spacious Dubai villa gives a French family room to relax and entertain, but also run around and exercise their green thumbs.

Olivier believes in the "less is more" approach, but also that flowers add life and colour to any space. Jaime Puebla / The National
Olivier believes in the "less is more" approach, but also that flowers add life and colour to any space. Jaime Puebla / The National

I don't mind moving house because I moved a lot when I was young. I grew up in Belgium and France. My family travelled a lot in South America and in the US, and we didn't stay longer than two years in any one house. Each location was an experience where I built memories and collected souvenirs.

As long as my family is with me, I will always feel at home wherever I live. I am open to new opportunities. Moving home for me is an adventure and a new beginning. I find change really exciting.

A couple of years ago, my wife, Virginie, and I explored the UAE and decided to move here and start our wedding and event business in Dubai. What attracted me to our present house is its location in Jumeirah. It's near the beach, schools and supermarket. I also liked the size of the rooms and definitely the large garden with the pool. The garden allowed me to indulge my green fingers. It's proved to be the perfect space for my children to run around freely and live healthy lives.

I love our garden. When we moved into this house it was literally a desert. We planted all kinds of things to add colour and life. Now the kids watch the garden grow and tell us where new flowers have sprouted and blossomed.

The garden makes me feel revived and we use it excessively. We have a terrace with a pergola, which is definitely the place for the traditional French aperitif. We've also added a couple of sunbeds around the pool, and a dining area with barbecue zone.

We also own houses in the south of France. They are very typical beach houses made for large family reunions. However, I would say my home in Dubai is my favourite because this is where my children are growing up. They fill the place with their energy, their songs and their laughter. It's a very happy house and is hardly ever quiet.

The living room is definitely the place where everything happens: storytelling, Christmas, family reunions and good movies. With my children around, it never looks exactly the same from one day to the next. In fact, you can tell what kind of day they've had from what you see: their toys move around all the time.

We have a big fish tank that I enjoy immensely. I would never have imagined how relaxing it is to stare at an aquarium. Time stops for a while.

I believe our house reflects ourselves. I would describe my decorative style as sleek modern, and I definitely believe in the saying "less is more". Of special importance to me are the canvases I've painted with Virginie and my kids. My wife and I enjoy doing these in our free time and I think they say a lot about us personally and our family's state of mind.

We've made changes to the house since moving in. We've had the inside fully repainted in pure white to contrast with the Arabic style of the house. We also repainted the bathroom to modernise it. We changed some of the existing finishes to match my taste. The rest of the styling came from our choice of furniture and accessories.

Luckily for me, my wife and I share the same taste. We both like simplicity, colours and nature. This is probably why we work together, too. We understand each other intuitively. It often amazes me how much we think alike.

My profession as an events designer has a huge influence on my choice of home. My home is a reflection of my style and taste at every stage of my life.

I believe using flowers is essential to completing any space. Flowers give life, colour and scent to any environment, which is why I always like to have fresh arrangements all over my house. It inspires me. Phalaenopsis orchids are my favourites. I also love splashes of colour to pop out from the walls.

I don't like rules. I like to make impulsive purchases for my home when I travel. There are many things I am passionate about, so I don't restrict myself to collecting any specific item obsessively.

Since I am French, the kitchen is a central point in our home. It's a place to talk, to bake cakes, to anticipate good food, to enjoy the smell of cooking. Ours is informal, cool and cocooning.

Luxury for me is about space and art. I define home as a private haven where family and friends can relax. I feel instantly at home when I see my children or when I imagine them in the house. I like to go swimming late in the evening and spend time in the garden with friends. Who can ask for more?

To contact Olivier, e-mail Olivier@olivierdolz.com, or visit www.olivierdolz.com