x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

In My Place: Six years of memories in Jumeirah villa

The public relations agency director Danielle Wilson Naqvi chose her spacious home for its proximity to the beach and Safa Park, and fills it with objects collected on travels with her husband.

Danielle has taken many of the pictures that are hung around the house. Duncan Chard for the National
Danielle has taken many of the pictures that are hung around the house. Duncan Chard for the National

I run a boutique PR agency and we focus on female brands and women in business. We have a lot of fashion clients, including Aiisha Ramadan, Abaya Couture, Reina Swimwear and Frost Bridal Boutique. We also represent Elham Qasimi, the first Arab woman to set foot on the North Pole. Running my own business was difficult at first but I love that I can be as creative as I want and that I work with clients that are open to new ideas.

I've lived in this house in Jumeirah with my husband for six years. We were looking for a villa and we've always loved this area. To get a house in this area you have to drive around and look for To Let signs. We didn't go through an agency; we just saw the sign. They had put it up that morning and we signed for the villa that afternoon.

I love the location because it's two minutes from the beach and two minutes from Safa Park. Everything is accessible from here because you can get straight onto Sheikh Zayed Road, or the Beach Road takes you straight towards Umm Suqeim. There's a Choithrams across the road if we need any last-minute shopping. And it's great for when we've got guests because it's easy for them to pick up a taxi and go anywhere they want.

I love our garden. I love the way it's so lush. We've spent a lot of time on it. We have a frangipani tree right in the middle. It's seasonal, so you watch it change every month. In the winter it's at full bloom, so you sit outside and you're surrounded by its scent. In the winter we sit outside all the time. We eat outside and we entertain a lot. We open the doors, let the music come through and just relax in the garden. That's our favourite thing to do.

The house has four bedrooms. We use the downstairs bedroom as a guest room because a lot of people come and stay with us. We have another spare room upstairs but we are redecorating it at the moment. And we are converting the other room into a nursery. I have an office in Internet City but I mostly work from home. I had my office in one of the bedrooms but now I've moved it on to the landing. It's great because it's so easy.

We do a lot of travelling so we try and pick up pieces as we go along. We try to put our personal touch on the place. Rather than getting expensive things, we just get things that we like. For example, there are two pictures on the wall that I took myself one day. I just decided to go to the camel racetrack and take some pictures.

One of my favourite things is a lamp made from ostrich eggs that I bought from a shop in Cape Town. It's really heavy but I made sure it was packed up properly and I carried it on the plane with me. I wouldn't get on the plane until it was on there. I bought it from this gorgeous store in Cape Town, which you only get invited to if you are an interior designer or if an interior designer is looking after your home. It needs a bigger lampshade; I've been looking but haven't been able to find one.

On a visit to Pakistan we bought a mirror and picture from near one of the oldest mosques in Lahore, the Badshahi Masjid.

This year I've bought three big accent chairs, so almost every room has a nice big chair in it. There's a purple chair from The One in the spare room, there's a white one from Marina on the landing and a duck-egg blue one in the bedroom, also from The One.

The main furniture pieces in the living and dining room I got from Marina. But I think I went a bit overboard with the wood. I'm thinking of getting rid of my dining table and replacing it with a round one. There's too much wood and it's a bit too dark - I got a bit carried away.

There are coffee table books lying around that I made myself. There's a book of my wedding pictures and one of pictures that we took during our honeymoon in the Masai Mara. I make them on a website called www.blurb.com. You put the pictures and the words in and you decide the layout; then they print it and send it to you.

I have three figurines by the front door that I bought from an antique shop in Liverpool and brought back here. They are my band. I remember that the shipping ended up costing more than the three of them put together. Everything has a story behind it. I used to run a bar here with my dad for three years and they were behind the bar.

Danielle is the managing director of CS PR Group. For more information, visit www.csprgroup.com