A behind the scenes look at a Smart Renovation project in Jumeirah Park and an in-depth interview
When you’re looking for an interior design company in Dubai, we know the decision is a difficult one as there are so many interior companies to choose from. And it’s an important choice, as finding the right design and fit-out company for your home renovation makes all the difference in turning your house into a home. Enter Smart Renovation, a family-run interior design, and fit-out company that has Italian heritage, they take design seriously. B Living UAE visited one of their client’s villas to get a better understanding of how – the design duo behind the interior design company – Marco and Cinzia Tedeschi work.
Walking up to Chirine and Abdelamir’s four-bedroom villa in Jumeirah Park, it’s instantly clear that something is different. Unlike its neighbouring houses, the steps drawing up to the modern front door are elongated and spacious, while the porch itself is punctuated by two large vases. Once inside, it becomes obvious that the villa has received a professional touch.
It’s a touch that has come from the expert hands of Marco and Cinzia Tedeschi from Smart Renovation. Originally from Italy, their company was spawned from a 50-year-old family business for luxury interior design, Superior Living. The couple’s current success comes partly from this intergenerational design knowledge and the fact that they’ve crafted the Dubai offshoot business around their individual strengths. Marco is the practical brain behind each of the designs, meticulously creating floor plans and installations to improve the everyday nature of a home. While Cinzia uses her eye for style to add personal touches and unique design flair.
This home project was completed during the lockdown of last year. It has a modern yet Arabesque feel, not too dissimilar from that of its Lebanese owners. “In our designs, we like to express the character of the homeowners and even the history of where they come from,” says Marco, who has used clean lines and high-end materials in the design, which is interspersed with elegant furniture. “We used classic Arabic style furniture with modern, fresh finishing, making sure that everything is perfectly integrated,” he explains.
Relationship between client and designer
It’s not often we get an intimate look at the relationship between interior designer and client. So, meeting the homeowners and parents of three, Abdelamir and Chirine, alongside their interior designers Marco and Cinzia helps to get a deeper understanding of the design process.
The first thing that’s obvious (aside from the beautifully finished home) is the rapport between the two couples. Ciniza and Chirine sip espressos while discussing this season’s must-have bag, while Marco assesses his handy work and makes design recommendations to the couple, throwing in familiar jokes. “It’s important for us to enter into the family’s mind,” says Marco, explaining the way he and Cinzia approach their projects. “We assess the way (our clients) think and live, along with their personal taste.”
Starting with the floor plan, Marco created a large kitchen island that unites the kitchen and living space. “This is one of our kitchens,” the fit-out expert explains. Smart Kitchens was set-up two years ago as a branch of Smart Renovation, “because we were fed up with going around Dubai and spending Dhs120,000 on a kitchen for our clients,” says Marco. It goes deeper than just dirhams, however. “The process of choosing a kitchen should be more than just selecting cabinets from a man behind a desk who hasn’t seen your home and who knows nothing about your life,” he explains. “For us, it’s less about the cabinets and more about the design and how it relates to the family. “Here,” he says, looking around the open-plan kitchen and living room, “we wanted to make the kitchen seamless with the living space, so we put in a huge island.”
Another layout change the fit-out company made was to put in a wall between the stairs and the living room to separate the space, “this created more intimacy in the dining room, and the mirror opposite the window helps to add more light and reflects the view.” The living room was extended and the patio created to join the pool to the extension, with bi-folding doors, meaning during the cooler months a free-flow between the garden is effortless.
“Everyone talks about healthy food, but nobody thinks about a healthy environment,” says Marco. “You can have the perfect diet, but if you have a sad house it will really affect your mood. Here, the family is always together because of the floor plan, those watching TV are able to converse with those in the kitchen,” he explains.
Upstairs, the home remains family orientated yet sophisticated. Cinzia and Marco creatively designed Chirine’s dream walk-in closet/master bathroom from the previous kitchenette. And the bedroom, designed by Cinzia, is calm and spacious with thick, luxurious carpet setting a comfortable tone. It’s evident that each decision in the home has been carefully considered, from simple structural changes like extending the porch steps, to the metallic finish of the wardrobes, Marco and Cinzia have brought this young family’s aspirational home to life.
Passion is key
What’s particularly noticeable about the pair of creatives is their united passion. A balancing act, Marco’s brain quickly assesses and notices where ‘smart’ structural changes can be made, while Cinzia uses her innate style and Italian flare to craft beautiful spaces, that feel good to be in. But perhaps even more interesting is their ability to read people. It’s in watching them interact with their clients that the way they work becomes apparent. As a pair, they’re able to get into the minds of their clients and, putting personal preference aside, they naturally create dream homes.
What do their clients think?
Starting in April 2020, during the lockdown, the project was finished on schedule in September.
After living in Jumeirah Park since 2013, Chirine and Abdelamir, with three daughters and two dogs in tow, purchased their dream home in the same neighbourhood. “As our first owned home, we knew that this time we wanted to call in professionals to make it a real home,” explains Abdelamir. Following countless hours of research, Chirine, a marketing manager at a regional brokerage firm, settled on Smart Renovation. “When we started, our thoughts were all over the place,” Chirine explains, “we had a vision but didn’t know how to get there.”
“Communication was very important to the process with Marco and Cinzia,” says Chirine, “but we didn’t have to go back and forth with ideas – from our clothes and lifestyle (Smart Renovation) were able to understand the kind of house we were after.” Abdelamir, who works as a banker in Kuwait, impressed at the way the team handled the process. “It’s difficult to find someone who will seek perfection in the same way that you do because they’re not going to be living there. But with Smart Renovation, even the smallest details were important to them and you can see their attention to detail in the rooms. It really is their passion.”
Check-out another renovation project by Smart Renovation and learn more about their approach to design