Caramel and Sun boutique owner, Olivia Corsi shows us around her joyful family home in The Lakes
If, Goldilocks-like, you happened to stumble upon this four-bedroom house in The Lakes you’d assume the creative mind behind it to be not too serious, plenty of fun, and finessed with just the right amount of style.
Much like her vivacious personality, the inside of Olivia Corsi’s home blends carefree holiday living with Parisian chic. The bright living space features several quirky pieces and a notable homage to palm trees, a fondness which extends to Olivia herself – the mum to Stella (6) and Romy (5) – who is decorated with a solitary palm tree tattoo. “I’ve always been creative,” she explains, “Although I’m not an interior designer by trade, I have a big passion for home décor.”
The living room
French-born Olivia moved to Dubai 13 years ago with her Greek husband, Chris. When she fell pregnant in 2013, the couple moved from JBR into this five-bedroom villa in The Lakes so they would have space to raise a family. Olivia’s previous urban-city style was modified to resonate with their new suburban home, “My taste is always the same, but I like to adapt to the environment I’m in,” says Olivia. “Our apartment was done in a city style, but when we moved to this villa we wanted to recreate a holiday feeling, with light wood and blue tones. So, in terms of the colour palette, I went soft and subtle for that Greek island vibe.” The white flooring plays an integral part of achieving the look and is less expensive than it looks. “Because we are renting I have found low budget ways to create impact – the whitewash floorboards came from Dragon Mart.”
The dining room
An amalgamation of the couple’s nationalities, Grecian décor is met with subtle tones of Olivia’s Parisian roots. Throughout the home there are select pieces of furniture imported from France and a noticeable dedication to Maison Sarah Lavoine. “As an expat I think you can create a beautiful space with some creativity and time,” she explains. “If you mix your own pieces with something a little more expensive and the essentials from IKEA, you can come up with something not too expensive but interesting.”
“Over the past six months I’ve enjoyed spending time in my house. I would never complain about being stuck at home, as we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful home,” reflects Olivia. “I really love the light we get here.” Reflecting on the design of her interiors, she says, “You don’t need to have expensive things to feel good, it’s about creating a place you feel good in.”
“I am French and my husband’s Greek, so we love food and we love to share,” says Olivia. “So aside from during a global health pandemic there are always people over at our home.” For this reason, “Having a long table that can fit lots of people around it was important.” For a family that often hosts guests, the space lends itself well to inside-outside social gatherings.
Olivia set up Caramel and Sun five years ago, “I’d just had my second daughter, Romy, and saw a gap in the market for funky kids’ furniture and cool accessories,” she recalls. The boutique brand has a shop in Mercarto Mall, along with an online site that sells furniture, toys and offers an in-house interior design service. Stella and Romy benefit from their mum’s day job as their rooms have been crafted as dreamy spaces to play and sleep in. “The tepee bed, light shades and wallpaper all come from my shop but there’s also a mix of IKEA in there – and I am not ashamed to say that!” Olivia laughs.
A slight move away from the Greek resort feeling of downstairs, “I wanted to create something French but also tribal,” says Olivia. The space feels instantly calming, whilst maintaining her playful undertone. “I kept it very neutral,” says Olivia, “the wallpaper has a muted palm tree print on it.” Similar to the downstairs, it is the combination of pieces that create the interesting look. “The chair was my dad’s that I refurbished with African wax fabric, while the rug is Moroccan style.” In the bedroom, “It’s just important that everything is light and comfy.”
Enjoy looking around local homes? Take a peek inside Jo England’s in her boho villa, or nosey around interior designer Sopranda’s truly original apartment