Behind the doors of Alina Bokhari’s family-home that was crafted with a strong design philosophy
“I’m a romantic at heart,” prefaces founder and designer of The Yellow Tree House, Alina Bokhari, as she begins to share her home’s design philosophy. “My home is a visual representation of human expression. Whether that be in a beautiful rug or a hand-woven tapestry, or perhaps a beautifully carved piece of wood, there’s romance to be found within the interaction between the artist and their raw elements. It doesn’t matter if it’s wood, fabric or paint – it comes from the heart – and that is how I bring soul into my home,” outlines the designer as we sit in her Springs villa. And soul it certainly has. Alina’s home is both colourfully bold and elegantly dark. It’s in this artful weave between moody dark hues, and shockingly bright objects that the magic is found.
“I instinctively knew the dark charcoal would work,” says Alina, “the grounding neutral tone makes it the perfect backdrop.” It’s a result of her style instinct that the designer has crafted such a unique looking home. Well, that and her painstaking attention to detail. Consistently readjusting and realigning items throughout our shoot, Alina’s yearn for perfection yields graceful results. More than just due diligence has gone into creating the designer’s dream home, though. She has spent a lot of time collecting the pieces that make up each room. “A home doesn’t get made overnight,” she says. “Mine is made up of items that I love – and that have taken years to build up.”
Before moving to Dubai seven years ago, Alina and her husband were living in Jeddah with their two kids, where she was working in marketing. After being in the Emirates for one year, the family moved into their four-bed villa. “I started with the sofa and the two armchairs from Marina Home,” she explains, “and although my painting collection then comprised of just two pieces, I picked the furniture in neutral colours with my future art collection in mind.” All of the paintings are original works and, although very different in style, work harmoniously together to produce a beautifully curated gallery. But undeniably there is one item in the living room that commands the most attention – the bright fuchsia rug. “It was a splurge, but it was worth it,” explains Alina, who sourced the carpet from Abbas Carpets in Pakistan.
Originally from Lahore, which is rich in greenery, Alina says she likes living in The Springs because it reminds her of home. “I love nature, and when we found this community I realised I could make a home for myself here.” Drawing inspiration from the outdoors, there’s a noticeable nod to natural material throughout. “I love the rawness of live edged wood,” she explains. Alina had the kitchen’s breakfast bar and powder room’s countertop fashioned in raw wood from Lucky’s, along with her large dining table.
The dining room was extended into the garden – as per renovation regulations in the community – to increase space for entertaining. Meanwhile, the kitchen has received two face-lifts. Starting with colourful Mediterranean-style tiles, Alina put in a new shiny backsplash from Tile Societies. She then painted the formerly dark wood cabinets in a deep grey, to match the rest of the home’s moody ambience.
A decent smattering of plants – both dried and alive – help contribute to the dreamy, yet dramatic feeling of the villa. These, along with Alina’s sophisticated curation of objects, books and art, mean it’s no wonder the interior designer is pegged as ‘the creator of dream homes’.
The office space upstairs has a lighter feel but is finished with the same careful consideration as the downstairs. This is also true of Alina’s daughter’s room, which is painted in a delicate blush pink tone. Adding a contrasting turquoise pop in the chandelier and throw pillow, the room has a fun but sophisticated feel that’s perfect for a 13 year-old.
The master bedroom is more like the downstairs, with its deep wall colour and dark wood furniture. Of course, this was another deliberate decision from Alina, who said, “My husband and I are both light sleepers, so having a bright coloured room doesn’t work for us. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to sleep in a room that’s painted in a dark tone.”
Last year, deciding to harness her innate design flair, the mother of two started The Yellow Tree House after receiving a diploma from the National Design Academy. Much like her approach to design, choosing the name was a carefully deliberated decision. “I wanted a story, something emotional that meant something,” Alina describes. “When I was little, I used to have a tree in the backyard that had yellow flowers; it gives me a warm feeling when I look back. This fits my business well as it symbolises that it is more than a run-of-the-mill interior service. It means something emotional to me and that is my attitude to design.”
Need more inspiration to brighten up your house? Check out the best home subscription services Dubai has to offer, tips for harnessing the healing powers of aromatherapy at home and inspiration for organising an Instagram-worthy bookshelf.