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That Mama’s Crib: Rima Patel

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With 2 gorgeous kids and an artist/architect husband, it’s no wonder that mama Rima Patel’s Palm Jumeirah home is a mix of grown up sophistication with playful touches. We love the combo of shabby chic French style and vibrant pop art, the warm wooden flooring and acrylic chairs  – and as for the outdoor space, we can only imagine how incredible it would be to watch the sunset with a cool drink on one of those awesome loungers! Rima tells us how her home is constantly evolving to suit the seasons and to accommodate new pieces of art plus shares her decorating tips and influences.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-21

How did you decorate your own home? Was it very planned out or impulsive?

We had an idea of what we wanted but it mostly all happened on an impulse, each time we saw a piece of furniture that we liked. Then one would lead to another until you realize that the walls no longer suit the furniture so over a weekend the walls and doors would get painted.

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How would you describe your interior design style?

Parts are extremely modern and cold such as the entry and passage but then the sitting area where we spend most of our time is a relaxed cozy eclectic mix of shabby chic and modern art. A room where old French style wood furniture meets acrylic transparent chairs and vibrant pop-art hangs on the walls.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-22

What are your best places to pick up home furniture in Dubai?

We love Bloomingdales; they always have classic good quality furniture with some really unique pieces that come and go. Pottery Barn and PB Kids are actually my favorite go to places. The One is always helpful for those odd pieces. And Marina furniture recently has had a great variety of things, which we really liked.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-2

Do you gravitate to a certain colour palette or design style?

My taste is very simple and French style and shabby chic pieces call to me when I enter any shop. My husband on the other hand – who is an artist and architect by education – gravitates to the modern and contemporary with a minimalistic feel.

Interiors have started becoming seasonal and change so often that it is hard to stick to one style. Which is great for us because we love changing things up every once in a while and somehow we make both our tastes work.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-16

As a mum how do you balance functioning design and a pretty home?

My husband does it all, with some input from me of course. I am not that picky and I trust his taste. We are almost always in the same frame of mind when it comes to most things especially with our children. So above all the house had to be child proof/safe, fun and aesthetically pleasing so we don’t get bored of it after a month, haha!

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-19

What did you splurge and save on when decorating your house?

In general, we didn’t go overboard with any particular item. We went for things that were not over-priced and were well worth the money. And we didn’t do it all at one go as we knew we would end up sacrificing if we rushed it. We would start with items we really liked and over the next few months find the right things that fit in and complete the room. Our house is still incomplete. We made a lot of changes recently but haven’t finished things like curtains in the passage. The stairs are still bare. The upstairs needs work. But it’s nice as we have something to do over the summer and Ramadan slow months.

If you think about it, the most expensive items are probably our electronics and items like fridges, washing machines etc. Good quality that will last. Furniture on the other hand was always about what looks good. We have a tendency of wanting a change every 2-3 years so if we spent too much on the furniture we wouldn’t be able to do that. This way we can have a fresh look and feel to the place every few years without any regrets and its always fun to re-decorate.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-9

What’s your favourite room/area in your home and why?

My favorite rooms are my kids’ rooms – they are so calm and cute and we designed them in a way that I would have liked my room to be designed when I was a child. And downstairs my favorite room is the “Sun Room”. It’s so calm and peaceful and has the best view of the house.

My husband would tell you his favorite room is the Cinema Room, as that’s where we spend most of our evenings these days. Of course, there’s also his art room/garage where his creativity is unleashed.


If you had unlimited space (and budget) and could turn one room in your house into whatever you wanted, what would it be?

I would love to expand my kitchen and make it more airy and bright – hopefully we will be doing some work on that. And one more thing I would love to do, which I know we will never be able to do in this house, is have a beautiful outdoor studio/room for my husband to work freely without interruption or the kids “helping” him do his work!

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-11

Playroom or bedroom and playroom in one?

We have a bedroom for each of our kids. We wanted them to be comfortable sleeping alone and now that they are old enough, they can have sleepovers in on weekends.

We have a separate playroom so their bedroom remains clutter free and just for a relaxing reading and sleeping space. Not to mention it allows us to keep the rest of the house fairly organised as all their mess remains in the playroom.


Do you have any tips for easy ways to update décor without breaking the bank?

Dubai has plenty of options. Just don’t fall in the trap of going to the most famous places. You will always find similar items in smaller stores, which will allow you to complete the look you are after. Also, be ready for some DIY.

We are a perfect example of this. When we moved in, our house had a totally different style of interior. It was heavy, gloomy and OTT with classic furniture. We then decided to totally change the look. We simply re-did a lot of the wooden furniture by re-painting it for a more modern and fresh look, but we still let the carvings showing through. It seriously helps and gives your furniture another few years of life. So don’t be shy of buying used furniture on Dubizzle and then re-working it into a beautiful piece of furniture.

Rima Karam for Sassy Mama-14

Get the look

rima patel get the look collage

  1. The Brooklyn-Lighthouse, Brass, AED 450, available at The Bowery
  2. Fuss-free Gallery, available at The One
  3. DC Comics VS Villains Maxi Poster, AED 29, available at Geekay Games
  4. Cerise Colour Emperor Chair, AED 2199, available at Indigo Living
  5. Kendall Bed in Sun Valley Espresso, AED 1832, available at Pottery Barn

collage 2

  1. Calistoga Chaise Lounge with Sunbrella Cushion, AED 4540, available at Crate & Barrel
  2. Pols Potten Harmonica Birdcage, AED 562, available at Amara
  3. Starry Knight Art Print, AED 74, available at Society6
  4. Gentle Embrace and A Beautiful Bond, prices on request, available at Lladro


Thanks so much, Rima! And also thanks to our photographer Natalie Robinson for these gorgeous snaps!

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