MOJEH steps inside the colourfully curated world of interior architect and designer Miri Najarian Khayat
More is more when it comes to Miri Najarian Khayat, the interior architect and designer who truly walks the walk when it comes to living and working in colour. “My personal and design styles are very similar. I dress the way I design my spaces – very colourful and bright, full of life and, I like to think, happy. You will almost never catch me wearing black,” smiles Miri. “I always have pink on, if not in my clothes than as an accessory or my nail polish or maybe even a pink handbag or shoes. Even in my interiors, I will always try and leave a mark of pink somewhere.”
Miri moved to Dubai from Chicago seven years ago with her husband. They have made their apartment in Index Tower, DIFC a stunning space for family, friends and future clients who find Miri on Instagram and immediately commission re-creations of her home in theirs. “They believe in my aesthetic and they find they can relate to it or maybe even are excited to try something new, something wild and out of the box. They are usually very cheerful and happy spirits, and they want that reflected in their home,” explains Miri.
Miri’s apartment is exploding with artwork, books, sculpture, and knick-knacks as far as the eye can see, but somehow it just works. Perfectly, in fact –it doesn’t look or feel cluttered. When it comes to design, Miri’s philosophy is you can never have too much. “Absolutely never, but it needs to be done tastefully or it can get out of hand and look messy. It’s only ever too much when the room starts to look like a storage space, or the space doesn’t make sense anymore. I always somehow manage to find a place for the new items I bring home,” she shares. “As time goes on, I am pickier about what we choose to buy since I could be running out of space.” Miri and her husband started collecting when they got engaged nine years ago, and haven’t stopped since. So how does her husband deal with bubblegum colours, in particular Miri’s penchant for pink? “I’m very lucky because my mother-in-law, Ann, and I share the same design style, so my husband knows where I’m coming from. He also has a great eye for art and design and sometimes it’s a collaborative effort. The pink doesn’t bother him one bit,” she laughs.
“To me, a home is never done. It’s like fashion – do you ever stop buying clothes? Even with my clients when I finish a project, I always feel like I can add more and more,” she states. With more artwork still to be shipped to Dubai from her parents’ house in LA, the artist is a firm believer that decorating a space is a never-ending story. With hundreds of pieces to choose from, when pressed, Miri can narrow down her front runners. “I have so many favourites, and they each have such special memories attached to them. My favourite artist from our collection is Gustav Likan. Each of his pieces has such a wonderful story about how we acquired it. Once we flew from Chicago to Colorado to see the artwork before we purchased it and we made a trip out of it. They are very hard to find,” Mimi shares. “Marilyn Monroe Bubblegum by Michael Moebius is also a favourite; we found her in a gallery in Beverly Hills and my husband gifted it to me for my 30th birthday. Barbie by Cécile Plaisance was an artwork I found in Paris back in 2015, but the gallery closed so I couldn’t go back to see it. A few years later we were so lucky to find it in Beirut and my husband surprised me with it for our wedding anniversary.”
The furniture industry was part of Miri’s life as a young girl. Whenever she was asked ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ her answer was always the same: “Design homes.” The mother of two also believes that much of what she does comes from an innate quality that can’t be taught. “I think you can teach the technical aspects of design but taste and having an eye for design comes from within. To me, interior design is a form of art, it’s creativity.”
My style doesn’t change unless I’m going to a work site, then I put on my dark loose clothes; I try to blend in at job sites. Otherwise, it’s very bright and colourful.
Fun and bright. Once I went to a party in a neon jacket and the party had black lights, so I was glowing the entire night!
Zara, MSGM and Versace. Any brand that is pink and lively.
Favourite high-street shops…
Zara and ASOS.
Favourite regional designers…
Zayan The Label and Wear The House.
Photographed by Ausra Osipaviciute
- Words by Sophia Serin