A treasure trove of artefacts and memories collected from her extensive travels around the globe, Rana Khadra’s home is the perfect space in which to both escape and explore
“Travelling is my favourite thing to do in life. It feeds my soul. I have a strong desire to explore, and I’m very curious. Almost every accessory you see in my home is from a trip, and I love that because these pieces have a soul. They are a daily reminder of a beautiful story.” So says Omani-Lebanese travel photographer Rana Khadra, whose home is indeed a dreamy manifestation of all the different global cultures, countries and customs she has discovered during her life-long travels around the world.
One of four siblings, Rana comes from a family of creatives —“Dad worked in fashion and luxury watches and mum was an Arabic teacher, so they are both artists in their own ways,” she tells us — and moved to Dubai in 2010 for a management training programme inhospitality. “I immediately realised that it wasn’t for me and got a job in advertising at Leo Burnett,” she explains. “Dubai was a natural choice for me. I wanted to stay in the Arab world yet still be in a country that offers global exposure.”
Now heading up the creative department at Jotun as regional communications and colour marketing manager — Middle East, India and Africa, Rana is the brain behind the company’s enchanting colour combinations, and the discerning eye when it comes to forecasting and spotting trends within the interior design market. “I guess design is in my blood, and no matter what I do it will always come and find me,”she says. “I believe beautiful spaces nurture beautiful experiences, and I’m at my happiest when working on anything related to design. I love the humble and subtle power that colour has. To transform not only spaces, but decisions, feelings and choices.” Not just a certified colour trainer, Rana is also a member of the Colour Marketing Group and has conducted many a masterclass in colour for interior designers and architects across the region. You’d be forgiven, then, for expecting her home to be a technicoloured space full of contrasting palettes and hyper bright hues when, in fact, the reality is quite the opposite.
A comfortable sanctuary of inspired design, Rana’s abode fuses traditional minimalism with an exciting new energy complete with soft volume, warm leathers, natural stone and plenty of greenery, creating a curated, global habitat with a built-in sense of individuality. Nestled within Dubai’s picturesque Knowledge Village, Rana moved into the trendy two-bedroom home with her husband Ramzi three years ago and hasn’t looked back since. “It’s right in the middle of the city, but at the same time it’s like a hidden gem with beautiful big trees and lots of birds,” she tells us. “That’s why I love it.”
Designed to feel like a beautiful boutique hotel, a natural and organic aesthetic flows throughout each of the rooms, which are full to the brim with artefacts discovered on Rana’s trips around the world. This is particularly true of her studio, her happy place in which she releases her creativity while working on her photography. “The whole house is neutral and natural, but this room shows the other side of my personality that’s slightly crazier,” she tells us. “Otherwise, I opted for an ‘Oman meets Greece’ vibe. I wanted to create a space in which to feel at peace, zen and at ease.” In practice this translates toa soothing natural colour palette, a smörgåsbord of earthy materials plus calming interplay of unique stone accessories and white fabric throughout the living room, which is where the couple spend most of their time. “I chose natural colours because they are calming, and they make me feel good,” she explains. “Bright colours also make me feel good, but after a long day of looking at them I always need to neutralise my palette.”
While not personally her at-home style, if you prefer to forgo a neutral scheme and inject a dose of colour into space, Rana is full to the brim with top design tips for every room. “Your choice of colour depends on how you want to feel, and what you want to do in the room,” she advises. “In a bedroom, for example, calming and soothing colours such as beige or peach will help you sleep.” Simply changing the colour of your walls can completely transform the entire mood of the space.” To make something stand out and appear more visible she suggests painting the wall behind it in a stronger colour, while to hide something like a door or a window, paint it in the same colour as the rest of the wall. And just like anything else in life, for two things to match they need to have something in common, and the same applies to colours. “The best way to match colours is to take a shade darker or lighter than the colour of your choice and incorporate that in your home as well,” she adds.
When not at home, Rana prides herself on her ability to create change in a corporate world, working on meaningful marketing experiences such as empowering children to express themselves through colours, shedding light on talent and design in the region, and beautifying the homes of those who can afford it — and all while speaking, educating and inspiring thousands of people across the region on the beauty of design. And there’s plenty more where that came from, too: “I’m currently working on a photography exhibition, and a book of portraits I’ve collected through my travels,” she enthuses.“I believe I’m very lucky in life in general, but to have a job I love, one that I wake up happy to go to, and people around me that are genuinely happy to see me succeed, that’s very rare.” Follow Rana on Instagram here