When it comes to her home, creative director and jewellery designer, Katia Abou Samra knows how to prioritise the important things in her life – luxury, passion and people
“As a jewellery designer, I am always engaged in the creative process,” says Katia Abou Samra, certified gemologist and creative director at Samra. “The luxury of jewellery has always deeply resonated with me. I am constantly designing and creating new trends while always keeping watch on fashion trends too. That’s why my home has a flair for fashion.” Speaking of the six-bedroom villa she shares with her family and nieces (also her goddaughters) and nephew to whom she dedicated an entire floor in the basement complete with soft play area for them to climb, swing, ride and play in, it’s clear to see that Katia’s passion for the finer things in life marries perfectly with her strong family values. It is her grandfather, after all, who developed Samra Dubai in 1941, and to who Katia credits for her love of decadent gems.
A marketing and advertising graduate, board member of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery group and member of Samra group – she was also part of the UAE delegation and once accompanied HRH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to China – Katia was adamant that everybody living in her home would have their tastes catered to, and as a result, her interiors are contemporary and minimal – “I love to keep some things classic,” she says – defined by plenty of whites, neutrals and timeless accents interspersed with her most treasured artworks, paintings by Paul Guiragossian. “The only exception is my room, where there is an explosion of bright hues that reflect my personal style and love for fashion.” Her impressive collection of bright Hermès bags also brings a dash of colour to her home, where they are displayed in all their glory.
Far from a carbon copy of today’s Insta-inspired homes we’ve become so accustomed to as of late, Katia prides herself on her originality, and a number of bespoke pieces adorn her halls including a dressing table which she commissioned to a carpenter in Damascus. “Out of all my pieces of furniture, I love my dressing table the most,” she tells MOJEH. “I was always fascinated by the artisanal woodwork tradition in the ancient Damascene alleys. This special technique of inlaying mother of pearl and silver within wood is a skill perfected in the city, and I designed the table in terms of size and shape, and added the floral patterns myself. The carpenter did an incredible job as handcrafting my drawing into reality.” As you would expect from her warm and welcoming personality, though, it’s the personal touches that mean the most – step inside Katia’s home and it’s likely you’ll be greeted with a hot drink served from one of the many mugs she has bought home as souvenirs from her travels. “I love the little sentimental trinkets and love holding onto them for as long as I can,” she explains. For Katia, home is her happy place, and she is a woman with a passion for making new memories with her nearest and dearest.
“The family living room is my favourite room in the house because it brings us all together,” she enthuses. “We gather around the bar in the evening, play foosball, watch TV and dine together. Laughter fills the walls of this room.” And while she typically describes her life as “fast-paced,” she’s sure to put aside enough time in the mornings and evenings to spend time with her family. “After coffee, I spend my mornings in the basement where my nieces will be playing,” she explains. “I love spending most of my time with them, and I make sure to dedicate a good extent of my early hours with them as I don’t always get to see enough of them in the evenings due to my heavy schedule.”
When she does eventually get home after a hard day’s work, though, you’ll find her in the garden or the family room with her brother, sister and parents, eating good food, flipping through their family albums or simply enjoying each other’s company. Cliché as it might be, for Katia, home is well and truly where the heart is.
How would you describe your personal style? It’s a mix between classic and contemporary. I love for everything to look and feel luxurious. I usually opt for neutral outfits and accent them with colourful bags.
What are your can’t-live-without wardrobe essentials? A tweed blazer, silk shirts, Hermès handbags and Chanel sandals.
Which brands do you love and why? Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès – for their exclusivity.
What is the last thing you bought? Chanel turn-lock loafers.
Which shoes are your most treasured? So many! Lately I’ve been loving and buying the Chanel Dad Sandals in every colour that match my style.
Do you collect anything? You’ve probably noticed my collection of Birkins and Kellys!
Katia’s Lessons In Business
What has been your career highlight to date? Creating a strong and identifiable DNA for Samra.
What part of what you do fulfils you the most? Empowering women in my team, and also female talents that look for an opportunity to shine.
If you could, would you change anything? I wouldn’t change anything because this is my passion. I wake up every day eager to work – I don’t see any part that I would change.
What has been the most challenging part of your career? Accepting that other brands copy my designs by using similar motifs and inspiration in their jewellery, then claim to be original. I guess every designer goes through this. Though some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, when you know how much research and development went into the process of coming up with a creative idea, it is challenging to accept it.
Tell us about any current projects? I’m currently working on an exciting collection that involves colours. As you can see from my bedroom, I love mixing and matching different hues, and this collection will be the ultimate addition to every girl’s wardrobe, perfect for completing looks and brightening outfits.