This modern, mostly monochrome Al Barari home is a retreat for Julie Powell, the Middle East’s original queen of beauty
Entrepreneur Julie Powell has been giving the gift of glossy manes to women of the Middle East for over two decades. The brains (and beauty) behind hair extension business Great Lengths Middle East is living her best life nestled in Al Barari with her family, friends and favourite possessions. The mother of four has lived in Dubai for over 30 years, collecting all the memories and beautiful items for her home one piece and place at a time. When asked if she has a favourite, Julie explains: “We lived on Palm Jumeirah for seven years before moving here to Al Barari, and I have an original artwork depicting The Palm that sits next to the piano in an alcove in the entrance hall. I also have a beautiful Jeff Koons-inspired balloon dog piece by Joe Suzuki, a recent gift that I adore. “My most treasured ornaments are small things given to me by my children. A paperweight purchased by my son from an antique shop in Surrey near his school and pottery and art pieces they made as children,” she continues. “More recently for birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day, they have been building me a wonderful Baccarat crystal collection. I also have a large chest full of pictures that the children drew for me, birthday cards collected over the years and hand written notes and photos. Every once in a while we open it and spend an evening going through them all.”
Superbly suited to Dubai living, Julie’s marvellously modern home is lofty and spacious yet still feels warm and inviting. “For many years my second home has been an ivy-clad country house in Ascot, England and I wanted to create something completely different for my family here in Dubai,” she says. “My home is very contemporary. It perfectly suits the Dubai weather, with cool marble floors, high ceilings, airy rooms and wall-sized windows that open up into the garden in the cooler months. I have a sitting room that my family refers to as the ‘white room’. It looks out over the pool and is a wonderfully relaxing haven, filled with family photos, books and a few precious art pieces. The ground floor of the house is monochrome, the white marble floors accented by polished black three-metre-high doors. The house was designed around a grand piano that I have owned for some years,” says Julie. Of all the rooms in her home, she has a soft spot for the master bedroom which is slightly separated from the rest of the house by a walkway. The immense space features a bedroom, sitting area, two terraces, a dressing room and glass-ceilinged bathroom.
Julie’s shopping habits have no boundaries and she happily shops online and in-store. She does have some favourite local haunts and visits them for all things interiors. “I always love the collections at Marina Home Interiors, Al Huzaifa Furniture and Bloomingdale’s Home. For blankets, accessories and china – it’s Hermès. I love flowers and crystal, so vases, votives and picture frames from Baccarat. Candles are everywhere, I love huge candles from Baobab Collection and Diptyque,” she says. On her travels Julie has collected many things, and wonderful memories with them. “Coffee pots from Morocco, tea sets from Turkey, carved boxes from Oman… These trinkets and pieces collected on travels with my family hold special memories,” she says.
Having lived in Dubai for over 30 years and now celebrating her silver jubilee year in business, Julie’s schedule is as busy today as it ever was. “Breakfast is followed by business calls and meetings,” says Julie. “I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home or my office in Jumeirah. In recent years I diversified into investments, so as the European markets open I start taking and making calls and working online from around midday. My company just celebrated 25 years in business, which was a huge milestone. I’m particularly proud and grateful that many of my original team are still with me.”
A social butterfly, Julie has some favourite haunts around the city but equally loves spending downtime with her family. “Pre-Covid we ate out a lot,” she smiles. “I have a few favourite restaurants. For lunch, everything Tashas, especially Avli By Tashas. For evenings we like La Petite Maison, La Serre, Roberto’s and The Maine. Outside at the Bulgari Resort Dubai during winter is a favourite too. We have always loved the cinema, and often get together for a late night movie with food. These days we entertain more at home with close friends and family. My son Khalifa is an amazing cook, and a lot of friends invite themselves over for his famous barbecues.”
With a thriving business, beautiful family and enviable home, is there anything at all that Julie would change? Her answer is simple: “Not really, I am very happy with where I am in my life right now.”
Out Of Office With Julie Powell
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Dubai? I love the beach, just to grab a blanket and a shawarma. I go to Salt at Kite Beach with my family – I’m drawn to the sound of the waves.
Where do you eat at home? We have a family room complete with a wonderful three-metre dining table from Marina Home Interiors that is the heart of our home. A massive linen sofa, huge cushions and throws and a big screen television complete our most lived in space. For entertaining guests, lunch and dinner and parties, we have a formal dining room.
If you could have a home anywhere where would that be? I love to spend time at home in England, and my dream is to retire on a boat in the South of France.
Do you have any pets and what are their names? Lexie, a very large, not so friendly German Shepherd who we all adore.
Where do you work out? In my gym at home. I also have a Pilates Reformer, and walk around Al Barari – without a doubt, the most beautiful place to live in Dubai.
Do you take part in any cultural activities? If so, where? My children are Emirati. We love Ramadan and spend every Iftar together at home or with family members.
What has been the most challenging part of your career? Raising four children whilst establishing and building my brand was a challenge. But it worked out well and they are independent and confident people with a great work ethic.
Tell us about your current projects. We are about to launch a budget range of tape in and weft hair extensions, still great quality at a great price. I’m very excited for that.
Do you collect anything? That would definitely be handbags.
- Words and styling by Sophia Serin
- Photography by Ausra Osipaviciute