Caroline Stanbury, the British-born star of Bravo’s Ladies of London, lived in the English metropolis for 24 years before deciding to move to Dubai at the end of August with her Turkish-born husband Cem Habib, 42, and their three children — Yasmine, 10, and twin boys Zack and Aaron, 6.
While she still has her home on the outskirts of London, and travels back there for filming, Stanbury said she’s “much more zen” in her tranquil new digs — a far cry from the drama of reality TV.
“I need green,” the 40-year-old star said. “I grew up in Dorset (a county in rural England) and if I don’t have green I feel suffocated.”
Her home is a villa named Al Barari — a seven-bedroom suite complete with spa, gym, pool, lush gardens, and “an amazing restaurant.”
“Al Barari was discreet, secure and has everything I need,” she explained. “So if I really want to be lazy I don’t have to move!”
Stanbury worked with friend Bianca Ladow’s London-based luxury interior design and property development company Earlcrown Design to overhaul the space before moving in. The process, which took six weeks to complete, will be depicted in Ladies of London‘s third season, now airing on Bravo.
“It was very dark, lots of dark wood,” she said of the space before the redesign. “So I painted all the windows, doors, walls and ceilings white. The kitchen I changed to pale Dior grey.”
She said her inspiration was Los Angeles living, with it bright white light and pops of color. It’s a big contrast from the more traditional home she has in the U.K.
Stanbury even went as far to design all the furniture herself, and will launch The Caroline Stanbury range for Earlcrown online soon. It
will include sleek chairs, sofas and tables that look great, but are also built for working moms. The dining table chairs, for example, are made of suede-effect fabric that can be wiped clean.
“I like it to be perfect, like a hotel,” Stanbury said, of her immaculate style. “[But] I wanted it to feel cozy, like my children are next to us, which is nice for them.”
She’s also not afraid to be playful — even looking for a bronze giraffe to stand by the front gate. “You can have fun with a house like this,” she said.
Her favorite room in her house may just be her closet. The room was originally a bedroom, but was converted to house Stanbury’s ever-growing wardrobe.
As a former stylist in London, she ran a luxury online shopping site called The Gift Library for seven years before shutting it down earlier this year. Though even her former, more-polished look has relaxed in Dubai.
“Now [that] I’ve turned 40, I don’t want any of that,” she told the magazine. “… I’m much more relaxed here. I wear denim cut offs, shirts, T-shirts, jeans and ﬂip ﬂops most days.”
“Everything that I used to wear aged me,” she added. “I’m planning on going backwards. I’m calling myself Benjamin Button from now on!”
Ladies of London airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. EST on Bravo.
See the full story in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.