Soft Touch Décor
A natural in the world of interior decoration, founder of Soft Touch Décor, Suhaila Akhund proves that design is more than what meets the eye
From a young girl who was given the task to pick out home accessories to decorate a family house to a self-established Interior Decorator and consultant, Suhaila Akhund realised from a very young age that her calling lied within the world of design. Delving into the different facets of designing and decorating a house, and setting up her own company a year later, Suhaila spoke to Perle Magazine about what drew her to her passion of revamping a house and turning it into a beautiful home.
A simple task that paved the way for her future career as an interior decorator, Suhaila recalls that from her very first task as a young girl who was asked to select home accessories, she knew that was what she wanted to do. Her visits to friends’ houses often resulted in her rearranging their interiors to give their houses a new look and feel using their existing furniture and home accessories. Suhaila’s interest was peaked further when she saw her friend’s mother give classes on how to create a paint accent using a sponge. Intrigued by the idea, Suhaila bought her equipment and imitated the affect on her daughters’ bedroom walls, and when friends would visit see her expert work, they would instantly assume it was wall decals. Slowly extending her expertise to her friends’ houses where Suhaila would paint their walls with various innovative designs, to eventually also working with picking out the right sofas and curtains to enhance the interiors of the houses. Finding her beginnings in consultancy in terms of decorating a house, or setting up various rooms, Suhaila says she would either work with whatever furniture and accessories were available to redecorate a house, or go to the shops with her clients to help them pick out the best items for their houses. After trying her had at amateur interior decorating, while also simultaneously taking multiple courses to better her knowledge and understanding of the design form and allowing her to become a professional in the field, word of mouth spread, and Suhaila was able to firmly cement her status as a rising talent, and by 2001, she set up her business.
Almost as if subconsciously describing her own demeanour and preference of the kind of aesthetic she looks for in interiors, Suhaila named her business Soft Touch Décor. Through her meticulousness Suhaila established a steady clientele, some of whom even asked her to extend their houses and thus resulted in her also setting up her own contracting company in 2004. That further opened doors for Suhaila and allowed her to not only work remodel existing houses, but also purchase old houses and demolish them and build something new from scratch or buy land no one was using and construct upon that.
An essential part of decorating a house, Suhaila says, is the items are used or utilised to the best of their ability, and sometimes not being able to find an items of her preferences resulted in Suhaila taking her business a step further and creating pieces that she would like to see in a house. Producing beautifully crafted calligraphy pieces, Suhaila introduced calligraphy wall art, lamps, chairs, and even an intricately designed ceiling light to allow houses to have a chic yet modest touch to them. “As part of our culture, when you go to someone’s house, you want to say a nice prayer, or pass on blessings [in Arabic] and you cant remember the words until you see them, and so I have designed the calligraphy pieces as such so that anyone who enters the house is able to do so”, she says. Working with talented calligraphers from Iraq, Syria, Jeddah and Oman, Suhaila explains she works very closely with her carpenters to ensure the end result is exactly what she has in mind when the product is complete. Mixing the paint colours herself and doing the first coat herself, Suhaila says she is very hands-on with her woodwork items as it is something she also really enjoys doing. She adds she also creates bespoke pieces as per her clients’ requests. Showcasing her work at Dubai’s INDEX Design Series in 2015, Suhaila says the response she got at the exhibition was overwhelming and even received high praises from Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates.
Having worked across the region as well, from UAE, to Saudi, and Bahrain, Soft Touch Décor and its sister contracting company have been involved in building a myriad of commercial buildings and furnishing houses and commercial residences. Clients can approach Soft Touch Décor for consultation on interiors, and works with the architects and interior designers to produce the spectacular results their clients were looking for. Happy to work with any kind of budget, Suhaila explains that she finds every job she gets an opportunity and a blessing and aims to help all those who seek her assistance into making their house a welcoming, cosy, and comfortable place. “I have worked with clients who have had lower budgets, and it is not about the expensive things you own, it is about how you present what you have and that is what most important”, Suhaila explains. “I feel like I am connected to every one of my clients, and I make sure I look at even the smallest of details while working on their projects, no matter what budget to make sure what they end up with is something nice, of high quality, and makes them pleased with my work”, adding, “ I always tell them, let me know whatever you have in your mind, and I will help you with it!” Being a multifaceted woman herself, Suhaila adds apart from offering extensive interior decoration consultancy, she also provides her clients with guidance of how colours – in a home or clothes – can affect a person’s mood and works closely with her clients to ensure they are living in a wholesome environment.
Working with suppliers from across the globe, Suhaila says the modern day advances in technology has not only allowed to improve herself as an interior decorator, but has also allowed her to expand the scope of work she does. Currently working on private villas in Bahrain and Saudi, Suhaila says she hopes to expand Soft Touch Décor as much as possible. Looking to work further in commercial projects, Suhaila says she enjoys the freedom to explore her creativity with the space provided. Also working on delivering corporate gifts, she adds that Soft Touch Décor is happy to create specialised items as per their clients’ requests.
Whether it is redecorating the entire house, or adding finishing and refining touches to make the four walls a home, Soft Touch Décor brings to its clients’ homes an elegant and sophisticated flare that ensures it is a house that will remain a home for a lifetime.
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