Dima Ahmad: Creative Expression
Dima Ahmad Interiors colours outside the lines in creating spaces and experiences.
If the thought of reorganizing your closet can be intimidating, the notion of planning and executing the interior design, look and feel of your entire home can be positively overwhelming to most. This is where interior designers, such as Dima Ahmad, come to the rescue.
Her Dima Ahmad Interiors studio in the Toronto area has both local and international clients, attracted by her passion for design, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and her innate ability to replace the intimidation of interior design with inspiration.
“There is a mutual respect between ourselves and our clients,” says Ahmad. “They allow us into their personal space, and they come to us for a creative vision, and we have the tools to explain that vision. We’ve cultivated clientele who understand us, and we’re strong in our communications that we push the envelope, and that clients must respect the creative. All of our clients have a mutual respect for the ‘crazy,’ as I believe in my vision to create something unique in attracting the right clients to allow me to push and play on my concepts.”
Grateful and blessed to be born in Hamilton, and growing up in a culturally rich experience with parents from the Middle East, Ahmad is a product of not only her upbringing, but also her travels, which included living in Italy for a year.
“The creative lens comes from my upbringing and my travels and values and manners, which I translate into design elements,” says this fiercely independent and confident designer. “My lens is art, and I tend to look at art as an immersive experience, which ignites my senses. I’m an observer of life, and places, and a very relationship-driven person. I’ve kept in touch with everyone I’ve ever sat beside on a plane.”
Since her first solo renovation project in 2015, Ahmad has grown her company to offer both design advice and consultation, as well as full-service capturing all elements of interior design to ensure that every detail is developed with a hands-on, personalized approach.
“We’re unique because we’re relationship-driven, and our clients know our trades by name and they enjoy that,” she says. “We are hard-working, driven, creative and eager to have a successful outcome on every project. It’s very satisfying to return to a repeat client only to find they haven’t changed a thing; that’s a great testimonial.”
“I Highly Recommend Getting Into Trouble Because It Creates Opportunities. I Like To Push Boundaries. Many Unique Experiences Come From That”
The Dima Ahmad Interiors approach to design begins with layering. “People see interior design as pretty, but there are many layers to design,” says Ahmad. “The best projects are ones where everyone lets the project breathe. We layer texture, art, lighting, and the layering evolves, and each element must speak to one another. Design should always evolve and tell the story of who you are, as we’re always evolving. The technical is important, but sometimes that can undermine the whimsical and creativity, which must be allowed to breathe.”
In working with her clients, Ahmad takes the time to get to know them, their lifestyles, their travels and plans for the future, which she feels is very telling. “Many people don’t know where they want to go with design, as it is subjective because there are many different disciplines,” says Ahmad. “Design gives an individual reaction, which marries back to an immersive experience. It ignites all of our senses — as it should.”
In overcoming the intimidation challenge, Ahmad recommends both observation and experimentation. “Observe how you live. Rid yourself of the norms, and you’ll get to a place that is optimal for your lifestyle and have a place that speaks to who you are. A den is a perfect place to experiment with — just transform it as to what you want. Be experimental and don’t be afraid,” she advises.
These challenging times may be right for this type of experimentation, says Ahmad, who is noticing a few emerging trends. “There is a deeper appreciation for privacy and alone time,” she says. “Clients with open floor plans are looking for more separation, either with screens or furniture creating more designated areas. Because we are all home so much, clients are returning to us and asking how we [can] take our design one step further, and how they can layer and evolve their designs.”
As a keen observer of so many spaces during her life, there is one that stands out to Ahmad — La Sala delle Carte Geografiche (the room of the geographic maps) at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. There, an oversized globe in the centre of the room greets you, and cascading along the walls are framed maps from the 16th century, representing the known world at the time, both terrestrial and celestial. It has since inspired Ahmad to continue to grow her vintage map collection, and she feels the room could easily translate to a den design in a Western home.
“I can see it so clearly: walls covered with framed maps of places you’ve visited, the floor adorned with a beautiful rug, with custom seating and some spot tables,” Ahmad envisions. “Dim the lights, light a candle, beverage in hand, and that’s a room I’d happily spend hours in.”
Bursting with self-assuredness, Ahmad’s spirit and passion for design and art are infectious, and her intuition allows her to create spaces and experiences, giving her clients freedom of expression. To inspire imagination, Dima Ahmad is leading a new generation of young designers colouring outside the lines. “I have a lot of trust in myself, which translates into the art I’m allowed to create,” says Ahmad. “I highly recommend getting into trouble, because it creates opportunities. I like to push boundaries. Many unique experiences come from that.”