Jon and I traveled to Morocco for part of our honeymoon and it was amazing. Morocco was everything I'd imagined it to be and 1000 times more (I say more - and not better, per se - because Marrakesh can be entirely overwhelming at times; holy Djemaa el Fna).
I could not stop shopping. I will now call this house crack. I wanted to grab everything I could and run as fast as possible back to our suitcases. Jon would probably interject here that I did in fact do that, but believe me when I say that is hilarious! It was the tip of the iceberg that came back with us (and . . . it all weighed over 70 pounds). The pieces that still haunt my dreams and our bare walls can testify to my excellent willpower. Plus the fact that I made a mental promise to myself that I will return to decorate the next house. Hah!
I digress. The craftsmanship is stunningly beautiful - from the elaborate cut-out closet doors (closet! who is going to look at that besides the homeowner?), carved wood ceilings, to the tile-covered toe kicks on interior staircases. The details are everywhere and unbelievable.
Tiles from top to bottom. Carved Wood ceiling. Step tiles.
Concrete herringbone floor tiles in an alley.
Because there is virtually no middle class in Morocco, jobs for the poor center around farming and trade work, skills passed down through families: leather, woodwork, fabrics, ceramics, metalwork. Walking through the souks, as the stalls are called, you are surrounded by thousands of 5' - 10' wide shops. In the front, their wares; in the back, the work space where you can find partially finished pieces. Yes, many stalls sell machine-made items, but in many more you will still find the men and boys creating their one-of-a-kind pieces as you barter for and purchase your own. At a ceramic lighting souk, we custom ordered a set of two handmade lamps (unavailable in the color that we wanted) that were brought to our riad - Moroccan version of a boutique hotel - the very next day. At one leather souk a Marrakshi custom-oiled our new suitcase as we stood and watched. We purchased a lantern still damp with the fresh paint that we'd hand selected. We also came home with a ridiculously gorgeous wooden marquetry chest two feet long and a foot and a half in height. That one's a story for another day.
Where is this going? Right. I bought the October issue of Traditional Home yesterday and it features interior designer (not the model) Kathryn Ireland's Moroccan outdoor terrace. And October's House Beautiful showcases a Moroccan-inspired guest bedroom by Alessandra Branca that is totally stunning, authentic and modern all at once. Olive lacquered walls (dying!) with a similarly-toned, upholstered scrolling headboard make a memorable first impression, while the traditional furniture gives the room a sense of relatability and comfort (I doubt most people would want to move into a completely duplicated riad). Moroccan decor may go in and out of style in the magazines, but once you've seen the workmanship firsthand, you can't possibly remain uninspired. I'm willing to bet I'll always have one of my Moroccan souvenirs in use.
*Couldn't find links or pictures for either issue.