Morocco Part 2- My Favorite Architectural Moments

With January winding down already, I find myself holding onto my Morocco memories as long as possible.  Two weeks ago I talked about all the rugs I saw (and bought!) so today I want to talk about from of my favorite architectural moments.  Morocco has some amazing arches, fountains, mosques and dormitories full of mosaic tiles, intricate woodwork and carved plaster.  My favorite moments were often the gorgeous courtyards.   A little private outdoor space with plants, gorgeous tile and a fountain? Yes, Please.  It’s official, I need to have a courtyard in my someday home.

Day 1: Tangier

tangier gate

tangier tile

tangier ceiling

A gorgeous painted wood ceiling marred by a street light.  Awe modern technology.

We only got to spend one day in Tangier, and it was our first day in Morocco.  (Read: Culture Shock/ Exhausted/ didn’t take it in fully.)  It’s a seaside town and said to be the most European due it’s proximity to Spain.  There is a ton of development going on there right now and people seem really excited about it.  I would love to go back in 5 years and see what’s happening here.

Day 2 Tétouan

Tetouaen 2

We stopped in Tétouan for like literally 20 minutes on our way to the next stop.  I loved the balconies in this city!  You don’t see a lot of balconies in Morocco, except in the old Jewish Quarters.

Day 2-4 Chefchaouen

chefchaouen arch

Chefchauoen naomi

chefchaouen fountain

chefchaouen with balcony

Chefchoauen sunset

I was obsessed with this blue mountain town!!  The slower pace, friendly people and dreamy blue walls were just what I needed to feel relaxed and explore.  We were invited into a local’s home for dinner and live music.  My only regret is that I didn’t take home any of their famous blue dye.

Day 5 Fez

fez palace

fez doors

fes blue city

fez riad 3

This was inside our Riad!

carved plaster ceiling

This was a carved plaster ceiling.  So beautiful!

fez details 2

Mosaic Tile, Plaster and Carved Wood were paired together on walls.

fez details

fez dilapidated courtyard

Fez is where the tile and woodwork really exploded.  This city has so much history and is full of intricate artistry everywhere in it’s architecture.  We really fell for the dilapidated riad (last pic.)  This place was huge with a few courtyards and dozens of rooms.  I was drooling imaging remodeling into a new kind of glory.

Day 6 & 7 Desert, Mountains, Dades Gorge

naomi in the desert

Ait Benhaddou

No architecture to report here, but I did ride a camel.  Oh and we saw the city of Ait Benhaddou, where Laurence Arabia and Game of Thrones have been filmed.

Day 8-10 Marrakech

marrkech badii

marrakech ceiling (2)

marrakech ceiling

marrakech bahia palace

marrakech tile

marrakech merdersa

marrakech majorelly garden

I loved the Klein Blue modern building in Majorell Garden.  It was such a nice change of pace.

marrakech minaertte

Marrakech was like Fez only a little younger and and more flashy.  It has plenty of the old/ traditional like palaces mosques and universities.  But then it definitely has its modern side like the Majorelle Garden.  It felt a little more hip and touristy.  As the last leg of our trip we were definitely a little worn down at this point.  Luckily we could just wander in a daze and enjoy the view.

marrakech mirror

Design Takeaways

I found the intricate details to be really inspiring and so perfect in their setting.  It really made me think how plain (and cheap) American buildings are.  This kind of artistry takes several skilled artisans, and most Americans don’t put that kind of money into residential architecture.  If I were to incorporate more of this Moroccan style, I’d love to simplify it.  Just the tile, or just the woodwork or just plaster instead of all three together.  Modern furnishings to balance out the ornate details.  Modern, Minimal, Moroccan.  Who wants to go there!? :)


PS- Thanks to everyone who checked out our new Etsy shop.  Last week was a great first week of retail for us.  Two wedding blankets sold and we only have 1 left for sale.  We will continue to be adding new items as well.  See our shop HERE.




Vein Cut Silver Travertine

We have been designing A LOT of master bathrooms recently.  It’s really rewarding working with a mix of  clients with varying home styles and taste preferences.  While traditional style reigns supreme in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, once in a while I get lucky and score a client who is looking for a modern design.  (Note- I love all styles, but as a designer its fun to mix it up a bit.)  Right now I have a young stylish couple who are seeking a design that is clean, modern, warm and totally chic for their master bath.  My client turned me onto to vein cut silver travertine and this will be the jumping off point for the design.

This travertine, also known as “Ocean Blue Travertine”  has an organic linear look with veins of silver, beige and brown running through it.  Some batches are more blue, some are more tan, some are more stripey, some are more blotchy.  My preference would be for a little more blue and definitely more linear.  Sourcing the right lot is definitely key!

horizontal vein cut silver travertineSarah Richardson

When the tiled up the whole it has a very contemporary, yet organic look.

vein cut silver travertine set on horizontalSarah Richardson

It can be set horizontally.  I like the size of the large rectangular tiles above.  They look like they are around 12×24.  (9×18?)

Or they can be set vertically for a different look.

vein cut travertine set on verticalHome of Delphine Krakoff

Which look do you prefer?

I personally prefer them tiled subway style with offset joints…

offset silver travertin

Another way to go is stacked.  This is a little grid-like to me.  I like the extra movement that comes with the offset tiles.

stacked silver travertine

With the cool, contemporary look of this tile, I really like it paired with a warm wood vanity instead of a painted cabinet.

warm wood paired with silver travertine

Often times you will see people go balls to the walls and do the tile all over the walls and floors…

silver travertine on walls and floorsSteven Gambrel/ House and Home

I favor contrasting the busier walls with a darker, simpler floor.  Something like below…. the travertine is not vein cut silver, but can you imagine if it was?

travertine walls dark floor

It’s a fun new material to me and I’m enjoying how its shaping the design of this bathroom.  What do you think of vein cut silver travertine?  Would you consider it over the oft-used Carrara Marble?

a full wall of tile

This bathroom has a full wall of tile on its tub/shower wall, and no tile on the adjacent wall.

Does this look off balance to you?  It doesn’t bother me, but I would have preferred to see it everywhere.  Perhaps the budget was limited.  Or do you think this was intentional?

A full room of a busier tile could certainly be overwhelming.  But this soft green almost reads neutral.  I love the soothing, natural zen feel it brings to the space.

I also want to point out the pedestal tub.  A lot of my clients have the misconception that pedestal tubs are only traditional in style.  (Think clawfoot tubs.)  This one is clean, minimal and calling my name!

BLING some happiness to your home

It is my personal opinion that every house should have a little bling. A touch of sparkle here, a surprise shimmer there, a reflective treasure that catches your eye as you turn the corner.

We are all busy people and sometimes our homes get neglected. They get a little messy, a little broken, a little forgotten. But it only takes a special item of two to make a room look beautiful. Adding a little bling to your home can be like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you deck your house out head to toe in diamond encrusted mirrors and lamps, mirrored tables, and sparkly tiled floors. And if you can, please avoid the urge to use this swan faucet with crystal knobs.

That is not my idea of tasteful bling.

I like a subtle detail here and there. Sparkle juxtaposed against antique; Dressy mixed in with a few casual pieces; A hint of glamor in a minimalist room.

Ok, Enough with the descriptions and on with the photos! Or shall I say, bling it on! (Sorry couln’t help myself.)

A few ways to achieve bling:

It can be as subtle as an antiqued mirrored coffee table. (Designer Phoebe Howard)

Or go all out and splash shiny gold painted across your walls. (Photographer James Merrel)

How about a table setting with sparkly capiz shell placemats and gold candlesticks?

A playful green room gets a touch of gold with jewelry-like end tables. (Designer Amanda Nisbet)

The ultimate Blinged-Kitchen done right- high gloss black cabinets and sparkly chandelier. (via La Dolce Vita)

Adorn your walls with shimmery Gold Squares against a dramatic black. (Designer Brandon Barre)

It can be as simple as a few pretty candleholders on a ledge. (via Desire to Inspire)

A ornate gold sofa pops amongst a soothing sea of white and beige. (via Desire to Inspire)

A few bling products:

A more tasteful sparkly Faucet. Grohe Kensington with crystal knob.

Hardware is an easy way to add sparkle. Try Ann at Home’s Cartier collection diamond knob, or Old World Hardware’s cabinet pulls with Swarovski crystal and polished nickel.

So many shimmery Lighting options! I’d love to use Troy Lighting’s Collins Transitional Wall Sconce in a bathroom.

Or three luminous pendants over an island.

Or the Caboche Suspension Chandelier over a dining table.

Wallpaper, such as Jocelyn Warner’s Poppy Foil adds a subtle sparkle to a room.

A few fun pillows. Like Sasha Silver pillow from Bliss Living Home, or Faux Leather silver pillow from Deeply Madly Living.

Resin Panels from 3Form, like Hollywood Silver could be fabulous room dividers or cabinet inserts.

Or a glamorous vanity bench. Hayworth from Pier One doesn’t break the bank. ($99)

A gold Moroccan Pouf from Lille Shop would snazz up your living room and provide a great place to sit.

There are so many pretty sparkly tiles out there today with glass, metal and stone products abounding. I like Mirage’s Glacier series for some subdued bling.

It’s safe to say I’m hooked on Home Bling.

This post is linked in Julia’s Hooked on Friday’s blog party. Be sure to head over to her blog to see what she and all the other bloggers are hooked on this week!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. So I encourage you to go out and adorn your home in some Sparkle. But remember, less is more. So think of what Coco Chanel said…something along the lines of “always take off one thing before you leave the house.” Well apply that theory to your home and it should be perfectly bling-tastic.

PS- anyone want to count how many times I wrote bling in this post? hahaha. Happy Friday!

Hooked on Mosaic Tiles

My newest tile obsession are the mosaics of New Ravenna and talented designer Sara Baldwin because they are Gorgeous with a capital G!!!!!

The options are unlimited with these beautiful tiles. Traditional, Modern, Ecclectic, Embellished, Minimal, Dramatic, Subtle, Sweet, Colorful or Clean White- any look or style can be created. Its art. Its detailed. And details are what really make a home. All I need is the home, and I’ll be ready to go tile crazy!

For New Ravenna’s Synergy Line they paired with even more talented artists to create mosaic patterns. Some designers include Erin Adams, James Duncan and Oceanside Glass. It’s just amazing what they create.

This post is linked in Julia’s Hooked on Friday’s blog party. Be sure to head over to her blog to see what she and all the other bloggers are hooked on this week!