insights on creating innovative spaces

A Taste of Morocco

 Most of you know how much I love to travel.  I truly enjoy exploring new places and drawing inspiration from the people, architecture, natural beauty and unique objects one sees while traveling.  As we experience one of the coldest winters on record, let me share a journey to a warm place – a place warm in culture, inspiration and atmosphere – Morocco! 

Morocco is a land of contrasts. I was inspired by the white buildings with brilliant blue shutters (doest it sound like Greek Islands?) as well as the colors in the souks where the merchants bargain for their wares.   Color, texture, sound, scent  – it’s all around you as you meander amongst the various stalls.  I wanted to bring a piece of Morocco home with me, yet I didn’t want to fill my apartment with knick-knacks. Instead, I brought the essence of Morocco into my home with  pieces of old rugs that I turned into a decorative long back pillow for my sofa, once I returned home. 

In Morocco, I discovered long empty roads with only olive trees and sand, for miles, before I hit the coastline into Essouria – a port city on the ocean.     I was amazed by the contrast of women in black burkas enjoying the beach alongside young girls in bathing suits of bright colors.    I had a wonderful lunch while traveling up into the High Atlas Mountains taking pleasure from colors of the spices and vegetables that were so beautifully presented.  I was amazed at this beauty, remoteness and sense of space as I enjoyed this flavorful meal.   I often think of this meal remembering the wonderful smells and consider how to evoke this experience through design, whether in texture of fabrics, use of paint or flooring, or lighting.

Along the way I discovered families and villages making their living working in silver, coral and stones creating exotically designs brackets and necklaces.    I came across a village where the women supported their families by making soaps and candles from a specific plant oil found only in Morocco.  The dried reeds were made into beautiful tote baskets with leather handles.    I brought one back and use it in the summer for my shopping at the greenmarkets.    It is strong enough that I have used it to carry tile or carpet samples that I want to present to my clients.  Every time I use it, memories of this wonderful trip creep into my mind.

Over the holidays I spoke with a college friend who now lives in Florida.  During our holiday telephone catch-up, she shares that her sister started a business selling totes from Morocco! It is exciting to know that I now have a source for these wonderful totes.     I cannot wait to use them suspended from a wall peg in a kitchen to hold fresh fruits or vegetables – or placed in a guest room of a beach house to hold reading material for your weekend guest.  You can find these through my friend’s sister, Rita at www.sheridansheausa.com and tell her I sent you.    I know you will find your own inspiration.  

Of course, you don’t need to go to exotic places for inspiration – take a winter walk through your neighborhood park – take in the patterns found on the bark of a birch tree – do you see inspiration for tiles in a bathroom?  Check out the rainforest section at the Central Park Zoo – revel in the warmth and the brilliant colors of the exotic birds. Wherever you may be during these winter months – be inspired –your next renovation project or simple update may reflect some piece of  something you see, sense or feel.

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