Maryam in Marrakech Location: Marrakech, Morocco Type: ramshackle three-bedroom cottage on an olive grove. Rented (and only until we can find someplace else less likely to collapse on our heads). Of note: we are not permitted to paint the walls because they are in tadelakt, a Moroccan wall treatment that involves applying crushed limestone, polishing with soap, and rubbing with rocks until the wall glows (and no, I am not kidding). Why I use color: I use color to distract you from the fact that the owner of my rented property has never renovated or taken care of his home. It is falling apart. (Woe’s me.) But I am also inspired by living in Marrakech to use color, as most Moroccan homes incorporate color liberally – there are no beige living rooms.
We entertain quite a bit and like to create a glow and ambiance through the use of color. I often use textiles for color, preferring those that are vintage to slightly subdue the hue, especially as I like pattern, too. In the middle of my bolster on the couch is an antique embroidery I found in Azerbaijan, for example. I also find color and beauty in ordinary things. Over the summer, I found a large red oil can on the beach and took it home with me….I am going to alter it and display it. It will look great with a piece of modern furniture. 2 Good color tips: 1. Group objects together of the same color family in varying shapes and sizes to create a color pop in a room. I am especially fond of antique pottery in sea green or blue tones. 2. Repurpose ordinary but colorful items. My upholstery on my couch is an old Moroccan blanket found buried in a heap in a corner antique shop. (I am on the look out for a Swiss army blanket with a red cross to upholster with, too.) Recently, I bought a pile of $10 red and white striped wool throws/mini-blankets that the women in Northern Morocco use as wrap skirts. They look fantastic neatly draped on the backs of chairs on a terrace, or rolled in tight bundles and placed in reed baskets or zinc flower boxes. Cozy for winter breakfasts outside. They also are handy if you are scantily dressed and the FedEx man rings. 2 good color resources: 1. The souks of Marrakech (treasures unimaginable) 2. Demolition sites world wide for salvage. Get your hardhat and start scouting. We have found old painted ceiling pieces, painted cornices and trellises, etc., this way cheap. I love pairing old salvage like this with crisp bed linens. Looks sharp!