A Textured, Patterned Paradise in Morocco

updated Aug 9, 2019

A Textured, Patterned Paradise in Morocco

updated Aug 9, 2019
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Name: Nina and Mohamed and their kids, Alima, Maymuna, and Inès
Location: Fes, Morocco
Size: 500 square meters (5382 square feet)
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Nina, who left Los Angeles a few years ago, found both love and a paradise in Fes. She’s a textile designer, a sourcing consultant and the founder of Artisan Project, and she lives in a fabulous riad in the Old Medina of Fes with her husband, Mohamed—a Fez native, doctor, and Sunday painter—and their kids.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

“A riad is by definition a garden,” Mohamed explains to me. “Also, everything in a riad has been designed originally to keep the entire house warm in the winter months and cool in the summer months. Somehow almost all the rooms are interconnected with each other.”

This particular 200-year-old riad is a succession of rooms and open spaces punctuated with an impressive collection of vintage textiles, Nina’s own creations and Mohamed and the girl’s DIY projects.

Every zellij tile adorning the floors and walls is a masterpiece. The Cleopatra-esque bathroom is made of blue tadelakt, a traditional Moroccan material and technique. In the guest room, a vintage rug is given a second life as a blanket, while an antique dress adorns the wall.

The use of natural and local materials adds an effortlessly luxurious feel to this hidden oasis. It sure feels like paradise: birds chants in stereo and there are gentle fragrances of bergamot trees, cardamon, and countless flowers.

The terrace is treated as a minimal living room on the roof—a space to enjoy the last rays of sunlight during winter or to fall asleep on hot summer nights with the starry sky as a blanket.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Lush, bohemian with textures and modern touches.

Inspiration: Color, texture, and pattern.

Favorite Element: The textiles. The courtyard and the zellij tiles.

Biggest Challenge: Creating a unified, personal feel in such a large space.

What Friends Say: That it is such a magical place. They are usually blown away by the courtyard and pillars.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our kitchen! The most neglected room in the house—it hasn’t been remodeled in over a century.

Proudest DIY: Pretty much every room has a textile that I have designed. Creating the lounge space and our bedroom.

Biggest Indulgence: Our rug collection.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to mix colors, patterns and styles and to create a space that is your fantasy.


(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Venetian glass mirror: vintage via local flea market
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Furniture: custom-made by hand in Fes
  • Books: from all around the world
  • Textiles: vintage from around Morocco
  • Throws: Nina’s company, Artisan Project
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Vintage Berber terracotta couscous platter: wedding gift
  • Table: handmade in Fes
  • Chairs: handmade in Fes
  • Rugs: Beni Ourain, Azilal
  • Paintings: DIY by Mohamed and the kids
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Tiles: centuries-old traditional Moroccan zellij
  • Tagines: vintage
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Venetian mirror: vintage via Fes antique shop
  • Cushions: vintage via the souks in the middle of the Atlas
  • Blue Beni Ourain: Artisan Project
  • Rugs: Azilal and Marmoucha found all over Morocco
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Walls, bathtub, and sink: blue tadelakt
  • Towels: Artisan Project
  • Mirror: Fes Medina
  • Rug: vintage Azilal
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Dress on the wall: vintage Afghan
  • Rug: vintage Beni Ourain
  • Blankets: vintage Handiras (Moroccan wedding blankets)
  • Throws: Artisan Project
  • Paintings: Mohamed Alami
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Bedcover: Artisan Project
  • Wall hanging: handira
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Chair: cast iron rocking chair brought back from Cuba and put together in Fes
  • Towel: Artisan Project

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Thanks, Nina & Mohamed!