Monthly Archives: November 2016

Monochrome Interior Inspiration

Monochrome Interiors And How To Create Them

 

Scandi or monochrome interiors can be difficult to pull off as they can look stark, cold and clinical.  Two Scandinavian designers who nail this look are Danish fashion, interior designer and artist, Marlene Birger and Swedish stylist, make-up artist and founder of boutique, Miloii, Karolina Vertus.  You can see shots from their properties in our Pinterest board above (use the scroll bar on the right hand side to see all the photos).

There are five key elements to monochrome interiors:

1.Pattern

Add patterned rugs, blankets, cushions and throws to break up expanses of one colour.   Stick to a restricted colour palette and don’t be afraid to mix stripes, zig zags, florals and tribal motifs.

2.Global textiles

Thick Beni Ourain rugs, hand-woven runners, striped and patterned blankets, sequinned wedding blankets, throws and piles of assorted cushions all add layers, texture, pattern and warmth.

3.Metallics

Sequinned Moroccan wedding blankets, lassi cups, silver sculptures, candlesticks, contemporary metallic lights, tea light holders, inlaid furniture and metallic tiles all reflect the light and add sparkle.

4.Natural materials

Rustic or global wooden furniture, tribal carvings and wicker baskets all add texture.  I would also add plants to the mix.

5.Artwork

Create a visual feast with bold contemporary artwork or mix and match styles on a gallery wall.

 

Get The Look

monochrome interiorsMonochrome interiors

  1.  Add pattern and texture with our hand-woven Indian Zig Zag runner in black and white, £380
  2. A bold striped blanket, perfect on the bed or thrown over a sofa, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Natural Black £183
  3. Kilim Pouf Ayoub, a Beni Ourain pouf, will provide extra seating, pattern and texture to a room, £110
  4. A sophisticated basket with layers of ribbing will add texture, Open Ribbed Basket Black Gogo Christina, £112, shown here on our natural and white Indian Zig Zag runner, £380
  5. A striped blanket will add warmth and pattern, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Black Natural, £183
  6. Add a decorative touch with one of our storage baskets, Bonakele Black, £180
  7. These Black and Natural baskets Bonakele, available in three sizes, £34 – £80, add pattern and texture
  8. A traditional Beni Ourain carpet adds pattern, texture and warmth underfoot, £795
  9. Vintage lassi cups add pattern and a silvery shine, (available in a variety of patterns and sizes), £30 – £34
  10. Add sparkle with vintage Moroccan wedding blankets, (shown here Assia) £225 and cushions.

 

If you are a fan of monochrome interiors you can read more on Karonlina Vertus, her apartment and family, in Milk magazine here. Marlene Birger has written two books on her style and properties, you can read more about them and see her artwork here.

 

Maud’s Travels – Marrakech Part 1

 Marrakech Part 1 – Day 1 The Souks

 

aladdins-cave-maud-interiors

Marrakech is one of my favourite cities. I am drawn to its souks bursting with crafts, the creativity of the artisans, the architecture, the fragrant tagines and sweet, sticky, pastries and its welcoming people.  It’s only a short flight from the UK so it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend and paradise for interior lovers.  This post was originally intended to be my suggestions for a long weekend in Marrakech but there is too much information to share so part one focuses on a day in the souks.

 

The souks are situated in the Medina or old town. They stretch over roughly 20 hectares from the Ben Yousef mosque in the north to the main square, Jemaa-el-Fna in the south. It’s a labyrinth of interconnected alleyways full to bursting with hand-woven carpets, intricate metal lanterns and ironmongery, pungent spices and exotic oils, ceramics, leather bags, poufs and slippers, dried fruits, hand carved furniture and baskets.

carpets MarrakechMoroccan lights Marrakech

Marrakech has historically been a trading hub and as well as handicrafts from other regions, you can also find goods from the Maghreb and sub Saharan Africa.   Indigo fabric from Mali, hand carved wooden doors from Benin, jewellery and ceramics from the nomadic Tuaregs and Kuba cloth from the Congo can all be found within the souks.

 

There are eighteen different souks and most of them are devoted to different trades. You will get lost exploring the maze of lanes but you don’t need a guide.  It’s all part of the experience and the best way to discover new places.  If you do become disoriented or are in a hurry to find something just ask one of the stall holders for directions.

Some of my favourite places to visit are:

Criée Berbère, the carpet souk

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Carpets are sold in many locations in the souks, there are small stalls and three storey riads devoted to them but this is the main area and is situated to one side of Rabha Kdima, the spice market, show in the picture above.

Some tips for buying carpets:

  • Take your time and visit a few places before you make a decision
  • Always ask for a carpet to be held up to the light, as it is easier to detect holes and marks. If it is too dark take the carpet outside and inspect it in natural light
  • Give carpets a good sniff and steer clear of anything with an unpleasant odour as it is likely to be permanent.  That goes for all textiles not just rugs
  • If you are serious about buying a carpet then take a mint tea with your salesman and be prepared to negotiate. There are no fixed prices so bargain hard.

Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers souk

the dyers souk marrakech

You can’t miss this souk as there are always skeins of newly dyed wool in vibrant colours drying overhead in the sun. For a small fee you can see how wool is dyed here.

 

Souk El Haddadine, the blacksmiths souk

tea trays marrakech maud interiorslanterns marrakech

The sound of hammers beating on metal can be heard on approach to the blacksmiths’ souk.  Feast your eyes on lamp stands, beaten metal trays, padlocks, door knockers and ornate candlesticks. Nearby you will find an area specialising in ornate metal lanterns.

One thing to bear in mind if you are buying a lightweight metal lantern is that they don’t travel well. They dent easily and it’s difficult and in some cases impossible to repair them. The best way to transport them is as hand luggage but not all airlines will allow this. My advice is to buy them from one of the larger stalls/shops, as they will be able to pack them securely and arrange shipping.

 

Souk El Khebil

Here you will find woodworkers creating household implements from lemon and orange wood. Chose from handcrafted lemon squeezers, biscuit moulds, honey drizzlers, spoons and ornate kebab sticks. They make great gifts. Note that unlike the carpet souks, where the sellers are agents for the weavers and put a substantial mark up on the carpets, these stall holders are the artisans and the work is labour intensive so the prices are fixed.

 

Terasse Des Epices, Dar Cherifa

Terrasses Des Epices MarrakechMint tea Marrakechterrasse-des-epices-marrakech-maud-interiors

 

When you are footsore, tired of dodging kamikaze motorbike drivers, donkeys, carts and bicycles, and overwhelmed with the choice of beautiful handicrafts take some time out and stop for a mint tea and pastries, or lunch, at Terasses Des Epices in Dar Cherifa. The food is a wonderful Franco-Moroccan fusion, there is a great atmosphere and the mist of water from the roof top sprays will help to cool you down.

After lunch check out the hand-embroidered linens at Scenes Du Lin, the black and white pottery from Fez, and the beldi glasses in Dar Cherifa.

 

Rahba Kdima, the spice market

Spice market MarrakechDried rosebuds Marrakech

 

Mounds of exotic spices, dyes, herbs, fragrant oils, henna, kohl, dried roses and rosewater, savon noir, ghassoul and traditional medicines are sold in this market.

 

Visit A Traditional  Hammam

local hammam Marrakech

 

The best way to relax after a day exploring the souks is to have a traditional hammam. You can go to a public one, some riads offer them, or you can go to one of the large hotels or spas. You can read about my hammam experience and learn how to create your own at home here. Note that you should allow at least two hours for the full experience.

L’Art Du Bain, Souk el Badine

lart-du-bain-marrakechlart-du-bain2-marrakech-maud-interiors

If you enjoy your hammam experience you can stock up on products at L’Art Du Bain, in Souk el Badine near Souk Sebbaghine. Here you will find argan oil soaps with blends of herbs and flowers like orange blossom. I like the Little Fatima argan oil soap with ghassoul clay and grains, the Savon de Hammam, which is the black soap used for exfoliation in the hammam, and Louise, Louisa argan oil soap with verbena and lemon. All the products are beautifully packaged and make great gifts.

 

Said Argan, Souk El Kemmahhine

For argan oil, said to be rich in anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants, I recommend Said Argan. It’s a tiny kiosk run by a women’s cooperative at 6 Souk El Kemmahhine near Dar Cherifa, almost opposite the equally tiny beldi glass shop.  Blink and you will miss them. They have a range of argan related beauty products. My favourite is the argan oil with rose.

 

Watch The Entertainment At Jemaa-el-Fna

After a busy day take a pre-dinner stroll through Jemaa-el-Fna,or take in the spectacle of snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and dancers from a cafe overlooking the square.

jemaa-el-fnaa-marrakech

Dine At Nomad

For dinner I recommend Nomad, at 1 Derb Aarjan near Rahba Kdima, the spice market, for its cool cocktails, delicious Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist and chic, modern global, interiors.

Nomad Marrakechkilim-seating-nomad-marrakech-maud-interiorsnomad-kilim-seating-maud-interiors

Where To Stay

There are thousands of hotels and riads in Marrakech to choose from. I prefer to stay in a riad in the Medina and my favourite place to stay is Riad 72. You can read more about it here.