Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Decorating Moroccan Style......Elegant and Exotic

Moroccan decor is timeless, bold, comfortable and unique. Boasting the aesthetic that has African, Persian and European influences,  traditional Moroccan decorating style is beautiful, ornate, and warm.  It's modernized version is lighter while featuring a few accessories from the classic Moroccan design but on a clean background. Colors in Moroccan style are quiet rich from blue and green to orange, red and gold. This style takes colors from nature and landscapes of Morocco. Furniture can be simple and low set but some pieces such as tables and poufs can be decorated quite intricately. Ironwork and carved wood are very common to Moroccan style.

Rich textures and patterns enrich the Moroccan interior design making it look really ornate and sophisticated. Elaborate throw pillows made from luxurious fabrics are one of the key accessories. Fancy lanterns and lamps should give subdued light while candles will only add mystery to this truly beautiful and elegant décor. The design offers unprecedented versatility ethnic and rich thematic basis for creativity.

Please listen as you view the images.

Moroccan style can be bold, colorful and exciting. If you are wondering what colors to use in your Moroccan interiors, just take a look around the Moroccan souk (marketplace) The spices and dyes that abound there will give you some ideas.

Tiles and mosaics add that touch of WOW into your Moroccan decor and can be used for both the walls and floors. You can also find some stunning pieces of furniture covered with mosaics. If you have always wanted to try using mosaic tiles, this is your chance.

You may not have a ceiling like this but you can bring the patterns of it into your room through pillows and other accessories. Also you could use paint or tiles to create a headboard similar to this one.

Elaborate elements may include geometric and floral motifs carved into wood beams or plaster walls.

There is a singular beauty to maqarnas. They are formed from angled concave hollows, or vaults, hanging down in clusters that very much resemble stalactites, or honeycomb.There are many different types of muqarnas - each employing its own complex system of geometry to create ingenious and unique arrangements of vaults.

Another example of mugarnas.

If possible create a fantastic tiled area using a Moroccan type pattern. This is an essential part of Moroccan interior design so even if you can only dedicate a small area, I recommend you do.

You can recreate this look using lattice purchased at your local home goods store and cut into exotic shapes.

Create an intimate Moroccan style nook. If you can't use real tiles, stencil some on the walls.


Colorful painted furniture is very much Moroccan! Just make sure you paint it with an exotic twist.

Creative and surprising patterns, molded organic materials, and the intriguing lines of Moroccan structural motifs make the Moroccan home an extraordinary visual playground.

Must haves for you Moroccan interiors.

For this look find a wallpaper with similar design, have a banquet built for you seating and bring in colorful silk pillows! Purchase a few columns from a home goods store or architectural salvage and paint them in a faux stone treatment and you have a beautiful exotic interior.

Moroccan interiors son't always have to be colorful. This is a beautiful neutral designed room. The trick is to use different textures to make the room interesting.

Interiors are ornamented with exquisite handiwork, painted silk fabrics, hand-woven Moroccan carpets, intricate tiled walls. Here again some stencil work would go a long way! And don't be shy, use a variety of patterns.

Look for tapestries and embellished, embroidered fabrics to accessorize with.

Moroccan interior design lighting is really special. Not only does it create an ambient, seductive space, it also has the wonderful addition of pattern splashed out into the room during the evenings when switched on.

Large lanterns are popular today and can be found at most home decor stores. Use them inside or out!

Wrought iron furniture would certainly add to your room and of course low types of seating are a must.

Learn all you can about Moroccan architecture so you can recognize decorating elements that will give you the look. In this room it is the fabric curtain ( or it could be painting) on the wall behind the bed and the shape of the headboard that brings the exotic influence to the room

Build a platform and decorate it with tiles. Cover it with pretty fabrics and pillows and make an interesting valence style window treatment like the one on the left. Looks like a picket fence turned upside down (get the picture), and you too can have a Moroccan nook!

A dining room for a client that wanted touches of Moroccan design. This was done with an antique Moorish tapestry, an old oil painting of an exotic market place, oriental rugs, exotic accessories, colorful Persian pillows on an antique settee and 2 ft. X 7 ft. fabric panels with Moroccan arches and scenes used as a border for the top of the walls.

A different shot of the same room.

Tile  used in flooring, covered with lush rugs and cushions to create the atmosphere of a Moroccan home merged with the outdoor oasis. Decorated with silk or netting to keep away the insects while cushions and low set furniture allow rest overlooking the oasis.The advantage of this furniture is that it is not only gorgeous but also functional.

Try something new.....a platform bed. It will give an exotic flavor to any room. Use interesting neutral fabrics or go over the top with color.

Cozy Moroccan living room. Perfect setting for a nice mint tea gathering. Use lots of colorful pillows and experiment with painting and stenciling your doors. Be bold and creative!

Interior structuring takes on organic shapes with bends and arches.

This room has the slightest touch of Moroccan style.. You don't have to go full throttle to quench your thirst for the exotic.

Another perfect shape for a  do-it-yourself headboard. Make a cut out to cover in  rich fabric or paint it on the wall and stencil, paint and embellish with cording, tassels, and other trim.

Tented ceilings will add an exotic drama to your interiors.

Look for interesting pendants that can be hung at various height levels. You could select a magical assortment of colorful glass shades or keep them in simple, muted tones.

Don't forget to accessorize. Here is some traditional Moroccan pottery.

Please visit my website at www.lisafarmerdesigns.com

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This blog post was published by
Lisa Farmer

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Moroccan Interiors...... Bill Willis Style.

This is post number one of a three part series on Moroccan style interiors. If you like this beautiful style,then you must become acquainted with the man that first brought the look into the spotlight.Born in Tennessee, educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and briefly a resident of Rome, the high priest of Moroccan interiors, Bill Willis found a foothold in North Africa in the mid-1960s and never left.—Willis's wedding present to friend Paul Getty Jr and his new bride Talitha was a Moroccan honeymoon. Willis tagged along. The trip ended in Marrakech and none of them wanted to leave. So the Gettys bought the Palais de la Zahia, commissioned by the Glaoui of Marrakech in the 18th century. Willis worked on the Getty House, twice, then designed one for the Rothchilds and another for fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent next to Majorelle Gardens. The list goes on like a who's who of global elite expats in Marrakech.
Morocco had almost forgotten its indigenous architectural and design history, until Willis's fresh eye came along to rejoice in its rainbow palette and subtle variations on ancient Islamic themes. He developed a style based on traditional Moroccan references (arches, painted woodwork, geometric patterns in tiling) but imbued with his own slightly camp sense of humor. Willis once again brought the Moroccan style into the visual vocabulary of the American and European fashion forward viewer.

Music to enhance your visit!!


Moroccan craftsmanship was on its way to extinction when an unknown decorator arrived in Marrakech in the 1960s. Bill Willis revived the skills of artisans—and the crumbling homes of expats—with a glory yet unmatched. At Villa Oasis, home of Yves Saint Laurent , Willis's talent shines undimmed

The vestibule at Yves Saint Laurent's Villa Oasis features traditional Moroccan treatments such as carved plasterwork, marble and tile floors and tooled metalwork on the arched door.

One of the six brilliantly tiled bathrooms at Dar Es Saada—the guesthouse at fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech retreat—was designed by Bill Willis in a different and distinctive style.

Yves Saint Laurent's Marrakech retreat.

The salon vert at Villa Oasis; the consoles on the right were painted by Jacques Majorelle, who was responsible for the original layout of the Villa and its garden.

Decorative doors & elaborate tile-work in Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Interior. Designed by Bill Willis.

Working with designers Bill Willis in Marrakesh and Jacques Granges in Paris, Yves Saint Laurent turned his villa into a museum of Moroccan handicraft.
Yves Saint Laurent said was was his 'favorite room in the world.'

In the library, entirely designed by Willis, employing traditional wood-carving and stenciling techniques, armchairs from Brazil once belonged to the decorator. On the wall hangs Bergé's collection of Orientalist paintings

Blue Green Mosaic Fireplace. Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Interior. Designed by Bill Willis.


An alcove in the salon vert brings together several traditional techniques: a richly painted carved cedar arch; intricate tile work; and a slick marble floor.


The master bedroom in Villa Oasis. Willis's final project, begun a month before his death—was completed by Bergé. The cedar paneling is painted with Moroccan motifs.

The still popular restaurant Dar Yacout in Marrakech, designed by Willis.

Ornately carved stucco entrance to the main sitting room at Willis’s own Marrakech home, a former royal harem. Photo: Lisl Dennis

Talitha Getty's house, Marrakech, interior by Bill Willis.

An internal courtyard designed by Bill Willis in Talitha Getty’s villa in Tangier.

One of the bedrooms and the dining room at the Willis-designed Hotel Tichka in Marrakech. Photo: Lisl Dennis

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This blog post was published by
Lisa Farmer

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