When it comes to decorating, you'll often find me in the back of a tiny shop in the souks, taking things off the bottom and top shelves, and blowing off the dust. Beauty is not always important to me - I am fascinated by anthropological and strange objects, like intricate handmade talismans and mysterious African games; I love most things with a curious purpose. Prices and labels are irrelevant to me and they don't make things inherently more valuable in my eyes. One of my very favorite things is a huge dead branch with a complex root system that I found on the sidewalk in downtown Marrakesh; it now sits on an old French library table in my living room.
My American architect husband, Chris Redecke, designed Peacock Pavilions. It's on an olive grove in Marrakesh. The pavilions are one and two stories high to help them blend into its natural environment. The walls are surfaced with a beige stucco. You can see a glimpse of one of the domes that Chris designed and the oversized chimney. We hand cast and laid all the cement pavers on the property.
Our diningroom. Chris designed and had built the walnut dining room table and chairs, inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. I had them upholstered with old Moroccan carpet fragments. On the table is a row of old spice boxes that I bought in Yemen and India on assignment.The Beni Ouarain on the floor is from my shop Red Thread Souk. The console is covered with a suzani I bought in Uzbekistan. On the console is a Coptic Christian Cross I purchased in the Khan el Khalili in Cairo. Over the console is my collection of African masks that I've bought during my travels. Chris made the sconces from kudu horns that the Namibian Parliament gifted me with, when we lived in Windhoek. I designed the light fixture so that it would provide enough light but yet not block the masks. The Moorish arch through which you see the dining room is thought to fend off evil genies, handy while having dinner.
The library (also known as the Groovy Room): I designed this as a fun, light hearted space to read and have a beer in. The brightly striped vintage Moroccan blanket acts as a rug and sets the tone for the whole space. I bought the vintage leather couch with wheels off of ebay and it is covered with a suzani with peacocks. The cushions are applique work from Guatemala. Over the couch are paintings by American artist, Maria Bliss and a painting I bought in Iraq on assignment. I bought the rattan chairs in the Marrakesh flea market for about $5 each and gave them a lick of black paint. The cushions are made of Egyptian tent cloth. The coffee tables are made out of old Moroccan traffic signs. (There is a fun story behind my procuring these signs but I have to be liquored up before I share.) I purchased the tasseled hanging on the wall in Esphahan, Iran -- my Mom is Persian. The Moroccan lanterns are made of sardine can metal (I think the little fish on the lanterns are so funny). I've organized my books by color.
In this space, you can really get a feeling for the flooring of our house; it is a polished cement that we hand mixed to get an old tobacco color. In the middle of the space is a fountain that we fashioned out of an abstract stone flower that we purchased when we lived in Kathmandu. Chris designed a modern stem for the sculpture out of metal. Around the fountain is a series of old African stools I have bought during my travels -- I think they look like an installation of mushrooms. The door to the left is Moroccan and is home to part of my collection of vintage Moroccan wool tassels (worn as belts in some parts of Morocco). I bought the antique bronze pipe resting on the floor in Benin. A mask I purchased many years ago in Senegal is over the door. The door to the right is antique Indian. Hanging over it is an old mask I got in Mali -- I had to do some sweet talking to get it on the plane. A pregnant fertility mask that I found in Tanzania is on the wall.
My bedroom: We made the headboard ourselves out of antique poster printing blocks -- my son likes to rearrange the letters to create secret messages. I had the pillow cases made out from my stash of wax resist fabrics from Mali. The cushion is gifted Ralph Lauren linen. On the bed are various covers I have had made from Moroccan and African fabrics. Two inlaid Syrian chairs serve as nightstands. Over the bed is an antique French poster given as a gift from my design loving parents. The crystal sconces are vintage Italian. I bought the the old hand embroidered dressing around the window/daybed when I was in Kyrgyzstan on assignment. The daybed itself has an inlaid mosaic wooden front. On the daybed are cushions made from vintage Moroccan velvet caftans, Moroccan wedding blankets from my shop, and Egyptian fabrics. I found Miss Wabor, the mannequin, in the Marrakesh souks and turned her into a lamp; around her neck are old African crystals and record beads from Ghana and at her waist is a cross brush that was a gift from the New York store Matter (the owner is a client) -- I think it gives her a distinctly Joan of Arc feel. We stenciled the polished cement floor with Skylar's lace, a stencil that was originally made by Royal Design Studio for my daughter and can be bought here.
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