Back in May, we took an inspiration trip to Morocco. I got a sinus infection during the trip, and then life took over when we got back—so we didn’t really get a chance to look through our photos until now! Looking back, there are so many inspiring Moroccan design details, particularly from the lodges and riads we stayed at. The first one we stayed at was Berber Lodge just outside of Marrakech. Once we got to the city itself we stayed at Riad Jardin Secret (we’ll do another post on that inspiring stay!)
We’ve been inspired by Moroccan textiles, tile, colors, and interiors for as long as we can remember, so we finally decided to make a trip to see it for ourselves. As soon as we arrived to Morocco, there was an immediate and very apparent color palette of sandy peaches. It created a sense of place, and blended so seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Most architecture in Morocco uses the pigments of surrounding earth for coloring.
We think about this a lot—blending indoor and outdoor space. The way Moroccans use their landscape’s color palette to inform design decisions really stuck with us. It extends beyond exterior walls, but also into homes with locally sourced dyes that influence each tribe’s color palette for hand woven rugs. We talk more about this in our book that comes out in October, which has a Moroccan rug guide in collaboration with Soukie Modern.
Berber Lodge is run by Romain Michel-Meniere in the Berber village Oumnas about 25 mins outside of Marrakech. It was one of our favorite places we’ve ever stayed. The location itself is remote and incredibly peaceful. Surrounded by olive trees, outdoor dining spaces, and a pool, it was the perfect introduction to Morocco.
We were in absolute design heaven during our stay. With carved window shutters and doors, viga and latilla ceilings, plaster walls, handmade tiles, locally woven rugs, and rattan details such as locally made pedant lights and chairs, we were dizzy from our heads spinning trying to take in all of the details.
We loved staying in this area just outside of Marrakech, as there were local artisan studios open to visit that were less expensive than buying the same or similar work in the city. We watched Moroccans create rattan pieces like the light pendant and basket below, and wished we had the space to bring it all home with us. Nearby, we were also able to watch roof tiles being made. To create them, they began by throwing pottery to create what looked like a vase, and then sliced it in half to create an arched tile. Rooftops all over the area were covered with these in a really lovely green glaze which complimented the sandy peach surroundings.
The chairs below were also all over the rattan shops. Berber Lodge decided to paint theirs a similar green to the area’s roof tiles.
Very similar to our experience of a bed and breakfast in the states, Berber Lodge offered breakfast each morning and had a very warm staff to help with recommendations on the surrounding area. Berber Lodge offered wine and other meals for purchase in addition to their breakfast offerings. One evening we sat in the chairs below drinking local rosé and eating local olives, bread, and cheese (both olives and dates are very common and popular throughout Morocco!)
Our first night at Berber Lodge happened to be Rich’s birthday. Our flight arrived later than expected, and we got to the riad just after midnight. The staff had not only stayed up for our arrival, but had already prepared us a full three course meal with wine. That dinner was incredibly special, as we thought we had missed the chance for a birthday dinner. We sat just the two of us with candlelight, enjoying our first meal in Morocco together. We were able to cheers Rich’s birthday, and had such a special evening—one of those moments that you can’t plan for, but that makes an unforgettable experience.
The shared living room was a really creative use of space, with a fireplace dividing living and dining areas.
Morocco, we’ll be back
One week in Morocco wasn’t nearly enough—especially a week with low energy from being sick, but we still came away with so much inspiration. Natural materials that age gracefully, locally sourced pigments, the blurring of indoor and outdoor space, and an emphasis on handmade items are design practices we full heartedly believe in. Somehow, Moroccan and Californian life and design feel infinitely connected. We felt so at home there. We will most certainly be back!