Soooo, notice that it was quiet here for awhile? That’s because I was in Morocco. ‘Twas a vacation but of course I chose that region for it’s architectural style and antiques. Schlepping around Marrakech in the boiling temperatures while being tourist-harassed wasn’t fun, but I think I’ve come back with enough cool ideas to have made it worthwhile.
Firstly, I want to recommend the amazing hotel that made the heat and harassment bearable. Our (Hubby and I) original plan was to sign up with an off-the-beaten-path tour and trek though the desert on camels staying in tents and such. Then I realized “summer”. Since the price for these rough tours are not cheap, Diva here came up with a brilliant plan to stay in a quality Marrakech hotel with concierge service that would arrange our trips and dinners.
Enter Riad Kniza in the old medina. The Moroccan owner is also a tour guide and antiques dealer so the choice was a no brainer. A few back and forth emails with them prior to booking and they set us up for overnights in different areas and included transportation, some meals and massage with our room package. All for the same price of suffering through the desert. The place was gorgeous. And air conditioned. It was wise to choose a riad with a highly rated restaurant because we ate here most of the time. Marrakech restaurants were not all that impressive as far as vegetarian fare.
We didn’t come across markets full of glorious antiques, nor did we see much architectural salvage. One theory is that the artisans still exist, so it’s easy enough and inexpensive enough to recreate historic masterpieces. Personally, I was trying to figure out a cheater way to reproduce this stuff myself.
Who doesn’t love Moroccan tile? You know when you buy mosaic tiles in the U.S. and they come on 12 x 12 mesh sheets? Well, mosaics are old school in Morocco. Each piece is hand cut and placed into the design. Tedious work! We came across this abandoned building in the middle of town and wanted to rip the tiles from the wall to bring home with us.
If there is something that is just as fabulous as the tiles, it’s the hand painted wood ceilings and plaster detail. These boards were painted before installation but even still….lotsa work! Nowadays people can replicate the look with wallpaper as seen in some super duper Victorian renovations.
These ceilings got me thinking that I can make up panels of wallpaper or less extensive painting for future installation. It won’t be cost effective but it will be fabulous!
Even the modern lighting is meticulously cut by hand. At least that’s what we were told by this fairly expensive (even by U.S. standards) shop. The thing is, there are similar, less expensive lights in loads of souks, so it makes it difficult to justify paying for something that looks the same. Not sure if the mass produced lights are even mass produced. They could very well be hand made also. It’s all cheap labor, no matter how talented the labor is.
Finally, there’s the plaster and carved woodwork. We did come across some souks that were selling these but didn’t want to ship or schlep back. The carved wood panels are used to cover electrical and plumbing work instead of ugly Home Depot metal panel doors like we have here.
So now I either need to renovate my house again or buy another one so I can do Moroccan designs. Or….you can hire me to do it in your place so I get it out of my system.