interior design

Marrakech and Peacock Pavilions: a tale of Moroccan interior design for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at Peacock Pavilions
Ah Thanksgiving.  Perhaps the very best of the American holidays.  No television pitches, no Hallmark greeting cards, no gifts.  Just family, friends, and good food.  And being thankful of course (Why can't we do this more often?)

We always celebrate Thanksgiving, even though we live in Morocco.  This year, we had a group of 20 friends, guests, and friends of friends together in the Peacock Pavilions dining tent.  

When we sat down at the table we all said in turn what we were thankful for.  Thanks ranged widely -- from being alive, to our parents, to friends who felt like family, to blessings for the countries where we were born, to living in a place of peace, to our very first full year open at Peacock Pavilions (ahem yes, that last one was mine).    There were a few tears of the good variety.  

As befitting such a nice occasion to be thankful, I tried to make it all look a little special.  

There was simple food.  And somehow it was beautiful all on its own.

My Marrakesh blog vegetables photo
And I brought out all my pottery platters from Tamgroute Morocco.  Such a lovely green.

My Marrakesh blog Moroccan pottery photo

There were olive branches on the table and porcelain pods that Caroline Douglas made for Peacock Pavilions.

My Marrakesh blog table decor
We stenciled placemats on kraft paper, using stencils from Royal Design Studio.  This is a trick we learned from former lovely intern Sarah Winward.  I had our dinner napkins at Peacock Pavilions embroidered with peacock feathers.

My Marrakesh napkin in the Peacock Pavilion tent

The children's table had unbreakable copper goblets that I bought in India and glimmery chargers that I commissioned for Peacock Pavilions.  Salt and peper was loaded up in porcelain leaves that Caroline Douglas made for me.

My Marrakesh decorating
Our olive trees were heavy with olives which made me think that even the pilgrims would have been pleased.  I hung them from our raffia lanterns so it would feel like we were dining under an olive canopy.

My Marrakesh blog tent decoration
And it all looked something like this.

Peacock Pavilions Moroccan tent decor
My Marrakesh blog Thanksgiving table setting in the tent

Happy Thanksgiving whether you are in America or anywhere else.  In a world filled with uncertainty, we -- you and me -- are the lucky ones.

Peacock Pavilions: and learning from Elle Decor's Anita Sarsidi

It was so interesting to watch Elle Decor Design Director (and Stylist Extraordinaire) Anita Sarsidi in action at Peacock Pavilions last week.  After so many years at Elle Decor, it's no surprise that she can see each picture in her head and knows exactly what she wants. I was impressed on many levels.  Here are some things I noted:

* No props.  Anita doesn't show up at homes with boxes and bags of props.  She believes that if a home needs extra props, that means it's not done.  In fact, she came to Peacock Pavilions with nothing at all.  {I have to say, I always wondered about the notion of propping someone's house for a feature.  It sort of seems like cheating -- pretending that those things  are the homeowners when they really aren't at all.}

*Layers that tell a story. I was worried that I had too much stuff at Peacock Pavilions.  All those years of collecting curiousities on my travels, from Benin to Afghanistan, and so forth.  Perhaps it was too jumbled.  Perhaps there was too much.  I needn't have worried.  In fact Anita said the problem is often that there isn't enough, that it's "too clean" -- that it looks like a decorator swept in and took half the stuff away.  A house that is too controlled is, well, too controlled.

*Not too perfect, not too symetrical, not too ordered.  Anita often pulled a chair slightly askew, or reordered objects so that they weren't, well, in order.   People don't live with everything perfectly in place, she said.  And of course, she's right.  When something in a group is a little askew, somehow you suddenly really see it and your eyes don't glaze over.

*A home that looks like you and no one else:  Anita puruses hundreds of submissions to Elle Decor.  What she said that she looks for are homes that are personal, have a point of view, and an individual sense of style.  She doesn't want homes that look too influenced by stacks of tear sheets or files of saved images.  Rather, she seeks places that have unique personalities. A house should look like its homeowner {ie with a fingerprint that is unlike any other in the universe}.  

*"Fancy" isn't necessarily the name of the game:  Very few people have an unlimited budget to spend on furnishings  or the cash to hire an interior designer.  But style -- not dollars -- is the point.  Anita's ears perked up at the sound of a beautiful fishing shack  or a gorgeous Malian hut.  {Modest can be just as memorable and poetic.} 

Many thanks to Anita and her great support team (including Julia Duquette)! 

Anita Sarisidi Elle Decor & Maryam Montague (2)

Marrakech: a tale of Moroccan interior design, bathroom-style, at Peacock Pavilions

Feeling blue?  Me too.  But maybe not in the way you'd expect:-)

Take a peek at the bathroom of the Room of the  Moorish Muse at Peacock Pavilions.  Ahem, continuing with the exuberantly Moroccan tiled theme........Because really, life is meant to be exuberant, no?

Peacock Pavilions blue bath 2
Peacock Pavilions blue bath 3
Peacock Pavilions blue bath 4 
 Moroccan bamboo cement tiles by Popham Design, made with love in Marrakech by cool LA expat couple, Caitlin & Samuel Dowe-Sandes. 

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