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An Interview About Moroccan Interior Design with Maryam Montague

You might remember that not too long ago I published a review of the gorgeous design book, Marrakesh by Design, by American expat Maryam Montague who resides in Morocco and runs a boutique hotel called Peacock Pavillions. I was so enamored with the book and envisioned you, my readers, being able to enjoy it, too so that you could also have the inspiration at your fingertips to create Moroccan interior spaces that are so inviting in this book. 

Marrakesh by Design book cover

I also wanted to know more about Maryam (even though I’m an avid reader of her blog and follow her gorgeous pins about Moroccan design and textiles that inspire me all the time) and introduce her to you.  Here’s my interview with her and at the end of it, a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself, or as a perfect ‘Eid gift for someone you love to inspire, too. 

Enjoy!

 

MHK:  What is the single biggest factor that influenced you to settle down in Marrakesh?

MONTAGUE:  Marrakesh is a city that is 1000 years old — 1000 years of culture, beauty and taste.  And it’s filled with inspiring people — from craftsmen, to chefs, to writers and photographers.  The city has so much to love.  As if a spell was cast upon me, I gave up everything to be a part of this city, and I’ve never regretted it.  More generally, I always wanted to live the life of an adventurer – not live a safe life behind a white picket fence in a suburb.  Marrakesh somehow made perfect sense to me.

MHK: How did you learn to design and decorate an entire property Moroccan style?  Do you have any formal training as an interior designer? Is it innate style? Did you seek out any experts for guidance?

MONTAGUE: I take a relaxed approach to design.  I grew up with parents who were passionate collectors and lovers of design.  We traveled a great deal as a family and were always bringing back treasures no matter if we were [returning from] — from Kenya, to France, to Iran, and so many other places. This was a formative time for me in terms of my own global design aesthetic. 

While I have no formal design training, I have an instinctive approach to design, which is intensely personal and values the symbols, meanings and stories behind objects, patterns and colors.  I don’t believe in disposable design and I value quality, no matter if an item is free, five dollars or 1000 dollars.  You can often find me scouring souks, bazaars, and flea markets for one-of-a-kind things. 

I try not to question my design decisions but if I need further information or expertise, I never hesitate to ask someone.

MHK: Besides Marrakesh, what other places in the country would you say have the most potential for inspiring someone to bring home the vibrant colors and texture of Moroccan design?

MONTAGUE: Unquestionably India. Both Morocco and India share a common love of color, pattern and spicy design mixes, as well as a more is more attitude.  Both also promote good design at any budget.  You can mix and match between these design cultures with ease!

MHK:  Any plans for a second book on Moroccan lifestyle and/or home décor and design?

MONTAGUE: I would absolutely love to do another book!  I’m hopeful that I’ll find a publishing house that will be interested.

 

We’re giving away a copy of Marrakesh by Design to one randomly-selected contestant. To enter, please read our  Official Giveaway Guidelines page first then add a relevant comment answering the question posed in order to be entered into the giveaway.  Entering indicates you have read them. Giveaway ends at 12:01 am on August 7, 2012.

Are you interested in Moroccan interior design? If you could choose any type of interior design to redecorate your home, what would you choose and why?

 

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary Marrakesh by Design book from the publisher (shown in this post) but was not asked or paid to review it. 
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13 comments

  1. “Unquestionably India!” I think she hit the bulls eye on that one, just going through this article makes me believe that we certainly share a love of color, spicy mix of design & that more is more attitude with the Moroccans.Would love to be the winner of this giveaway & compare notes & soak in the vibrant colors.Thank you Maryam for sharing your keen traditional eye with us and you Yvonne for coloring our day Moroccan:)

  2. Yes, I am very interested in Moroccan interior design. The colors, shapes, and textures are all so vibrant and, interesting, and inspiring! I also am impressed by the deep, long-lasting history and traditions that go along with Moroccan design. If able to choose any type of interior design to redecorate my home, I would definitely be inclined to also go with Indian, Pakistani or another Middle Eastern or Asian influenced design for all of the same reasons why I love Moroccan design!

  3. O.M.G.! I am also a follower of Maryam Montague on Pinterest and I absolutely love the content she posts! Maryam’s book is not available at my library yet, so it be be awesome if I had her book!
    I just recently moved into a new place and it’s a blank canvas. My design tastes are North African, Mediterranean and Old-World European. However, I prefer a very clean and subtle design so as not to look too theme-y.

  4. yes – i love Moroccan design! – the boldness, the color, the artistic details and brush work (an artist friend of mine actually painted some of the details at Peacock Pavilions – as an artist myself i’d love to visit there someday on a painting/work/retreat. i really don’t think i can pin point just one style if i were to redecorate my home. i realize the term “electic” is over used – but i’d say id like to decorate in a mix of new and old, with prized pieces from travels, with pops of color and modern twists – not sure what thats called! id love to win the book and see more details of Maryams work – so they can inspire my surroundings!

  5. I love Moroccan design– it rooted itself into my heart when I lived in Morocco for a brief 4 months in 2003. I would love to decorate my home with Moroccan inspired details, and a clean chic feel.

  6. {swoon} I’ve been in love with Maryam’s blog for years. Her images take me to the Morocco I desperately want to see. I want this book more than the Kitchenaid!! (I already own one.)

    I adore Moroccan design. I try to incorporate Morrocan/Arab/Islamic design in my home. I feel like it brings culture, history, and beauty into my home. The colors and patterns speak to me like no other design aesthetic.

    Thank you for your review, this interview, and for the chance to win the book.

  7. yes, i’m interested in morroccan design. i love the mediteranian styles, colors and designs. i’m half lebanese and have always been interested in these things. lebanon is my first choice of a place to visit and morroco has always been my second! i love the vibrancy of the culture. it has something that just makes you feel ALIVE! makes you feel GREAT! makes me long for my heritage.

  8. Yes, I like Moroccan design because it has an orderly fashion with splashes of color to make it festive & not fussy. If I was to redecorate my home I would choose my favorite holiday spot / design styles and then choose the room in my home that would best fit that style. Entertaining in all the rooms of your home would be exciting and an adventure for guests with travel stories to share in each room.

  9. I love Moroccan design. I was lucky to be able to visit Morocco frequently in the past (worked for airlines) and I miss it so much! I miss the colors and the smell of mint and spices on the streets, the dust in the rays of sunlight in the souks, and the patterns of Berber designs. I am an artist and was very much motivated by the rich visual history of Morocco and the daily details of ornate, but functional items. I loved getting lost in the tiny streets of Marrakech and relaxing in the calm, colorful Majorelle gardens. I love the countryside of Morocco most; the Berber pise´ architecture among the old olive groves. I have been following Maryam’s blog for years as a sort of way to live vicariously through her adventures. I especially love how she mixes souvenirs and artifacts from all over Africa and beyond into her Moroccan interiors and values both decorative and functional pieces. I would be most appreciative if I won a signed copy of her book!

  10. I absolutely love Moroccan design. If I could redecorate I would do a bohemian-chic home with a lot of vintage and Moroccan influence.

  11. The book sounds really interesting. I grew up traveling and visiting different parts of the world, just like Maryam, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve recently moved into a new home, and am in the process of decorating it. I went to Egypt a couple of years ago and fell in the love with the art and design of north Africa. I would love this book to use as an inspiration!

  12. Having a nomadic spirit, I always thought I’d like to decorate a traveling van w/ a Moroccan flair. My favorite quote on moving from place to place is that “Not all who wander are lost…” (Tolkien). I’m also a fan of waterfront cottages in New England, so that will most likely be my decor for retirement.

  13. I love Moroccan design and. I would unquestionably design my home in th Moroccan design if I could!