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.
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.
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?