moroccan architecture


Als je aan Marokko denkt dan kom je er niet om heen dat het zowat de bakermaat van 'Bohemian chic' is.
Denk hierbij aan...
Afrikaanse prints en felle kleure, beinvloedt door de hippie few die Marokko als tweede thuis hadden in de jaren 60 gemixt met de strakkere coloniale 'out of Africa' stijl met veel wit, donkerbruin en planten. 
Meng dit alles naar eigen smaak en je krijgt een eclectisch interieur dat roept "WERELDREIZIGER"
Voorgangers waren schrijvers, kunstenaars en designers, allemaal vrije geesten in een land dat in de jaren 60 bekend stond om zijn vrije levensbeschouwing.
Marokko, en steden als Tangier, Marrakech en Essaouira inspireerden Yves Saint Laurent, Serge Lutens, Jean Paul Gaultier en de Hermès familie. De  Europese 'beau monde' was de eerste om hier een huis (riad) te bezitten.
Met het opkomen van het toerisme werden riads steeds meer verbouwd tot gastenhuizen. Verscholen achter een vaak rijk gedecoreerde deur, die vaak trouwens het enige herkenningspunt vormt in de wirwar van nauwe steegjes in de Medina's.
Veel van deze riads krijgen steeds vaker een Europees getinte make-over. Persoonlijk ben ik altijd blij als ik er eentje ontdek die dicht bij zijn roots blijft bij restauratie, zoals riad Kaiss  in Marrakech,  resultaat van een passioneel engagement van 'Urbane Frenchman' en architect, Christian Ferre,
Kaiss betovert meteen als je weet dat het de Harem was van Sultan Moulay Yacoub en laat je verbeelding meteen richting 1001 nacht afdwalen.. De ideale plek om rond te dwalen en te genieten na een hectische druk in de Medina...

picture source HERE and HERE


Often when we go on holiday in Morocco, we tend to stay in a riad. Riads once were the houses for families where generations lived together en women and men slept separately in the typical long and narrow rooms all centered around the courtyard.

But what can you expect when house hunting?  Well, it all depends... sometimes you can find a ruin and sometimes you are lucky and you run into something like this little pearl! So many beautiful details, I would not change a thing but for the color on the doors.  I would undo them from their varnish and use a deep brown colonial style oil. Just do some basic rewiring and bring in some brown black and white furniture and pottery with plants.   This riad is for sale for 150 000 Euros. Quite a reasonable price for something as beautiful as this...

I absolutely ADORE the paint on the wall!  The wash off effect of it. Hang some major pieces of art and you are ready! Let's move in!


Traditional Moroccan techniques, design and materials. Brought together in a totaly contemporary mix. We are blessed here being able to still have so much craftsmanship around to produce this kind of beauty in a breath taking scenery.

Studioko brought it all together in house E, situated in the Ourika valley, near Marrakesh ! This designer and architecture studio is in for some more amazing architecture and interior design and they were in charge of the styling on one of my favorite "hang-out / sit and observe / eat splendid food / drink good wine and enjoy" spot. Café de la Poste in Marrakesh.

If you are a lover of modern architecture! visit their site and ENJOY.

Villa e - Ourika - Maroc
mars 2013

Design by Studioko
Photos by Dan Glasser


Contrasts of dark colors and light.
But what is most striking to me, the grace of old patine.
Franca Sozanni's house in the Marrakech medina reflects the same timeless elegance as the Italian Vogue editor in chief herself.
Getting this intruiging house in pictures is another great work of art.
Ivan Terestchenko  captured the vibe that makes the eye want to travel and visit all the corners of every photo.
 the pool design was done by artist Kris Ruhs
Heavy forged doors, luxurious fabrics, semi-precious stones, frescoes on the walls - all signs of a style that was created for Franca Sozanni's Moroccan hide-away.
First published in AD Russia.



Riad Talaa 12

what first seemed to be an obstacle...

has become a source of inspiration.

Rooms in traditional Moroccan riads don't get any wider then about 2,2m. They can be 6 or 7 m long and this was at first a challenge I did not really like.

But it


work and it


look great when you look at these pictures I share with you. 

So, if you want to get some inspiration on how to make your place at home look astonishing too...follow me!And don't let me hear you say "my room is too narrow"


Riad Talaa 12

This room looks great and classic with a mix of different style elements. 

1) use the same color tones but in different vibrations and shades.

2) use small furniture that  makes a statement.

3) use round forms they take less space.


Riad Talaa 12

I am a fan of mustard yellow and grey, so this room is right into my style.

1) create some extra depth by using the same color in the length of the room and on the same height.

Look at the mustard color that repeats and look at the wall decoration.

2) keep it simple and don't go wild on accessories.

source:riad El Fenn

 When you love bold colors you will love this one!

1) use bright colors that work well together.

2) make 1 focus point that gives it this WOW factor.(wall decoration).


4) use vintage stuff.

5) keep the most vibrant colors at the lower half of the room (small room) otherwise it will look overdone.

source ELLE Decor

When you go for Colonial style, this one comes close. Dark colors can make a room heavy and therefor:

1) combine with lots of white and green plants.

2) use SMALL furniture. this style asks for a mix of different things so you can't go minimalistic here. Using small furniture gives you more space to combine things so it looks as if you are a world traveler that takes home souvenirs from around the globe!

source: Riad Charai

Well I can't help it, but another grey and mustard yellow setting. :) love love love ...

Do you notice this room is furnished with a HUGE Moroccan sofa? Right, but that is about all there is and that is precisely the way you would work with narrow rooms and big furniture.

1) NEVER do this in the opposite direction. You want to make a statement and this you do by over exposing something. In this case the length of the room.

2) in this kind of setting, using white walls, you can have any color you love because you only use one wall!

3)Keep it balanced so that the room does not tend to tip over by the visual of all you colors on one side!!!

source: riad Dar K

source: riad Dar K

 Simple, down to earth African colors and wood! GREAT!

This riad is maybe not so practical when it comes to furnishing but it looks great and stylish.

1) natural wood.

2) black and white.

3) earth tones.

source: riad Kitula

source: riad Kitula

source Ryad Dyor

Enjoy decorating and remember I can help you with online and personal advice!


Black & white with some Moroccan flair.
That comes pretty close
when looking at this timeless interior project of Jessica Helgerson.
First of all I personally love the style of the condo in Portland. What I love about the renovation, what I ALWAYS consider successful renovations, is when it reinforces the character of the old without becoming retro. A particular part is the use of the Moroccan cement tiles. It is so nice to see that a pattern that has been around for ages can make a place funky all over. 
Well done!


So it's here. The first heatwave for this year is rolling all over Morocco.

A good time to look a little closer on what we can do to get some refreshment.
Water fountains are a decorative way to bring the sound of water into a riad. Almost instantly temperature seem to get down by some degrees when you here this. Seeing the birds taking a bath in it in the early morning or the late evening is better then watching TV.
Enjoy, dream away and don't let the heatwave get you!

For more inspiration visit HERE


Take a Dutch - Spanish design couple, mix some 1001 nights flavor to it and magic happens!

Style-setting husband and wife duo

Alberto Cortes and Yvonne Hulst

from Ksar, living in Ibiza created this paradise that goes beyond the new wave of modern Moroccan minimalism. They managed to walk the line between Zen and Morocco. This is no easy line but yet, the result is fabulous. Giving traditional about 2,20 m wide rooms this luxurious feeling is not easy but they were successful! The house/hotel is for sale for about 1,2 million Euros and I personally think it is word every Euro.

for more info or

book a stay before you

put down an offer:


They realised to createspace in a narrow room by using rich materials and lots of tone on tones that create depth and space

Even a narrow dining area is luxurious and intimate!

simple but with class, using an old door as decoration!


The heart of a Moroccan riad is the courtyard.
The neutral light colors make these inner yards a nice place to stay on hot summer days before heading for the roof in the evening
 Although most people think they are always open and always with a lot of plants, this is certainly not always the case. When you want to be protected from cool winter nights and mornings, you can add a roof to it, sometimes only in winter, sometimes they are fixed with windows at the side to open. In most riads that are lived in by Moroccan families the courtyard is a place were people just get the light into all the rooms and no special attention is put to the gardening. 
But I must admit that I love them open and planted with trees and turned into a eye resting center part of the home. where you can sense all seasons of the year and get the perfect ventilation.
What a difference! twice an inner yard but one planted with trees gives this lush feeling while the other one has so much potential to turn it into this haven of serenity

again an example on a potential nice courtyard and creme shades to use

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1. Riad in Fez (Fes)  2. Home outside Marrakesh 3.Moroccan style terrace.
As Days get longer and a little warmer, it is time to get the terrace or the patio summer proof again. I'm in love with the lanterns and the hanging lamps we have here in Morocco and I use them everywhere. With a lamp or a candle in it, they are very adjustable and you can use them inside as well.
Look how wellthe blend with different interior styles from Scandinavia to Africa and add this little magical shimmer in any interior. Do you see yourself launging ?
1. Kitchen of Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani 2. Pinterest 3. Moroccan inspired room

1. the Selman Marrakesh 2. Peacock Paviljons Marrakesh 3. Pinterest

1. herz-allerliebst  2. Mamounia Marrakesh 3.Pinterest

1 2 inspiring bedrooms. 1. is a typical Moroccan sized chambre with a size of between 1,9 and 2,20m wide.

1. Pinterest 2. palmilla restaurant California I LOVE this one! 3 Moroccan copper lamps, the most expensive ones...:(

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Sometimes you see a picture and you keep it.
For some reason this photo starts to fill more and more of your thoughts and you want to know the whole story...

Does this sound familiar?
Well it happened to me with this picture above and as I had decided  (secretly) that I wanted to start renovating my own Riad or Dar and have my own beautiful innergarden where I could enjoy sunny Morocco, I kept this image as a 'nice to have' example.
Today I finally happened to run into the missing part of the whole story and I think it is such a lovely renovation that I wanted to share it with you.

A little about the house:
London born German Philomena Schurer Merckoll who has finally settled in New York after trying out various cities including Paris, Dublin Marrakesh and Berlin bought the house after her visit to Marrakesh in 2005.
Not finding what she was looking for Swiss designer Romain Michel-Menière, was contacted and the result you can enjoy in the pictures.

 if you want to book the Riad HERE

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On my way of searching for the ultimate Moroccan home I could not believe that somewhere out there, there is this house that fits me. I know something smaller would fit me fine too if only it were exactly these colors.

So I hope you enjoy Marrakesh' DAR KAWA styled by Valérie Barkowski as much as I do.
If you have quite some money to spend, this 17th century Dar could be yours! A Dar is like half of a Riad. Two houses share one wall and the patio is surrounded only on 3 sides. 
Traditionally renovated it merges historic architecture with cutting edge interior design.

But if 590 000 Euro is a little over your budget,
don't be distressed.
A: you can make a holiday booking HERE
B: There are still wild and unouched beauties to be found in Moroccan Medina's. 
I 'm going to show you some of them the next months
and I know, they will put a spell on you...
like flying carpets and magic lamps....

Styling Dar Kawa by Valérie Barkowski ( please visit Valéries shop in the Bab Doukkala area. You will be mesmerized by all the beauty!
Photographer Tania Panova

image source HERE and HERE