Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

I’m so excited to share a brand new office renovation from my dear friend in Morocco, Maryam Montague. You may know Maryam from her fabulous award-winning blog My Marrakesh or perhaps you’ve heard of the gorgeous oasis/boutique hotel that she and architect hubby are building, Peacock Pavillions, that will officially open to guests on November 15, 2009. Would you like to see where Maryam works in her newly decorated, ultra sophiticated, home office? It may surprise you to know that Maryam did a lot of the work you see herself — including the stenciling, painting, even the bookcase is handmade!

Office in Marrakech

I thought I’d ask Maryam to complete a few questions so please follow along, words and photos to inspire - I guarantee! My words are boldface and Maryam’s answer follow italicised.

My name is Maryam but I’ve always loved the first name Lilly but, oh well.

I live in Marrakech, Morocco but would love to live part-time in Santorini or maybe Zanzibar.

My home has 12 rooms (including a tiny 3-floored tower — the top room is my office) was built in the year 2009 (and 2007 and 2008 – we are still building it in fact. Sigh).

Office in Marrakech

The architectural style of my home is modern Moroccan. My husband is an architect — I’m more clever than I look.

I would describe my personal style in three words: Bohemian, organic, and a little quirky.

My office design was inspired by the olive grove in which I live, mixed in with a little glam chic.

I am a human rights and democracy specialist for a living but wish I was taking a sabbatical to work on my current book on Moroccan interior design for a US publisher instead. (eek! Deadline fast approaching.)

Office in Marrakech

In my house I love to play ping pong and badminton with the fam, romp with the dog, and decorate at least in my imagination on the weekends and during my free time.

My real passion is scouting out sources for ethnic design.

My favorite cleaning tips are: To Do files, To Sort boxes (okay, I know this is cheating), and cleaning my office every single day for 5 minutes so it stays tidy.

My favorite objects in my home are most definitely my global textile collection and antique Tibetan furniture.

In this house I live with my husband and 2 rascally children, as well as a dog and 3 cats, one of whom is named Lilly (ahem, well if I couldn’t have that name…).

My favorite place to hang out in my home is in the nomadic Berber wool tent because I’m really a hippie at heart.

Office in Marrakech

This house is different from other places I’ve lived because it has a domed great room with peep holes – makes me feel much more fabulous than I am in real life.

My decorating philosophy is mix it up, be true to yourself, and have at least one grand gesture in every room to amp up the space.

I stay organized by having a walk-in closet with designated spaces for everything, including my jewelry, shoes, and handbags. (I channeled Martha Stewart and built most of it myself! No IKEA in Marrakech, baby.)

If you visit my house, these are my only rules: Please take off your shoes before walking on my Moroccan Beni Ourain carpets.

I plan to live in this house for well, forever! Now I just need to finish it.

Office in Marrakech

Office in Marrakech

My tips for renovating on a budget: Make it yourself! (I built my desk and bookcase – so thrifty!) or commission it to spec from budget-friendly sources (my porcelain pods and desk sculpture were commissioned from Caroline Douglas), stencil it (I stenciled my floor, boxes, magazine holders, and office threshold myself - check out Royal Design Studio), and always be willing to paint it if it doesn’t look right.

(images from maryam montague)