Doesn’t every city have its must-see decor and furniture stores? (If you are into that sort of thing, that is!) The design pilgrimage stores. Like ABC Carpet & Home in New York. In Chicago, I’d put Jayson Home as one of those stores and can you believe I’ve lived here 11 years and have never stopped by. They are upscale, but they have their annual warehouse sale this weekend with deals. They also have occasional flea markets. I’d highly recommend you visit Chicago, but if you can’t, you can shop Jayson Home on their website.
If you like this antique mirror look, you could easily create this look. With a picture frame with glass. Use milk paint or chalk paints on the frame, and Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Paint on the reverse side of the glass, then distress the Krylon paint.
When you live in the suburbs in the Midwest, you might feel a little lonely when your style sense makes you hang a thangka, collect Burmese lacquerware, or use a rain drum as a side table next to your sofa. You might wonder, does anyone else out there like these things? Someone must, because these things are out there, and they’re sold. But I don’t know, I never see anything like these in anyone else’s house. My husband and I have lived on a little style island, all by ourselves.
Then along came Pinterest. Especially in the early days of Pinterest, it was easier to find people with similar global style. And that’s where I found Meg Van Lith of the Tierra Del Lagarto store in Scottsdale, Arizona years ago. If you follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, it’s like you can virtually travel alongside as she searches for goods in India, Turkey, Morocco and Bali.
Then, join in the excitement as containers arrive and dozens of wooden printing blocks from India tumble out, such as these that she recently shared online:
Watch as they unpack and share furniture with exquisite wood carvings and inlaid mother of pearl:
Get an eyeful of the graphic designs of Kuba cloth and mud cloth from Africa:
Seeing their photos of a Morocco shipment and so many familiar Moroccan things made me yearn to go back to Marrakech:
By the way, if anything here interests you, contact Meg — all her contact info is on the store’s website — and she can arrange shipping. She once contacted me while in Bali and asked if I’d be interested in some tjaps. Oh yes, yes I would! I now have some gorgeous tjaps in my collection thanks to Meg!
A few weeks ago I wound up at a meeting within a few miles of her store. Oh yay!! My husband and I stopped in and had a wonderful but way too-short chat with Meg and her mom Linda, and a stroll through their store. We had a plane to catch otherwise I might have brought my suitcase and moved in at Tierra Del Lagarto. After all, they have beds (sumptuously styled with pillows and patterns and textures!):
They have living room areas to lounge:
They have tables to dine:
The thing that made me not want to leave, and perhaps miss a flight home like who cares about going back home, is the extravaganza of layers and patterns and colors. It’s so full of life and fun! As you can see in their photos here, they really excel at boldly and bravely mixing combos of patterns from different cultures and places. I was so enthralled while there, I forgot to take photos. But I guess that’s the best way to experience the store, with your own eyes, not looking through a tiny screen. And I don’t think I could take photos better than these photos styled by Meg and Linda. For a regular dose of these inspiring scenes, follow along at Instagram!
Like many Moroccan doors, it gives no clue of what it guards. You are unaware of the visual feast that will hit you once you step through it. But only two steps in and you already see something like this:
I’m sure the scene is ever-changing but that’s what greeted our group when we arrived in early November 2014. Step around the corner and the full impact is unleashed on you:
That’s only one small corner of a maze of many rooms. Proprietor Mustapha Blaoui has filled nearly every inch of Trésor des Nomades with inspiration and imagination. Your senses are hit with patterns, shapes, colors, textures and a mish-mash of cultures and things antique and modern, all mixed together.
I could have lingered there for days. If I could have hidden in a cabinet and been locked in there overnight to play with all the things without risk of being arrested, I might have. Instead I squeezed in a purchase of Mali mud cloth, then snapped photos like a crazy tourist, experiencing much of the store through an iPhone screen. All to share with you here. I will have to go back some day, sans phone — but who are we kidding I’d probably do the same thing, try to capture the whole store in my phone again. Don’t even try. The place is so big and fantastic, just enjoy it for what it is and don’t try to wrap your arms around it all!
But what my phone brought back are creative global style tips we can use in our homes …
TIP: Add textiles to chairs
My suitcases often come home from overseas trips filled with fabrics. Textiles are affordable and more importantly, lightweight and easy to pack in carry-on or check-in luggage. Perhaps you have only a strip of a treasured textile, which is common with handmade textiles found while traveling. It’s okay, work with it and use it to upholster down the middle of a chair:
If you have a large enough textile, upholster an entire piece with it. Be brave — here you see chairs in the Mustapha Blaoui shop covered with brightly-colored “cactus silk” fabrics you find in Marrakech. I most often see this cactus silk as scarves and shawls but if the fabric is strong enough (or you give it a stronger backing), there’s no reason to not use it on furniture:
Here are mud cloth covered chairs. I used the mud cloth I bought at Mustapha Blaoui to recover a mid century modern chair — to be revealed soon!
I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like this fabric could have been a blanket, now upholstering a chair:
TIP: Be wild with patterns
We all have our tolerances for mixing patterns. In Morocco the tolerance is pretty high. Be brave and push yourself a bit further. You see some pattern mixes in the above photos. Here’s a little tip to make pattern mixing work for you. This little corner is jam-packed with pattern in the carpet, the chair, the cabinet. What makes the patterns work together is the common colors in the red, natural colors and black. The chair, rug and cabinet each have natural and black in them. The rug adds some extra color in the red:
TIP: Think in multiples, lots and LOTS of multiples
Usually we will pick one little specimen of something we like. We put it on a shelf with all our other onesie-twosies. But imagine the drama of a collection of many! Things like baskets can be nested one inside the other to make it easier to pack them in luggage. You can even squeeze clothes and toiletries in them to make room in your bags. These little beaded heads were small enough to bring a bunch home. Small things have greater visual impact when there’s many of them. You may even be able to negotiate a better discount when buying many:
There are three different mud cloths on this sofa. Imagine if the back, seat and pillows were made of the same mud cloth. It would be a sea of sameness. But now mixing the patterns big and small, and white and black backgrounds, see what I mean about working with multiples. Plus imagine this scene with only one head. Wouldn’t it be lonely? It needs others, many others:
TIP: LOOK UP AND HANG SOMETHING INTERESTING UP THERE
Don’t forget your ceilings. One way to make them interesting is to hang unique lighting. We saw many examples of unique lights at Mustapha Blaoui:
Squeeze even more impact out of your lighting by hanging big mirrors which reflects the lights and makes them show up in multiples (another way to carry out the “multiples” tip):
My pierced metal Moroccan lantern I found in Marrakech is curvy like these. It’s hanging in my Indian-Moroccan closet nook (also to be revealed soon, I’ve fallen behind on blogging):
A lot of people asked “How are you going to get a lamp home?” Choose an oblong or rectangular shape lamp instead of a round one. My lamp is shaped like the curvy oblong ones above and I had no problem fitting it in a regular size suitcase with plenty of room left over. It was even heavily bubble-wrapped.
Overall what I liked about the global mix in Trésor des Nomades was the brave pairing of colors, textures, patterns and shapes. Mix curves with straight lines. Put metal against wood. Pair textiles with beads. Contrast in the textures and shapes makes little interesting scenes to look at. As a parting shot, I often like the quieter things not the flashy things. I appreciated this curvy metal candleholder against the carved wood behind it:
Whenever we leave winter behind, I want fun, light-hearted things around. Spring is light, like a spring in your step. And that’s how these fun pillows from One Kings Lane feel. Maybe it’s the frivolous fringe and twirly tassels. And the high contrast of black and white (which is a current trend!) plus a punch of orange and pinks.
Don’t they feel like they’re doing jumping jacks? They’re light and bright, even with black in them. And go ahead, mix Greek key patterns with tribal. Using similar colors is what lets you get away with crazier pattern mixes. As you see here, the Greek key in hot pink picks up on the color in the other pillows. They all have tassels too, which makes the pillows feel like they’ll all get along together.
Switching up pillows is an easy way to change a whole room’s look for the new season.
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