Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Maryam Montague: Marrakesh by Design

Los Angeles was injected with a exciting dose of exoticism last week.

Uberblogger Maryam Montague was in town for a whirlwind visit to promote her brand-new book Marrakesh by Design.
(Photo by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti)

I've been impatiently waiting for this book to come out ever since Maryam told me about it over dinner at her house in Marrakesh, back in December 2009.  It's absolutely everything I hoped it would be and more: a step-by-step distillation of Maryam's own Moroccan-inspired style and magical way of living. The photography is breathtakingly gorgeous and Maryam took all the photos herself -- is there anything the woman can't do?!
(Available HERE.)

Last Tuesday, I spent a lovely day driving Maryam around to a few of my favorite stores and then met her again at her book signing on Thursday. It was held at Downtown, one of LA's most stylish antique furniture shops, and it couldn't have been more perfect. Owners David Serrano and Robert Wilson went the extra aesthetic yard to make sure Maryam felt completely at home.
(Oy. I wish I had noticed that price tag when I took the photo.)

The space was brimming with gleaming mirrors and brass lanterns and colorful wares, not to mention a lovely traditional spread of Moroccan hors d'oeuvres and drinks.

Maryam had lots of fans there and they were all pretty fabulous. I had a great time chatting with Nicki Clendening and Callie Jenschke, the talented co-owners of Scout Design in NYC. They are sexy, bohemian girls after my own heart and their website is beyond.
(Vivaciousness x 2.)

And oh, Maryam's book! It's bursting with wonderful design ideas and projects for incorporating a little bit of Moroccan style into your life and adding beauty and versatility to your home.
(All Marrakesh by Design photographs by Maryam Montague.)

There are chapters on Moroccan architecture, color and pattern in which Maryam elegantly lays out the key elements of Moorish style. 

Once you've learned the basics, she takes you on a room-by-room tour of all of her favorite spaces and tells you everything you need to recreate the same feeling in your home. (Make a coffee table out of a Moroccan window! Create an Moroccan-inspired seating area!) 

The last section of the book focuses on where to shop (both in Morocco and online) and how to determine quality and expertise so that you can be confident with your purchases.

Below is a photo of us on the night we met sitting by the flower-laden fountain in her bewitching home/boutique hotel, Peacock Pavilions. Beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows stretches her olive grove and above it the impenetrable North African sky. It was after midnight and we were talking in rapid hushed tones, the way you do when you know the evening is winding down and you still have so many things to tell each other. 
(Me with Maryam. December 2009, Marrakesh.)

 Fingers crossed, she's planning on coming back to Los Angeles in the fall. If she does, I'm throwing her a dinner party.
(Maryam Montague and Lisa Borgnes Giramonti.
May 2012, Los Angeles.)


Young at Heart said...

how utterly fabulous.......Morocco just exudes style....must go soon!!

P. M. Doolan said...

I love Moroccan lamps. So cheap in Morocco and so expensive here in Zurich.

Meg said...

Ah - my two favorite bloggers in one place - be still my heart! I received Maryam's book when I was out of town and had to pry it out of my mother's hands when I returned. Trying to sneak time away from babies and work to read it cover to cover has been my #1 priority this last week. Cannot wait to get back to Marrakech and see the hotel and meet Ms. Montague in person.
It is such a joy to know that you two are friends -- it seems so right from my reader perspective.
Love your blog, Lisa.

Terra said...

I love her style of decorating, and that part of the world. Reminds me of the year I lived in Istanbul. Her book sounds gorgeous.

Chic Delights said...

I love it and I'm happy when fellow bloggers get recognized and have their books published. I will definitely add this to my book list for the summer. I agree that the ladies featured in this blog post are so stylish and beautiful. I love your hair Lisa!

Frances said...

Ah, I feel as if I know Maryam, though my friend Elizabeth, who also lived in Morocco and knows Maryam.

I imagine that her book must be fabulous!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

oh my goodness! You are so so adorable! I loved every minute with you, Lisa!

Veronica Roth said...

The images in that book are just beautiful. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live with that architecture? And those lights with the orange glass details...amazing. How lucky you are Lisa to get to know like-minded people.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Love those black nails, too!!
Must get book!

Emily said...

Now I have the perfect gift to give my sister for her birthday. I shared Maryam's blog with my sister before she went to Morocco over a year ago. She will be so excited to receive it!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Young at Heart:
Go when you can. It will change your life.

P. M. Doolan:
What about eBay?

Such a lovely lovely comment! Maryam is indeed magnificent in every way.

You will LOVE her book!

Pamela RG:
You're so sweet -- thank you! xx

It is!

Maryam in Marrakesh:
Ditto. xx

Veronica Roth:
Her house is nothing less than spectacular. The main room takes your breath away.

Pamela Terry and Edward:
Get the book...and then get yourself to Peacock Pavilions! xx

She will love it -- and what a wonderful sister she has! xx

Unknown said...

Oh me, oh my! What a scrumptious gathering! I love all the colors and YES, this exotic design is just yummy! Thanks for sharing some of the photos from this L.A. art event.

Unknown said...

I am so happy to know that there are fellow Moroccan obsessives out there -- I've been following Maryam's blog since discovering it thanks to you, Lisa -- and I can't wait for my copy of the book to arrive!

The Buzz Blog @ Diane James Home said...

We were so excited to meet Maryam last week in Rye, NY and get our hands on her fabulous book, destined to be a best-seller! Her story, style, and savoir-faire are an inspiration to all! XO, Cynthia

Helen James said...

Fabulous post on a ravishing lady with a wonderful book...... I saw your IG picture and wished I could have beamed myself across the water
x x

Unknown said...

sorry to have missed you (and maryam) at the signing- legends was a busy time!


About Last Weekend said...

Hi, came over to you through Simple Lovely, loved your list there, esp the stately home plates. Love your blog. Jody here, Kiwi living in Bay Area. This really makes me miss our piece of Morocco in our flat in London. Our bedroom was a deep yellow with orange draping and an iron four poster with wood furniture These days in Ca we're all modern but love the comfort of that style.

Hausfrau said...

I can't wait for my copy of the book--it should be here any day now! I know that after I see it, I'll be wanting to go to Marrakesh even more!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful designs.
I've only recently come upon this blog, but it's lovely, and I look forward to visiting more.



helen tilston said...

How exciting that you and Maryam got together again. I remember when you wrote of your 09 visit. I wish her success with her beautiful book.

Kar'Lei said...

I love the photos of the dog on the table! Cute dog and great table and chair combo!



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