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?!
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.)
(Maryam Montague and Lisa Borgnes Giramonti.
May 2012, Los Angeles.)