A few months have passed since my trip to Morocco with Intrepid Travel, and I continue to marvel at the distinctive way the destination has affected me since my trip. Unlike some of the other places I’ve visited, I don’t find myself craving the food, or missing the sites and scenery, or longing for friends I made in country. (Frankly I may never eat a tagine again, and I think that will be just fine.)
Instead, I’ve found that my Morocco trip has influenced my personal design style more than any other place I’ve ever been.
I’m sure my appreciation for Moroccan design has much to do with the fact that Morocco was the last new country I visited at the end of my 2nd year of untethered, nomadic living. It’s no coincidence that the country happens to have an incredibly different look and feel than what I’m used to. Its geometric patterns and colors still linger in my imagination. Now when I see Moroccan design influence in a store window, I’m transported to a Marrakech riad or the tiled floors of the market stalls in Fes.
Memories of intricate patterns, bright colors and tiled mosaics have served me well in my brand new apartment – the first home base I’ve had in almost 2.5 years, and the first place I’ve ever had all to myself to decorate as I please.
My new place is tiny by some standards, but huge in comparison to my Hell’s Kitchen apartment! I sold/left all my furniture back in NYC when I left to travel the world in 2010, so standing in my empty new place, all I could see was possibilities for a completely fresh start.
Funny… it’s quite the same feeling I get when I embark on a trip to a brand new place.
Once I decided on a general design/color scheme (blue/green/gold/silver & globes/maps for the living room; coral/gray in the bedroom), I got to work… and by work, I mean spending heaps of money I don’t have. Whoops.
I purchased 3 new pieces of furniture: a bed (the first new one I’ve ever owned!), a sectional sofa and a leather ottoman that folds out into a bed. (I just love multi-use pieces.)
I bought a second-hand desk and dresser at Goodwill and with a bit of digging on Pinterest, transformed them into two pieces of furniture I’m really proud of. Check out that process here!
From boring to Moroccan!
With some paint, some colorful scrapbook paper and a few gallons of Mod Podge, I took what I saw in Morocco and made it work for a Floridian apartment. What do you think of my DIY efforts?
While my Intrepid trip to Morocco certainly enhanced and inspired my personal decorating style, I’m still not too wild with colors and patterns, as you can tell. Where Moroccan design can be cacophonous, with 100 patterns and colors all jumbled together, I prefer muted accents, quiet colors (bright coral dresser aside!) and gentle patterns.
I see this first round of decorating as an experiment in personal design growth. If nothing else, that’s what travel is all about, right?
At the end of the day, or the end of an epic adventure, the bottom line is that travel is something that’s always a part of you… whether you’re a constant nomad or someone with a home base. Though I never expected it would be possible, my new place doesn’t feel like home because it happens to be located in the place where I grew up just a few miles from grandparents, siblings, parents and cousins.
It feels like home because it reminds me of where I’ve always felt at home: abroad.
I know I’m not the only one to love both traveling AND home design. What country or region most inspired your design style?