Thursday, October 10, 2019

Herve Van Der Straeten's Tangier Getaway

I recently added the new Inside Tangier- Houses & Gardens coffee table book to my collection in anticipation for my upcoming trip to Morocco.  Right now, we are only planning to be in Marrakech- but if I can make the time, I want to try and do a quick trip to Fez or Tangier.  This new tome by Vendome Press features a handful of abodes owned by artists, designers, and writers in Tangier.  It's hard to choose a favorite, but for some reason I was particularly drawn to the home of furniture designer Herve van der Straeten and shoe designer Bruno Frisoni:

The couple first visited Tangier in 1997, and at the time didn't really see the appeal.  However, they became close with a few long time residents of the city- and when a friend recommended they look at a house on the market in 2002, they fell in love and purchased it.  At the time they weren't thinking of buying in Africa at all- in fact, they had set their sights on purchasing something on the Amalfi Coast.  The house was irresistable to them; however, due to it's location- right on the cusp of the city's medina.

{In the entrance hall, two of van der Straeten's designs are on display- a Cubist chandelier and a colonnaded base console table}

Herve and Bruno, ever the creative duo, set to work adjusting the house's floorplan and finishes to their liking.  They opened up and adjusted the floorplan, which was typical of North African homes- with a center atrium and long narrow halls leading to adjacent rooms.  They knocked out all the interior rooms and one staircase, and left only the outer walls of the home.   They expanded the windows on the second floor and framed them in black lacquer.  “If you notice around the medina,” says Frisoni, “very few houses have big windows.” Explains Van der Straeten, “It’s very Spanish to have small ones to block heat and protect privacy, but we have nothing to hide!”  {Departures, 2014}.  They also incorporated design elements they loved from their travels.  The marble flooring is inspired by the Casa de Pilatos palace in Seville, and the black and white stripe tiles in the master bath mimick a hammam the couple loves to visit in Damascus I've long been a fan of Herve's lighting designs, one of which hangs in their living room:

The modern mix of furniture and objects in the living room is so interesting to see in a Moroccan home.  I guess that's why I'm so drawn to it.  

The master bedroom is light and bright:

The walls and bedding in their guest bedroom feature textiles from Syria and other farflung places, while the headboard is a green painted door the couple found in Fez. The bedside tables were made by craftsman in the nearby medina:

{image above from Departures article}

The home's rooftop terrace overlooks the beautiful city of Tangier:

Read a write up Vogue did on this same house a few years back here.

Get a copy of the Inside Tangier coffee table book here.

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