T&W Senior Stylist Adam Powell (pictured above) travelled to Morocco and found snake charmers, souks and a peaceful retreat…

The moment you touch down in Marrakech there is an air of mysticism about the city. The air is thick, the smells are foreign and there is an energy unlike anywhere else on earth.

It’s fascinating to be in the foothills of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains whilst being on the edge of the Sahara desert at the same time. The market place or souk is where you really get a taste of what the city has to offer. It’s a bustling labyrinth of passageways full of artisans selling rugs, leather goods, glass tea cups and layer upon layer of trinkets and curiosities. You could quite literally spend hours wandering and immersing yourself in it all.

Just 2 hours west is Essaouira, an old port city with a peaceful anchorage and a more laid back vibe. It was love at first sight when London interior designer Emma Wilson walked through a tiny little front door barely 4ft high into what is now her pride and joy – Castles in the Sands.

Built in the 18th century and constructed in a traditional Moroccan style, Emma and her partner renovated the 4 storey apartment with a relaxed and retro aesthetic.

The whole interior has a neutral, raw palette with crisp white Tadelakt surfaces and sandstone columns supporting thuya wood ceilings. Tadelakt is a traditional application of a lime plaster rendering that can be applied internally or externally.

It’s this architectural feature that really steals the show, enveloping the whole interior of the building right through to the roof top terrace. You instantly notice a soft chalkiness with no hard lines and this curved aesthetic relates back to the choice of bespoke and designer 60’s retro furniture.

What makes this house super special is the fact that Emma has restored most of the 200 year old building’s iconic features.  The ornate columns and stone arches worked back with the pop art pieces of furniture like the Vernon Panton S Chair gives the whole home a really timeless and classic style. Old mixes with new, which really is the essence of Morocco itself.

What I really love about the Moroccan culture is that most traditional homes/ riads all face inwards onto an open garden or courtyard. This was a design feature that adhered to the Islamic notion of privacy. It is also a unique way of regulating temperatures in these homes in the harsh Moroccan heat.

As you snake your way down the labyrinth of passageways in the world heritage-listed Medina, past artisan store holders and snake charmers, sewage and stray cats you would have no idea that a tiny, dirty little door in the side of the wall would open up into such a clean, crisp and serene space.

And for me, that’s the beauty and the magic of Morocco.

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Anneka Manning is a writer and publisher with a career in food publishing spanning nearly 25 years. This decadently sweet recipe comes from her book Mastering the Art of Baking (published by Murdoch Books), thanks to eatlove.com.au. 

Balaklava is a common dessert in the Middle East, Greece and Turkey. Crisp, nutty and sweet this desert will leave you wanting more. If you have an extra sweet tooth why not add some ice cream alongside a serving?

Ingredients (makes approximately 18 pieces)

400 g (14 oz/3½ cups) walnut halves
155 g (5½ oz/1 cup) almonds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed (pumpkin pie) spice
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
16 sheets filo pastry
200 g (7 oz) butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Syrup:

440 g (15½ oz/2 cups) sugar
330 ml (11¼ fl oz/1⅓ cups) water
3 whole cloves
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Brush the base and sides of a shallow 18 × 28 cm (7 × 11¼ inch) tin with melted butter to grease.

Put the walnuts, almonds, spices and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Lay the filo pastry flat on a work surface and cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel), then a slightly damp tea towel to prevent it drying out. Combine the butter and oil. Take 1 sheet of pastry and place it flat on the work surface. Brush liberally with the butter mixture, then fold it in half crossways. Trim the edges to fit the greased tin and then place in the tin. Repeat with 3 more pastry sheets to cover the base, brushing liberally with the butter mixture and trimming edges as needed.

Sprinkle one-third of the nut mixture over the pastry in the tin. Repeat this process to make 2 more layers each of pastry and nut mixture, then finish with another pastry layer. Press the top down with your hands so that the pastry and nuts stick to each other.

Brush the top of the pastry with the remaining butter and oil mixture. Use a large sharp knife to cut the baklava lengthways into 4 even strips, then diagonally into diamonds. Bake the baklava for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Discard the cloves.

Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool in the tin. Cut into diamonds to serve.

See more at eatlove.com.au where you can follow your favourite chefs, share their receipes and order their books. 

 

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T&W member Kirsty Visman is the lucky winner of our recent Pinterest competition to win a one-on-one design session with Kevin McCloud at Grand Designs Live in Sydney. We liked the clear vision her winning board conveyed, and were intrigued by the picture of her bush property. We asked Kirsty to share some of the ideas (and inspiring images) behind her own grand plans.

Tell us about your ‘Grand Design’?

As a couple, my partner Anthony and I have always been passionate about buildings and how a space can help or hinder your lifestyle. A year ago we purchased a 10 acre block of land in Samford, Qld and set about designing our ‘forever’ home.

Anthony is a carpenter so we will be building the house ourselves, a daunting, yet exciting prospect!

John Legend’s mid-century home in the Hollywood Hills. Image by Roger Davies for Architectural Digest

The house is modular, with buildings connected by decks. This is a style of building quite Balinese in layout, however we are also heavily borrowing from the mid-century modernist architectural style. In essence this is a 1950s ranch house that would sit comfortably in the Californian hills, very different to the high set Queenslanders that we have lived in in the past. The slab on ground, timber framed house features a lot of glass and louvers to maximize the mountain views and the breezes.

We have included a guest building because we love entertaining and also because we love our privacy. For most of the year we will live in a two bedroom building, however the additional ‘pods’ allow us to expand out when we need to.

A modern garden with bold forms by Roger’s Gardens (left) and a staircase by German firm MO Architekten found on Design Milk.

How far along the dreaming/planning/building process are you now?

Our plans are set and at the end of October, we will be moving on to the site in a caravan to get the build started. With Anthony over-seeing the trades and also doing all of the carpentry himself, we have not put a deadline on the project as we know it will be a labour of love.

Bathroom from House Boone Murray by Tribe Studio Architects. Image by Peter Bennetts.

Have you encountered any difficulties so far?

Despite Anthony being a qualified builder, there are a lot of hoops you need to jump through in order to build a home yourself. Being a semi-rural site, we don’t have water or sewage and we have also had to reconsider some of our materials in order to ensure that the house will be as safe as possible in a bush fire. These are all considerations that we wouldn’t need to worry about if we chose to build in a suburban estate, however we feel that the reward of living here will outweigh the challenges involved.

Image by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times.

What are you hoping to create – what is important to you about the design?

Above all, we want a house that is flexible. We don’t want to ever leave this house and therefore we have had to consider how our lives might change over the coming years and ensure that the design of the building can adapt to those life changes. We have never really liked overly large houses so we hope that this is a home that brings people together instead of separating them, whilst, at the same time, allowing ourselves and guests a private retreat.

Image via the Skona Hem blog.

What are you planning to ask Kevin?

We have been avid fans of Grand Designs for many years and in a lot of ways, the show has helped us shape the design for our own house. Being able to show Kevin our design and discuss the ways in which we might be able to make better use of natural materials and sustainable building methods will be fascinating.

Visit Grand Designs Live in Melbourne (17-19 October) or Sydney (24-26 October) for over 200 exhibitors and your favourite celebrity experts. Look out for Temple & Webster’s Karen McCartney, Jessica Bellef and Adam Powell on the Design Stage in Sydney at 3.30pm each day.

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Diane Bergeron’s crisp, American-influenced interior design projects have appeared in magazines and blogs both local and international over the past few years. Beginning her career in the US, she moved to Melbourne with her family in 2003 and her signature style and international outlook has impacted the industry ever since.  She recently organised the Design for Mirabel project, a benefit to showcase the work of leading local interior designers & decorators to raise money for The Mirabel Foundation and her brand new project is the Mercer School of Interior Design in Melbourne. With custom-designed premises currently under construction, it offers both long and short courses for those with professional aspirations as well as home decorators. We find out more.

Diane, what was your own path to a career in interior design?

It’s been intuitive for me, and it’s been a matter of always being connected to my passion. I was always moving around furniture when I was little, and as a teenager my parents’ friends would ask me to do their homes…the rest is history!

How would you describe the style you’ve developed over a 20 year career in both the US and Australia?

I would call it “Modern American classic”: clean but with traditional elements. Knowing how to finish an element and knowing when to stop – I pay attention to detail!

Did your style change as you transitioned from New York to Melbourne – and if so, how?

Because I have always looked to many different places for inspiration, I don’t think that moving country has drastically changed my style. However, my style is always evolving and always changing, while keeping the things that make it distinctively mine.

What are the things you love about “Australian” interiors style?

I love the way Australian style combines indoor /outdoor living. I personally love an outdoor room. You can dress up the space for comfort with an outdoor rug and oversized comfy furniture, layers of cushions. I mean is there anything better than alfresco dining?!

What do you think are the hardest elements of a space for home decorators to get right?

After all the large details are in place, the rug, the furniture, the art, it’s the small things that really give a space personality. Giving attention to detail and being able to select that perfect pieces that connects all the bigger items together is the hardest thing when decorating.

What prompted your decision to start the Mercer School of Interior Design?

I knew there were people looking for this type of course, and I saw there was a gap created by traditional education methods. We have designed our accredited courses to do things that no one else is doing. I’m very excited about sharing what I have learned over the last 20 years of my career. We have worked painstakingly hard to offer leading courses with an exclusive focus on Interior Styling, Design & Decoration.

The Design For Mirabel benefit.

Your tag line is “Education through inspiration”. What does this mean for your courses and your students?

Mercer is an interior design school that is truly different. We endeavour to help our students find their personal style, along with the necessary (and often overlooked) practical business skills. One of our goals is to disprove the misconception that you can’t teach a creative and industry-focused course online. We don’t teach everything by the book. Valuable hands on business experience, exposure to industry, combined with state of the art technology is how our students learn. We introduce our students to the leading designers and tastemakers, businesses and suppliers.

Along with teaching the new generation of designers, we’ve created Design For Mirabel, a fundraising event that is the philanthropic arm of Mercer. We have also committed to our lecture series, where we bring industry leaders from around the country and abroad to share their knowledge and to inspire. We kicked off in July with Mary McDonald and have an amazing line up to come, after our new school and lecture space is completed in March!

Some of your courses include a field trip to the US. How important is an international perspective?

As the world becomes increasingly connected, we are exposed to more visual content (not just interiors) giving us the opportunity to absorb what appeals to us and apply it to our work. I think the design industry as a whole is starting to demand a lot more variety in the products being offered locally and it’s nice to see Temple and Webster is filling those gaps!

Quickfire questions:

Local secret:
Gertrude Street Enoteca and Tarlo & Graham - they have a diverse mix of vintage things, and because they’re in my neighbourhood it’s easy to drop by and see what’s new.

Favourite colour combos:
Black, white and coral pink.
Camel and orange.
Sea-glass green and red.

Trend you love:
I don’t usually follow trends, but I like the direction decorating has taken moving away from minimalism.  I love a layered and rich decorating style.

Pet hate:
Trends! Design is personal and shouldn’t be dictated by what is popular season-to-season. I am led by my constant obsessions, when I’ll be really loving a particular thing. Right now I am infatuated with vintage Persian and Turkish rugs circa the 50’s or 70’s. I think designers go through phases where they have obsessions, which keeps things original and more diverse.

Design icon(s): DianaVreelandThe Duchess of Devonshire and IrisApfel.

Find out more at the Mercer School of Interior Design website or follow on Facebook or Instagram @mercerschoolid 

Image credits (from top):
1: Armelle Habib
2-6, 8-9: Peter Throsby
7: Marcel Aucar 

 

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We share 8 easy ideas for updating your bathroom –  whatever the budget – with help from Maria Schindlecker. The bathroom above is by Sydney interior designer Justine Hugh-Jones.

Do you dream of having a day spa permanently attached to your home for relaxation and serenity at the end of a long day? Or do you long to add colour and texture to a plain-Jane functional space? Whatever your style, and however bad things seem, we’re here to help with small style ideas that will have a big impact.

Image via Domaine Home.

Vanity fair

Replacing the handles of your vanity unit makes a big impact for a relatively small cost. If the unit is made of timber, a new coat of paint will dramatically change its look. You could consider decorating inset door panels with wallpaper, or line the drawers for a fresh feel.

Image by Roger Davies via Desire to Inspire

Reflected glory

If you have a plain mirror, switch it to one with a decorative frame to add character. Increasing the size of the mirror can also allow more light to bounce around and make the room feel larger.

Image via Lonny.

Wonder walls

Even bathroom walls deserve attention. Framed art, photographs or wall decals can make the space feel less clinical, but make sure you don’t hang them too close to a steamy shower. Go crazy in a powder room, where steam isn’t an issue – we love wallpaper in a small space, too.

 

Image by Nikole Ramsay for Inside Out.

Linen love

Make sure your towels are up to scratch, and consider updating to a new set. Don’t forget your bath mats and hand towels, which are often the first to wear out.  If a day spa is your dream, sticky to the fluffy white variety. Otherwise, try Aura’s vibrant colour and graphic designs or make the switch to lightweight Turkish (hammam) towels in sorbet stripes for Summer. Changing the colour and design of your towels can change the mood completely.

Image via Pinterest

Waxing lyrical

A beautiful scented candle is an indulgent treat for the bathroom, especially when it comes in a pretty container or glass jar. A stylish accessory with mood-lifting qualities is a win-win in our book.

Michael C Hall’s bathroom, via Lonny.

Form over function

Make sure any of the accessories you display in your bathroom are beautiful as well as functional. If not, transfer products to glass, ceramic or wooden vessels or bowls, or natural baskets to add a natural element and a hand-made feel.

Image via Pinterest

Blooming beautiful 

Beautiful flowers are a stylist’s greatest trick. Fresh cut flowers or foliage, a single bloom or branch, or an elegant potted orchid or fern. Nature is never wrong.

Image by Steven Carlisch for D Magazine

Vintage vibe

If you have the space, incorporate a freestanding piece of furniture to make your space unique. A rustic ladder, a small table or timber stool, or a weather cabinet will all add a sense of patina.

All images from our Bathrooms Pinterest board – follow us there to see over 100 beautiful bathrooms.

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Today’s Nordic Nursery sale event is filled with stylish furniture, flooring, art and accessories for a simple, Scandi style nursery. On the basis that celebrities often have the resources and access to designers the rest of us are lacking, we went looking for some nursery inspiration…

To be honest, we found a few celebrity nurseries we didn’t love – although we’d be interested to hear if you disagree. Let’s get those out of the way first.

Kourtney Kardashian (left) went for high intensity pink, covering the walls, ceiling and floor. Too much? And does anyone else find the moon in Christina Aguilera’s nursery (right) slightly terrifying? Reportedly it was her husband’s idea.

Mariah Carey reportedly spent $1 million on a nursery for her twins. It’s a little frou-frou for us.

Mel B’s LA nursery went down the same road of frills, flounces and a bit of bling. And yet it still feels a little lifeless.

But after our initial discouragement, things started to look up.

Here’s Jessica Alba’s nursery, featured on Domaine. Her own baby brand The Honest Company focuses on safe and healthy products and her nursery is sweet without being over the top.

Grey’s Anatomy actress Ellen Pompeo’s nursery as it appeared in Architectural Digest. The neutral base of white walls, timber floors and a soft cream rug is in contrast to the boldly accented furniture and the juju hats and paper lamp shades. See the rest of her LA home here.

US blogger Emily Henderson’s nursery was recently revealed in Domino Magazine. If you ignore the toys on the floor, it’s actually fairly simple, with the French Minakani Lab wallpaper as the hero. If you love the tent feature above the cot, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s from Ikea, with customised fabric bunting.

Image by Armelle Habib.

Melbourne personality and blogger Rebecca Judd‘s nursery for her daughter Billy features a gold-flecked cowhide and a glitter heart wall vase by Love Star.

 Image by Julie Adams

Australian blog The Grace Tales is a good source of nursery inspiration, focusing as it does on stylish Australian mothers. It was there we found Hannah Logan’s nursery in Apple Tree Flat NSW, decorated by her sister Briar Stanley (of Sunday Collector). The beautiful wallpaper is by our friends at Sparkk Studio in Sydney.

Inspired? Shop our Nordic Nursery sale event

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We revisit Baz and Peter Walsh’s declutter and decorate transformation from The Living Room last night. If you missed it, catch it at noon today or via tenplay. If you love what you see, shop the look in our special The Living Room Collection.

When we first meet Mark and Kathryn, their home looks picture perfect and well-kept, apart from the master bedroom which is full of boxes and bags, mostly full of clothes. Overwhelmed by emotional life events, Kathryn has found herself unable to let go of clothes from every period of her life, as well as all her son’s baby clothes. She admits to Peter that her walk in wardrobe is full of pre-baby clothes which no longer fit her, while the clothes she currently wears are spread around her bedroom.

Once all the clutter is removed from the room (it turns out to be 10 metres of hanging clothes and 85 boxes) Kathryn has the difficult task of getting rid of most of it. The usual gentle push from Peter is required to help her realise that she’s investing too much emotion into her belongings, including those which belonged to her mother.

Baz knocks up some shoe storage for Kathryn for her cut-down collection and also makes a start decorating the spacious but completely neutral bedroom.

He adds wallpaper for colour and pattern, and accents of grey and lilac for a serene feel. Mirrored furniture and silver lamps add a touch of glamour and treasures belonging to Kathryn’s mother are framed on the wall.

Rustic timber frames and a driftwood wall hanging add warmth, while an abstract canvas adds life to the room.

They requested a calm, tranquil, inviting oasis and Baz delivered, adding generous, comfortable furniture. Live and love in the now, says Baz. A life lesson for us all.

Shop the look in our special The Living Room Collection.

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Ross Dobson is a bit of a barbecue guru (we’ve heard him called The Tong Master), with 5 books under his belt including the upcoming King of the Grill (published by Murdoch Books). With barbecue weather pretty much here, we thought it a good moment to share this chicken recipe with a spicy hit, thanks to eatlove.com.au.

There seemed a time when we all obsessed about skinless chicken breasts. And what an odd obsession, don’t you think? Leaving the skin on makes all the difference when it comes to flavour.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken breasts, with wings attached and skin on
lime halves and fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

Jalapeño butter:

2 tbsp of sliced Jalapeño in brine, drained
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 anchovy fillets, drained
125g of unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Preparation

To make the Jalapeño butter, put all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until well combined. Transfer to a bowl.

Rub as much of the butter mixture as you can under the skin of the chicken breasts, being careful not to break the skin. Rub any remaining butter over the skin and sprinkle with a little sea salt. You can secure the skin with toothpicks. This will help prevent the skin from retracting when cooked.

Preheat the barbecue hotplate to high and close the lid to create a hot-oven effect. Sit the chicken on a rack and sit the rack over a deep baking tray. Half fill the baking tray with water and sit it on the barbecue. Close the lid and cook for 35 – 40 minutes, until the skin is golden. Remove from the barbecue and allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.

Serve with the lime halves and coriander.

See more at eatlove.com.au where you can follow your favourite chefs, share their recipes and order their books.

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Karen McCartney introduces the cleverly folded paper origami pendant lights by Dutch design duo Studio Snowpuppe, brought to Australia by Paper Empire and our newest Objects of Desire.

Sometimes an exciting new product comes along that is decoratively spot on – it has the look, the design cred, the colours are on trend and the form is modern while calling on the beauty of an ancient craft.

Made by hand in The Hague in Holland by designers Nellianna van den Baard and Kenneth Venebos, these origami lamp shades are crafted using a special FSC-certified paper called ‘Butterfly’, famed for its long-lasting properties.

The seductive thing about the shades is the subtle use of colour and the gradient effect that gives the sense that the bottom of the lampshade has been ‘dipped’ in a tone of soft grey or mint, or sharper shades of yellow, or fluoro pink. For the extra large shades, fashionable coral comes into the mix.

Not only do they make an impact individually but as all the shades are complementary, any combination works. My pick – mix an extra large grey with a large graduated mint. The precision folds of the speciality paper give the effect of a soft geometry, and light bounces off the interior surface to create a soft glow.

Each lamp shade comes with its own E27 porcelain socket and generous 3 metres of fabric cord in grey. The rest is up to your decorative imagination.

Shop for Snowpuppe pendant lights in a range of colours and sizes today.

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Sophie Thé is a French-born interior/props stylist and, it turns out, an intrepid sailor. She recently embarked on a grand adventure, sailing around the southern corner of Australia. Here she shares her thoughts about the journey and some of the images she captured along the way.

This was the adventure of a lifetime. Travelling during Winter from Adelaide to Sydney, we crossed through some of the most, if not the most treacherous waters on the planet. The beautiful sailing yacht ‘Peace and Plenty’ carried us safely to remote and wonderful locations across the south coast, the Bass Strait and the east coast of Australia as we battled through high seas and new emotions, coming out the other end as different souls.

Nothing can compare with the grace of a boat underway, her magnificent sails, the sound of the waves and ultimately, the places she takes you. Freedom, independence and new experiences mixed together with fear and anxiety made for the trip of a lifetime. On this trip I travelled with Niki Baillie-Jackson and our sea cat ‘Captain’. These are a few of the many photos we took along the way.

Our new home, the 40 foot cutter Peace and Plenty.

Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island.

At anchor on Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. 

Sailing from Kangaroo Island to Robe.

We made it to Portland – hello Victoria! Between Portland and Port Fairy we hit 4 metres of swell, 1.5 metres of sea and the boat handled it like magic. 

Griffiths Island Light House, Port Fairy, Victoria.

Rounding Cape Otway headed towards Apollo Bay.

The calm of Apollo Bay.

Jumping for joy at Refuge Cove, in the Wilsons Promontory National Park.

A bird’s eye view of the Peace and Plenty, taken near Merimbula NSW.

I don’t usually post selfies but I’m so happy and proud of our achievement! 185 hours travelling at sea, by calm, by storm, by night. Peace and Plenty has been more than we could dream of. 1300 nautical miles later we made it from Adelaide to Sydney in one piece through the Australian winter.

Follow Sophie on Instagram @sophiethestylist, visit her website or follow Peacy and Plenty tumblr.

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