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House Parties, Interiors, Vacation Rentals

Real Moroccan Decor – A House Party in Marrakesh

May 30, 2017 • By

I love Moroccan decor – the colors, textures and patterns. So Morocco has been a dream destination for a long time. This year I finally decided to plan a trip with friends to immerse myself in Moroccan design and shop the souks of Marrakesh.

If you read regularly, you’ll know my favorite kind of getaway is a house party – a modern riff on the traditional country house holiday – where friends gather to eat, drink, talk, relax and explore.

This trip would be a Moroccan house party in a 16th-century riad with seven amazing, creative friends.

We booked a riad in the heart of Marrakesh. A riad is a traditional home with a courtyard in the middle. Ours had a small fountain in the center, too, and all the living spaces and bedrooms opened onto this private oasis.

The walk home from the souks was always exhilarating, but once we opened the tall wooden doors and stepped into our courtyard, we were immediately soothed. Here’s one corner of our riad…

This is the interior of my bedroom! Unbelievable!

Each room was unique, exotic and comfortable.

Here’s our Moroccan kitchen –  stocked with everything we needed to make our own meals or snacks.

Even better – the house was staffed with a smiling cook called Hamisa, who made us a huge breakfast every morning…

…and dinners when we wanted.

Of course, we ate many delicious dishes cooked in a traditional Moroccan tagine.

The tagine’s conical shape creates an intense steam bath for food, meaning the vegetables and/or meat  is tender and full of flavor. Plus lifting the lid off a steaming tagine is celebratory in itself!

Tagine recipes often include dried fruits and nuts mixed with spices, so the dishes are spicy, savory and slightly sweet all at the same time. In other words, delicious!

All your senses are heightened in Morocco.

Throughout Marrakesh you’ll find layers of beautiful geometric tile designs like these.

This Moorish design style is influenced by the Islamic practice of not showing people or animals in art, which some religious leaders saw as a form of idolatry.  Whatever the reasoning, the resulting Moroccan decor based on geometric shapes and patterns is unique and beautiful.

Here’s a patterned Moroccan sink in our tiny powder room at the riad. I love the simple copper plumbing, too.

The markets and shops surrounding us were also filled with color and pattern. Look at these beautifully-painted plates and bowls, made in Morocco and nearby Tunisia.

In the narrow streets of Marrakesh, the simplest houses and doorways are adorned with pattern and color.

Even the food stalls are ornate and intricate…

And color is everywhere!

Check out these Moroccan poufs and rugs…I seriously need a container ship to take home everything I want from the souks of Marrakesh!

At night, the central square in Marrekesh, the Jemaa el-Fnaa, really comes alive. Food stalls, cafes and restaurants are everywhere and the smell is amazing.

Snake charmers and fortune tellers come out to play, as they have for centuries.  Everyone has something to sell!

And despite all the delicacies that I don’t often eat…like these delicious prickly pears…

…it was also easy to find the comforts of home, albeit in slightly different packaging.

One of my fellow travelers was my business partner, Kellie Smith of Design Asylum Blog.

We collected some amazing pieces that you’ll soon see on our home decor website SmithHönig…but more importantly we came home inspired to create!

We’re working on details of our new Maroc daybed, which will debut soon on

We’ve also brought back some beautiful leather bags and Moroccan caftans, which you’ll find there soon, as well.

In the meantime, here’s our Medina Arch pillow – my own design – featuring Moorish details. It is available in linen texture and velvet suede…and also comes as wall art in metal, leather, wood and canvas.

And here’s our iconic Moroccan Knot pillow – don’t you love these colors?

There are so many places in the world I still need to see, so I don’t often plan return trips. But Morocco is the exception. I feel I’ve had the tiniest taste, after eight days of exploration and I can’t wait to go back.

All in all, Morocco is still at the top of my travel list – and I can’t wait to go back!




House Parties, Vacation Rentals

Tour This Unique Vacation Rental in Italy

August 11, 2016 • By

This may be the most stylish vacation rental ever…

Take a tour of this beautiful traditional trullo in Italy from the Oliver’s Travels website, one of the best-edited holiday rental companies I’ve ever come across.

vacation rental, holiday home, trullo, italian villa rental, rent a villa

A trullo is an ancient, round house with a conical roof primarily located in the Itria Valley in Italy’s Apulia region.

Trullo’s were originally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses by the region’s farmers.READ MORE

House Parties, Interiors, Vacation Rentals

Tour this Swiss Vacation Rental with Mountain Views

February 3, 2016 • By

Tour this Vacation Rental with Switzerland Mountain ViewsToday’s Vacation Rental is a modern/rustic timber house with 360-degree views of the snow-covered Swiss Alps. (Think you’ve got snow where you are? Ummmm, no…)

Outside, there’s crisp mountain air, hiking, skiing. Inside there’s a clean-lined, modern Swiss interior by a famous Swiss architect.

(Are you feeling a bit like a character in a Bond movie? Because I am…)

Click through to see more…


Hotels, House Parties, Interiors

Tour this Luscious London Micro Hotel

January 13, 2016 • By

Today’s stylish vacation rental is actually a tiny, two-guestroom hotel called 40 Winks.

(My dad used to always say he was going to catch 40 winks, just as he would lie down on the sofa for a nap…)

This lovely house was built in 1717, so it’s almost 300 years old. It’s quirky, eccentric and playfully glamorous. The kitchen is completely over the top!

Scroll down to see more of this dramatic space…

Take a tour of this United Kingdom Vacation Rental with a Theatrical Vibe - 40 Winks. Grace, glamour, art, and design can be found here - so magical!


House Parties, Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rental Iceland’s Black House in Borgarnes

December 2, 2015 • By

It’s time for another stylish Vacation Rental of the Week!

Traveling to Iceland any time soon? Want to get a little closer to the North Pole? Or taking a break in the middle of your work week and just want to daydream about a perfect little black cottage under the Northern Lights? Well, check out this holiday rental in Iceland…

Vacation Rental of the Week: The Black House Borgarnes Iceland



House Parties, Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rental – Kauai, Hawaii

November 4, 2015 • By

Kauai is one of my favorite Hawaiian Islands. Mr. H and I spent most of our honeymoon on nearby Lanai, but I’ve been to Kauai several times.

Kauai is home to the famous St. Regis Princeville Resort and (at least part of the time) to Pierce Brosnan, Ben Stiller, Bette Midler and a host of other stars. It’s also a favorite getaway for Rob Lowe, Ben Affleck and hunky beach bums in general.

But I’m here to tell you about a charming, upscale surf shack that you can rent for a self-catering holiday.

Just steps from Poipu Beach and Brennecke’s Beach, this bright, colorful and beautifully appointed Kauai vacation rental is so much fun. This is the epitome of laid-back beach style. So grab your board shorts and let’s go.

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