ALL POSTS IN Travel

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Years ago, I landed upon one of the most beautiful blogs, My Marrakesh, and developed an online friendship with author Maryam Montague. She introduced me to Moroccan wedding blankets (I bought a gorgeous one from her years ago) and to the beauty of the Moroccan riad. In fact, it is her very own Peacock Pavilions that I want to introduce you to today. An amazing boutique hotel and home built by Maryam and her husband, Peacock Pavilions has the perfect blend of traditional Moroccan style and modern touches that make it a true gem. I hope you enjoy this house tour and from it takeaway ideas for incorporating Moroccan design in your own spaces.

The Grand Salon in the Atlas Pavilion

In the salon, pierced lanterns hang above and traditional poufs sit next to glossy Ikea chairs for a modern twist.

The Grand Salon in the Medina Pavilion

The arched entryways and tiled fireplace are standouts among the beautiful features in this living space.
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I have a funny connection to The Smurfs. In 2009 while living in Swansea, UK, I (along with more than 2,500 other people) broke a Guinness World Record for “the most people dressed as Smurfs.” I kid you not. For one night, the tiny town of Swansea was bombarded with people doused in blue body paint and white Smurf/Smurfette costumes. It was an insanely surreal experience to see your favorite childhood cartoon come to life — literally. Two years later, it looks like smurf blue has taken over another unsuspecting city.

The-Smurfs-Movie-Sony-Pictures-Juzcar-SpainImages (top left, bottom right): Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images; Images (top right, both images bottom left): AP Photo/Sergio Torres

Sony Pictures chose the tiny Spanish town of Juzcar to promote and host the premiere of The Smurfs 3D by turning the town into a life-size Smurf Village. More than 1,000 gallons of blue paint and a dozen painters transformed the distressed white buildings of Juzcar into bright blue beauties. Nestled in the Ronda highlands with an estimated population of 205 people, Juzcar has gained instant worldwide popularity. And even though Sony plans to return the structures to their original color come September, many of the residents surprisingly prefer the Smurf-blue hue and may just leave it that way.

From your travels, what is your favorite city that proudly breaks away from traditional exterior colors and has boldly splashed their homes and buildings with a rainbow of colors?

Tell us in the comments below.

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San Francisco designer Audrey Brandt is an artist and international traveler at heart. She began her professional career in residential interior design in Tokyo of all places and currently designs homes with an international range of styles and motifs, including recent projects in Australia, France and Japan. She details her travels and international design projects on her blog, Destination Design.

Audrey Brandt Dining Room View

Audrey walks us though her family’s vacation home in Paris for our monthly designer house tour. This stunning duplex apartment borders the Seine on the Left Bank of Paris and boasts spectacular views of Notre Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis. Housed on the third and fourth floors of a beautiful 18th-century building, Audrey totally renovated, refurbished and decorated it to stunning results. The level of craftsmanship and the design work are superb.
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The ways global style are expressed at home are as diverse and dynamic as our multi-cultural world. This past April, Elle Decor featured the beauty of this approach to decor throughout the pages of their annual international issue. And if you flip through the portfolios of some of America’s top interior designers, you will see that the global aesthetic is definitely finding its way into both modern and contemporary spaces. More and more, we see homes showcasing global wares picked up on travels or from a visit to a favorite boutique. Here are some of my favorite global tables inspired by a multitude of nations and cultures.

Modern Tea Room, Design by Amy Lau, Featured in Elle Decor

This tea room, designed by Amy Lau and featured in Elle Decor, brings together a Parsons table (you can find a similar one at West Elm), German-designed lanterns and a Chinese cedar Buddha. The mix of cultures feels so modern and eclectic.

Moroccan Style Dining Room by Designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

This dining room is the work of interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and highlights the striking beauty of contemporary Moroccan-inspired decor. Aren’t those carved chairs gorgeous?
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I am absolutely smitten with the Mexican embroidery trend in fashion right now. From dresses to tops, the traditional designs on whites, bright blues, yellows, oranges and pinks are so refreshing.

mexican otami textile

Inspired by the fashion industry’s lead, I wanted to find some home products featuring similar designs. Enter Otami textiles. These brightly colored coverlets, known as tenangos, are handcrafted by Otami Indians in Hidalgo, Mexico. With a pattern as bold as this, you could make over your bedroom in the time it takes to spread it over your bed.

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Do you remember back in the 80s the popularity of basket parties? My mother would invite over a bunch of girlfriends, and they would purchase bread baskets that would line our kitchen walls. While they were well crafted, the style was pretty country kitsch. Now the basket trend has returned but in a new and sophisticated way that celebrates the beauty of global design and bold graphics.

HGTV Design Happens - VT Wonen - Baskets as Wall Decor

VT Wonen

I think the fun of decorating with baskets is exploring the amazing variety. Whether your focused is on color or graphic design, you can choose baskets from countries like Rwanda, Ghana or Zambia to start your own one-of-a-kind collection.
More Woven Goodness

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I like a good margarita on Cinco de Mayo (on the rocks with salt) and some homemade guacamole. (Jump to the end of the post for recipes.) I’m also one of those geeky types always reading, always looking to learn more about anything. So in researching this post, I got to thinking about traditional Mexican crafts. Because Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s triumph at the Battle of Puebla, here’s at look at the #1 craft associated with the city and state of Puebla: talavera ceramics.

HGTV - Design Happens - Cinco de Mayo - Talavera - Puebla, Mexicoflickr: photoholics – Talavera in Puebla, Mexico

This article by Rita Pomade from Mexconnect offers the best overview of this 400-year-old craft. My top takeaway — the Consejo Regulador de la Talavera is the official group that monitors the authenticity of talavera. So, if you truly want to collect this pottery, only buy from certified workshops. All the images I selected for this post feature pieces by these approved artisans. Some have online stores, others you’ll have to travel to Puebla to purchase. And what better time to travel there than for Cinco de Mayo.

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Royal Wedding Union Jack Decor With Dog

Graham and Green

In just one hour, the world will stand still, except those opting for their DVR, as Prince William and Kate Middleton say their long-awaited ‘I dos’ in a lavish royal wedding. Seeing “royal wedding” and “Will + Kate” plastered everywhere has made it virtually impossible to not think of our trans-Atlantic cousins. Put a Union Jack on anything, and Americans eat it up. (If you’ve ever been to London, you know that patriotic souvenir shops are everywhere.) Brits around the globe are fond of them, too.
Like it or not (and I like it), with William and Kate’s nuptials, the Union Jack obsession has stylishly infected interior design and decor. So, in honor of the royal wedding, here are my favorite chic and bold takes on the Union Jack in furniture and accessories.

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Orange is so gorgeous and vivacious. This sun-kissed color has the power to enliven any space. And because it’s a natural complementary color to blue, and even looks pretty mixed with bits of gold and yellow, this shade is perfect for home accessories.

Elle Decor, Trina Turk

Elle Decor

Check out fashion designer Trina Turk’s bedroom. Here, orange is used to add a touch of the exotic to an otherwise modern space. By adding some fabulous orange accessories, anyone can get a global look filled with zest.

4 More Orange Accessories

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Springtime in Atlanta, my hometown, is colorful. The red buds, dogwoods, azaleas and spring bulbs are bursting forth with color. And soon a fine dusting of yellow pollen will coat everything. But it’s nothing like the welcoming of spring in India.

Festival of Color - Celebrating Holi in India - UPI

UPI/photographer Maryam Rahmanian

On March 21st, Hindu devotees in India filled the streets to celebrate the annual Festival of Color, or Holi Festival. As you can tell from these pictures, the country literally explodes in color. According to the Travel Channel, “the birth of spring is marked with color, and people embrace this by dressing in vibrant clothes and throwing colored powder at each other.”

Just looking at these photos from the UPI fills me with joy. Happy spring! Let’s celebrate with lots of bright, beautiful color.

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The Cameroon Juju Hat is hands down one of my favorite accessories to decorate with. My juju hat is currently tucked away in storage as I settle into my new apartment, but when it arrives, I can’t wait to place it above my mantel where it’s sure to make a bold statement.

Cameroon Juju HatVia Table Tonic

Originally worn by tribal chiefs and dignitaries in the Cameroonian kingdoms, juju hats feature feathers beautifully woven onto a raffia base. In an array of colors that range from deep purple, to magenta, red, creamy white and even jet black, juju hats have the ability to add both color and texture to a space.
Learn More About Juju

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As I stepped through the doors at Maison & Objet I was almost overwhelmed by the endless halls of incredible delights that spread out before me. It’s such an inspiring place for those of us who love design—new trends and beautiful ideas are around every corner.

I was particularly struck by the changes in tabletop, which is moving from casual fare to pieces that make each day amazing.

Content and Container Tableware

Give Your Everyday Tabletop Flair

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I arrived in Paris early Thursday morning to attend the Maison & Objet trade show, an international exhibit of home decor featuring the world’s most talented designers.

It’s been an exciting four days filled with the latest in home textiles, global design, interior decoration and accessories. Today, I had to tell you about the amazing work of the one of the designers being recognized this year for his outstanding talent.

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This week we’ve partnered with Novica, an online fair-trade marketplace that works with artisans in developing nations to bring handmade, quality products to consumers. As part of the National Geographic family, Novica has helped over 50,000 people in developing countries by not only selling their wares at real world prices, but also giving them special recognition on the website.

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Novica has selected the beautiful “Verdant Volcano” hand-blown vase for this week’s giveaway. This vase was hand blown by Murano artisans in Brazil. Murano is a type of glass blowing that was brought to South America via Italian immigrants.

To win this beautiful vase, just answer this week’s question before 12/11c, Monday, September 6. Be sure to include a valid email address so we can contact you.

This week’s question: If you could decorate your home in the style of one country what would it be?

Click for official rules.

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design-happens_Saffron-Marigold-Anisha300x300

Anisha Ghosh is the founder of California-based, Saffron Marigold. Anisha and her small crew of dedicated employees create lush, block-printed linens inspired by (and made in) her native India. Anisha gave us the 411 on what drove her to found her own textiles business and showed us her new Maharaja collection.

1. What got you into designing home décor?

The idea to build a small business first came to me when I was a young bride, having just arrived in the U.S. I longed to decorate my home with beautiful Indian textiles. I wanted their vibrancy to help lift the feelings of homesickness that frequently washed over me.
I also wanted to create a small business that is fully committed to the arts and crafts revival and fair trade practices. After months of taking classes, traveling, researching and conceptualizing, Saffron Marigold.com was launched in January 2005.

2. What inspires your designs?
More From Anisha

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If you happen to be in London May 27-29, do not miss the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. This is the world’s premiere gardening show full of creative garden design, exciting and gorgeous plants, informative exhibits and even some celebrity sightings.This year there are around 600 exhibitors from all over the world. Highlights include 15 Show Gardens, 21 Small Gardens, over 100 floral exhibitors, over 60 floristry and floral arrangement displays, 11 Continuous Learning displays and over 250 garden product exhibitors.

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