If you watch the 2014 Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) film, you will be treated to several scenes depicting the noted French fashion designer’s lavishly decorated Moroccan home pictured above.
I attempted to recreate that elegantly eclectic interior in a doctor’s residence on Vancouver’s North Shore.
Incorporating famous YSL’s green and gold colour scheme
I designed this space for a doctor that had just moved from Ottawa to Vancouver.
He had a strong French-classical-meets-mid-century aesthetic, which prompted me to suggest using Yves St. Laurent’s gorgeous art-filled ‘riad’ (i.e. a large traditional Moroccan house built around a central courtyard) in Marrakesh as our primary design.
We incorporated the same green-and-gold colour scheme for the living room to bring sparkle and freshness to the space. And then we threw in some Middle Eastern and North African decorative elements to add some exotic flavour into the mix.
Mixing curves and straight lines
One of the most distinctive features of North African design is the heavy use of Moorish architectural elements which feature intricately carved surfaces and beautifully patterned mosaic walls and floor tiles.
Following YSL’s lead, we used patterns on accessories like the area rug and throw pillows, which feature African-inspired embroidery.
This client’s family is originally from Pakistan, which prompted me to showcase a bit of that heritage by incorporating images from his native Lahore in the living room and bedroom wall photos.
We also wanted to celebrate YSL’s love for the sunny clime of Morocco, his carefree spirit, and his growing interest in valuable art and antiques by using visually arresting pieces like a sunburst coffee table, empire-style leather ottoman bench, and a classically-styled floor mirror, all of which are accented in gold.
Mixing opposing forces to create a balanced visual dynamic
This doctor’s home is a terrific study on how to thoughtfully fuse together various historic periods, decorating styles, and shapes to create a cohesive whole.
French-style can be very showy and reserved all at once, which explains why the curves of this classically styled four-poster bed (pictured above) and the light fixtures perfectly balance the straight-up-and-down lines of the more contemporary nightstands and artwork.
The result is a strong visual tension that arises from the interplay of hard and soft forms, bright and subdued colours, and modern & traditional elements.
I did have to exercise some restraint and limit the number of sparkly gold finishes, adding some darker tones like black and dark grey to keep things grounded.
Knowing when to follow (and break) the rules
Mixing 2 decorating styles is one thing. But layering 3 of them (French, Moroccan & Scandi style) over a specific colour scheme (green + yellow) and culturally-specific art and accessories (Middle Eastern & African Tribal) can be a complicated and high-stakes endeavour.
Even interior design pros can find this challenging to get right sometimes. As a designer, we constantly have to distill things into their basic visual essence and then edit, edit, and edit some more.
That’s why some of the most beautiful interiors in the world have a clean and simple aesthetic like the patio space pictured above featuring mid-century plywood lounge chairs, a Moroccan-style portable firepit and area rug, and a french-inspired floor lamp & mirror.
A space that combines different cultures, architectural periods, and decorating styles necessitates a call to an experienced interior designer who can expertly showcase your personal history, unique identity, and peculiar tastes while incorporating your own specific functional requirements into the mix.
Know someone that wants to create a unique-looking space with some exotic flavour? Feel free to pass along our email@example.com email or our (604) 321-8008 number so we can help.