Just something that caught my eye.

the moroccan zellige tiles, the unique lights, the contrasting materials, the warmth...
stiff and trevillion vis design to inspire



SOUTH OF FRANCE:A family home

Every corner has a surprise; 
A half hidden gazebo
A rocky grotto
A group of hydrangeas in antique Anduze pots
A tall nook under the double stairs
The old irrigation basin turned pool, a gentle shade of blue green
This is the farm house of the property...sigh...
The French emblem Cocorico catching the wind high above the roof line.
Au revoir.




Camille's Cotton comfortably ensconced one weekend.

au revoir.




bon weekend.


TANGIER: a little shopping


I will delay my south of France post till tomorrow to show you my treasures. 

It is so easy to get carried away in Morocco and I have done my fair share of shopping, but the more I go, the more I wish for custom or redesigned piecesrelookés as we say in French-  be they jewelry, scarves, or decorative objects.

The girls wanted silver something from the adorable silversmith who makes almost anything you want in 2 to 3 days.

A custom basket weave ring and simple bangles

I LOVE kaftans and I wear one every morning now. They take the place of a robe but the look is much more presentable; maybe you are like me: I like to start the day with breakfast before dressing when I have the time. 
This is the one I had made this time around from fabric I brought from the States- as usual; very simple, ankle length, with color coordinated contrasting fabric details and handmade cord and buttons (they look a little like the Charvet cufflinks). The tailor even made drawstring pants to go with it. Just the very bottom of the leg shows and it's great fun.

We also found a weaver who is a genius at colors- Moroccans are color pro's- ( though I suspect some passing designer might have planted the little seed which grew into his divine collection) I can't wait to wear it this winter. 
I don't think anyone will miss me, it's so bright! just what the dull winter days of New York require...
Not a huge amount of buying during this trip, mostly discovering new places and meeting new people and catching up with the others.
Great fun as usual.
au revoir.



This time, we decided to walk around the Vieille Montagne where Villa Victoria (yesterday's post) is situated; that area of Tangier is full of wonderful properties with huge walls, luxuriant gardens and charm galore. The images below were taken in the garden of a house being renovated and getting a  magnificent pool. There is a lot of work ahead still but it seems the owner  wants to be true to the mood of the grounds while making them a little more "manageable". 
I adore bougainvillia and Tangier is the right climate for them as testified by their presence in almost every garden of Tangier.

The alleys of the villa have seen better days but oh, what charm.
The pool and its stunning pool house is not yet complete of course and yet it is easy to imagine what a relaxing place  it will be.
Moroccans sure know how to say "welcome, please come in" with panache! 
Or is it "stay out" with elegance.

On a totally different and amusing note:
I already showed you the little window of this house in the Kasbah.
 The creative owner seems to need to improve on it every year...  
Tomorrow I will take you to the south of France.
Lots of stones....

au revoir.


FLY OFF: check. COME HOME: check.


Yes, I had a great time; 
Yes, I wish it had not gone by so quickly;
Yes, I did bring back some images and some tales. 

Les vacances started with our- you must have guessed by now-- inevitable trip to Tangier Morocco. We literally landed, went to the house, dropped off our suitcases and headed directly to the French consulate for the auction of the contents of a fabulous old house on la Vieille Montagne. (The auction was held with photos shown on a large screen). It belonged to le Général André Beaufre, then to his widow, la Générale (as we say in France when we speak of the wife of a general. Neat hein?) and now to famous Paris photographer Roland Beaufre and his sister Florence.
The house is the absolute undiluted example of une maison coloniale, as in "the French Colonies"; I know, it is not very Politically Correct to speak with admiration of anything of les colonies, French or otherwise, but this house has the aura, mystery and gently dilapidated richness of some of the ones I remember from Tunisia and from photos of my grandparents and mother when they lived in Indochina- now Vietnam. I will never cease to admire them. How could you not? 

Although we did not see the house until the day after the sale- Joelle bought a pair of wonderful armchairs upholstered in the richest slightly faded lavender and black striped carpet- sadly I do not have a photo of these delightful pieces- I found these images on the auctioneer's site), what we did see the next day was this riot of colors, saturated yet somehow very livable and an amazing collection of the most eclectic objects and furniture. The work of a lifetime- or two, or three. All sold.

I must include a small comment on the auction. 
Joelle - some of you must know by now that she is my twin sister- has just written a novel, which takes place in Tangier. Just before we left for Morocco, she was stunned to discover that the sale of an old house situated on la Vieille Montagne in Tangier was going to take place on the day of our arrival. Why stunned? this is why:
It's name was Villa Victoria.
The title of Joelle's book.
Do you honestly think wild horses could have kept us away?

Au revoir.



Before WWII, Madeleine Castaing was a wealthy wife and mother living outside of Paris in a large house she called la maison de Lèves. She renovated and decorated her beloved house for 2 years with a mixture of antique and flea market furniture, eclectic objects with a penchant for the style of Napoleon III, a love of nature, and an affinity  for mixing patterns which was to become her signature style.
In 1940, the Nazis occupied France and German officers requisitioned her house. Madeleine Castaing left her home at Lèves for a while and opened her first boutique, and then relocated in 1947 to 30 rue Jacob, Paris. She decorated it the same way as her house at Lèves, using her inimitable taste to combine beautiful furnishings and original objects, fabrics, and colors. After the death of her husband in 1969, Madeleine moved to an apartment above the boutique.

Madeleine Castaing's boutique when she reopened it on rue Jacob
and as it is now the Patisserie Laduree, designed and decorated by Jacques Garcia with a tip of the hat to Madeleine Castaing.

Her signature hue, a light turquoise shade of blue which she thought of as the color of the skies chosen for the shop as a testimony to her enduring talent., was present everywhere in her home.

She designed flamboyant carpets wallpaper and fabrics that are still manufactured and sold today.

She mixed them together in a riot of patterns in her own apartment also. It was sold  when she died and the new owners redecorated it in her style, using her carpeting and wallpapers and fabrics.

She chose these patterns in her homela maison de Lèves.
and they were used here by the new owners of her apartment on rue Jacob.
(In the photo of her shop from the 50's, you can spy the wallpaper through the window) 

Madeleine Castaing loved stripes with a lot of detail

French designer Roger de Cabrol, who is based  both in New York and Paris, has used Madeleine Castaing fabrics for his clients' interiors as in the chairs below.

Here, in an obvious tribute to her, he displays her influence with his choice of furniture style Napoleon III from the 19th century, as well as softly patterned carpeting.

Madeleine Castaing loved to use trim, which she often cut out of her fabrics; she applied trim directly to walls or to her upholstered furniture to add  stunning decorative borders.

She designed a leopard print carpet, one of her favorite motifs.

as in these spaces; and she very often added arches to add architectural panache to her rooms.

Madeleine Castaing was a brilliant Bobo - bourgeois bohème- long before the term was coined, always managing to strike a perfect balance between her own brand of French tradition, eclectic accumulations, and playful color.

au revoir.