Road to Morocco

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: At Home Issue: February 2015
Group Mid-Level
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Add exotic touches to your home oasis.

For the past 20 years, the Van Lith family has made an annual pilgrimage to Morocco to source products directly from craftspeople and artisans for their Scottsdale home furnishings and décor shop, Tierra Del Lagarto. They travel to India, Indonesia and Turkey every year, too, but Morocco has a special place in their hearts, says daughter Meg Van Lith.

“It has that old feeling that you just don’t get in a lot of these more modern travel experiences. You go into the medina of Marrakech and it’s still closed to cars and you have to meander through these labyrinth streets,” Van Lith says. “It’s a real immersive experience – the sights, sounds and flavors are all really of the place.”

Channeling that exotic energy into an Arizona desert home makes sense, Van Lith says. The Spanish colonial and Mediterranean-inspired homes popular in the Valley have the same Moorish roots as Moroccan design. “There’s a real marriage of old and new,” Van Lith says. “But you can take one of those elements into a modern space and it still gives you that exotic punch.”

Tierra Del Lagarto (pictured above)
15330 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
“A lot of it is about lighting,” co-owner Meg Van Lith says. “You get a lot of this beautiful play of patterns with the shadows that are created from this intricate cutwork in lanterns. There’s a real richness of color, lots of layers of patterns.” Traditional Moroccan homes have painted wood work, plaster work, zellij (tile) work and “lanterns and piles of fruit, all these sumptuous layers.” The Van Liths have many Moroccan pieces in their own homes, some of which are pictured. Prices upon request.


Feathers Fine Custom Furnishings
15330 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
“These hand-beaded pillows ($250-$399) are made to represent the colors of the sunset over the sea,” says Tessa Koch, director of marketing. “This cocktail table ($3,775) has the signature Moroccan arch and is painted in a silver stain inspired by the jewelry created by the Berber [Amazigh] women of Africa.”


Living Spaces
16275 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Dawn Frimodig-Kirby, who heads the Elements department at Living Spaces, loves the Moroccan aesthetic, shown below in more modern splashes. “We recommend colors like sage greens, pastel and vibrant blues, along with all of those spice colors – deep oranges and reds,” she says. “Adding a few well-placed Moroccan pieces can give your room that sense of Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart and a time gone by.” Prices upon request.

Fiesta Furnishings
15320 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
In Moroccan design, “I think lighting’s really important, a lot of the punched lighting,” says sales manager Shelley Burris of this copper lantern ($798) and candelabra ($550). “It’s kind of a key signature, [as well as] the arches that you see on the candelabra, the peaked arches.”