Blog

MARRAKECH SHOWROOM – NEW LOOK!

Our Marrakech showroom (Bazar du Sud) has recently undergone a transformation, and is looking particularly stunning at the moment!  Based in a beautiful old Riad in the Medina, the whitewashed walls, potted palms and traditional Zellige tiled floor provide the perfect backdrop to our vast collection of both vintage and modern Berber rugs and kilims.  A low cream sofa provides a welcome resting place…….with so much choice, you are sure to need a comfy seat (and plenty of mint tea!) for contemplation!  If you would like to arrange a showroom visit, please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk, we will be happy to organise this for you.

MODERN BERBER KILIM COLLECTION

We’re loving the trend for modern Berber rugs and kilims here at Marble and Mint.   Spring is fast approaching, the light is changing and soon we will probably be thinking about packing away our cosy pile rugs for something lighter for the warmer months.  So, in addition to our collection of new Beni Ouarain rugs, we are now introducing some stunning new flat weave kilims.  Some designs are already up on our website, with more designs in stock in Marrakech.

Custom sizes are also available to order.  These wool kilims are made exclusively for us, using our own designs, in our workshop in the Anti Atlas region of Morocco.  Their simple, classic designs and paired down colour palettes make them ideal for a contemporary interior, and a perfect partner for a wooden, stone or tiled floor.  A personal favourite is the black and white design (seen here at Maison et Objet in Paris last month) which we know will be popular with anyone in love with monochrome interiors.  Please get in touch or give us a call if you would like any more information.  Tel. 0044 (0)7746 727536  Email  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

MODERN WEAVING IN THE MOUNTAINS – BENI OUARAIN RUGS

With a wide spectrum of colours available, and the ability to specify your own size and even the design, modern Beni Ouarain rugs are becoming increasingly popular.  Using wool from sheep kept at high elevations (thick and soft) Berber women weave these rugs on vertical looms, in exactly the same way as they have been made for centuries. Each rug can take at least one month to complete, and is washed and dried in the sun many times to achieve its characteristic soft and silky texture.  The texture improves with each washing.

Our partner, a family business in Marrakech, Bazar du Sud, have their own workshop in the Anti Atlas region, an area of rocky outcrops and small villages, where their workforce arrive every morning to produce, for them exclusively,  their own designs and bespoke orders.  They travel the long journey into the mountains regularly to check on orders and to transport completed pieces back to Marrakech.  If you would like to commission a custom made Beni rug, or would like to see more of our stock in Marrakech, please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk.  We will be happy to help.

 

 

2016 …..THE BEST BITS, AND LOOKING FORWARD

Looking back over the last year, some of the best bits have to be seeing the photos from our amazing day shooting at The Roost and Dalston Heights in Hackney.  This montage has been put together by photographer Ann Ashfield.  Early in 2017 we’re planning to do a shoot at the very cool home of a friend in the music business.  With her huge vinyl collection and walls covered in gold, silver and platinum discs, that should be great fun!  We’ll keep you posted.

Looking forward to the coming year, we will be working more closely than ever with our partner/supplier Bazar du Sud in Marrakech.  Their inventory of both new and vintage carpets is second to none.  If you’re in Marrakech, and you would like to pay them a vist, let us know.  Yazid and his team will be sure to give you a very warm welcome.

Inspired by this amazing image, we’ll be adding some Beni Ouarain runners to our site over the next few days.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen a Beni stair runner, but after doing a bit of research, I found that this one was commissioned by Frances Elkins, legendary decorator and sister of architect David Adler, in 1929 for a Chicago interior.  Just stunning.  Happy New Year everyone!

WHAT IS ‘HYGGE’

‘Hygge’ is a word which seems to be appearing more and more in relation to interiors….I’ve been seeing it regularly on blogs, Instagram posts and magazines, but honestly had no real idea exactly what it meant.  So thank you Elle Decoration UK, for your definitive guide to hygge in your January 2017 Winter Living Issue, which explains all!  Hygge is a Danish word which encompasses the idea of cosiness and well being, it’s all about taking pleasure in life, whatever it is that you’re doing.  Their article includes four great book titles for those who are interested in the Danish way of living well.

When it comes to interiors, obviously we’re really talking about comfort and cosiness, and this is especially apt for the winter season……sheepskin, faux fur, fireside rugs, soft warm lighting and candles.  Elle Deco have put together a winter warmers wish list, which includes (of course!) a soft and fluffy Beni Ouarain rug.  Check out our collection of modern Beni rugs, in perfect fireside sizes, to keep your feet warm as toast this winter.  Happy holidays!

Photo Credit Elle Decoration UK

 

COSY BENI OUARAIN RUGS FOR THE WINTER SEASON

We’re into the middle of November, and even though Christmas is everywhere already, it’s still a little early for me to be thinking earnestly about the festive season!  What is nice though, and never too early to consider, is how to make your home warm and cosy, not just for Christmas, but to see you through the long cold months ahead.  A pure wool rug, with a soft deep pile is the perfect addition to any room for the Winter season.

My December issue of Elle Decoration UK recently arrived, and features a beautiful vintage Beni Ouarain rug, which sits perfectly next to the simple Christmas fir trees in this Danish home photographed by Birgitta Wolfgang.  This simple Scandinavian style setting is stunning, but with their classic designs and monochrome colours, Beni rugs sit easily with any interior style.  We have some beautiful vintage Beni rugs available in our stock in Marrakech, but we also offer as an alternative a collection of modern rugs, woven from the finest quality wool using traditional weaving techniques.  Take a look at our sample size sale, a collection of rugs in the perfect size for sitting in front of a sofa, the fire, or underneath a small table.  After weaving, these modern rugs are washed and dried up to eight times, and it’s this repeated washing which improves the appearance and texture of the wool, giving it a luxuriously soft silkiness. Perfect for sinking your feet into!  Buying a good quality rug like this is an investment, and with the right care it can and should last you a lifetime, not just for Christmas!

MARRAKECH – THE HUB OF THE MOROCCAN RUG TRADE

We’re just back from our sourcing trip to Morocco, and remain convinced that Marrakech is still the best place to source Moroccan rugs.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid, with just a little rain on one morning which very quickly disappeared.  Staying in an unfamiliar part of the Medina, it was an adventure as always to find our way to familiar places, but souk wandering is a must when you’re here!

We’ve seen some beautiful new Beni Ouarain productions, in a range of new colours and designs (including blue and pink!) all up on our website soon…..and have some more stunning Flatweaves and Boucherouite already on their way over to the UK.  Our partner/supplier has such a vast inventory of both old and new rugs, all catalogued and photographed that we are sure that if we can’t find what you’re looking for here in Marrakech, it can’t be found!  We’ll be adding a collection of vintage Beni Mguild rugs to our website soon, reversible pieces where the design is clearly visible on the back of the carpet.

In the meantime check out our collection of Petit Beni Ouarain, some beautifully soft small rugs, made from the finest quality wool, all originally made as samples.  These are also located in Marrakech, and we’ll be uploading additional photos of these over the next few days.

BENI OUARAIN RUGS – BLACK OR BROWN?

Trawling through the internet this morning to find a suitable image to illustrate the difference between ‘black’ and ‘brown’ designs on a Beni Ouarain rug.  Unfortunately we don’t know the source of this beautiful photo, but you can clearly see that the classic lattice design on this lovely Beni rug is woven in brown wool.  So what is the difference? and how can you know what you are buying?  It is often very difficult to tell from photos whether a design is in fact brown or black. If you’re working with a neutral palette, either brown or black will probably work in a room, but we are often asked by clients specifically for a Beni rug with a ‘black’ design.

You can find vintage Beni rugs woven with either brown or black designs, but ‘black’ will often have faded down to a lovely charcoal grey over years of use and washing.  However, it is worth noting that contemporary Beni Ouarain rugs woven with undyed wool are invariably woven with a brownish coloured wool, the reason for this is simply that wool from pure black sheep has become increasingly difficult to source.  Therefore if you do find a modern Beni rug with a black design, you can probably assume that the wool has been dyed.  This doesn’t detract from its beauty in any way of course!  If you are looking specifically for a rug with a black design, we will do our best to find one for you, and this often involves getting some really good close up photos of the rug to double check the colour of the design.  A custom made rug can, of course, be made in the colour of your choice

info@marbleandmint.co.uk

SOURCING IN MARRAKECH

We will be back in Marrakech at the end of this month, spending time in the Souk des Tapis, living and breathing rugs for a while!  If you know what you’re looking for, Marrakech is still a great place to source both vintage and contemporary Moroccan rugs.  We are lucky enough to work in hand in hand with a very well established family business there who have a knowledge of the history of their rugs built up over generations of trading.   We don’t claim to know absolutely everything about Moroccan rugs, it’s a continual learning curve for us, but what we don’t know they can certainly tell us!  They have a very large stock available on the ground in Marrakech, which they source direct from the weavers.  If there is anything special you are looking for, a particular size or style of rug, please let us know, we will always do our best to find your perfect rug.  Our special relationship with our supplier means they will always be on the lookout for our clients’ requirements.   We are also regularly updated and have first dibs on any new and interesting rugs in their collection.  Their excellent weavers in the Atlas mountains also supply our beautiful custom made Beni Ouarain rugs.  Please get in touch if you would like any more information on any of our stock either in the UK or Marrakech.  We would love to hear from you!  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

NEW FOR OCTOBER…..VINTAGE KILIM BOUCHEROUITE

A sneak peak of some beautiful Vintage Kilim Boucherouite arriving this month to add to our collection…..

These colourful flatweaves are woven from pieces of recycled textiles, are light and durable, and perfect for throwing down on a wooden or stone floor to add warmth, texture and colour.  Above is a lovely kilim abstractly decorated with tribal motifs including eight-pointed ‘Solomon’s star’ (female fertility) symbols.

Although you may find many similar kilims, no two are exactly alike.  In contrast to the kilim in the first photo, the one above has an orderly vertical zig zag design with contrasting horizontal weaving at each end, and below a traditional lozenge design.  Easy to clean, they are perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and children’s rooms.  All three arriving later this month….we will keep you posted!