Come With Me To The Casbah

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A ripe persimmon is a thing of beauty – sweet, succulent and an amazing shade of orange-red. Orange and red continue to be popular colors in decorating this year but 2004’s shades are softer and more vibrant, like ripe persimmons and pomegranates.

DonÂ’t limit these jewel-tones to the inside of your house. They can be incorporated into a beautiful outdoor theme by using the rich and exotic influences of Morocco.

In countries such as Morocco, which line the balmy Mediterranean, curtains are often used in place of doors to allow breezes to circulate freely. Use gauzy fabric such as mosquito netting or scrim, a light, sheer, loosely woven cotton or linen cloth used for upholstery lining. Since itÂ’s inexpensive, you can install luxuriously full draperies without going broke.

If youÂ’d rather not have curtains, consider using the same fabric as a tent over a table or a chaise. Some nettings come with a center hanging unit, or you can easily make one of a 2Â’ square piece of plywood and some rope.

Intricate latticework is another element often seen in Morocco. You can emulate the look by edging pieces of plain lattice (the closer the weave, the better) with old carved porch posts. Paint roughly with turquoise or azure and then further distress the finish with sandpaper. Alternatively, you can install a carved wooden room screen.

Wood furniture will give you the most authentic Moroccan look. Don’t have wood furnishings? Try constructing a simple low-slung chaise from a used solid core door with six fence post tops screwed into the bottom. Paint or stain it to look like rich wood and top with a thick cushion (use an 8” foam mattress cut to measure). Use a heavy-weight fabric for the cushion cover and make sure it’s a bright orange or red color

You can improvise a table from a hollow core or solid core door set on cement blocks or stacks of bricks. Cover it with layers of rich cloths in your chosen colors. YouÂ’ll find this table sits low to the ground and youÂ’ll be able to eat in the traditional Moroccan way: sitting on pillows and rugs. Cover the cushions with co-ordinating or contrasting fabrics in rich finishes. Use azure, persimmon and lots and lots of gold fabric.

Tiles are an absolute must in Moroccan style. If you cannot incorporate them in the floor of your space, by painting a tiled pattern on a wooden deck, laying tiles on a patio, or edging your pool-side cabana, be sure to pick them up in a tabletop, a plant pot, a wall-hanging or a large tray. Mix bright turquoise or azure blue and goldy-orange tile pieces in intricate patterns to capture the Moorish look.

Moroccan-style lanterns usually have some sort of filigree work, whether wicker, metal or some other material. They are often pointed at both ends, necessitating hanging. Most often, they will enclose a flame, either of candles or small oil torches. You can also use white or ivory pillar candles instead of, or in addition to, hanging lanterns.

Use accent pieces of dark wood or brass. Pile a brass tray high with exotic fruit such as persimmons, tangerines and glossy pomegranates.

For greenery, use succulents such as banana trees and mother-in-lawÂ’s tongue, and tropicals like palms and ficus. You can also add more color to your space with lush pots of bright geraniums.

Use the rich color and sensual textures of Morocco in your outdoor space and this summer youÂ’ll be escaping to the casbah