Tips and Life inside a Shoot

We have been on 4 sourcing trips since 2015 and have compiled a list of spots that we would highly recommend and some you would probably rather not stay in! We wanted to give those of you that have Morocco on the brain a little insiders view into Morocco and what we felt were the places that we felt the most at home in. For those of you that have never been to Morocco...most of the incredible places to stay in are inside the souk in Marrakesh and are called Riads. They are 3 story homes with a courtyard in the center. They usually have the most amazing plants, but the part that always sticks out the most to me on each trip is the hospitality. Below are the top 2 riads (in our book) that we have had the pleasure of staying in. One is very intricate in detail and every meal brought out to you is done with excellence. Each corner is curated with the things that mean the most to the homeowner. Below are some of our favorite corners in @riadjardinsecret And they also happen to be some of our favorite people.....Go check them out on Instagram or at www.riadjardinsecret.com

Each trip we attempt to stay in a different riad. We stumbled upon Riad Mena by happenstance, and knew immediately that it would make the perfect backdrop for shooting the fourth collection. If you are looking for calm and serene , this is your spot. It has been featured in many popular publications, and happily blends curated treasures from Morocco along with modern design. All rugs shown are coming to the shop. 

Riadmenaandbeyond.com

XOXO, V

Sourcing trip 3: "Getting Real"

We arrived home from sourcing trip 3 in November and have recently launched our third collection. The time it takes to travel, source, ship and list is more than most people see in our little squares on Instagram, so we have reserved this space on our blog to just "let it all out" and honestly we have very few complaints. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves that this is our "job" but, like all small businesses we have to put in the daily grind to get a good outcome. When we initially launched the first collection we went into it with a bit of scared anticipation not knowing how it would be received. I can now say we are officially blown away. The outpouring of emails and happy clients has made all of our hard work worth it. When I get a email from a client showing me their space with their Moroccan rug, it is icing on the cake. Some of what you don't see or is not plainly obvious is the time we pour into getting to know the culture and the people of Morocco. We want to give credit where credit is due. This is not "our" art. We did not create it. The original authors of this art form have lived their lives and woven their stories into each piece. Some of them taking up to 5 months (3 hours a day) to weave. Each trip we take we are given the opportunity to dig deeper and build relationships with the Berber people. Our biggest hope is that we are able to share their story and not just create a platform where we are heard. Our goal each trip we take is to share more of their hearts and how their history is woven into each piece. That takes time! Learning over 17 tribes of culture and history will evolve each trip we take.  A few of you have asked how we give back. Are we fair trade? And how much of our profits go to the people. After a lot of heart searching we have decided because of our FAITH in Jesus that we want our giving to be done quietly. Following Matthew 6:3,4 (paraphrased) DO not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Let your giving be done in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

We realize in a culture where our giving is so exposed and public the reason behind our decision seems silly to some. I happen to follow many fair trade shops that give back very publicly that I adore and root for. But we have chosen to GIVE quietly. We have seen Gods hand all over this business. Each time we travel to Morocco we have been given favor in absolutely everything. SO for those that want to know if their purchase is giving back.....IT IS. We are deeply invested in the Moroccan people in so many ways. Many ways that we may someday share. But for now we continue to sow and to be responsible with what God has given us. In relationship and in deed and in generosity. We were given the privilege of meeting the Berber people on our last trip and spending time with them. We watched a woman work on her loom and we had tea and we cried. We cried at their generosity and the way they open their homes to complete strangers. It blessed us. For a little on that see some of the images that @carlaypage took below. 

5 Essentials for Designing with Black Trim

Lately I have been crushing on something that I never thought I would. Its not the Beibs, I swear. We live in an old craftsman style home with the original oak woodwork still beautifully preserved but Im not going to lie its not my fave. The design trend right now is a white-washed frenzy and Im willingly get sucked into really anything but wood. But were not talking about white today. With all the lovely inspiration out there, today Im exploring the concept of dark painted trim. Black, baby.

Its popping up everywhere and its gooood.

I think there are a few things to consider with this one. Firstly is it here to stay? Well - possibly. Black windows and trim are no newbies to the design scene as we look back on it dominating the early 50's in europe and the US. But of course isn't everything just circulating through time and time again? Now black is back on the scene with an updated version. Instead of being paired with jewel toned jacquard-esque wallpaper we see it blending in next to crisp white walls and wood accents. 

There are certainly ways to botch this one up but thankfully its paint so theres always damage control with paint. (Unless you are like me and the preserved, century-old woodwork is suddenly covered up forever and you need to lock your doors now because its not safe and you've already gotten threats from people and what they would do if you EVER even thought about touching that TRIM....) Here are a few pieces of inspiration and tips for your design consideration. 

design by Katie Tarses

design by Katie Tarses

Natural lighting. I repeat. Natural lighting. For a room to still feel airy and crisp this is the number one consideration for black trim. Without a lot of natural light it black could drag down a room.

design by Jessica Helgerson photo by Lincoln Barbour

design by Jessica Helgerson photo by Lincoln Barbour

Crisp white walls. They are safe when considering black trim and will provide a very monochrome palate for your room. You can start pulling in some more personality with pops of color with furniture etc without things looking too saturated.

Blair Harris Interior Deisgn

Blair Harris Interior Deisgn

Accent ideas - See the Beni under the dining set? Notice how easily a room with black trim and crisp walls is brought to life by a Beni to brighten up the space even more or another more colorful Boujad to add depth. 

design by Brian Faherty photo by Jeremy Bittermann

design by Brian Faherty photo by Jeremy Bittermann

Black trim is a great idea if you're going for a modern farmhouse vibe. ...And the cutest couple of the year award goes to ship-lap and black window trim. Aww aren't they adorable? 

design by Sylvia Reynold

design by Sylvia Reynold

If you're like me and aren't ready for the full on nose dive into this one there are plenty of ways to wade in. Start with a kitchen sink window or I love this entryway door as an accent. The matte finish and chevron flooring are so elegantly rustic. 

Thanks for reading - I hope you were inspired.

But lets be honest - what we are all really waiting for is the big reveal of the hometour V just finished up on the East Coast. *eeeeekkk!!!!* 

If you don't want to miss that and other upcoming inspiration from Semikah make sure you add yourself to the Email Subscription below.

 -Erin

Lessons from hindsight: Making a house a home.

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl and they fell in love and got married and lived…. in a total of 8 different spaces by the time they had their 5 year wedding anniversary.

After now 8 years of marriage, two kids later, and a great variety of living arrangements, our idea of home has had plenty of opportunities to evolve. What is the purpose of a home? Is it simply the place where you sleep at night? Or make your egg sandwiches in the morning? Or does it become a home when there are family photos on the wall and sunflowers from the farmers market on your table? 

 

Can I tell you my struggle? Well at least let you in on one of them? I am a perfectionist. Being a first-born with a type A personality I just want everything perfect. All the time. Yeah.. so that doesn't always fit in with, well, actual LIFE. Haha. It makes me laugh just writing it. Throw that disposition in with the transient, wandering life we lived our foundational years of marriage and you have a dangerous cocktail of perpetual discontentment. Segue into the Pinterest era and things just get considerably more bleak. All the wonderful inspiration and limited resources one girl could have. 

The way I express myself is though creating and designing. So to have a living space that I can invest in with designing, paint color, furniture, decor is like a pallet of expression for me. You guys get it. You're on a design blog. I am hopefully speaking your language with that. 

I am reflecting right now on a time when I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby. Nesting instincts were in full swing. At the time we were house sitting for some friends who moved overseas. We were tirelessly searching for a place to live before they returned and before our baby came ‘earth-side’. Dead-ends everywhere. I sent my friend an email letting her know that our baby room was in the works and I planned to rearrange her husband’s study room to make it my multipurpose nursery. He would be totally fine with that right? *smirk*.

I felt home-less. I would go through bouts of anxiety because all I wanted to do was make a space that my family could rest in. All the while, I think I was missing the point. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

 

Its like when God calls Abraham of the old testament to take his family and leave their home and just GO. Where? He didn't specify. Already I’m uncomfortable. Abraham had his questions and concerns about the whole ordeal but ultimately, he trusted. I am not sure if he realized at the time what the outcome of that circumstance and his willingness to be homeless would be. But because of that, an entire nation was created and actually still exists today. He left a legacy… 

I realize it is kind of dramatic to compare the two situations. But at the time, I identified. I was 7 months pregnant OKAY?! I look back on that situation and realize we could have rested. We could have trusted. There is a time and season for everything and even though I couldn't fully express my need to create, and design, and nest, "home" still existed and was something I could cultivate even if only just in my heart and mind. Rest, peace, and trust that God was working all things together because His eyes never stopped seeing my growing family.

So. All that being said, I guess it would be fitting to offer up some practical things that I personally have come to over these years when it comes to designing a home for its intended purpose. 

A home is the place where you do “life” with those close to you and find rest.

Listen to the other people sharing your space. My husband has great taste-it just took me a while to actually trust his taste. Its a good feeling when we have something in the home that he really enjoys. Its his space too. We consult on big purchases and when we are refiguring a space. MOST of the time we end up coming up with a beautiful mixture of what I love and what he loves. 

 

Artwork by Chelsea Garter at chelseamichalgarter.com

Artwork by Chelsea Garter at chelseamichalgarter.com

Sometimes things just have to get practical. Lets be real for a sec. Having an open countertop with a kitchen aid mixer gracing the corner is ideal but not always practical. Balance your space with practicality-be real with yourself about what works and what doesn't. Our busy mornings go smoother when I just embrace the fact that my huge bulk jar of peanut butter stays in sight and our assorted vitamins are also counter top accessories. I have a tray that just has our morning essentials and it never goes in the cupboard. Not always beautiful but we actually live in our house too. 

Evaluate each piece. Is it serving you and the others living with you? Does it add to the aesthetics AND flow of the way you use the space? If not, don't hang on to something  that doesn't work out of fear that you'll never have what you love. Sell it or bless someone else with it and wait for your “perfect-for-you” replacement. 

BE PATIENT. Most of us don't have the resources to fully design and style an entire house all at once. Like life, it is a process. Be okay with it as it changes and morphs and you add to it. And be okay with everyone always coming to your house saying “You changed things around AGAIN?!” :) 

Remember your end goal. If you have anxiety about your home not looking exactly as you want step back for a moment. Remember that a true home, no matter how aesthetically beautiful, at the end of the day is where you and your loved ones can connect, grow relationally, and find rest. If your ‘inspiration’ is getting in the way of that don't feel bad. Just know it may be time to let it breathe for a moment. Go ride a bike or something. Im serious. 

Have fun. Everyone is different. And so are their homes. If you like the way something looks that completely goes against every design rule in the book, do it anyway. If you walk into the room and its a place you can enjoy yourself, you have it right. 

Have you been on the journey of making a house into a home? What things have you learned along the way?

Blog post by contributing blogger Erin Weatherhead

Six Rooms in Rose Quartz

Its no news that Rose Quartz was chosen as Pantone's 2016 color of the year. We've been seeing inspiration since January. But its only June and there are six full months left to enjoy it. Whether we love the trend because its nostalgic and we can't help but think of our moms quartz stone pendant we used to borrow in middle school or because it just saved our bank account from needing to renovate our pink and black retro bathroom tile, it doesn't matter. Because Rose Quartz is serving it up and they're serving it up strong.

Some spaces are taking their cues from the far east and others straight out of 1973 and none of them disappoint.

Here are a few of my favorite rooms wearing pink like its their job

Photography by Brydie Mack

Photography by Brydie Mack

Not all Rose but just enough to make a dream-like morrocan pastel retreat

Design by Ashley Capp

Design by Ashley Capp

Source:  Craft Fair

Source:  Craft Fair

A wall done half way in Rose Quartz. Some green adornments and the stool-made-nightstand makes this a no brainer. 

Source:  greekstyle

Source:  greekstyle

Again, pillows pulling it all together. Note Pantone's other 2016 pick Serenity making a guest appearance on the trim. Plus that rug...love.

Source apartmenttherapy.com / Photography by Nicolette Johnson Styled by wearetriibe.com

Source apartmenttherapy.com / Photography by Nicolette Johnson

Styled by wearetriibe.com

Favorite. That kilim and the pastel linen duvet would make it hard to want to be in any other room of the house.

Source:  greekstyle

Source:  greekstyle

Photography by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

Photography by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

If anyone is counting I know this is room number seven. But..behold the retro rose quartz glory. 

All about Beni Mguilds

I reached out to V a few months ago having known her for years and watching her start up with Semikah via social media (inset heart eye emoji). I’m a mom of two young little girls and a wife of a great guy and we are just in THAT season. So watching this lady hitting her creative sweet spot and letting the creativity flow into a passion in the midst of the others things on her plate, I needed to be a fly on the wall. Something in what she was doing spoke to a very happy place in my heart. I love beautiful things. I love making things beautiful. Bringing out the potential in things. 

So today - we talk about Beni’s. Because I have yet to see one that I don't think is gorgeous. You've at least seen them even if you don't know what they are called. They're hitting the online design subculture by storm. And they are rapidly becoming a main stream thing. But before you go out searching for a quick substitute, its worth your time to learn about the real things. 

Benis from the middle Atlas mountains are hand knotted with hand spun wool by the Berber women of Morocco. Their softness alone is enough to make any room in your house instantly cozier. Like you see it and you want to lay down and sprawl out- exactly what V and her friends were doing the first time I walked into her studio. Yes I joined in. They're delectably soft. For the Berber of the Beni tribes who made them, they were more functional in winter months serving as one of the main forms of warmth and insulation in their homes. 

I think one of the reasons I am drawn to this rug- whether its the Beni Ourains (which typically always come in cream and dyed black lines) or the Mguilds (that are full of color and beautiful shape and symbolism) is that they are perfectly imperfect. They're not always predictable. Their geometric shapes have such a perfect amount of variation that put you at ease when you look at them. They're relaxing to look at-often found in deep jewel tones, reds and pinks. And no true authentic Beni is the same as the next. Each hand made one has its own look and story. Its beautiful! Do you want one as bad as I do yet? 

Beni Mguilds could seem intimidating at first as far as design in your home goes because, as you see, they are colorful. Very colorful. But even if you lean towards neutrals in your home these rugs can work. Really work. I promise! 

Here are a few ideas to adding a Beni Mguild and all its gorgeousness to your home:

Make it the focal point. Its color- if you're not a pure boho style with all patterns and color all the time -can be the perfect balance to your neutral furniture. It will become a conversation piece! Which I love because I love different cultures and I love things that remind us that we are not the only great culture that exists in this world. 

Go modern. Whether its a mid-century modern piece or a contemporary modern piece of furniture (think acrylic). Those things always always work with one of these rugs. 

Use white. If you're like me, I need help incorporating color into my life. My home, my wardrobe..I am typically scared of it. But you cant go wrong with a Beni Mguild and a fresh white loveseat or sheepskin rug. For me its about balance. 

Flip it over. Yes. They're in most cases reversible. Who knew? Because of the unique way they are hand knotted the underside of a Beni is typically flat woven. It gives a whole other feel for warmer months of the year but still will show its amazing color and detail. 

Thats all for today. Stay tuned - We have lots of inspiration in the works for how you can integrate textiles into your life and more…
-Erin

all photos property of Hamlet Interiors / third photo from bottom hali.com

 

Semikah Textile Debut

We are so excited to announce the opening of the shop this week. Semikah Textiles started from a passion for culture, traveling and textiles. It was not too long ago that I talked about this venture thinking at the time it was all a pipe dream. Never in my mind did I see it actually coming to fruition. It took grit and determination. Starting a business comes with its difficulties, but the blessing of running my own interior design firm and starting a textile line has far surpassed the hard road to get here. As many of you creatives know, we can't be put in a box. We are sporadic, gutsy, impulsive and free. These character traits make my job possible. I have now come to see what I initially saw as a weakness to be a incredible strength. Managing a family of 6 comes with plenty of surprises. And God saw it fit to introduce my special daughter into the world 6 years ago with no life expectancy, only a lingering expectation of death. We waited a few years for her  to pass away. God has done nothing short of a miracle. My beautiful daughter Saraiah has down syndrome, cerebral palsy and hypo plastic left heart. There is no medical reason for her to be alive. Yet here she is.......it comes with its own set of challenges, but I say all this to show you that when life gets hard and you are handed these experiences that you can come out on the other side still with Hope. If you told me 6 years ago I would be running my own business and Moroccan Textile shop, I probably would have laughed. I am so glad we are only given just a peek into the next day. Think of all the anxiety we would have if we knew what the future held for us. All the hard and the easy and the fun and the work would not be nearly as enjoyed if we didn't take one day at a time. Thankfully that life lesson was learned back when I had my daughter and it has carried me through now as a adult running my own business. Now here I am, 35... I actually feel adultish now, which took quite some time. (Don't expect adultish behavior from me 24-7).

Today I announce the opening of my shop, Semikah Textiles and could not be more excited to show you what we have picked out for you all. We have plenty of surprises in the works. Very soon, we will regularly blog on all things interior, textiles, moroccan culture and history, home tours, and even the personal hard stuff that some of us hide because we want our lives to look perfect. So stay tuned for lots of blogging and feel free to email me any time if you want us to touch on a subject that you do not see here. We are open to suggestions....we want this to be a free place. Where we just talk about life, our hearts passion and we are as authentic as possible. There is so much in this blogging world that gives the perception of perfection. This will hopefully not be that place but a place for us to kick back and be real. Much love to you all! Cant wait to show you the winter line. 

xoxoxo

V