THIS STUNNING 18-CENTURY riad, or courtyard house, in the fishing town of Essaouira, Morroco, was an impulse buy and renovation project for New York art dealer, Dorothea McKenna Elkon, nearly twelve years ago.
With the help of designer Salem Grassi, (who would later become her husband), a crumbling ruin was transformed into a majestic concoction of warm colours, carved stone walls and printed tiles. The designer explored mosques and palaces in Morocco and Spain, in search of accomplished painters, tile setters, and wood- and stone-carvers on those journeys . . .
The finished home is an enchanting maze of fountains and wainscots, old stone archways and geometric tile-work, warmly-coloured rooms and spectacular coffered wood ceilings constructed on-site and painted with abstract floral designs—a grand mansion that has been given the rather fitting name, Dar Maktoub, or House of Destiny.
“The front door is usually very insignificant—but then you push it open to find so much beauty.” —Grassi