Morocco Meets Texas at a Family Townhouse

This Texas townhouse was bedecked in French country style for decades and needed a fresh look. The design inspiration: that the souks of Morocco and that nation’s love of cobalt blue, elaborate handmade rugs and patterned tiles covering expanses of walls, flooring and fountains.

Interior designer Laura Umansky responded with a new design inspired from your family’s extensive travels around the world and their love of Morocco in particular, including carved cupboard doors and cabinets, handmade Moroccan-style tiles, bold colors, forged metal figurines, textured cloths, rugs and more.

Switch off all portable electronic devices and buckle up; we are taking off for a location where Marrakech matches Houston.

in a Glance
Location: Southampton area (adjacent to Rice University) of Houston
Size: 2,965 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 31/2 bathrooms

Laura U, Inc..

“The heavy cobalt colour was the jumping-off point with the home’s color palette — I totally love this color,” says Umansky, of Laura U. “It’s a color seen frequently in Moroccan homes and is throughout the famed Majorelle Garden at Marrakech.”

Umansky and her staff worked with some architectural components from the original French country decor, such as these beautiful iron doors, which include a rich bronze finish, and the checkerboard travertine flooring.

Laura U, Inc..

“While there were no specific Moroccan interiors we referenced, we did incorporate Moroccan motifs, textiles and materials during,” Umansky says. She bought some special pieces through importers, while her clients supplied some of their own furniture and accessories.

Lamp: Arteriors

Laura U, Inc..

The house’s existing checkerboard travertine flooring tiles have been laid out in 45-degree angles and operate nicely with the Moroccan design.

Laura U, Inc..

This formerly dark study off the foyer is presently a light and colorful area that inspires among the owners, who spends her days writing.

Lights: Four Hands

Laura U, Inc..

Umansky and crew designed built-ins with woodwork that includes exotic curves and laser-cut panel inserts. Perforated hammered-tin lanterns hang.

Panel inserts: Custom Mouldings

Laura U, Inc..

A local artist painted this mural in the nursery, which adds vibrant graphics for the clients’ newborn daughter.

Laura U, Inc..

A variety of fabrics transformed the owners’ existing white slipcovered sofa. “It’s the combination of different textures and patterns which makes this space feel comfy and warm,” Umansky says.

The doorways throughout the house are painted high-gloss cobalt blue. “This was a tiny scary decision, but once we watched them, we were thrilled,” she says.

Laura U, Inc..

“Our customer requested a blue sofa — it was in the very top of her list,” Umansky says. “It made it very simple for us to inject color into the home. She had no dread of vibrant hues whatsoever!”

Laura U, Inc..

The customer found this complicated mirror at an importer’s warehouse at Los Angeles and knew it belonged to the home. Umansky had an armoire fabricated to allow the mirror function as its center doorway.

Dining table: Oly Studio; Moroccan dining area lanterns: Curry and Company, accessible via Laura U

Laura U, Inc..

Umansky utilized quite a few textured tiles at a monochromatic palette to create architectural details about the dining area’s columns. “We were able to enrich the inside without using color anyplace,” she clarifies.

Laura U, Inc..

The vibrant zigzag tile surrounding the fireplace draws the eye to the center of the far end of this space. More custom built-ins surround it but fade into the background, allowing the tiles require the spotlight.

Laura U, Inc..

The kitchen was closed off from the remainder of the living space. Taking away the wall between the living room and the living area was the first design movement. “We utilized a graceful curve to create a bit of separation in the ceiling,” Umansky says.

Dimensions: Walker-Zanger; pub stools: Abacus, Noir Furniture

Laura U, Inc..

Cobalt blue appears again at the master bedroom on the mattress and the doorways.

The blue-green timber flooring that worked with the house’s former French country style translated nicely to the new Moroccan style. “We loved them and thought they brought a bit of rustic ambiance,” Umansky says.

Laura U, Inc..

Both client and designer agreed that window chairs create spaces in which people really like to spend time, and they found areas to nestle them through the home. This one provides a reading nook just outside the master suite.

Laura U, Inc..

The main bath needed a complete remodel, such as taller-than-average dressing for the tall homeowners.

Patterned-tile walls are common sights in Morocco. Umansky picked a lively pattern at a subdued palette to fit the Texas home.

Laura U, Inc..

A chair-rail-high band of teal paint supporting tall upholstered headboards plays with scale and complementary colors in the guest area.

Laura U, Inc..

Bold cloths, curved walls and elaborate lanterns continue onto the loggia. “This home has a fantastic outdoor area that people diagnosed with outside drapery,” Umansky says. “The drapery is made using 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic fabric, which is excellent for outdoor use and a breeze to maintain,” she says. “You can clean it with a bleach-water solution.”

Laura U, Inc..

A bonus room over the garage functions as a small getaway spot and is a complete departure from the rest of the house — with the exception of this bit of cobalt blue. Everything else is black and white. “It’s an unexpected color combo which we had a ton of fun with!” Umansky says.

Refrigerator: Smeg

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Color Feast: When to Use Orange in the Dining Room

Orange is a high energy, fun and friendly colour, so it is fantastic for the area where we break bread with family and friends. Orange oozes confidence. But for those who lack the confidence to examine this outgoing color within their own spaces, I have gathered together 10 yummy orange dining rooms to inspire one, together with ideas about how to successfully incorporate this fun-loving colour.

Jennifer Ott Design

Orange can quickly flip light if you decide on a lighter shade. To acquire a more sophisticated-looking (and dining area–worthy) light crimson, pick a hue that has some brown in it, like the first and third paint colours displayed here.

Orange paint picks for dining rooms (clockwise from top left):

1. Sea of Sand KM3540-1, Kelly-Moore Paints
2. Mandarin 121-6, Pittsburgh Paints
3. Peach Sorbet 2015-40, Benjamin Moore
4. Ripe Pomegranate 2009-3, Valspar
5. Shanghai AO410, Glidden
6. Orange Nasturtium 103-6, Mythic Paint
7. Summer Citrus S-G-270, Behr
8. Laughing Orange SW6895, Sherwin-Williams

Mark Newman Design

The simplest way to draw bold orange in your dining area is to pick a hue you prefer and paint a wall or 2. Having trouble selecting the right orange? Pull a color out of a favorite painting or upholstery fabric. It’s probably a colour you are attracted to, and it’ll coordinate nicely with the decorative item that inspired it.

Scudder Construction LLC.

A red-orange like this one is not for the timid. Make it work by maintaining the other colours in the area neutral and light. I would also recommend limiting the amount of attention-getting accessories; otherwise the distance can become overwhelming.

The Cousins

Can not pick on or manage artwork you prefer? Make your own work of art via painted stripes or other geometric shapes using a bold colour palette. The colors of orange and gray used here are a superb choice, as they pick up in the crimson and gray hues used elsewhere in the area.

The best way to paint ideal stripes

Philpotts Interiors

This intense red-orange wall shade works well here because it is adjacent to the window. All that bright natural light flowing in accounts out the profound, bold color. Remember that a large window may grow to be a dark abyss at night, depending on the view beyond the glass. A white or alternative light-colored window color can help lighten the room up at night.

Marie Burgos Design

Bold, bright red-orange looks modern and tasteful paired with crisp white and dark brown. This room exemplifies my favorite colour advice: choosing neutral hues for items that you want to keep for quite a while, but going for bold colour on things which are simple and relatively cheap to alter, like an accent wall colour.

Ejay Interiors

Maybe because it reminds me of Thanksgiving feasts, there is just something so delectable about pumpkin-colored walls in the dining area. Think about your favorite orange meals — sweet cantaloupe, wealthy butternut squash soup or even a glass of refreshing freshly squeezed orange juice for colour palette inspiration. For fans of daring, yummy colour, it is a simple way to discover a sweet colour.

Falcon Custom Homes

Obviously, not everyone would like to be cocooned in a bold-colored room. But you can certainly mix in some fun, bright colour and have a light and airy space. I love the tiny bits of happy orange these hip chairs increase the backdrop of cool gray.

Tommy Hein Architects

More cool orange dining chairs, now in a dining area washed in warm neutrals. The warmth of the palette makes this a cozy and inviting area for a dinner party on even the coldest of Denver evenings.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Following is a somewhat milder orange color that packs a wonderful punch, due to its richness. If you’ve got interesting artwork or decorative accessories to display, it is a good idea to limit the colour palette or pick more toned-down hues. They will complement (rather than compete) the accessories.

Spacecrafting / Architectural Photography

A rust activator added to iron paint achieved the orange, patinated finish with this dining area accent wall. It’s a brilliant, distinctive means to inject interesting colour and texture.

More: Watch all of our orange colour guides

Tell us A little dash or a big splash? Share the ways you’ve used orange on your dining area in the Comments section.

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Color Guide: How to Use Plum

How is plum different from purple? Well, first of all, it is a purple, just an extremely red one. Think of plum skin and plum flesh. Plum is warm and vibrant, someplace between purple and magenta. But deeper. It is regal and classic, and although it’s been all over the runways this year, it transcends trends (although in the event that you care about these things, it’s quite au courant).

It can be quite dark or very bright, earthy or superglam. Plum looks luscious with olive green, chartreuse, marigold yellow, dark beige and grey. Yellow ocher and metallic gold too.

It may have an old-world feel — perfect for a traditional dining area with period trimming — or a bright, contemporary feel, depending on how it’s used and what colour you go for. And, as you may see, it’s fantastic as a cloth, especially a heavy one such as velvet.

angela varela cunha

Plum about the Walls

Plum is a rich colour that adds a whole lot of weight and depth to walls. In contemporary rooms similar to this one it is most often used as an accent colour.

European Cabinets & Design Studios

Another plum accent wall in a contemporary white area.

Rachel Reider Interiors

In a space with more architectural details, plum may be used on all of the walls. The glowing white trim makes it pop up and keeps the entire thing from becoming too dark.

Beccy Smart Photography

This is a beautiful combination that’s both modern and warm. I adore the mantel that blends in with the wall and of the white from the dark plum.

Winder Gibson Architects

Plum and chartreuse. It is weird, but it functions.


This vibrant colour is almost magenta and works nicely with other pops of very bright colours. It looks great in this contemporary area, but imagine it also in a formal dining area with white wainscoting and trim. It might be gorgeous.

Raina Cox

This architecturally fundamental room is cocooned in plum. It truly adds a sense of depth and coziness that could be lost if the walls were whitened. It works nicely for a bedroom or a small, romantic room such as a library. It probably wouldn’t work too in a living area lacking architectural details and flourishes.

LUX Design

The wallpaper is a subtle way to add a hit of plum into the space. It is a grayer version but still red as purples go.

Amoroso Design

Decorating With Plum

Plum and velvet were only made for each other: rich, soft, luxurious.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Tufted plum velvet will always do the job. It is similar to the little black dress and red lipstick: classic.

Vuong Interior Design

This lavish plum headboard adds a great deal of glam into an already glammed-up room. Notice how nicely the plum works together with the bluer purples within the room.

Rachel Reider Interiors

These colours work good with plum: beige, navy, turquoise and chartreuse. This chamber happens to combine all of them.

Elad Gonen

This one, too.

Vendome Press

Yet more plum with chartreuse, blues and pinks. Be still, my heart.

Gregory Carmichael

A spare and contemporary dining area is made richer by only some plum on the seats of the chairs.

April Force Pardoe Interiors

Plum with navy and warm wood. Very cozy.

Lisa gutow design

Plum with pink keeps everything from getting overly girly.

Economy Interiors

Here, plum with pink adds pop and character to an elegant but staid room.


This rich plum headboard appears to shine in this large, white space. Very dramatic, dahlink.


Blur Purple Fabric Candles – GBP 450

This rug, which makes lighter toward the middle, appears to shine. It would seem fuzzy against golden wood flooring.

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS

Waterfall Ruffle Shower Curtain – $79

This ruffled shower curtain brings a bit of Carmen Miranda to the home without feeling too kitschy.

Modern Pendant Lighting – $995

A warm plummy glow never did anybody any harm.


Armen Living Centennial Purple Velvet Loveseat – $880

Tufted plum velvet can be yours. Gorgeous.

Benjamin Moore

Elderberry Wine CSP-470 Paint

A dark, rich plum.

Benjamin Moore

Autumn Purple 2073-20 Paint

Additionally dark, but with a tad more grey.


Mature Grape SW6286 Paint

You’d need to get samples to detect the differences between this colour and the one above. Maybe this one is just a sliver lighter?

Paints Stains And Glazes – $35.95

A plum with a great deal of red. Nearly a magenta but a plum.

Benjamin Moore Summer Plum 2074-20 Paint

Just a little bit pinker than the previous colour.

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5 Smashing White and Black Homes

By now everybody knows that it is fairly simple and cheap to change up the look of a space by changing out throw pillow covers, a lamp or two, artwork along with a rug. However, to pull this off you want a foundation that is versatile. Using black and white as a foundation makes these switch-ups really simple and can be visually striking. Get ideas on how to do this by these five houses that use black and white as a starting point.

LDa Interiors & Architecture

1. An home in Massachusetts. Upon entering this stunning oceanside home north of Boston, one immediately knows that LDA Architecture and Interiors hasn’t designed a typical beach home.

LDa Interiors & Architecture

This equilibrium of the two colors even retains an TV looking glossy.

LDa Interiors & Architecture

Not all the rooms are white with black accents; others, such as this kitchen, allow black dominate and attract big drama.

Watch the rest of this home

Stephanie Sabbe

2. A daring Manhattan apartment. Interior designer Stephanie Sabbe made a wowing look by using black, white and shades in between (for example, the light grey sofa). This complex home begins with a strong black and white chevron rug on the floor, and picture touches abound in the floor up to the ceiling.

Stephanie Sabbe

Another black and white rug creates continuity between the rooms; this time it’s left in a zebra print. Electric orange dazzles as part of this palette, while boldly coloured prints are anchored by black and white framing. Any of the artwork’s colors would work on the dining chair slipcovers.

Watch the rest of this home

Stephanie Sabbe

Out on the terrace, black woven furniture may take on a bevy of bold hues and geometric prints.

Watch the rest of this home

Susan Duane

3. A nation charmer in western New York. Susan Duane, blogger of Hometown Girl, has maintained the traditional look of her classic home through major renovations. Using black and white brings a traditional look.

Turquoise chairs stick out on the otherwise only black and white screened-in porch.

Susan Duane

White and black tiles on the floor and a traditional floral print on the walls and windows provide this bathroom a classic feel.

Watch the rest of this home | Add classic touches to your bathroom

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

4. A Shelter Island cottage. For this enchanting cottage on Shelter Island, New York, Steve Schappacher and Rhea White chose a common beachy farmhouse aesthetic and changed it up by making it in black and white.

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

Maintaining a strict color palette ties with an eclectic mix of seating and decorating styles.

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

Paint provides the cottage kitchen with an ever-changing background.

Watch the rest of this home

Vanessa De Vargas

5. A modern box at Venice Beach. In this modern home, interior designer Vanessa De Vargas conveys substantial black and white pieces throughout the home, frequently in chevron designs. This gave her the freedom to blend in shots of bold color in every room while keeping a cohesive look throughout the whole first floor.

Vanessa De Vargas

The black and white bits in the area work nicely with chrome and glass. An ornate gold mirror along with a natural fiber rug keep things from becoming too matchy-matchy and warm up the otherwise stark colour.

Vanessa De Vargas

Pops of yellow add cheer to the breakfast nook that is white and black.

Watch the rest of this home

Home Designs: New Traditional Style
5 Inspiring Homes in the Chilly North
Dream Spaces: Seriously Glamorous Homes

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2012 Color Trends: Organic Purples for Kitchen and Bath

This 2012 Color Trends show is all about five sexy colour trends projected for the year. In particular I’ll be showing you how you can integrate them into your kitchen and bath in a means which makes sense for your home.

This ideabook concentrates on purple, among my personal favorites. This season’s color predictions show the deep and pale purples you see at sunset and in wildflower fields, instead of those that appear in royal palaces. Purple is a simpler colour to use than you’d expect, because it’s such a natural shade. You find it in herbs and dusky horizons, vineyards and vegetable gardens.

If you have only seen purple a retro glam colour, you are missing its rich subtleties. Consider this: colors which occur in nature, especially when paired with their own natural neighbors, will work together in your house. Mother Nature is the best designer anywhere!

My bedroom and bath is going to be painted a soft plum this year. Here are a few ideas about how you might integrate the purple color trend into your property.

More 2012 Color Trend Ideas:
Orange | Red | Blue | Green

If you do not need an entirely purple area, consider one section of your kitchen. This bit of plum may be just enough for your preference.

Celia James

Deep purple paint attractively matches the white cabinetry within this kitchen, and it also works well with walnut, walnut oak as well as organic cherry.

Amoroso Design

Fabrics are a great way to introduce color to a kitchen. Here, a deep aubergine pillow covers a banquette and performs well with the area’s white canvas.

Other fabric opportunities comprise dish washer, oven mitts, window coverings and area rugs.

Browse the latest kitchen photographs

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS

Waterfall Ruffle Shower Curtain – $79

Adding colour with textiles also works nicely in the restroom. A shower curtain is a simple redo if you tire of this year’s fashion color. This shower curtain flirts with texture as well as colour. Wouldn’t it be fun for a teen girl or even a bachelorette’s bath?

Comparatively Quirky Ltd

Wallpaper delivers the opportunity to introduce both colour and pattern into a room. Here, the print mixes together with the bathtub and the wall beneath. A partial treatment allows for a conventional trimwork element within the room, which doesn’t compete with the bathtub facing it.

Bathroom Tile

This look isn’t for the faint of heart, nor the apathetic housekeeper. But it’s a stunningly magnificent tile to integrate into a bath or kitchen project in which you want to create an impression. I envision that this one covering a powder room wall.

Flux US – Bath furniture and accessories

Purple gets playful in this Italian vanity. Its curves and gloss impart a levity into the space. The wall mount adds to the lighthearted feel of the space, as will the coordinating racetrack-shaped mirror over. If you are a purple fan with a sense of whimsy, this could be a fun addition to your master bath.


Muuto Restore Storage Basket by: Muuto – Huset-Shop. com | Your House – $120

Each kitchen and bath has coordinating needs. Why don’t you take the opportunity to add colour via your storage systems? It’s low impact, readily changed and may even brighten your day when you have a look at its cheerful colour.

Your Own Colors: Three Ways to Use Purple
Selecting the Color Purple
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