Friday, September 9, 2011

What I’m Doing to My House

Since my house is so big that I could never really furnish it on my Peace Corps allowances, I decided instead to furnish it with color. I was inspired by the Jardin Majorelle. I haven’t yet actually visited the place, but it’s in the guide books and I definitely intend to when I get a chance to spend a few days in Marrakesh. For those of you not up on the sight-worthy places of Morocco, the Jardin Majorelle is a place built by the painter Jacques Majorelle and subsequently bought and restored by the French designer Yves St. Laurent. It’s now a public museum and garden. It’s famous for Majorelle’s use of intense colors, especially blues, greens, reds and yellows.

My palette is different – orange, green, violet. No slavish imitation for me!. And not the comprehensive painting of the Majorelle, either. I’ve just finished painting my doors. I’ve also found a carpenter/cabinet maker who is making some plain wooden furniture for me at a good price – a couple of benches, a printer stand, a bookcase, and a case for my clothes. I’m also painting those.

The first test of my decoration – quite different from the colors used by my townspeople – came yesterday, when I hosted a meeting of a fledgling women’s association I’ve been working with. About 125 women attended. As the women came into the house, I saw a bunch of wide eyes and occasional laughter. But it was the laughter of delight, not mockery. There’s a gesture used here – fingers and thumb curled into a very loose fist, then flicked outward two or three times toward something or someone – which means beautiful, easy on the eyes, eye candy. Several women told me by gesture my house was eye candy.

After my big event yesterday, I took the day off today and went to Kalaa and found that a package from America had arrived. It contained, among many other treasured things, a brightly colored hammock! It not only helps carry through my project of decoration by color, but has already become my favorite place to read.

To see what my house looked like before the paint job, see my post “My New House” from June 27.

Can you tell I’m having fun?

Not OSHA approved.
Hey, maybe this is why we have an OSHA!
I can finally get all my books off the floor!


  1. Love the colors Jim! Very cheerful and homey but also looks like it could be in some cutting edge interior design magazine. (And congrats on the women's association! Great things!)

  2. Well, thanks for the kudos. The women's association has been my most gratifying work so far.

  3. I had lost track of you and am so glad to have found this -- I love the colors. I saw Pam L this morning and she is looking for a snail mail adress. Is this possible? Martha Grace

  4. Thanks.
    All my contact information, including snail mail address, can be found at the "Stay in Touch" tab at the top of this page.

  5. Wow Jim, congrats on the interior designing. And congrats on the women's association meeting that you hosted. There's a "designing women" pun in there somewhere but I can't seem to find it.