Design Diary: Moroccon-Inspired Patio

Today I had planned a post on the  Traditional Home digital issue of TRADhome, which launched on Friday. However, I don’t have the photos I need since my laptop is in the shop. So I dug into the archives of my old machine. This is based on a piece I wrote for Boston Globe Magazine, “Kind of Blue.” It’s about how a tiny patio in Boston, was transformed with the help of Brian Feehan, a director and choreographer, from a blah backyard into an entertaining oasis, inspired by Majorelle Garden* in Morocco, which the homeowner had recently visited.

* Majorelle Garden was designed by the painter Jacques Majorelle in 1924 and revived by fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, in 1980.

I N S P I R A T I O N

When Feehan first learned he was to create the hot garden splendor of Majorelle from an old brick patio in Boston, his first thought was, “Where the heck am I going to fit a 20-foot reflecting pool?”

B E F O R E

Feehan managed to incorporate similar architectural elements, as well as a water feature. The first order of business was to paint the preppy green lattice with flat black paint, so it would recede. (They didn’t want to remove it since it hides the air conditioner condenser.)

A F T E R

The gorgeous cobalt blue glass mosaic tile panel is actually an 8-foot-tall fountain. Water runs down the surface in uneven rivulets (the tiles are different thicknesses), and lights shine upwards to make it glisten. Look carefully—mirror panels are installed on either side of the trellis on which the fountain is mounted.

Feehan hung three horizontal strips of wood painted a deep cobalt blue around the perimeter of the space. They add color and emphasize the length of the patio. Also, the homeowner hangs votives and flower pots from them. Antique Chinese doors echo the lacy Moroccan scrollwork found at Majorelle.

The long table is great for dinner parties, but when she’s not entertaining, the homeowner can easily remove and store the top to reveal a much smaller, round table. The ottomans serve as extra seating during parties, and side tables otherwise.

Other than the fountain, the fixes aren’t extravagant or over-involved. That just may be more inspiring than Marrakesh.

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