Dar Beida a place with charm and history
“Almost 10 years ago, Londoners Emma Wilson and Graham Carter moved to Essaouira, Morocco. They bought this 18th-century house, spent two years fixing it up–and after it landed a gorgeous seven-page spread in Elle Decoration (“A unique mix of bright white with cave-dweller style, and pop-art plastics with weather-worn beachcomber finds.”), it’s been filled regularly with travelling guests. Built around a central courtyard, sandstone columns and Thuya wood ceilings, the modern four-story space is outfitted with eclectic furniture mostly from the ’60s, creating a smart, nuanced look that’s a bit exotic, a bit retro. And around every rounded corner there’s a hammock, fire-place or outdoor lounging area. Consummate hosts, Graham and Emma personally attend to the guests, giving everything from recos (best market stalls) to a pair of babbouche (Moroccan slippers) to wear and take home”. photo and text via
The coastal town of Essaouira was an escape for Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison in the 60s, so perhaps it’s little surprise that Dar Beida, meaning white house, has become a haven for chic film and music types. Entering Dar Beida is like being warped into a white cement moulded world where Star Wars meets The Jetson with Andy Warhol as their guest. It is the vivid futuristic fantasy creation of two British interior designers, owners Emma and Graham Watson.
Set over four levels that centre in a courtyard. Kitchen, beds, baths, wardrobes and fireplace pods all sculpt themselves out from walls, while all other furniture mixes mid-century design icons with modern moulded plastic lamps. Centuries old stone arches remind you of where you are as does the medina at your front doorstep.
The food markets for whipping up a Moroccan feasts are a tomato roll away and a 10 minute walk will take you to Essaouira’s long sandy beach.
The house sleeps eight thoughtful touches like a pairs of Moroccan babbouche (Alibababa style slippers) left out for all guests and local Argan soap in the bathrooms make you feel part of the place. Rustic sun shades cover the terraces slung with the obligatory hammock or two. The Luxury Travel Bible is particularly fond of quirky touches such as the large spotted pink pig and moulded red plastic chairs on the roof terrace.
The Watson’s have created another property, Dar Emma ,which they describe as “a little hippy house” in the very heart of the medina it sleeps for and has a more traditional rustic Moroccan feel, all dark cosy corners and magic carpets. Although there are a few eclectic ’60s pieces thrown in.
- Feasting (growingpeople.wordpress.com)