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  • Writer's pictureDiane Bobek

A Piece of Morocco on Reeds Island

As a professional that embraces spirit and culture in my client’s design, creating this Moroccan Escape in the islands of Hawaii was such a rewarding project for me. What’s more, this client came across my work all the way from Illinois, and had never worked with an interior designer before! So, naturally, the transformation and end result was that much more meaningful to everyone involved. They wanted to ensure their vision could come to life, and part of my job as a designer is to bridge the gap between the vision and the final outcome. As always, this project did not disappoint and allowed me to tap into a new creative flow by using musical elements for inspiration.

When a client tells me they have never worked with an interior designer before, I find myself more cautious with my creative approach. Even so, this couple was very excited to get started and trusted me to create a space that they would ultimately love.

Located in Hilo on Reeds Island, their vacation home is in a beautiful area and was destined to turn into the oasis that it is now. It's a mile from downtown Hilo by the Wailuku River. Reeds Island is a Hilo Neighborhood where the wealthy built their homes in a bygone era, and it still holds that reputation today.

The Design Process

The first phase of the home design began with the guest rooms, powder rooms, and dining area. Located on the first floor, these parts of the home were to be seen first whenever anyone walked through the front door. We incorporated an island theme for this segment of the home and reserved the Moroccan designs for the master bedroom.

Phase 2 we moved upstairs to the master bedroom and bath. The clients wanted the Master to be a place of retreat where they could just get away. This global design was the direction, and my clients sent me a Mangalam chant by Deva Premal and Miten that was the inspiration to get their feelings for their bedroom design.

They really wanted to experience the feeling of this beautiful chant while spending time in their bedroom. When I heard it for the first time, I was able to fully encapsulate my client’s vision. Listening to this music was the final piece of inspiration I needed to bring their dream home to life.

I urge you to listen to this chant with your eyes closed and welcome the feelings that it evokes.

Sourcing Moroccan-style furniture and décor allowed me to explore something different from the standard Hawaiian getaways I often create. We found Moroccan area rugs locally and also ordered ornate sconces for the bathroom directly from Morocco. These beautifully-detailed light fixtures took over a year to arrive and had to be rewired to work properly. Every minute of waiting was well worth it.

Even the bed bench and upholstery in the master bedroom were custom-made to truly capture the desired ambiance. With exquisite décor and alluring Benjamin Moore paint, this space truly became a Moroccan escape.

What I love most about designing the interiors of homes is finding those special pieces that really speak to me and guide me in the right direction. When the clients showed me their beloved chair in the master bedroom, I could truly see the space coming together. For this project, the chant and the chair worked in tandem to lead me in the right creative direction.

This project reminds me that, even throughout my 20 years of designing, no two projects are ever the same – each client’s vision is unique. And once again, I am shown that there is always untapped creativity within me to share.

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