A traditional Moroccan messreiya, or guesthouse, often features elegantly decorated living quarters on upper floors and shop quarters at ground level. In the case of Dar Borj Dahab, the ground floor had been a woodworker’s shop in some distant incarnation. The previous owner was using it for storage space.
We decided to transform the large rooms with inconveniently located support pillars into a second living space comprising a bedroom, bath and living/dining room. We called it the Casablanca Suite, in part because it would be a completely new installation and, well, because we liked the romantic notion of it.
From rustic workshop to elegant guest quarters
To make the design work, we had to add a reinforcing brick pillar and an interior wall. We created a bedroom with a sleeping nook in an area with a low ceiling we could not adjust, added shuttered interior windows and an oversized antique door. To complete the suite, we installed an ensuite bath with shower.
A space behind one of the house’s load-bearing walls was large enough to house a fully equipped kitchen. Accessed through an arched doorway, the kitchen is open to the living/dining room. We used the zellij flooring already installed elsewhere in the house and commissioned plaster carving that replicated the plasterwork in the messreiya salon above.