For the past seventeen years, Abdellatif Ait Ben Abdellah has been sympathetically restoring traditional riads and dars in the medina of Marrakech. But Dar Cherifa, became something far more personal and complex. Some of the house dates back to the sixteenth century with some nineteenth-century additions, but the building was in a poor condtion when Abdellatif took it on. He decided to restore any detailing that still existed, otherwise walls and floors were kept bare and whitewashed.
Restoration work has revealed the large wooden beams used to support the house, some of which have been carved so they sit in harmony with the stucco-work which surrounds them.
Restoration work on Dar Cherifa took eight months, with an emphasis on simplicity and authenticity. Floors and walls are finished in very straightforward fashion, with a water marble pool at the centre of the courtyard, although originally the floors would have been covered in traditional zellige. Doors were stripped of paint, while mukarnas and stucco were also restored.
The result is an authentic restoration, presenting the dar much as it would have been four centuries ago. The house is used as a cafe and exhibition space, so the public can come and see Dar Cherifa for themselves. Dar Cherifa, 8 Derb Chorfa Lakbir (off Rue Mouassine), Medina, Marrakech, Morocco Tel. 212 24 42 64 63