Sensing a Pattern

The Marrakech home of Popham Design founders is a tribute to the vibrant city that captured their imaginations. Read an excerpt of their feature in House & Garden below...

After living in Los Angeles for eight years, Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes needed a change. In fact, more than that, they were positively gripped by a wanderlust that would eventually lead them to Morocco and a city framed among adventure seekers since medieval times, Marrakech. 'We were intrigued by the rich aesthetic, history, the food, the contrasting landscapes of the vast Atlas Mountains and tightly packed souks,' says Caitlin. 'It is an extremely rich, sensory place that engendered quite a visceral reaction within us.'

It didn't take long for the genius loci of the city to win over their hearts and, after only a month, they bought their first home - a 250-year-old single level bungalow in the medina. 'The house was covered in old crumbling cement tiles and that's when we thought, if we have to replace them then why not personalize them too?' In that instant the couple conceived of Popham Design, their now internationally recognizable Moroccan tile company.

We buy what we like, even if the pieces don’t always compliment each other.

After five years in the Moroccan medina, Caitlin and Samuel felt it was time for a change. After all, with a young child, a large black Labrador retriever and an expanding company, they needed something a bit more central and established. They'd find this in the French-built district of Gueliz and in 1950 Art Deco home that offered them the floor space, a small garden (a rare find in the city) and - most importantly - the opportunity to, again, renovate...

Get your hands on the June issue of House and Garden to read the full story behind Popham Design and how the team creates their acclaimed cement tiles.