Aelfie Oudghiri knew early on that she’d end up in design: Oudghiri’s parents were both builders and developers. “I would watch them take a blank slate and transform it,” she says. “I think that exposure to design early on really influenced me.”
That, and her parents’ oversized Kerman rug, which she and her three brothers would play on as children. “I loved looking at all the patterns and textures in it,” she says. It’s where her love of textiles was born.
Fast forward to today, and Oudghiri’s Brooklyn townhouse—which she shares with her husband, Hicham, and two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Mirah—is a perfect showcase of the designer’s line of eponymous bedding, soft goods, rugs, and furniture. The look is easy, comfortable, and, above all, effortlessly stylish.
“A lot of the pieces in the house are samples from my company,” she says. “I try and live with all of the products that I design before launching them.” Here, Oudghiri dishes on how the interiors of her 1,800-square-foot home—located in a former industrial pencil factory—came together.
How did you first get started in design?
As a teen, I had my first e-commerce store featuring all products made by other teenage girls. That’s really how I learned how to design. I had this compulsion to create spaces for women’s work and design.
As a kid, though, designing bedding was my dream. I was so frustrated because the bedding available was too gendered or too corny or the materials weren’t great. It really bothered me how the synthetic fibers felt. The sketchbooks from when I was a kid have all of these bedding concept ideas in them.
Where did you start with the design of the home?
The living room. That’s the most important room for our family. Just making sure it was really comfy, really open, that there was music, and that it was great for entertaining. My husband is Moroccan, and he’s accustomed to the Moroccan salon, which is a room lined with sofas and small round tables. That’s where you sit and eat and entertain. It’s just comfortable.
He was like, “go crazy with the color and textiles, but please make it so we can sit a lot of people and comfortably hang out.” The sofa is a mint green sofa from CB2. The best sofa ever. I can’t believe how well it’s held up. The other is from ABC Carpet & Home from a pop-up I did awhile back.
What inspired your home’s design?
I don’t have an inherent attachment to spaces; in New York, you’re always moving. So there wasn’t a lot of thought that went into the design. I just figured we’d do it slowly. But because I have my own home decor company, I’m lucky because I have access to so much, and it all works well and is complementary.
But, honestly, our home is full of leftovers. I like to live with my designs before bringing them to the masses to make sure they work well and are practical. So everything from bath mats to pillows to poufs are from my line. In my house, I have a lot of the Mirah tables because I wanted to make sure they could really hold up to wear and tear. My blankets and throws are regularly machine washed. Sometimes you take a sample home, and you realize it just won’t work.
What was a must-have design element for you?
If there’s one design element that really played a part in the look and feel of the home, it was baby-proofing and making it kid-friendly. My apartment is so massive and open that I wanted to make it a place where my daughter could have a playdate and not hit her head on something hard or throw a ball around and not break anything.
What challenges did you face while designing the home?
Since it’s so big and open, it was challenging to make the space feel cozy and welcoming. Rugs and artwork solved that problem pretty quickly, though. The brick was also tricky. Not my favorite color or texture, to be honest. The space also felt a bit industrial and cold. I think the rugs immediately softened up the space and warmed it up.
What are some of your favorite things about the home?
The exposed beams, the high ceilings, all of the wall space to hang art. The floor has a lot of specks and texture to it. Every time I look at the floors, I always see something new in the design.
What design element did you use in the home that you feel readers should try?
No coffee table. We could never find one we really loved, and then when we had our daughter, it gave her this huge place to sit and play. A coffee table would take up that space. Instead, we have a lot of side tables and poufs.
What do most people say when they see your home?
“How long have you lived here?” People who come to my house for the first time generally assume I’ve been there forever. It has that feeling to it even though it’s only been a few years.
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Published on April 17, 2017