Host your guest like designer and entrepreneuse Valérie Barkowski

Valérie Barkowski, Designer and owner of Dar Kawa Riad in Marrakesh

Wintertime is a perfect moment to come together with friends, host a dinner party and most of all take the stress level out of your life and focus on the things you love.

A woman we admire for doing this very well is Belgian designer Valérie Barkowski, who has worked all over the world creating strategic consulting (creating and developing brand identity) for interior, product and set design.

Authenticity and timeless style are the values that are essential in her work that ranges from designing a furniture line for Lafayette Maison, staging a shop in Ibiza, a booth for the Maison & Objet exhibition and offering interior design services for homeowners from Bombay or Milan.

She now lives in Marrakesh and has launched her own brand V. Barkowski, designing bed and table linen besides opening Dar Kawa, a riad nestled in the heart of the medina of Marrakech. In this beautiful place she focuses on the key aspects of her aesthetic work and wishes to be able to share her thoughts and ideas of beautiful true things.

Patio at Dar Kawa

IRMA had a chat with an effortless, creative hostess who stands for comfortable, chic home living.

IRMA: How did you come up with the idea of developing table and bed linen?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: By necessity. I started this when I was living in Moscow. I needed linens and nothing that was matching my taste was available. I bought linen by meter and found old ladies in the countryside who embroidered linen for me following my designs. When I came to Marrakech I naturally continued this and it became my business.

Summer table setting at Dar Kawa

IRMA: In your opinion, what makes a home unique?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: The character and personality of the people who live in it.

IRMA: Why is slow living so important in our society?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: This becomes obvious now. The planet cannot handle mass productions anymore and it is not important but a “necessity” to live in a slower way. Think and act with thought.

IRMA: What are the essentials of making a guest feel at home?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: The way you host your guests. You can have the best interiors with most beautiful materials and amenities but without good service, warmth and kindness guests don’t feel welcome.

IRMA: If you are not a great cook, how can you still impress your guests?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: By serving good quality food and drinks. By the way, you will set up your table and the decor. You don’t have to be “sophisticated’ in your cooking but you need to always serve “quality food”.

IRMA: Which advice would you give a host to actually enjoy their own dinner party and not stress out before?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: Be yourself and try to do everything the best you can in the most simple way. And again, by offering “quality” in whatever you do.

IRMA: Why is a gathering with friends and loved ones so important?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: Because every human being needs to exchange and feel the presence of beloved people. Because it is nice to offer a meal, to share, to talk, to discuss, to laugh, to dance, to sing…

IRMA: Is setting a table like preparing a perfect bed linen set?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: For me, yes. I design home textiles. Bed, table and bath linen matter equally to me.

IRMA: Your favorite herbs when cooking for friends in the winter season?

VALERIE BARKOWSKI: Offering a herbal tea with lemons, honey and thyme from my garden. 100% organic, of course…