The Handsome Dark Green Study

It’s been a home decor fantasy for of mine for a number of years to have a handsome dark green study. A room dark and cozy, worn yet sophisticated, a room that beckons one to select a book from the towering bookshelf and sit down and read. Or, that encourages one to sit and write, glancing up now and then to look out between the rich velvet drapes (which pool ever so slightly on the floor) through the tree branches, to the street scene below. It’s the procrastinating writer’s misguided dream that if only she had the right room in which to write, she’d be prolific.

Here are some images I pinned a year ago as inspo:

The Handsome Dark Green Study was almost a reality in Rabat, but we didn’t really have an extra room after we had to pack one full of bulky government furniture to get it out of the way. But here in Algiers, we have more rooms than we need. (Still wondering why our embassy gave us – a childfree couple – a four-bedroom house with a patio and small yard, but I ain’t complaining).

Back when I would walk around our empty Algiers house and fantasize about what each room would become, I bookmarked the room with the great windows, a curved corner, plaster crown moldings, and double French doors that open to a balcony to be the Handsome Dark Green Study. Really the deciding factor was that outside the windows is a big tree, which I would later learn is a loquat tree.

If you don’t know, because I didn’t until earlier this month, a loquat is a little yellow-orange fruit, about the size of a kumquat, and you peel the thin outside layer and eat the juicy inside, taking care to not ingest one of three large dark glossy seeds inside. As far as fruits go, it’s meh. Not much flavor. We have three of these massive trees around our house and are nearly to the point where will have to put on waders to get out our gate. While making jam sounds like the perfect quarantine activity, you’d have to pay me a lot to peel 3,000 loquats over my hot stove. Anyways, even if the fruits are sort of a nuisance, they make for a very pretty and tropical feeling view from the window.

I painted the room very dark green soon after we moved in and I loved the color immediately, but I think I underestimated just how dark it would be. There is, however, often beautiful light shining on the desk or the rug, or on a cat.

I was going to edit out the circuit breaker boxes on the wall. But hey, they’re there, that’s what it looks like. What can you do?

Because it’s dark and moody, it’s more of a nighttime room for me. (I’ve found I prefer daytime work in our very light and sunny dining room). I like to have an after-dinner drink in the Handsome Dark Green Study and read on the chaise. Adam can be in this room all day, and in fact during this quarantine time, he is. He also thinks I painted it “Dartmouth Green” in honor of his alma mater, and sure why not let him think I created a special man cave just for him? (We doubled down on this idea by ordering a Dartmouth Winter Carnival print from 1998 that depicts the Roaring ’20s).

Adam does not usually wear a suit when working from home. Gus usually does, though.

I’d love to get an antique desk (and a different chair) but until I find something I love, the Drexel Embassy-provided desk does the trick. (This desk had tall hutch on it, but I took that off and used it for our jungly bar).

I knew I wanted to use this vintage Moroccan rug I’d bought in Rabat’s medina. It’s red and orange, worn and fuzzy. I already had the dark green walls in mind when I bought it more than a year ago.

Me in the Rabat medina with my number one rug guy, Mohammed.

The dark green and the deep red and orange look rich together, and also a little 1970s.

The bookshelf is from World Market; the green armchair is vintage; the drapes are West Elm‘s cotton luster velvet curtain in wasabi; the footstool is from a now-shuttered India-inspired design shop in Jerusalem; the liquor bottle light fixture is from a recycled glass shop called Reez in Granada, Spain; the Moroccan lamp and stand are both from Rabat’s medina (and the lamp casts a beautiful starry pattern on the ceiling at night). The brown settee is from a long-ago home store in Washington DC. I saw it on the sidewalk during a Dog Days of Summer sidewalk sale and crossed the street to get a better look. I was 23 and in no financial position to buy a nice wedge of cheese from Whole Foods, let alone furniture. But it was only $200 because it was a custom job and the shop had used the wrong fabric. Voila. What was a little more credit card debt really? Twelve years later, the brown fabric is faded, stained, and threadbare which actually works with the worn-out-yet-fancy vibe of the Handsome Green Study. (Still, I’ll recover it some day).

To handsome studies, whether for daytime work or nighttime drink.



  1. Wow! I love that color so much. Do you happen to know how I could get a similar color in the US? Thanks for posting, I enjoy reading your blog and hope to join the Foreign Service in the future. 🙂

    1. Nope, I don’t. But I’d suggest doing what I did – coming in with some photos saved on your phone and showing the paint store person. You’ll get pretty close that way! You could also get a few samples and sit with it for a week or so on your walls, but I never have enough patience for that.

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