Mellah is a neighbourhood destination for exquisite Moroccan rugs—and delicate hand towels

Mellah is a neighbourhood destination for exquisite Moroccan rugs—and delicate hand towels

Rug lovers head to this Roncey store for its luxurious selection of traditional wares

In 2015, John Honeyman and Miriam Zittell were expecting a child while living in Manhattan and working in the restaurant and fashion businesses. They planned to move back to Toronto after a sabbatical trip through Europe and Africa. While in Marrakesh, they fell in love with the country’s glorious rugs, famous for their intense colour saturation and geometric designs. They loaded up a container with one-of-a-kind treasures and leased a tiny storefront in Dufferin Grove. The timing was great: Moroccan rugs, pouffes and pillows were suddenly all over Instagram. Shortly after, they outgrew their space and moved further west. Mellah became a destination for Roncey homeowners who wanted to cover their creaky Edwardian hardwood with something stylish and steeped in history.

Since mid-March, most of Mellah’s business has shifted to Instagram. The storefront is open for appointments only. John and Miriam’s kids, aged three and five, now tag along for shop visits and nap in the backseat of the car during socially distanced porch deliveries. The top sellers of late have been the Coopérative Art-Tissage-Tam bath mats, blankets and hand towels—perfect for all the extra handwashing required at the moment. 373 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-580-7122,


A few of their current favourite things…


Embroidered slippers: “Inspired by traditional Berber shoes, these stopped us in our tracks on our trip to Morocco.” $65


Khabia reptile jar: “An organization called Sumano works with women from the Rif mountain region who use ancient pottery methods to create decorative jars and vases.” $675


Vintage Beni M’guild: “These are Middle Atlas sleeping mats with intricate design and colours. Traditionally, the pile side is laid face down in summer to keep things cool, and what would typically be the back of the rug lies face up to show off the weaving work. They’re usually blood red or saffron orange, with hits of indigo.” $4,000


Moroccan pouffes: “Our vendors take beautiful old rugs that can’t be saved and cut them up to make this pouffe. It’s a dynamic piece of furniture—small and low. You could use it as a place to put your laptop or sit.” $200–$225


Coopérative Art-Tissage-Tam hand towels: “These handwoven cotton bath mats, face cloths and towels are super-soft and absorbent.” $25–$125