By Hebe Hatton
It's everyone's dream, right? Refurbishing a gorgeous Greek villa that's filled with original quirks and features, sympathetically bringing it back to life with beautiful fabrics and soft but bright hues, sourcing the perfect pieces from local markets for every room. And while for a lot of us of it remains a dream, for the owners of this beautiful villa, it became a reality.
The house, situated on the Greek island of Serifos, had been in the family for over a hundred years and had been used to store a fishing boat, with living space above. The owners brought on London-based, Interior Design and Architectural Consultancy studio Howark Design for the project who have lovingly restored the property, keeping all its originality but giving a contemporary update. Let's live vicariously for a second and take a tour...
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‘We could tell straight away it was a really special home with many layers of family life and that it required a sensitive approach to ensure it retained its unique charm.' says James Arkoulis, Creative Director of Howark Design.
'We were asked to help modernize and refurbish this traditional island home on the island of Serifos. It has a wonderful seafront location and although some modernization had taken place in the 60s it had not been updated since then.' continues James.
'The aim was to retain charming original elements like the beautiful floor tiles and make it a wonderful holiday home for a modern family. The whole property was gutted down to rewiring and plumbing while original elements were carefully protected and we even redesigned the garden courtyard creating a beautiful sitting area.'
And this home has original charm and then some, it feels like it has been this way for decades. The furniture, the fabrics, the decor is all so in keeping with the feel of the place and traditional greek style.
The one thing you will notice is the colors. While the classic blue and white scheme can still be found in hints around the house, it's punctured with bold hues like reds, lime greens, and pale teal shades.
'We were keen to avoid replicating a classic blue and white scheme which you see so often as the owners had an eclectic taste and we wanted to reflect this in the less traditional choice of colors and fabrics.' explains James.
In the living room, the original patterned tiles were the start point for the whole space. Those warm reddish tones can be found in the dark wood of the vintage furniture and collection of fabrics used for the cushions. The room feels very authentically.. greek. That juxtaposition between dark heavy wooden furniture and light airy interiors is often found in traditional Greek interiors.
Local Greek ceramics and quirky second-hand finds were sourced to adorn the walls and shelves to layer up more color and texture. The pretty pale turquoise door is a more subtle nod to the iconic blue and white combination.
Through the double doors is the master bedroom. The beautiful tiled flooring continues in here and those same warm woody tones are mixed with the crisp white bed linen.
'The owners had a lot of interesting art and furniture that had been collected over the years and we were keen to reuse as much of this as possible while adding in new additions seamlessly - one example is red bed frame which was new and we had painted but people often think this is an antique!' Is that Ikea's iconic Leirvik bed frame we spot?!
The original bamboo ceiling, typical of houses on the island, in the bathroom was restored. The marble sink was a second-hand find, which with the patterned floor tiles, only adds more textures to the space. The pop of color from the vintage chair and mirror, plus that flash and blue from the painted door add all the color this room needs.
While the courtyard may look like it's also been there for hundreds of years it was actually added as part of the redesign, inspired by similar designs that can be found on the island. The beautiful planting mirrors the bold colors used inside, the pink of classic bougainvillea and pops of orange against the blue sky all feels very similar to the color scheme of the internal rooms.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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