Hello there! What’s in store today? Beautiful home tours! As you already know, revival of old historic houses is a difficult undertaking but surely one of the most rewarding projects. It requires a deeper sense of understanding several aspects concerning the architectural features of such homes in order to breathe new life into them. It also takes a lot of patience and a great deal of exploring and laboring over old, dying ways and traditions to discover the old soul of buildings like that. Hence, I truly admire the outstanding work done by a distinguished Greek architect, Katerina Tsigarida, in reviving and decorating five old mansions dating from the 15th to the 19th century in Patmos, Greece.
Patmos is an island with a mystical atmosphere, rich in artistic heritage with beautiful and dignified architecture. Chora (the main town) standing proud on top of a hill has been declared as an UNESCO heritage site. The Monastery of St. John (where the book of Revelation was written) with its fortress dominates the surroundings as clusters of whitewashed houses form a meandering maze around it. It is said that it was deliberately designed so, in order to confuse pirates, while making it easy for the residents to jump from roof to roof to get to the Monastery to protect themselves from ravage.
We visited Patmos some eight years ago. Undoubtedly, it’s a remote island and a spiritual place. It is also one of the most idyllic islands I’ve ever been, belonging to the Dodecanese complex. Its impact is indisputable and it kind of stays with you forever. It won me over the minute I saw the Monastery’s fortress in the horizon as the ship approached the port. Soon enough, you adjust to the Patmian way of life as you surrender to its serene, peaceful charms. This is an island where you can hear yourself think and appreciate all the things that really matter. It is a place where thoughts and whispers are equally important as loud outspoken words. Similarly, old ways and traditions are equally important as contemporary facilities and comforts. Katerina Tsigarida, born in Athens but based in Thessaloniki – now aged 59, realized that there was a way of preserving these old ways while reviving the old decor splendor in a discreet, respectful manner within the building context of Chora. As a sincere admirer of her work, I collected photos of her projects (some of which spanned for years for she made serious efforts in preserving most of the original features) so that you can be the judge for yourself.
Source Photos by Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ
The Forno Mansion
This project concerns a house by the beach of Merikas, about 10 minutes away from Chora, but it’s really part of a bigger future project scheme. Still, it’s worth glancing at this beach house as it stands now overlooking the Aegean Sea.
In each and every house, Tsigarida, has managed to strip it to its bare essentials, restore it, revive it, and rearrange the decor and furnishings in a contemporary way. Living in a house like that must really feel like time stood still! But come to think of it, that’s exactly the point she’s trying to make. If you can’t live like that in Patmos, then where? THIS is the place to live peacefully in the same way people did some 200 years ago.
It is a place where thoughts and whispers are equally important as loud outspoken words.
Did you notice the gilded lanterns, the gold leaf mirrors or the beautiful rugs? Those details make all the difference in the world, don’t they? Although, the interiors are spartan, there’s definitely a noble quality to them. However, they’re not minimal in the same sense like in Cyclades oozing luxurious comforts (i.e. built in beds, sofas, and indoor pools – not that I’m against them or anything). But the furniture and decor in these Patmian homes stand out. They are precious, with lots of history to them, guardians of an era that lingers on despite the passing time while everything about these interiors acts as a reminder to pace yourself the “Patmian” way and appreciate the beauty in life.
Aren’t they precious? Did you like them as much as I do? Would you live there if you got the chance? Can’t wait to hear from you…