In the rush that is a Greek summer, the island of Kimolos remains a pure and authentic vision of days gone by. Caper berries grow wild between the limestone paving slabs, and livestock roam freely as the morning chant from the Orthodox church drifts down the narrow streets. But for Athens-based couple Carla and Christos, who blew in on a boat several summers ago, one ancient edifice presented the opportunity to breathe new life into these timeworn stones and create a unique retreat.
‘The beauty of this place speaks for itself,’ muses Christos. ‘I love these old buildings. I could get lyrical, but history is an important part of continuity – both as a family and as a nation.’
This respect for heritage, however, didn’t dissuade him and Carla from wanting to add some contemporary sensibilities to their new home. The couple enlisted the help of Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Rentzou, co-founders of Point Supreme Architects, who are known for marrying elements of tradition with a sense of fun and colour.
The duo are deft at walking the fine line between modern and historic design. ‘We always try to be innovative in a subtle way without shouting it,’ reasons Marianna. For Christos, this meant conserving as much of the original layout of the building as possible, including
a small room behind the stove – originally intended as a place for the mother of the house to weave textiles – which is now a cave-like guest bedroom. ‘We could have knocked out the oven to make more space, but you’d have lost 80 per cent of the atmosphere,’ he explains.
With this home’s basic structure remaining largely unchanged, the biggest transformation is the colourful touches Konstantinos and Marianna have introduced. On Kimolos, it is obligatory that the exterior of every house be white and sky blue, but usually the interior is far less bright. Here, bold shades are used throughout, from deep red to yellow and pastel pink.
Burgundy tiles separate the main bedroom and bathroom from the living areas. ‘They impose a precision on the sculptural imprecision which is part of the charm of these Greek island homes,’ says Konstantinos. ‘We wanted to be upholders of tradition but without being afraid to impose departures from it.’
Another example of this subtle rebellion is the roof terrace. ‘They are not really a thing in this part of Greece, but adding one seemed worthwhile,’ explains Konstantinos. Accessed by a metal staircase, this new outdoor room is less about the view than the link it created with the town and the festivities of the community. Adorned with strings of party lights, or girlanda, more commonly seen on boats and restaurant terraces, it presents a joyful face to the world that hints at the playful, positive rooms within. pointsupreme.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration July 2020
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