Renowned photographer, Miguel Flores-Vianna, has been on a Greek Odyssey, uncovering some of Greece's most atmospheric, soulful homes. From the pages of Haute Bohemians Greece, this is The Consul's House.
Even in mid August, the light seems a bit colder inside the Consul’s House. Is it a reflection of the sea below, or the ubiquitous presence of the cobalt blue covering the entrances to the building that tricks the eye? Yet, in addition to its coolness, the light here has the quietness and elegance of the rooms in Vermeer’s paintings.
An inscription found by the present owners of the house during its renovation reads, in old Greek: “This building was built, with his own hands, by K. Ippokritidis for the Consul of the Greeks in Holland, 1842.” But the owners, whom I will call Kyrios and Kyria X —Mr. and Mrs. X— will tell you that their house is much older than this inscription. It was built in the 18th-century; Mr. Ippokritidis merely oversaw its 19th-century renovation.
Kyrios and Kyria X hail from Thessaloniki, and never do things by halves. As serious scholars of the decorative and architectural arts of their country, they were exacting curators of the house’s restoration and furnishing. They dug deep, searching for clues and signs of the building’s original condition. This is how they found the inscription and ancient door-surround carvings that today adorn the house.
Paint layers on doors and windows were peeled back until the beautiful, mesmerizing cobalt paint emerged. Kyrios and Kyria X are especially proud of their bedroom with its thirteen openings to both indoor spaces and the outdoors, all of which make it seem like a light box in the sky. When it came to the furnishings, the couple made sure that, as in the Patmiot houses of yesteryear, the rooms were once again filled with Venetian mirrors, local embroideries, dowry chests, crystal, and glinting silver.
When arriving at a property in Greece, I often debate whether I should spend time looking at the view or go right inside to enjoy the interiors. The view from the Consul’s House is alluringly distracting: Patmos stretches below, a sensuous mix of curvaceous hills, deep waters, and infinite sky. Nevertheless, on my first visit to the house, knowing my hosts’ aesthetic standards, I could not wait to see the treasures within its walls—I could not wait to step into their world. Miguel Flores-Vianna, Haute Bohemians Greece.
This article is reprinted from the book, Haute Bohemians Greece, with kind permission from Miguel Flores-Vianna and Vendome Press.
Haute Bohemians Greece is available to order from the Cabana Bookshop.