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“A New Perception of Space and Identity”: A Villa Remodel on the Isle of Sikinos

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“A New Perception of Space and Identity”: A Villa Remodel on the Isle of Sikinos

October 28, 2022

The paneled wood doors and window frames are reproductions, painted to match the sea and sky on Sikinos, one of the most secluded of the Cycladic Islands. But far from being a cookie-cutter update, what’s remarkable about this historic villa update by Marianna Kapsimali and Alexandros Kapsimalis of Kapsimalis Architects is its deft melding of past and present—and sense of restraint.

“We seek the values and customs, the old aesthetics and pre-existing memories, the construction techniques and materials of each place in order to show them in a modern twist,”  write the architects, whose firm is 10 years old. “The wishes and hidden desires of future users are mixed with the project’s background in search of a new perception of space and identity.”

As the chill encroaches, join us for a fond look back at simple, sophisticated indoor-outdoor living, Greek island style.

Photographs by Yiorgos Kordakis, styling by Ioli Chiotini, courtesy of Kapsimalis Architects (@kapsimalisarchitects).

the public entry, on the south side of the property, is off an old pedestrian s 17
Above: The public entry, on the south side of the property, is off an old pedestrian street in the village of Chorio.
the gate opens to a planted pathway leading into the back of the house, which i 18
Above: The gate opens to a planted pathway leading into the back of the house, which is oriented to the Aegean. The structure was built in the late 19th century from local stone. The owners, who are French and in the board game business, divide their time between here and Toulouse.
the doors lead to a double living area bisected by the first of many archways t 19
Above: The doors lead to a double living area bisected by the first of many archways throughout the house. “After a detailed study of the old building, the architectural intervention aimed at the absolute preservation of its original form without any alteration of its identity,” explain the architects.

That said, this was a thorough renovation, and though the floor plan was preserved, the “geometry and the structure of the interior spaces” and the connections between them received a sophisticated fine-tuning.

the rooms have tall ceilings with their original beams and reconstructed floors 20
Above: The rooms have tall ceilings with their original beams and reconstructed floors of “smooth cement plaster in an earthy brown.” The furnishings, a mix of the antique, handmade, and modern, are intentionally simple and modest, “in direct relation with the wild nature of the island.”
the other half of the room is the dining area. the newly exposed rafters throug 21
Above: The other half of the room is the dining area. The newly exposed rafters throughout required a thorough cleaning and were given a protective undercoat to keep them from being eaten by insects.
the new kitchen is charmingly rustic modern. there&#8\2\17;s a range vent t 22
Above: The new kitchen is charmingly rustic-modern. There’s a range vent tucked inside the stove’s archway. The brass bridge faucet is by Bongio of Italy.
a plate rack hangs over a prep table. for more ideas, see \10 easy pieces: wall 23
Above: A plate rack hangs over a prep table. For more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Wall-Hung Plate Racks.
a dutch door leads to a courtyard and series of gardens—there are lemon  24
Above: A Dutch door leads to a courtyard and series of gardens—there are lemon trees, a pine grove, and herb beds.
the outdoor dining room is just outside the kitchen. 25
Above: The outdoor dining room is just outside the kitchen.
an internal stair from the kitchen leads to the guest room with a garden view.  26
Above: An internal stair from the kitchen leads to the guest room with a garden view. Note the recessed shelving in lieu of a headboard.
the architects detailed the room with an artful open closet. the room has its o 27
Above: The architects detailed the room with an artful open closet. The room has its own outdoor sitting area enclosed by thick walls.
the full length mirror is lit by a jielde signal \1 arm wall sconce. 28
Above: The full-length mirror is lit by a Jielde Signal 1-Arm Wall Sconce.
the bathrooms are all newly appointed with built in fittings. this one has twis 29
Above: The bathrooms are all newly appointed with built-in fittings. This one has twisted vine rafters.
in the main bedroom, an arched slatted doorway draws light and sea breezes into 30
Above: In the main bedroom, an arched slatted doorway draws light and sea breezes into the bath.
refurbished interior shutters open to the sitting/dining room. 31
Above: Refurbished interior shutters open to the sitting/dining room.
a clean lined bathroom refurbishment. the brass faucets throughout are by bongi 32
Above: A clean-lined bathroom refurbishment. The brass faucets throughout are by Bongio.
the house and its terraces and gardens unfold in the back, overlooking the aege 33
Above: The house and its terraces and gardens unfold in the back, overlooking the Aegean.

Floor Plan

nestled on a hillside stepped back from the street, the villa has an open livin 34
Above: Nestled on a hillside stepped back from the street, the villa has an open living-dining area leading to the kitchen and two well-separated bedroom suits, all flowing out to the garden.

Take a look at three more skillful updates of historic villas:

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