May 6, 2012

Take a Peek ~ Piraeus, Greece Gem

Being a design blog junkie, I come across many images of houses that I love every day. And being a Pinterest junkie (do you see a pattern here?) I Pin those images to my boards, and ‘visit’ them on a weekly basis. I noticed recently that some of my favourite images were from the same home in Piraeus, Greece. Perhaps the contrast between the old and the new had me confused, but once I realized they were in fact from the same house, I started to dig to see if I could discover more. I absolutely love this home. Aside from putting in my own furniture, there is really nothing I would change. I’ll move in tomorrow!

This gem is located in Piraeus, a region on the east coast of the Saronic Gulf. A far cry from the party scene of Mykonos or the laid back touristy Santorini, Piraeus is a big city bustling with life, located within the Athens Urban Area. The house is an example of a typical landmark building in this region, that had been abandoned and neglected over the years until the Greek architecture firm ASKarchitects was hired to transform the structure from its state of disrepair into an updated, functional home for a family of 4.

The architects wanted to update and streamline the home, while at the same time respecting and highlighting the original features – and that they did. The historic elements were treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity, and were highlighted by the introduction of the more contemporary elements. Likewise, the contemporary elements are showcased by the contrast with the historic features, resulting in the perfect marriage of old and new.

The 4 storey shell was maintained, along with many of the original elements such as the mouldings, columns, original tile and staircase, all standout features throughout the home. The windows and doors were updated but designed based on the originals. Most of the interior walls were demolished to create a more open concept space, and some were replaced with sliding doors and walls for added flexibility. A new, 1000 sq/ft extension was added to allow for extra space on the top floor, and to provide access to a green roof. Overall, a fine example of breathing new life into an historic structure, while still respecting and paying homage to its original features.

Although Toronto is an infant compared to this part of the world, we have our fair share of historic structures and hidden gems. As a downtown Toronto Realtor®, I’ve seen quite a few renovations to historic homes that boast the same kind of sensitive treatment when updating, and quite a few that sadly, do not. I think that often we tend to focus on the shiny and new, while forgetting the value of the old. Something to keep in mind when planning those renovations! Do you have a home that has one foot in the past and one in the present? I’d love to see it!

Below is a collection of images of the house, all by photographer Vangelis Paterakis. Enjoy!

All images by Vangelis Paterakis.

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