Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cozy in the Cretan Countryside

Sun pours in through the kitchen window. Notice the dainty napkin holder, crocheted by Maria's mother.

On Sunday, we celebrated Mardi Gras in the Cretan
countryside, where this beautiful, old-world home is part
 of a picturesque, little village, that overlooks the Libyan sea.

 The house's facade boasts original stone, while a carpet of Minoan colours covers the courtyard.

 The house, over 200 years old, belongs to my brother-in-law,
Alexander, and his wife, Maria. Purchased about twenty 
years ago, the couple painstakingly restored it, after it
 had been tragically abandoned and derelict for decades.

Solid stone walls multi-task, protecting the house from heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

  An arched doorway, marked with a cross from the Holy Light of last year's Resurrection ceremony, leads directly into the cozy kitchen.

                                  Original wooden beams support the ceilings, while a cast iron pan, once                                    belonging to Maria's grandmother, hangs on thickly splattered, stucco walls.

 Once inside, you are greeted by a large fireplace, original to 
the house, where most of the daily meals were once prepared.

Open shelving displays everyday crockery, including tiny cups
 for those mornings when strong, Greek coffee is a must!

A fireplace is nestled in the corner; the perfect spot for knitting or an afternoon nap!
Another door, also accessed from the courtyard, leads
to a dramatic, open plan living and dining room.

Maria takes a break from cooking, while the men light the outdoor ovens for bread and roasted dishes.

 Here, the second fireplace is situated, along with a wood stove,
 both used for heating the space, but also for cooking.

One of two outdoor wood ovens; this one was once the only oven catering to the entire village.

In addition, there are two outdoor wood ovens located in the courtyard, which are used for baking large quantities of food,

and making sure everyone is toasty and comfy when 
dining al fresco during the cooler, winter months.

At one point, the house was transformed into a tavern,
and the second level, equally spacious and efficient,

  boasted private dining rooms and breathtaking views of the sea.

 I have always had a weakness for these exquisitely crafted
stone structures, and feel very lucky when I get to explore
 and appreciate their unique history and charm.

 Thank you to Maria and Alexander, for their gracious
hospitality, and a very memorable Mardi Gras, at their
delightful home, in the hilly countryside of Crete.

Thanks for visiting!

All images: Poppy View 

Sharing at:
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  1. A delight to see how old and new mix together and to have a cosy tour of this ancient house!! Happy March and all the best for the soon coming Spring, Poppy!

  2. Oh, be still my heart! How beautiful. How wonderful, to have redone and preserved such a heritage. -more happy sighs-

    And thank you so much for showing us this wonderful home. And it's beautiful owner, as well.

    Oh it seems as if you live in Paradise... Certainly it is a Paradise, which so many people long to visit, for themselves.


  3. What a gorgeous home, they've done a beautiful job of restoring it. I love the original features like the fireplaces and the beams, and those amazingly thick walls that very old cottages have.

  4. Such a beautiful home they have restored. I have always admired people that do that.

  5. What a lovely home, full of rich character and charm! It reminded me of so many of the homes we saw in small villages in Italy. So lovely!! Thanks for inviting us to see it.
    xo Kris

  6. Yes I love you view and your home. Is the weather always perfect there? Gorgeous.
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

  7. Fabulous ~ simply fabulous.
    I would have truly loved that stay.
    Thank you for sharing it !

  8. So beautiful! I love old stone houses too!AriadnefromGreece!

  9. Hello Poppy,
    Maria and Alexander have really created the most beautiful and comfortable home here. In visiting them, one would surely have been tempted to stay and never go home!

    They have obviously renovated the building with a great sensitivity. Original features look to have been lovingly restored whilst modern conveniences have been introduced with a minimum impact. As a result, they have created a really wonderful place in which to live and to entertain others in every season. Wonderful!

  10. Thanks for a fascinating tour; I have never seen any home like it but of course, I have never been to Crete either. Loved this post.

  11. I love that Maria and Alexander restored this beautiful home. I have always loved stone houses.

  12. I'm so glad you took photos to share of this beautiful home. I love all of the rich colors of wood and stone and the character of this house. I know it must be a work of love to restore it to it's beauty but how wonderful. Thanks to Maria and Alexander for letting us peek inside! Sweet hugs, Diane

  13. Oh, Poppy! This is fabulous! I adore stone houses!!! They have done a great job, and that iron bannister.... Divine! Thank you for sharing your BIL's home with us. I enjoyed the visit thoroughly!



  14. Poppy, thank you for taking us on this lovely tour. I just love sitting here in my chair and travelling to other countries and visiting others' homes.

  15. Poppy, I have always loved stone houses and this one is wonderful! One of my favorites is the outdoor stove...I have always wanted one.

  16. I love stone homes, too. Thank you and thank BIL and SIL for allowing us all to view it, too.

  17. What a privilege to see into such an old stone Greek home. The history of the stone walls, wooden beams and the old fireplaces is amazing to me. It looks so cozy and I'm sure the food prepared and cooked in the open fireplaces must be so delicious. Thanks for sharing with us Poppy.

  18. Stone houses are more than charming! They are fabulous and precious nowadays! They did an excellent work your brother-in-law and his wife! Bravo! And I see that they also have kept all the old pieces of furniture and heirlooms...I would be happy too to live in a house like this...

  19. That house looks built to last!

  20. so beautiful poppy! thank you!
    and thank maria for sharing glimpses into her historical treasure of a home with us.
    what a treat for us!
    do you two girls do any modeling on the side? you're both just drop dead gorgeous! LOLOL. ♥

  21. I love all the old world charm of these unique houses. Thanks for the tour!

  22. What an exquisite home!! Love all the different ceilings.


  23. What a beautiful and charming home! I love tours of homes from other countries, as they are so different from the houses here in the States. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  24. Very beautiful home - lovely, soft ambiance throughout. A true labor of love. Karen

  25. What a beautiful home your brother has! How do you go about restoring and upgrading a 200 year old house? They should blog about that.

    You are going to have to start a tour service highlighting these gorgeous homes! "Poppy's Home Tours" - I'll sign up! :D

    ~ Cassandra xo

  26. What a beautiful home. They did a wonderful job restoring their home. It looks so warm and comfortable - and those fireplace's WOW. Thanks so much for tour - your a great tour leader.
    Have a great weekend coming up.

  27. Oh what a happy feeling that tour prompted in me. You can almost feel the love that has been passed from generation to generation in front of that fireplace and imagine the aromas coming from whatever was being prepared in the cast iron skillet. A real treat - thanks Poppy! (Four weeks and we are heading your way!!! Can hardly wait. . .)

  28. What a beautiful home. I love how it still looks ancient in some ways, especially the fireplace area, which really calls out to me. Cozy is not the word, it's just really perfect. Thank you to all three of you for the wonderful tour.

  29. Twój brat ma piękny stary dom z nutą historii. Zachwycił mnie piec, w którym kiedyś pieczono chleb dla całej wsi, to dopiero zabytek!

  30. Congratulations to them on preserving that piece of history! The outdoor ovens are wonderful. Just a bit curious about the bars on the windows. Is that necessary in the country?

  31. Oh Poppy, I nearly missed seeing this, in just finishing up my Mosaic Monday visits. I adore those old stone structures as well and your brother-in-law and Maris did an outstanding job in restructuring those old walls. That certainly is a solid building/home for them. The outside ovens are really amazing too. I would love to have something like that here...hugs to you at mid week now~

  32. Lovely, what an enjoyable stay you must have had.

  33. What an amazing home! I love the thick walls & fireplaces everywhere. The simple styling indoors keeps it feeling 'original'. I once visited some relatives deep in Wales and they also lived in a 200-year old house with thick white-washed walls, dark wood around the lattice windows and heavy black beams hanging low in the kitchen/dining area. There was also a massive fireplace that you could practically sit in. I think it's wonderful that your BIL & SIL restored this beautiful home ... they must be very satisfied with the way it came back to life. Thanks for sharing this Poppy ... enjoy the rest of your week :) Wendy x

  34. I love old homes, I have a weakness for their style and history. I have to say, all those fireplaces are very alluring and the ceilings are just charming. I could see myself enjoying a tour of this home, too! They did a great job!

  35. What a beautiful home. It's lovely seeing old buildings restored so sympathetically. x

  36. How beautiful and interesting. I'm so happy you shared this wonderfully restored home with us. You photographed it so beautifully!

  37. Poppy
    I love all of the original features of your BIL's home!
    It is so warmly decorated. Who wouldn't just love it?

  38. Poppy, Loved this beautiful restored home.
    Its wonderful to see old buildings restored instead of just tearing them down.
    And what beautiful decor too.

  39. You do know that this is such a delightful treat when you share such beautiful History with us through your eloquent writing and gorgeous pictures. Most of us will never travel to where you call home! Thank you so much for taking us on this lovely tour-tell me does the food taste even better, being cooked this way?
    xoxo my friend!

  40. Thank you for the glimpse into Maria and Alexander's home. I love seeing how "real people" live in different cultures. The fireplaces would be so cozy, and so necessary to keep warm. Such thick stone walls are amazing structures.

  41. This was so much fun to see and participate in!

    My ex's uncle had an outdoor oven / in the summer the entire family would gather there and make home made pizzas to cook in it...not much in this world to match the taste of those cooked that way! :)

    Those pretty tiny cups in the open shelving..lovely ! :)

  42. Hello dear Poppy, your brother in law's home is lovely. I wonder how it feels to live in a 200 year old home with so much history breathing through those thick walls.
    On a different note, Mardi Gras here in Sydney is celebrated on a massive scale. It's a gay and lesbian parade complete with decorated floats, lavish and unique costumes, glitters and colours, parade of dancers enjoyed and shared by fun-loving Sydneysiders and spectators alike. It's the largest gay & lesbian party in Southern Hemisphere. I guess it's Mardi Gras with a different concept.
    Thank you for sharing your brother in law and Maria's home. Hope you have a good weekend.


  43. Wow!! that is amazing!!!

    I always feel like I've learned something when I visit you Poppy.

  44. Good Afternoon Poppy, What a beautifully restored home. Alexander and Maria must have worked so hard to create this beautiful home. It was so kind of them to allow us to take a tour of their home. I love the thick walls which help to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
    The little Greek cups which, as you say, are essential for Greek coffee are lovely and I loved the little touch... Poppy View, which you added to one of the dishes.
    Thank you so much, this was fun.
    Best Wishes

  45. What a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing. It's so interesting to see how people in other parts of the world live.

  46. What an interesting place! I have honestly never given Mardi Gras but this home would be lovely anytime. Thank you for this visit.

    Be Blessed

  47. Hello Poppy, what a beautiful home. I love the fireplace and the outdoor ovens. It is wonderful your BIL restored this lovely home. I am sure the Mardi Gras celebrations were fun too. Lovely photos and post. I am joining with the travel meme and this is my link http://travelwitheileen.blogspot.com/2014/03/living-desert-zoo-carlsbad-new-mexico.html

    Have a happy weekend!

  48. It's wonderful how this old and neglected home was restored to being a beautiful place in which to live. It must have been a labour of love and a lot of hard work.


  49. How much fun you must have had on Mardi Gras! Love the history behind this house. Your family did a good job restoring the home. The original beams and the ceiling are fabulous. Take care ~ Stacy

  50. I really enjoyed this tour of a traditional and historical house. Thanks!

  51. I really like the rustic charm of this home and how it is filled with light. Good job to your brother and his wife for an immensely successful restoration project. I want to plunk myself down in one of those chairs and join in the Mardi Gras celebration.

  52. I, too love these historic stone homes and appreciate you sharing with us. What a lovely way to celebrate.

  53. Love the thick stucco on the walls and the fabric on the upholstery! Makes me long to be there for the summer! Thanks for taking us on a tour to the other side of the world!

  54. What a treat to see this lovely home, thanks so much for sharing! Always a treat having you at AMAZE ME MONDAY...

  55. Oh my, how wonderful that they were able to restore this beauty without taking away the wonderful charm! All the fireplaces, both inside and out, are just wonderful.

  56. What an amazing home! It's absolutely gorgeous! That would be dreamy to live in a place with sooo much history!

  57. Hello Poppy, this is a fantastic home - they did a terrific job! I am delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,

  58. This home exudes charm and romance! Such attention to detail and beautiful architecture. How lucky your family is to have such a fabulous place to call home!

  59. Oh my goodness wow to that first photo, it's absolutely gorgeous! The whole house is so full of charm, what a beautiful place. Wishing you a sweet week, hugs!

  60. Dearest Poppy, your photos have swept me away to another time and place....they make me want to jump into the computer screen in hopes of finding myself in such beauty :)

    Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing at Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!

  61. Poppy...you must have posted these before I was following you...I have missed this one too! Oh my goodness...I can image the wonderful meals that must have been prepared there. The many textures of the wood, stone, and stucco is so lovely! I'm glad you decided to share these again!

  62. These photos are beautifully romantic! I love the ones of the light streaming in from the windows to the table. The colors are so rich. Thank you for sharing these!

  63. I know I'm not suppose to be however I am green with envy. What a beautiful home.

  64. I love history and older homes! Especially ones brought from the ashes and restored to their former glory :) Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Poppy! I enjoyed reading this.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from all of you! Have a great day!