Julie & Spiro's Getaway in Greece

House Tour

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Name: Julie Bazigos Karatzis, owner of letterpress company Cartoules Press and agent at Secret Agent PR, her husband Spiro Karatzis, sister Eugenia Bazigos, and their parents Michael and Mary Bazigos.  
Location: Sarlata, Kefalonia island, Greece
Size: 1700 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths.
Years lived in: We bought the land in 2006, broke ground in October 2010, and completed the house in August 2012. 

What's your idea of the perfect summer getaway?  If it involves jumping on a plane to an exotic island, warm sand beaches, crystal clear water, great food and wine, and your own private villa, you're in luck. 

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The house, in Sarlata, on the Greek Island of Kefalonia, which is available for rent from April to October, was a labor of love for the entire family. Julie, her husband Spiro, Julie's sister Eugenia, and their parents Michael and Mary all weighed in equally on every decision. Though technology — Google docs and, especially, shared Pinterest boards — figured heavily in putting the house together, life on the island —  cooking, eating, drinking late into the night, swimming and sunning —  is all about getting away from it all.  That certainly sounds like an idyllic getaway to us!  

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We appreciate things that have history, strive to incorporate the eclectic, and have the patience to spend the time to find that great deal. Living in California (Julie and Spiro in Los Angeles; everyone else lives in San Francisco), we appreciate the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that is part of West Coast living.  Our life is Greece is the marked by this same characteristic.

Inspiration: Kefalonia is a majestic island with a rich history and natural beauty. We wanted to honor this by keeping the exterior of the home true to the island’s neoclassical style, while infusing the interiors with elements of modern design. Taken all together, we've dubbed this fusion of styles “village chic.”

Favorite Element: The view is the star attraction here. From nearly every angle of the house you're greeted by a breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea, the beauty of the nearby islands, and the rugged, pine-covered mountain landscape.

Biggest Challenge: Besides building it from over 6,000 miles away, stockpiling furniture in our garage for over a year, then boxing it all up and sending it in a shipping container from San Francisco to Greece? Actually, that almost seems like child's play. We’re a loud family with strong opinions, so working together to stay organized — and in agreement — was the real challenge. There were countless Google docs, multiple shared Pinterest boards and noisy design reviews when we met in person.  

What Friends Say: “You’re completely insane for even attempting to build a house from across the Atlantic!,” and “So, ummm....when can I come visit?!” 

Biggest Embarrassment: We ordered our original backsplash tiles online. Luckily for us, our contractor in Greece had enough design sense to call and let us know they were hideous, so we had him install something else.  Uh, free ugly tiles, anyone? 

Proudest DIY: The metal fish mounted on the stairwell are a whimsical and unique touch. Julie sketched them out and commissioned a metal worker on Etsy to create them for us. The oil paintings around the house were painted by Julie and Eugenia's mom Mary.

Biggest Indulgence:  Definitely the infinity pool, hands down.  But we knew that if we were going to be successful in renting out the villa as a vacation home by the sea, it would need a pool. This proved costly, what with the retaining walls and the infrastructure —but the view of the pool to the sea?  Oh soo worth it.

Best Advice:  Friends thought we were insane to be taking on this project from 6000 miles away, but our father (being the organized mechanical engineer that he is) had the right idea: do your due diligence, get referrals, hire good people, and make a few visits throughout the year.  

Dream Sources: We made endless shopping trips to West Elm, CB2, World Market, and HD Buttercup, and scored great deals at Home Goods. Etsy was our go-to for the majority of the finishing touches.  

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Resources of Note:

LIVING ROOM

  • Entrance table from Home Goods 
  • Couch from EQ3
  • Pillows from Turquoise Tumbleweed via Etsy
  • Media cabinet from Crate & Barrel
  • Marble coffee table from CB2
  • Vintage posters from Athens Flea Market
  • Eiffel chair from The Foundry
  • Oil painting by Mary Bazigos
  • Metal fish wall hanging from Curtis Custom Creation via Etsy
  • Greece and Kefalonia map prints from Cartoules Press
  • Greek graffiti prints from Cartoules Press in collaboration with Goddess of the Hunt

OUTDOOR DINING ROOM

  • Pool chairs from Costco
  • Stone pool side tables from West Elm
  • White wire chairs from IKEA
  • Green metal side table from Crate & Barrel
  • Outdoor dining table from Crate & Barrel
  • Outdoor dining chairs - Bellini chairs via Craigslist
  • Candle lanterns from Home Goods

KITCHEN

  • Appliances by Pitsos
  • Glass tile back splash from Home Depot
  • Bar stools from World Market
  • Kitchen chairs from HD Buttercup
  • White tulip table from Scandinavian Design
  • Vintage posters from Athens Flea Market
  • Desk from World Market
  • Wall clock from Target
  • Curtains from Bed Bath + Beyond

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM

  • Bed from Amisco
  • Bedding from Home Goods
  • Desk and bedside tables from World Market

SMALL UPSTAIRS BEDROOM

  • Beds from Amisco
  • Bedding from Home Goods
  • Pillows from Eastern Home Decor via Etsy
  • Peacock print by Sean Mort via Fab
  • Sailor Print by Blanca Gomez via PosterCabaret
  • Bedside tables from World Market
  • Outdoor table & chairs from a tiny market in Kefalonia

LARGE UPSTAIRS BEDROOM

  • Bed from Amisco
  • Eiffel chair from The Foundry
  • Bedding from West Elm
  • Rug from Home Goods
  • Round mirror from Home Goods
  • Desk and bedside tables from World Market
  • Hanging fish from World Market
  • Louie chair from Home Goods
  • Pillows from Eastern Home Decor via Etsy
  • Underwater framed photo from Elle Moss Photography via Etsy
  • Wooden sailboat from World Market
  • Outdoor table and chairs from Home Goods

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Thanks, Julie, Spiro, Eugenia, Michael and Mary!   For more info about the house and to learn more about renting it, click here.

(Images: Julie Bazigos Karatzis; Nikos Gogas)

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