Ioannis Exarchou converts 100-year-old Greek stable into holiday house

The cave-like stone interior of this former stable on Tinos Island, Greece, has been renovated by architect Ioannis Exarchou to create a small holiday house (+ slideshow).

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Athens-based architect Ioannis Exarchou retained the original structure of the stable when designing Retreat in Tinos Island, plastering only the interior walls, inserting a new floor and filling gaps in the exterior stonework with mortar.

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Perched on the side of a hill with views to the surrounding mountains and valley below, the house's rough, dark exterior built from local stone blends in with the landscape.

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"My main objective was to retain and preserve the cavernous unique feeling of the space," architect Ioannis Exarchou told Dezeen. "The design's objective was to create a summer retreat for two with a minimum cost."

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Large stones and thick tree branches are set into the house's ceiling while the walls are covered with a smooth, white plaster. The floor has been covered over with coloured concrete.

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The main entrance next to the front courtyard leads into a small hallway with wooden storage cupboards.

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A set of stairs leads down into the combined bedroom and living room, with a small window at the base of the bed offering views out over the courtyard.

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A rough concrete benchtop with a sink for food preparation was built by the architect and installed into the rear of the kitchen space. A wooden bench with matching low stools is positioned against the opposite wall.

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Exarchou also built an open shower, separated from the kitchen by a concrete partition wall, next to a toilet room.

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He explained the project is part of a case study on how ruined traditional buildings can be rehabilitated.

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"These traditional stone-made buildings offer a great lesson in architecture, they have a unique human scale and they integrate into the landscape with a low impact to the environment," he added.

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Photography is by Sylvia Diamantopoulos.

Here's a short description from the architect:


Retreat in Tinos Island

The work is a response to a requirement of vacation - temporary residence in an abandoned stable.

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The programme conforms to the limitations imposed by the elaborate stone building. It consists of three areas: an oblong which accommodates user functions (food preparation, table, hygiene uses) and which is linked with the antechamber (distribution of movements, cupboards, entrance).

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These two areas, in a 'Γ' arrangement, enclose a third, thus forming an almost square ground plan, on a lower level of which the function of rest is accommodated. The layout is completed with the arrangement of the courtyard, the wood-burning oven, and exterior access.

Floor plan of Retreat-in-Tinos-Island-by-Ioannis-Exarchou
Floor plan - click for larger image