The house is located in the downtown area of Athens, Exarcheia. The neighborhood was created around 1870 and has played a significant role in the social and political life of Greece. It is a place where many intellectuals and artists live, among them Karolos Koun a famous Greek theater director who was a former resident of the house in the 50’s and 60’s. This neoclassic residence also later functioned as a local tavern for many years.
The notion concentrated in transforming this old house into a modern single-family residence while maintaining its character, overcoming its poor condition. The compressed size of the house and the lack of light in the space were two inherent issues that needed our attention.
Firstly the concept concentrated in increasing the size of the space, taking into consideration the needs of the family. We created stacked loft spaces that combined well with the existing playful scheme of different levels inside the house, taking advantage of the great interior height available. By working vertically we altered entirely the way someone apprehends the house, experiencing different views of the same thing from where they stand, close to the ground floor or close to the roof accordingly.
The space completely transformed from being really dark to bright with the addition of skylights through the new exposed wooden roof. Also the modification of the old opaque metal doors with glass doors brought plenty of natural light in to enjoy, throughout the whole duration of the day. At the same time, the new open plan condition facilitated the unification of the space in all three dimensions.
The main entrance to the house was set only a step up from the street level, while the living room and the kitchen two more steps up from the entrance. Short stairs led either up to the dining space or down to the basement, to a playroom/ guestroom, with a small private bathroom. The kitchen connected through a small hall to the exterior terrace, adjoined to the dining space. The hall also led to the master bedroom, the loft office and a little higher to the bookcase/ reading loft space.
The house maintained its character with the attentive selection and refurbishment of the materials used, old and new, remaining at their natural form. The stone walls were completely uncovered from the plaster and the old and damaged tiles. The wooden furniture and floors were entirely restored. All the existing materials were revealed and the new ones added were designed as indifferent as possible, so that they would not interfere with the timeworn feeling of the house, making it as warm as possible for the family to live in.