General Management: Roman Couldlie
Villa Paradiso is located in what is probably one of the most picturesque and striking settings in the world, the paradisiacal bay of Firopotamos, on the Cycladic Island of Milos in Greece. While searching for a dream summer home, the present owner of the Villa Paradiso was guided by the poem of Odysseus Elytis:

“In paradise I’ve marked an island out
identical to you
and a little house by the sea
with a small door and a big bed
I’ve cast an echo into the bottomless depths
to see you each morning as I rise
to see half of you pass into the water,
and half for which I’ll weep in paradise.”

When she first saw the building and the setting, she immediately understood that indeed she had found the “paradise” she was looking for all her life. Now this poem is inscribed on the wall of the Villa, in its original Greek.

The Villa’s location is not only naturally astonishing in its beauty and setting, but also rich in its vibrant history. Located next to the archeological zone, to the right of the Villa, where now one can see the remains of a large stone open gate, stood a shrine to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of enlightenment and the sun. The shrine dating approximately to the 5th century BC faced the exact point of the rising sun. And even up to this day, the sun rises exactly in the center of the stone gate, slowly illuminating all the bay of Firopotamos. Of course there’s no better place to watch the sunrise than from the balcony or veranda of the Villa Paradiso itself, and let the first rays of gold touch your face.

The archaeological area to the left of the Villa Paradiso was once home to the small cave shrines dedicated to Poseidon (ancient Greek god of the Sea, also dating approximately to the 5th century BC), sailors, fishermen and their families, used the shrines to leave symbolic offerings to the god, for the safe passage in the sea, good catch, and sea voyage. Now most such cave shrines have collapsed into the sea, while some were transformed into the boat garages by the fishermen. One of these cave shrines, which was later further dug into the mountain to transform it into the boat storage, is now used by the present owner of the Villa as the Cave Art Studio. Here one can find full seclusion and peace, away from the crowded beach, and perhaps even give in to one’s favorite artistic trade: painting, drawing, writing, etc. The Cave is surrounded by its own private sandy beach, underwater diving caves and offers a breathtaking view to the Firopotamos bay and its fishermen houses. This area is still listed on the island registry and maps as a protected archaeological zone.

In the 1800s, the Imperial Russian Navy constructed a warehouse on the location where once stood the shrine of Apollo. Later the structure was used for the Bentonite production, excavated in the area, and finally in 1940s it was taken over and used by the Nazi forces. The whole island in general was a strategic military point for the Germans during WWII, as it has been for many armies before them; indeed Milos Island is home to one of the largest strategic natural ports of the Mediterranean. Up to this day, one can still see the remains of the concrete, poured by the Germans along the beach for the heavy artillery, and find remains of artillery shells along the hills, just above the bay.

Throughout its history, the bay of Firopotamos was always used by the fishermen, until it finally became a second home for many of them. Eventually fishermen built garages for their boats all around the bay and then added their living quarters, as a second floor above, enabling them to stay by the sea year long. Villa Paradiso was once such a boat-home, and belonged to a local fishermen called Niko and nicknamed “Adogdos.” With a lot of work, time, care and love, it was transformed by the present owner into a lovely, luxurious summer Villa.

Villa Paradiso is a fully “green house,” and leaves no ecological footprint and thus does not alter, or damage the environment. It was remodeled by the present owner with great respect and care towards its natural settings, trying to preserve it while offering the most up to date, top-notch accommodations possible. The Villa is run by a state-of-the-art solar system, which not only provides electricity to the estate, but also heats the water. The Villa’s walls are double in structure, and offer constant air circulation. The walls are further sealed with anti mildew and humidity protective materials and medicine—guaranteeing Villa’s top dry and fresh conditions, for years to come, and making it naturally refreshingly cool in the heat of the summer and warm in the winter. The Villa uses water from a local desalination plant, thus recycling the sea water, which is also very soft and rich in minerals, good for skin and body (It is however, not potable and meant for showering and washing only). The water and the electricity are used with great respect and sparingly, since both rely on nature’s resources and these are of course not without limit. The canalization system and the sewage are cleaned and removed on regular basis, and waste is further recycled for use as the fertilizer on the local fields. Thus no sewage ever pollutes the sea water (being on the beach it is vital to take great care of that) instead it is being used as compost for the organic produce of the island.

Villa Paradiso is further divided into two studio apartments, one on the ground level and one on the level above that. Both are fully equipped with the latest technology and top accommodations. The ground floor studio is made of natural local materials: wooden boat-like sealing with great lighting system, stone flooring from local stone decorated in the traditional style of the island, inlayed in floral rosetta designs and dolphins—the stone breathes, making it thus the one perfect material for the ground floor, located by the water front. The stone also offers refreshing coolness in the summer time. The walls of the Villa are carved into mountain rock, and then finished with double wall of brick, creating a corridor of circulating air in between. The walls are then plastered with local stucco and water-proof sealers and materials.

Villa Paradiso’s First Floor (Ground Floor) consists of a large front veranda-terrace facing the sea and the beach, and offering splendid views onto the bay. This area is equipped with the outdoor coffee and dining tables, chairs, hammock, natural reed fence—providing some privacy from the beach, hand laid stone floor, with traditional floral design, and the unique handmade design elements: carved onto the wall is the statement by the famous Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis: “I believe not, I fear not, I am free.”

In addition various decorative touches adorn the space. They are made of drift wood and stone, and placed on the large blue doors of a boat garage and terrace’s corners. This place is perfect for morning breakfast and coffee, outdoor lunch, relaxation in an outdoor hammock, or a romantic candle-light dinner at its marble outdoor table. Entering through the large boat-house doors (restored and preserved to their original condition) and then opening the large French double glass door (equipped with the mosquito door as well) one enters into the formal living room area, with two large couches, antique chest, coffee table and writing table set, with old mirrors and family items adorning the walls. Two meter long large mirrors on either side of the room visually open and expand the space, and reflect the light and the sea view inside. The room is also equipped with wall mounted flat screen TV with over 250 satellite channels from all over the world and high speed wireless Internet, as well as a landline telephone for emergencies. Both couches transform into very comfortable beds: one king size Italian designer bed, and the other into a double size bed, accommodating up to 4 people per studio. Thus transforming the living quarters into the large bedroom, where one can fall asleep to the lulling sound of the sea waves. Walking further into the studio, one enters into the dining and bar stand area, with a large marble dining table and six chairs, and another old family chest, and a bar stand, which separates the kitchen from the dining and living areas. A lovely reading shelf, filled with international books to read, is placed next to the bar table. The kitchen has fine cabinets made of water resistant wood, to protect it from the mildew and the sea air exposure. It is equipped with refrigerator, microwave oven, sink, small gas stove, overhead electric stove fan and kitchen lights, dishes and silverware as well as cooking appliances, towels and glasses. The kitchen wall is made of the sea pebbles from the beach, lovingly collected and placed as a wall mosaic. In general the theme of this Villa is to incorporate nature into the construction, and to incorporate the construction itself, into its setting and the Villa’s natural environment. Thus it brings natural elements such as beach pebbles, local stone traditional stone designs, sea shells with old family photos, paintings, old posters and icons, local traditional antiques and ethnographic elements, wood and sea drift wood into the property, making it one with its surroundings. Further down into the studio, stands the set of closets divided into 3, and used for clothing, linens and towels. Next to it is a mirror door adorned with a drift wood frame, leading into the bathroom. The bathroom walls are made of aged marble tiles, it has several cabinets for toiletries, large shower cabin, sink, toilet, several mirrors, bright lighting system and large external ventilation vent, circulating the air not only in the bathroom but also throughout the studio. Throughout the day, the space is filled with natural bright daylight. White thick linen curtains on the door, finished with sea shell design, provide an escape to privacy and sleep, if needed. The materials used in the studio are all natural: the wooden ceiling is done in a traditional boat-style design, and the local stone floor with lavish local designs.

Villa Paradiso’s Second Floor (First Floor) consists of the large veranda-balcony, equipped with a comfortable sofa–perfect for the outdoor naps, large dining table, set of outdoor chairs and two hammocks (the sitting one and the large reclining hammock). The space is sheltered from the bright morning sun (since it faces sunrise directly), with a white natural reed pergola, also covered by sun and weather-resistant thick plastic from the top, to protect the balcony from the rain while allowing the sun to flow through the texture of the reeds, filling the space with air and light. The balcony is equipped with floor lights, which allow seeing the starry sky at night without blinding the viewer. It also has a large dining light and romantic ambiance touches: candles, lanterns, hand crafted drift wood mirror frame, cushions and pillows. On the wall of the balcony one can read the very poem that became an inspiration for this home’s reconstruction and purchase by the present owner. A large French double glass door (equipped with the mosquito net door as well) leads into the actual studio apartment. The setting of the studio was created in such a way, that the bed could be located right by the door, to view the sea each morning right. The bed itself was shipped from Italy, and is made of the finest materials by a top designer. Two sides of an old dowry chest were used to create two bed tables on both sides, with two reading lamps and a number of personal designer touches that blend the old with the new, connecting the inside with the outside. Above the bed hangs a romantic mosquito-net canopy, with old hand carved mythological sirens and figurines, gliding gently in the air. Next to the canopy there is a remote operated transparent ceiling fan, which offers extra cooling during hot weather. On the opposite side from the bed there is a wall flat-screen satellite TV with over then 250 international channels, a large mirror that visually opens the space and reflects the sea (thus the sea can be viewed from all the sides in the room), a number of old family photographs and memorabilia, a chair and a marble writing desk, with two antique bronze mirrors, and a large double-size closet for clothing and linens—all painted in the old traditional style, portraying the Greek grandparents of the present owner. Next to the bed, stands a large comfortable sofa, which becomes a double bed for children or for another person. The space around the sofa creates a cozy living area—with antique hand carved inn table, large wall mirror, cushions, pillows and a reading shelf filled with international books. Further down one enters the kitchen space, with its marble style counter space, handmade white beach pebbles wall, double size sink, counters and cupboards that were hand painted and antiqued in the traditional island style. The space is filled with subtle designer touches and beautiful bar-style lighting. The kitchen is fully equipped with a large gas oven, electric exhaust fan with light, microwave, large refrigerator, and all kitchen supplies and utensils. A bright light and a gentle breeze come through the window located towards the end of the kitchen space. The window area is decorated in local archeological finds and diver’s treasures. The window provides a lovely natural air circulation to the whole space, when cold or raining, it can easily be closed from the top. Opposite the kitchen is a large bathroom uniquely curved in shape, equipped with a large double shower cabin, sink, and mirror, cabinets adorned with the local drift wood, the toilet and the washing machine area, and laundry storage. The bathroom has its own exhaust ventilation to the outside, a window and ample light, including a decorative ambiance light built in above by the ceiling. Overall, the whole studio is filled with light fixtures, which are both bright and economical. Throughout the day, the space is filled with natural bright daylight. White thick linen curtains on the door, finished with two seashell holders, provide an escape to privacy and sleep, if needed. The space is equipped with high speed wireless Internet and landline telephone. The materials used in the studio are all natural: the wooden sealing done in a traditional log style, and the aged marble stone floor tile.
English Editing: Umur Celikyay