This Abandoned House Turned B&B in Athens Is Almost Like Sleeping in a Gallery
It’s hard to know what to call Esperinos. It was an abandoned family home before its owners invited designer Stamos Michael to turn it into a one-bedroom rental property; you can book it nightly like an Airbnb, but it’s not on Airbnb, nor is it even a B&B since no one’s there to serve you breakfast in the morning. And it’s not rentable year-round — from November to April, it’s used an exhibition and program space for Grace, the agency and arts organization run by Michael and three of his fellow Athens creatives. Filled with designer furnishings and local contemporary art, it’s almost like a gallery you can (sometimes) pay to sleep in. “We want people to be able to experience everything that’s happening in Greece’s art and design culture right now in a more substantial way,” says Michael. “You can stay in a design hotel, but most design hotels are the same everywhere you go.”
Everything about Michael’s process of transforming Esperinos from a collapsing wreck into a stylish residence was rooted in the local. When rebuilding the house, he installed huge windows to make the outdoor space feel integral to the project, referencing the neighborhood’s golden age in the ’60s, when its artists and folk musicians would regularly gather in each others’ backyards. The house’s external staircases and internal landings echo the white-stucco architecture of the Cycladic islands, and inside are lined with vintage Greek ceramic tiles. The sleeping loft features geometric cut-outs inspired by Athenian post-modernism, and the color-blocked walls are peppered with small cut-outs meant to expose the home’s vernacular stone structure. Even the kitchen is stocked with local organic foods and wines.
Then of course there’s the furniture, much of which is Michael’s. In addition to pieces from his existing portfolio — like the steel and lacquered wood-veneer chair we featured when we first wrote about his work in 2019 — the living room contains a small stool he made from the marble offcuts one regularly finds on the side of the road in Tinos, where marble is the island’s main industry. As often as we get to see work like this in our roles as design editors, it’s a real treat to be able to actually live with it, even for a short time. For booking inquiries, head to Esperinos’s website.
PHOTOS BY MARGARITA YOKO NIKITAKI