By Hong Xinying
January 07, 2021
Inspired by its sleek architecture and spacious outdoor areas, this home in Athens is now a restful retreat for an artistic family
Defined by its minimalist white facade, this abode is surrounded by the leafy streets of the Kifissia district in Athens, Greece. Designed by Greek architect Jenny Nomikou, the property is the home of a busy Greek entrepreneur. The owner wanted to turn the house into a sanctuary that she could enjoy relaxing in with her family and friends; the outdoor areas in particular were to be well-furnished to make the most of the property’s verdant surroundings. The client and her family are also avid art collectors, having acquired masterpieces from various epochs, and the home was to showcase their exquisite assemblage of works.
The client greatly admired the understated aesthetic of French design brand Liaigre, and thus enlisted Liaigre Design Service, the brand’s interior decoration arm, to decorate the 8,611sqft villa. Founded by the late French designer Christian Liaigre, who passed away in September, the eponymous brand remains true to its minimalist ethos and understated approach to design, as embodied by this Athens abode.
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Given the property’s sizeable footprint, the biggest challenge for this project was to create a cosy ambience while keeping the design language cohesive throughout the house, both indoors and out. To achieve this, the team selected recurring materials for the furnishings that unite the outdoor areas with the interior.
The Hestia armchair, as well as some of the chaise longues within the home, are made with wenge wood, which is also employed in some of the outdoor furniture selected for the abode. Beige, brown and other earthy hues are accentuated with crimson and tangerine accents that add dynamism to various spaces in the house. Natural textures of silk on the rugs and the use of linen for cushions and bedding sets bring both a luxurious and soothing touch.
Everything from the made-in-France furniture to the decorative trays and quilts was carefully chosen to convey both comfort and style. The clean lines of the interior architecture are heightened by the streamlined forms of the furnishings and home accessories from Liaigre. The use of dark wood is a pleasing contrast to the white walls and light wood flooring, while the high-gloss finish of the lacquered table tops adds a polished touch to the elegant tableau.
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The design team took much care to subtly weave in references to the local context while decorating the home. Take, for instance, the Page bookcases in the living room, which were loosely inspired by the monumental proportions of Greek Orthodox churches. These handsome shelves also tastefully display the owner’s favourite art books and are paired with the square Jamaican dogwood coffee table, an anchor piece that mirrors the narrow windows of the living area.
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Another notable feature is the Honoré fireplace, created in collaboration with French artist and designer Eric Schmitt. This model is crafted in bronze with a raw finish that adds a textural dimension to the living area, and is one of a few bronze pieces designed by Schmitt for this abode.
A striking chandelier was also specially crafted for the stairwell to create a focal point by the entrance. The lighting piece is made using hi-macs, an acrylic-and-mineral composite surface with a subtle, translucent quality that’s juxtaposed with the black patina on its brass structure. Though simple in form, the hefty piece spans three storeys, and was a considerable technical feat realised by Liaigre’s Paris-based lighting studio.
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The house has five large terraces which can be simultaneously viewed together from certain angles. Among these is an outdoor dining room, which is shielded from the sun by a pergola and flanked by a mossy green vertical garden; it is furnished with a custom banquette in oiled teak and upholstered in an outdoor fabric. A generous arrangement of cushions invites the family to rest and lounge in this dining space on fair-weather days.
Another of the family’s favourite outdoor areas is the rooftop terrace, which is furnished with Lyse sofas, custom-made in oiled teak and upholstered in an outdoor fabric. The accompanying Aubier coffee table is similarly crafted in oiled teak, and matched with the Misti side table and Herisson armchairs that feature an oiled teak backrest.
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It is testament to the design team’s creative efforts and the brand’s restrained design philosophy that the final result looks beautifully conceived, with nary an element out of place. Each space works as elegantly well on its own, while coming together harmoniously as a stunning whole.
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