Julia Klimi

At the old olive mill

The private hideout of Maria Demetriades in Paros combines art with the carefree air of holidays

When Maria Demetriades first visited Lefkes, the beautiful Paros village with the neoclassical houses, she fell in love at once with the old oil mill that stood among the vineyards. Now a passionate inhabitant of Paros, she spends much of her time on the island, and the rest of the time she runs the well-known Medusa gallery art in downtown Athens.
Not surprisingly, her house is a lively artistic space. Some of the most prominent names of contemporary Greek art are represented here: Takis, Nakis Tastsioglou, Yorgos Rorris, Yorgos Gyparakis, Panos Raymondos, Yannis Dimitrakis, Maria Vlanti, etc. The strong daylight invades through the large wooden windows and highlights the scattered artworks. A few pieces of furniture, designed specifically for the house by Takis or coming from well-known firms and designers like Arflex and Philippe Starck, merely complement the austere décor.
The rough and sturdy look of the old oil mill appealed to the owner, so the stone walls remain exposed externally while inside the white plastered walls alternate with expanses of visible stone. The austere spaces are striking thanks to the immense, 6m-high ceilings with old wooden beams and reed and the white walls which reflect the Aegean light. The absence of dividing walls allows the hostess and her guests to move freely around, and the natural materials—stone, wood, marble—afford a sense of freedom and relaxation. After all, as Maria Demetriades says, “the ideal home is where you can lie barefoot on a sofa and enjoy the sight of a good work of art”.
The hub of the house is the large sitting room with the various artworks such as Takis’s Light Signals and the simple fireplace made of recycled marble; extending uninterrupted around this space are the bedroom, a second sitting room, the bathroom and the kitchen. The large bathroom, the space where the olives were once washed and where the old cistern was converted into a bath, is the most special room in the house, lined entirely with old local marble. The marble sink designed by Maria Demetriades is a true work of art, while two pieces by Annita Argyroiliopoulou complete this unique setting.
The terrace gives an uninterrupted view of the village on one side and the valley of olive groves on the other. Stone steps lead to the garden with its marble-slab paths, with artworks like the Cycladic statuette by Maria Vlanti standing amidst the olive trees. Maria spends all her free time on the island. Winter weekends are spent with friends around the fireplace, in the spring she rides around the island’s hills and beaches, while in the hot summer evenings she often gives parties for many guests who enjoy the candlelit terrace at dusk and the view of the village and the sea. The colours of the sunset paint red the horizon and the white housetops amidst the olive trees. The magic is completed by Takis’s Aeolian Signals and Triple—works designed to communicate with the universe.