{decorating with style} Greek Island Inspiration

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

As Scott and I celebrated our 6th anniversary this past week, I shared three wedding inspired decorating projects here on the blog.  Then on Saturday, we had our first night out since Cooper was born!  We braved a torrential downpour in order to enjoy a fantastic anniversary dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Izakaya Den.  Seriously people, if you live in Denver and haven't eaten here - you are totally missing out!  And if you don't live here, make sure this place is on your list when you visit!  Ok, before I start making you look at photos of my sushi, I'll move on to something more interesting...

Since last week was wedding week on the blog, that makes this week honeymoon week!  Unfortunately that doesn't mean that we are again escaping to some exotic location, but it does mean that I'm going to relive some fantastic memories of our honeymoon in Greece and share with you how that trip inspired the design of our guest room. 

After spending the first few days of our honeymoon exploring Athens, we set off for the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.  The quiet and secluded beaches.  The crystal clear blue of the sky and the endless sea.  The picturesque, scattered whitewashed villages and countless blue domed churches.  It's impossible to visit and not be inspired!

Mykonos is known for its windmills, whitewashed sugar cube style houses with brightly colored doors and shutters, and its magnificent sandy beaches.  The main town of Chora is a maze of narrow, white cobblestone alleys.  It was built this way to confuse invading pirates, but today the winding streets simply add to the charm and provide a perfect excuse to spend a day just getting lost.  Outside of town, getting lost continues to be part of the adventure, as maps of the island have no street names.  All you really need to know is that if you drive far enough in any one direction, you'll always end up at a beautiful beach.


After a few days in Mykonos, we continued on to our final destination of Santorini, which has one of the Aegean's most unique landscapes.  The town of Oia, at the north end of the island, sits atop 1,000 foot cliffs.  Tucked into the cliffs of Oia are traditional cave houses connected by steep and winding stairs, and rising above the cliffs are endless whitewashed churches with the blue domes that Santorini is known for.  As a result of it's cliff side location, Oia boasts panoramic views of the volcanic island and the indigo waters of the partially sunken caldera.  Many of the doors and gates in Oia seemed to open directly to the sea.  Visiting the island, it's not hard to understand why speculation is rife that Santorini is what remains of the mythical lost kingdom of Atlantis.


Santorini is also known for it's sunsets, which are considered some of the most beautiful in the world.  Every evening, crowds of tourists and locals alike gather in the town of Oia to watch the sun set over the water.  Scott and I were fortunate to be staying in a traditional cave house style hotel overlooking both Oia and the sea, so we were able to enjoy gorgeous sunsets from the privacy of our own balcony.


I would sum up our honeymoon in the Greek Isles as pure bliss and pure relaxation!  That is precisely why, when we moved into a home with space for a guest room, we decided to infuse some inspiration from our travels in Greece.  After all, what guest doesn't want a relaxing place to stay? 

In addition to drawing on the beauty of the blue and white architecture of the islands, we were specifically inspired by the amazing hotel where we stayed while on the island of Mykonos.  When Scott and I travel we are always on the go, wanting to see and do as much as possible - we don't do well sitting on beaches or laying around for any extended period of time.  So those who know us well would probably be shocked to know that shortly after arriving at the Mykonos Grace Hotel, we actually decided to cancel a day trip to the archaeological site on the neighboring island of Delos in favor of spending an entire afternoon just lounging around by the hotel pool.  But the hotel was just so beautiful and so relaxing that we couldn't pull ourselves away.


The hotel's pool and open-air restaurant bar made us want to sit and stare out at the sea all day, but the hotel's interior features were just as calming.  Adjacent to the pool, the "library" was filled with massive white bean bag chairs and overstuffed blue pillows that just called out for you to plop down and take an afternoon nap.


The walls of both the library and the hotel lobby were adorned with an inspiring quote by Gill Nono that read:
"The silence of knowing, the certainty of protection,
the joy of giving, the smile for no reason,
the embrace that is yielding, the look that speaks volumes,
the sleep that is weightless, the release of control,
the trust of fate, the patience of time, the certainty of right..."



Myknonos Grace is built in the traditional sugar cube style of whitewashed architecture.  The all-white exterior is often nearly indistinguishable from the predominately all-white interiors.  Even many of the flowers throughout the hotel are white, including my favorites - orchids!  However, the white is accented throughout with touches of bamboo used in a variety interesting of ways - from roofing to light fixtures.


Consistent with the overall theme of the hotel, our room at Mykonos Grace had white walls, white bedding, and nearly all white furniture, except for the bamboo toned desk.  The bathroom, on the other hand, had dark grey walls which contrasted against the white fixtures and bamboo shelving.



Lighting is, of course, always important in any space, and each hotel room at Mykonos Grace features a unique lighting element in the form of a backlit framed photo above the bed.  The room where we stayed had a massive, backlit black and white photograph of drop of water, but many of the other rooms in the hotel featured color photos in predominantly blue tones.  I fell totally in love with these backlit photos and the gorgeous mood lighting they create!


We visited Mykonos Grace Hotel just months after it opened, but within the following year the hotel began receiving international recognition for its design, including winning the European Hotel Design of the Year Award.  I'm glad we snuck in early on, because, after having been named to the Conde Nast "Hot List," I doubt we could afford to stay there these days.  Fortunately, however, we now have a little slice of Mykonos Grace right in our own home.  

Click here to see how we drew upon the inspiring design of Mykonos Grace Hotel to fashion a relaxing and inviting guest room, with its en suite bathroom, that recreates the feeling of bliss we experienced while traveling throughout Mykonos and Santorini.

Looking for more creative ways to incorporate your wedding and honeymoon momentos into your home decor? Check out these links:


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