Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

The furniture update

Quick disclaimer: we are not as close to being finished as some of these photos make it look. But we are getting closer!

Shortly we’ll have to decide which online booking sites we’re going to use. And we’ll need to make our listings look as good as possible. We could take bookings right now for, say, April 2017, but one problem is all our photos (for obvious reasons) make the place look like a building site. With this in mind, some friends had a great idea: why not borrow some furniture and take a few photos that show how things are going to look in a few months time when we’re actually ready for guests?


Sun lounges by the pool

Sun lounges by the pool

So we did. The furniture came from a few different places. We concentrated mostly on getting the pool area and the interior of room two to look good. Big thanks to Sirem’s mum Nadire, her sister Çisem, and her cousin Mevlüde for all the work on the beautiful quilt for the bed.

Interior with bed

Interior with bed. (That’s the bathroom door on the left, but sadly the bathroom was in no state to be photographed yet.)

Interior with door

Interior with column and front door.

Interior with sofa

Interior with sofa.

You’ve probably spotted the lack of floor tiles by now but hopefully we got away with it. The raw concrete slab doesn’t look great but I’d like to think it doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the decor.

Breakfast on the verandah perhaps?

Breakfast on the verandah perhaps?

It was good to put some real tables and chairs into the cafe: very reassuring to see that seating sixteen or twenty people in the dining area is completely realistic. Although we expect most people will want to sit outside on the terrace in the summer, it’s good to have seating space for cold or rainy days.

Cafe dining area

Cafe dining area

Originally it was just going to be a door and a sort-of serving hatch connecting the kitchen with the cafe, but that looked like a missed opportunity to have a proper bar. Years of visiting British pubs must have unconsciously left a mark as we seem to have reproduced one.

We have accidentally built a pub.

We have accidentally built a pub.

That thing just to the right of the bar, on the wall near the light switches, is our straw bale “truth window”. The idea is to leave a window opening in the interior plaster so people can see that there really are straw bales inside the wall. I didn’t quite get this convention at first, but now that we have seen the bales disappear from view, I understand why everyone does it.

Straw bale "truth window".

Straw bale “truth window”.

Garden doing OK.

Garden doing OK.

We were happy with the furnished photos but of course the furniture all had to be given back to the people we borrowed it from and building work had to go on. One big job recently has been putting insulation into the ceiling, between rafters, and then concealing it with interlocking wooden planks. I had been a bit worried that an all-timber ceiling might make the room look a bit like the inside of a sauna, but I’m happy with the result. See what you think.

Insulation and timber paneling going on the ceiling.

Looking straight up at insulation and timber paneling going between the rafters.

Night-time shot of the new ceiling.

A shot of the new ceiling.

No point having windows unless you eventually put some glass in them, and thus we contacted a local glass factory with good prices on double glazing. The only downside was they don’t deliver, so we had to lay all that glass in the back of the truck, wrapped in blankets and bubble wrap, and drive home very carefully. Nothing broke — yay!

Glass for windows and mirrors has arrived.

Glass for windows and mirrors has arrived.

Build your own windows for fun and profit.

Build your own windows for fun and profit.

Right, and in conclusion: I would write more but the truth is I need to sleep so I can get up in the morning and build more things. Here’s your animal photo as required by popular demand (something a bit different today).

Sorry, no cat or dog photos. Will you accept a tortoise?

Sorry, no cat or dog photos. Will you accept a tortoise?

And I am going to keep posting photos of that mountain until I feel I have got the definitive one. Quite happy with this shot though as it makes it look like we live a few kilometres from Mount Doom.

Sunset panorama from the highest point on our block.

Sunset panorama from the highest point on our block. (Zoomable full-size version here.)


  1. Very nice! I love the wooden roof, it looks awesome. And yeah, I can see why people leave the straw bale window, you really wouldn’t know they were there otherwise.

    The tortoise lives there, or is just visiting?

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 12:22 am

      Very glad you like the roof. I was seriously nervous about it and considered lots of other options. Even hessian fabric glued onto thin panels. I just didn’t like the thought of the slightly claustrophobic “sauna look”. But I think what saves it from that are the vast expanses of white plaster. Timber paneled roof looks fine as long as there is plenty of plaster around for contrast.

      Tortoise is just visiting. You see them a lot in the olive groves or wandering into the garden.

  2. Oh, and the bar is a great idea. How far to stagger from the bar to the pool? Or will you deliver drinks poolside?

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 12:23 am

      Let’s see, bar-to-pool is about 20 metres or so. The length of the foundation slab, basically. But we will definitely be delivering poolside drinks, no problem. :)

  3. Looks fantastic.

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 12:30 am

      Cheers! I wish I had thought of the furniture idea myself. It was worth the trouble as it shows things off a lot better.

  4. Awesome Jason, works for me. I like the truth window idea – they do a similar thing here in a pub in Feilding, local town

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 12:43 am

      Thanks! Yes, I think the “truth window” thing is almost a cliche in the straw-bale building world. And so, ever the contrarian, I was thinking about not doing it. But when you see all that hard work of stacking the bales disappearing forever you quickly change your mind! :)

  5. Life affirming.

    I remember, in what seems like the very recent past, you slouching at a plastic desk in a cell-like ‘office’, poring over Google Earth photos and SketchUp drawings and so on, and talking about dreaming about doing this.

    And here it is, actualized.

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 10:32 am

      My desk was plastic?! I was living a lie!

      Seriously though, thanks. In some ways that chat feels like a long time ago and in some ways it feels like yesterday. You’re right though: it is hugely satisfying to see the thing go from Sketchup plan to real-world object.

  6. Can’t wait to book. Beautiful pictures again BTW!

  7. Jason and Sirem, you, along with family have made an eternally beautiful addition to a village with it’s own unique heritage. What you have given is beyond words and will reap benefits for generations to come. You have every right to feel satisfied, proud and accomplished, a well done simply doesn’t do it! There must be an Aussie/Turk linguistic fusion to express it but it eludes me……… for now!

  8. I love what you have accomplished. It looks fantastic. You guys are so handy.

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Thanks, Lloyd. We didn’t know we were handy until very recently! I think we have surprised even ourselves.

  9. I’ve only just stumbled upon your blog but your build looks fantastic. If you accept doggy visitors, I’ll be up next year to stay.

    • Jason

      10 December, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks very much.

      We have three dogs and 11 cats at the moment so we are inherently pet-friendly. I’m sure we can make arrangements for a doggy visitor!

      Also, Sirem has asked me to mention that she follows your blog and loves it.

  10. You have a bar! Oh my god that is just the best news I’ve had in ages. :) I found a cocktail list we printed out in Berlin for a party I think. Good times.

    • Jason

      11 December, 2016 at 12:59 am

      I think deep down both of us knew there was always going to be a bar. Glad we could cheer you up though! :) Give me a little more time to strategically place a fridge and some drinks behind said bar and then we will be ready for a Berlin revival. Given the world political scene some Weimar-themed drinking seems appropriate.

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