Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Opening day coming soon

Right now I am supposed to be making either a garden trellis for the honeysuckle vines behind the pool, or a wooden worktop for room one’s kitchen area. Too busy to write much, but I thought I should post some photos to keep everyone up to date.

Our big news is that we have our first guests coming in early May so it’s really important that everything works and that the place is looking presentable. Room two (the one we show you all the photos of) is now 99% finished, while room one needs a bit of work but things are progressing fast.

Room in close-to-final form

Room two in close-to-final form.

Other view

Another view.

Mini-kitchen done

Room two kitchen area done.

Bathroom done

Bathroom now has a vanity mirror.

Towel hooks

More welding: towel hooks for the bathroom.

With actual guests coming, we need to make sure the place is accessible. On a rainy day you would struggle to get a typical rental car up the hill, so we knew that the time had come to concrete the driveway. The preparation work takes the longest: compacting gravel in the problematic low-lying sections, building borders and formwork to hold the concrete in, laying and wiring up lots of steel reinforcement, etc. Then two very tough days of actual concrete pouring and it was done. (I am currently trying to block out the memories.)

Sirem the day before the concrete went in

Sirem checking out the reinforcement the day before the first concrete went in.

Lots of work went into this shot

Lots of work went into this shot. (And yes, the hillside is a mess: one more thing on the to-do list.)

The really urgent priority is getting room one into shape, but we also have to do some landscaping work so the place doesn’t look so much like the building site it still is. That means more garden beds and lots of plants, but we also need a path to get to the rooms, the pool, and beyond. Concrete was a good solution for the steep driveway, but obviously we didn’t want to lay it everywhere. So the path is going to be built with paving stones.

Crushed gravel to support paving stones

Compacted river gravel to support the paving.

Paving stones

Paving stones going in, drainage canal taking shape.

Koray and Berrin

Koray and Berrin working on a garden wall. Those steel structures will become concrete posts to support the entrance gate, giving the accommodation area  a bit of privacy.

For two guest rooms and the cafe, we need a lot of furniture. Tables, beds, sofas, chairs, wardrobes, and all the rest. Given that we already have a lot of woodworking tools, and that the budget is running low, it was an easy decision to make most of the stuff ourselves. (The one exception: we’re buying chairs for the cafe. Chairs are fiddly and take too long.) There’s some work in it, but it’s great to be able to build pieces in the exact size and style you want.

Bed being made

One of the beds being made.

Table, sofa

Front to back: an angle grinder used as a brutally efficient sander, a very hardworking router, a table, and a sofa.

Finished bed

A finished bed with two little bedside tables: we definitely have a chunky country aesthetic going.

A new friend came to visit a few weeks back, and we used that as an excuse to do a practice run of the breakfasts we want to serve to our guests. Hopefully the photo below helps to convince someone out there to make a booking. Speaking of which: we’re going to start by listing the place on Airbnb, but we’re just holding off on one or two little details first, like our final inspection from the council. We’ll definitely make a post when that happens though.


Breakfast on the veranda.

Very soon we will have to get out of the way and move back down to the old farmhouse. We’re going to miss the new room, of course. But the weather is much warmer now and the leaves are back on the fig trees and the grape vines, so the old house is a much more cheerful prospect than it was in mid-winter.

Spring morning in the olive grove

Spring morning in the neighbours’ olive grove.

The dogs and cats are being their usual helpful, dirty, lazy, beautiful selves, and they’re clearly as happy as we are to see the return of warmer weather. Here are some dog photos to fulfill our prescribed animal content quota.

Tito yawning

Tito yawning.

Zeliş goofing around

Zeliş goofing around.

Thanks for reading. I hope that next time we post it will be to announce that bookings are properly open. Now I have to get back to it — bye!


  1. Lorraine Warren (id:lwarren)

    25 April, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Wow the rooms look sensational

    • Jason

      25 April, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Cheers! We think people will like them, for sure. Lots of space, high ceilings, all that stuff. :)

  2. Awesome! Great furniture, great breakfasts :)

    > our first guests coming in early May

    Do you mean Mum and Dad, or actual guests? :)

    • Jason

      25 April, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Shh! They count as actual guests, you awful child. :)

      So we actually have two bookings. First one is mum and dad and D&D. Second booking is people I don’t know, a friend-of-a-friend sort of connection. So that one is definitely real!

  3. Wow, looks amazing! So much progress over the winter. I’m sure your first guests are going to love it :)

  4. did you hear that? that was my jaw hitting the floor.

    i read the sentences and i see the pictures, and still i can’t begin to imagine the hard work that you’ve put in.

    never the word awesome has been more appropriate. it’s. just. awesome.

    • Jason

      25 April, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Aww, you are too kind. It’s just getting up in the morning and connecting more things to other things. ;)

  5. Wow, what an incredible space you’ve created. I’m in awe.

    Do shout once you’ve got the Airbnb link up. You’ll need to decide how to handle guests that refuse to leave…

    • Jason

      25 April, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks very much, and don’t worry, we will spam the Airbnb link like you wouldn’t believe. I confess we haven’t considered the making-guests-leave problem at all; too focused on getting them to stay!

  6. Well done you two!
    The hard work is commendable as usual. Good luck with your first guests. We’re going to be very jealous.
    Luv, Us.

  7. My favourite part: “Then two very tough days of actual concrete pouring and it was done.”

    That picture of breakfast is almost tipping the scale against long haul flight with strong willed toddler…

    Well done you guys. Tempted to quit my job and do the same except that if someone asked me to make a bed, well, I’d straighten out the linen, not get the woodworking tools out!

    • Jason

      26 April, 2017 at 9:35 am


      We are definitely working on the Kevin Costner “if you build it they will come” philosophy.

      Thea would love it, I’m sure. She needs to learn to swim some time, right?

  8. Hi Jason and Sirem
    Firstly what a mighty effort you two continue to make – to take but one example the effort in completing the driveway must have exhausted you (and we remember just how steep it was to walk up). Be careful not to overdo the work effort.
    The nearly completed unit looks great and you should be very pleased with how it has turned out. You are now close to starting to earn a return and you deserve to have a successful outcome from the renting phase.
    Good luck with such a successful outcome.

    John and Marg

    • Jason

      26 April, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks. We’re confident people will like it once they’re here, and will tell their friends to come, etc. The problem, I suspect, is going to be convincing people to come in the first place. And standing out from the many other accommodation options. But we can only try!

  9. Hi Jason & Sirem,
    Looks fantastic and we can’t wait to see it in person.
    Breakie looks great and we are very glad that we don’t have to push the car up the hill.
    See you in 11 days.
    Dick & Dot

    • Jason

      26 April, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      Very glad you like the look of the place! See you both soon. Lots to catch up on.

  10. Congratulations brothers, for us is very exciting to watch from a distance as is staying.

  11. Stuart 'Catfish' R

    28 April, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Lovely stuff; you’ve got some lucky guests I think…

    I have helped out by advertising you widely on all the stag and hen party sites I know. Plus my garden is looking a bit shit; please can you pop over when you have a minute and help out with some landscaping? Ta.

    • Jason

      28 April, 2017 at 1:10 am

      Thanks, Stuart. Stag and hen parties will clearly be the bulk of our market so that’s much appreciated. For the garden I recommend just throwing a lot of seeds around and waiting for global warming to sort out the rest.

  12. Well done both of you :) amazing, amazing achievement. Can’t wait to come.
    Brekky looks awesome and love your photo of the olive grove :)
    Very few could achieve what you have. Not surprised the tv companies were interested x

  13. Nellie van gemert

    25 May, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    What a wonderfull guest house i love it

  14. I’ve just watched your story on a Dutch tv channel and am in absolute awe of what the both of you have been able to accomplish! Such hard labour, dedication, perseverance and all this with a good sense of humour! And wow what a great place you have built: I applaud you and wish you all the success in the world with your amazing enterprise!
    Warm regards,

    • Jason

      26 May, 2017 at 1:10 am

      Thanks for the kinds words and good wishes — we really appreciate it!

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