Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Buildings two and three underway

A small confession: the photos in this post are about a week out of date, so of course it’s very tempting to run outside with the camera and show you the latest developments. But, knowing me, there’s a danger that if I do that I’ll get stuck in an infinite loop of “just one more shot, just a little bit more processing” and then nobody would get to see anything. So I’m going to run with these, and hope that you will forgive me.

Zeytin enjoying the warm stones of the driveway.

The big news is in the title: we have, at last, started work on the second and third buildings. That’s going to be rooms three and four, and our new house respectively. This time around we’ve decided there are advantages to working on the two structures in parallel. Right now it’s small sections of brickwork for some of the bathroom walls to make sure there won’t be any straw bales right next to wet areas like showers. Then it’s on to the timber framing and getting a roof on both buildings as soon as we can, so that straw and everything else can be stored under shelter while we work.

This probably looks familiar: another T-shaped wall defining the bathrooms for rooms three and four. The junk on top is to keep rain out of the hollow brickwork.

One day this will be our en-suite bathroom (window on the left there, above the toilet; shower behind the wheelbarrow).

Timber deliveries bring a sense of deja vu.

It’s good to be making progress on this stuff while the weather is still pleasant. At this rate we’re going to be doing the framing as winter comes on, so I guess we will find out whether it’s more fun to lay roof tiles in the freezing cold or in the hottest days of summer (like last time).

West wall of room three will be right up against the back of the pool pavilion.

I wish I could say everything in the first building was 100% complete, but that isn’t quite true. Several little jobs remain — some details in the kitchen, a cupboard interior and a mirror in room one, etc. But we are getting there. And they will be good jobs for rainy days in December I suppose.

One thing that did get finished was the stone wall running up the side of the driveway. (All Koray’s work, not ours, I should admit.) There’s now a nice welcoming feel as you come up from the street. All we need now is a sign!

Stone retaining wall on the driveway is done.

The kitchen is, we hope, looking more professional now. Very pleased with how the steel-and-timber shelves worked out. We had to suspend them from the ceiling joists because the one big disadvantage of straw-bale walls is that you can’t really sink load-bearing screws into them after the fact.

Kitchen approaches completion.

Suspended shelving.

Microwave gets a spot on the shelf, freeing up lots of worktop space, and new ventilation hood also gets a bit of steel to hold it in place.

I won’t bore you with all the little details, but we were proud of this one: the laptop and the printer have been perched at one end of the bar counter for a while now. But the printer (like the microwave) was a bit of a space hog. So we put together a miniature table to sit down under the counter and keep the printer tidied away.

Mini table for the printer.

And not to neglect the many normal-sized tables we’ve been making. Two for each guest room (one inside and one out) plus about eight for the cafe, picnic tables on the terrace, and some chunky low tables for drinks by the pool.

This must be table number 10 or 11. Or 12. I lose count!

The two big things still needed in the kitchen are the pantry cupboard and a staircase to the loft. The cupboard, at least, is well on the way. You might be able to spot that the shelves are set back a bit, so we can put little spice-rack-type shelves on the insides of the doors for easy access.

Big food cupboard for the kitchen.

The terrace is looking friendlier now, with the railings painted and some potted plants bringing a bit of colour. We’re getting used to the idea of just sticking with the white gravel as a low-maintenance surface rather than doing paving stones or bricks.

Plants on the terrace.

View of the village looking autumnal; our old house in the foreground.

And finally we wanted to say thank you to all the guests who’ve spent their holiday time with us. Especially those who weren’t worried about autumn weather and turned up long after we thought the tourist season was over. We hope you had fun and that you will come back one day!

Gratuitous shot of Lara pretending to be a panther.


  1. Hi You Two,
    Excellent progress! Each of your posts reveals a degree of expertise and design that’s worthy of commendation – really pleasing. It looks to be a peaceful and relaxing spot.
    Best wishes as always.
    Diana & Cliff

    • Jason

      26 November, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks very much. Glad to hear it looks peaceful. We really want it to be a relaxing oasis for people, perhaps after they’ve spent a hectic few days in Istanbul.

      Hope all is well in Wilton Crescent.

  2. Seriously planning now. What do you th8nk of as the tourist season?

    • Jason

      26 November, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Good question. I think most tourists come to the area in June/July/August, but those months get pretty hot, so if you wanted to do anything other than lie around by the pool or beach that’s not the best time. I think the best general tourism weather is actually in the two months either side. So April/May is nice, you get to see all the wildflowers on the hills. And September/October is good, weather still pleasant and if it’s been a hot summer the water will still be warm for swimming.

      Would be great to see you!

  3. Two buildings at once must come with efficiency benefits. And psychologically, you must both be feeling good. That’s it then, right? Building 2 and 3 are the last buildings?

    Maybe you can open a table construction business once you are finished? 😉

    The white gravel looks great, and I guess has the advantage that tables and chairs don’t have to be exactly square to sit level? So no coaster folding to make the table stop rocking?

    • Jason

      27 November, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Exactly, definitely more efficient to do both lots of brickwork, both lots of framing, both lots of roof tiles, etc. Saves a lot in switching-time costs. And yes, there are only three buildings planned. After that it’s small stuff only: a pizza oven, a kooky watchtower thing for landscape photography, straw-bale doghouse perhaps, maybe a chicken coop.

      If Turkish tourism stays in the doldrums then sure, a table-making business may be our best bet. 🙂

      Gravel good for settling down a slightly wonky table, yes. Only downside is the current metal-and-wood chairs we have in the cafe have quite skinny legs, so the problem is they may sink too far into the gravel. It would suit more chunky-legged chairs, or maybe benches. Certainly works well for the picnic tables anyway.

  4. And the driveway with rock retaining wall looks fantastic. Maybe you can post a before and after of the driveway next time, it has really come a long way from a muddy track.

  5. Love watching your progress. Missed the TV documentary, but would love to see wit our own eyes. Whats the best flight connection to get to your place? already have plans for 2018 summer holidays, but hopefully after then, is Easter usually a bit too cold to swim in your gorgeous pool? Love to you both xx

    • Jason

      28 November, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Hi, Jana — great to hear from you! Hope you’re all well.

      I don’t know whether you did miss the TV documentary. As far as we know it still hasn’t screened in the UK.

      Best airports for getting to us are either Izmir (closest) or Bodrum (second closest, about 90 minutes away). I think fewer airlines are doing direct flights from London to Izmir these days, but if you don’t mind a connection in Istanbul you can still do it that way. From the north of the UK it might be easiest to get a flight to Amsterdam first as KLM fly to both Izmir and Bodrum I think.

      By Easter the pool might still be a bit chilly but the good news is the weather outside the pool will probably be warm enough to make it worth jumping in!


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