Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

It’s framing again

At the risk of never talking about anything except construction… it’s good to be doing timber framing again. Compared to detail work like making windows or furniture, it all goes very fast as most of the time you don’t need to sand or stain the wood. Just cut it to size, get it up there, and fire some nails into it. (OK, with some of the bigger beams it’s a bit more involved, but the basic story is the same.)

Framing the walls for rooms three and four.

And at the end of each day you’ve got something different to what you started with: it’s a great morale boost to see the skeleton of a building emerge from the concrete slab.

We’ve alternated our work on the two buildings (i.e., the bungalow that will be rooms three and four, versus our new house-to-be). First the brickwork, then the treated timber base plate, then on top of that the wall framing, followed by the central beams. Currently we’ve reached the stage of putting up rafters for building two. So a real roof is not far off. It’s going to make the straw bale work a lot easier this time to have the roof up first, the way it’s supposed to happen. We won’t have to panic and drag out the tarpaulins every time it rains.

Roof tiles will get used soon after a year of waiting around.

Treated timber bolted down to the slab for our new house.

Hopefully the pool pavilion will look a bit less lonely once building two is done. You can see in the shot below how close it is to the west wall of room three. Close enough to be partially tucked in under the eaves. And the solid wall of the new building will help make the pavilion a shady spot for a few more hours each day.

Rooms three and four main beam up.

The wall timbers are up for the new house, and now we’re just waiting on some of the larger beams and joists to arrive for the next push upwards. The house has a significantly taller roofline than the other two buildings, to make room for that mezzanine first-floor bedroom. So there’s a minor worry that it could look a bit overly imposing. On the other hand, it should help that it will be the one right at the back. We’ll see how it works out. Too late to change the plans now!

New house starts to take shape.

Sketchup diagram of the new house shows what we’re working towards.

View through the house from front door to back.

One day these will be the kitchen windows looking out onto olive trees.

Winter brings a huge proportion of the annual rainfall around here, so that means we get days where it really buckets down. Not much you can do while that’s happening except take the day off, or maybe do some metalwork in our little workshop under the pool deck. The day afterwards is tricky, too, as you don’t want to be climbing up on woodwork that is still slippery from the rain.

Rainy day construction.

Rainy day metalwork: cutting some angle iron for corner bracing.

Luckily it is never too long until the sun comes out again. Here’s a nice sunny day shot looking up the driveway. You can see all the new work happening in the centre distance there.

View up the driveway from the cafe area. Gate coming one day soon.

It struck me the other day that I probably haven’t taken a photo that wasn’t cats, dogs, or construction in more than a year. Which is a bit sad, but it’s hard to get away and take pictures when there’s still so much to do. So this week I did try to do something a little bit different. But more on that below. First let’s get the required animal photos out of the way.

Coco, pretending not to be interested in the camera.

Lucy is growing up to be a lovely half-cat, half-giraffe cross.

Suzie, who you don’t get to see much of because she is shy.

Fluffy — not really our dog, but an admirer of Zeliş’s who visits a lot. He’s very sweet.

So I did get away, just slightly, to take some different photos to the usual. I confess I didn’t get very far though, and really they ended up being construction photos after all, so I will need to do more to break out of this rut. Anyway, here’s a trail winding up into the hills on the other side of the valley from our place. (Not the big Meander Valley; I mean the little valley our village sits in.)

Trail in the hills.

I went up there because it’s a hillside we look at every day, and I figured if we can see it there must be a good view from there looking back at us. Very happy with the resulting shots, as apart from the aerial shots on Google Maps we’ve never had such a nice overview of the project in one photo before. From left to right, you can see the water tanks, the new house, building two, the pavilion and the pool, the original building, and then the driveway winding down and to the left, leading down to the old farmhouse. It’s also nice to see how much we’re surrounded by olive trees.

View back towards our place giving an overview of the project.

Wider shot for context.

In the wide shot we’re that cluster of buildings about a third of the way in from the right-hand side. I really like this one as it properly shows we’re in the foothills of those mountains in the background.

And one final bit of news: we were pleasantly surprised to find some people had made bookings for February. Weren’t really expecting guests until things warm up in April or May. But we’re grateful, and I hope the weather repays their optimism!

Edit: by special request, some more Sketchup views of the house. There’s a fair bit of detail so you can click on these four images for a larger view.

View from the south.

View from the north-west showing rear veranda roof. Might make it into a covered porch one day.

Structure of the mezzanine area and stairs.

Interior view showing kitchen / lounge area and catwalk leading to south window (view from up there will be too good not to build a catwalk).



  1. Towards the end I was getting a bit worried about the lack of animal pics, but they appeared just in time.
    So how much faster would you estimate you are building rooms 3 and 4 after having done rooms 1 and 2 before?

    • Jason

      31 January, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      It’s a good question. So far I would say we’re going twice as fast, because there are so many situations that are familiar now, and we don’t need to spend time on testing out possible ways to solve a new problem. Not sure that will continue into work like plastering though, where you just have to put in the hours.

  2. Great to see the wide angle shots :-)

    • Jason

      31 January, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks! Was really happy with them, didn’t think we could get that level of context shot without a drone. :)

  3. Oh God yes please show me more sketchup drawings of the house. I was initially anxious at their absence, but it was worth the wait for the cat shots.

    • Jason

      1 February, 2018 at 10:39 am

      OK, you know how reluctant I normally am to share such things, but just for you Leo. :) Give me a couple of hours and I’ll put some more sketches up.

    • Jason

      1 February, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      OK, more Sketchup added above. Enjoy!

  4. Wow the paving on the driveway looks great, and your sketch up skills are very impressive (having just tried to draw our house in sketch up I’m marveling at the individual rafter level of detail)!

    • Jason

      1 February, 2018 at 10:42 am


      It’s just practice really. Sketchup feels very clunky at first but then after you get used to the controls it all starts to go faster. I was initially horrified at the prospect of including every single piece of wood in the model, but it’s a really useful thing to do. Helps a lot with counting up how much timber you need to buy and what sizes, for example. My advice would be use groups and components liberally (every single piece of wood is a group in my stuff) and use layers to keep it all organized and avoid being overwhelmed. I have layers like “framing: vertical pieces”, “framing: main beams”, “framing: roof timbers”, etc.

      Also, if your computer starts to chug a bit after the model gets complex, switch to something simple like monochrome view and it will run a lot more fluidly.

  5. a wonderful dreamlike house .

  6. Dear Jason & Sirem, The Architects, Draftsmen & Master Builders of Germencik. We are very remiss in not telling you sooner how much we enjoy seeing your luxury village progressing. Your dream home looks very challenging to build with it’s cathedral windows, but we know you guys…where there’s a will there’s a way!! Hope to see a pic of you two snuggled up in front of the open fire by next winter. We felt quite nostalgic seeing all the lovely photographs & remembering those surrounding views. Love Dot & Dick

    • Jason

      20 February, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks very much! “Village” is very kind, it’s really only four rooms and a house. :)

      Yes, the cathedral ceilings are going to be tricky, but it will help that we are building the second floor joists and the catwalk first. So we will have something to stand on, and put some scaffolding on, before we have to put up those really high beams and rafters. It would have been a huge challenge if we had done it first, but we’re slowly getting better at that sort of thing and I think we will manage OK.

      Snuggling by the fire with the cats by next winter is definitely the goal! I think we can get there. And you have to come back before too long and see the view from the upstairs windows in our house — should be even better. :)

  7. Hi
    Your program has now been shown in New Zealand – I am very impressed with your bravery and tenacity – what a wonderful result.
    I was relieved when I found your property on the internet and to find that you are still living your dream.
    Congratulations on a job well done and I look forward to following your progress on the next stage

    • Jason

      21 April, 2018 at 5:04 pm


      Yes, we’re still here, and still building. Bookings and guests are coming in, but a few more would be good. ;) Should be opening rooms three and four by the end of the summer, and then it’s just our new house at the top of the block to finish. We’ll get there eventually!

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