Located in a late 1960s apartment building in Varkiza, the traditionally vacation-oriented southern beachside suburb of Athens, this 60sm apartment had been preserved in its original condition, like a time capsule. Re-imagined as a summer apartment for a vacationing couple, our renovation/restoration tactic involved highlighting the apartment’s original 60s features, present in the black marble floors and the extensive amount of custom handmade woodwork. Simultaneously, we provided it with a fresher edge while subtly enhancing it with low and high tech features to meet the modern dweller’s standards of comfort and functionality.

The layout is simple and efficient, with a circular flow. Punctured by large doors and interior openings, the sense of continuity is augmented through the visual and physical interconnectedness of the spaces, while offering options for multiple levels of privacy.

We aimed to heighten the lightness of the space through the promotion of light penetration and the use of color: the doors of the entry vestibule and neighboring kitchen were removed; the interior window/serving station between the kitchen and living room was freed and widened, while its surrounding niches were painted sunshine yellow; all walls were tinted light blue and the ceilings bright white. The original wood paneling, bronze handles and lighting fixtures were stripped of their aged varnishes and returned to their original, satin luster.

Furthermore, color was strategically used to denote the existence of the interventions: all new metal details and structures were powder coated matte black to separate them from the original bronze, and all new inbuilt furniture was painted light blue or sunshine yellow. The kitchen and bathroom were fully renovated to give them a cleaner, fresher look, and bring them up to date. In particular, the kitchen was replaced with bright yellow lacquered cabinets, showcasing the original bronze handles and a new black marble countertop, handpicked to match the floor. The same marble was used in the bathroom to create a bathtub niche. The use of circular washbasins, dressing room-style mirrors, and a reading light contribute to its playful attitude.

The storage capacity of each room was increased to meet modern demands. A bright yellow lacquered interlocking coat closet/bench/shoe cabinet was added in the entry vestibule, and a light blue lacquered bed set and storage unit/desk was added in the bedroom. All existing closets and cupboards were updated functionally and technologically, and their interiors were painted light blue. The living/dining room’s most prominent original feature is the functional wooden divider separating it from the kitchen. Extending from it is a retractable dining table, which we enhanced with black metal legs that morph into a pull bar. The bent black metal shelves and TV system, as well as the free-standing couch and glass table were custom designed by AK-A especially for this project and formally reflect a 60s visual language.

While referencing the original character of the apartment in the color of the wood and the linearity of the forms, our aim was to provide a more contemporary touch through the use of straight, continuous lines, and a vibrant yet relaxing color palette of cool blues with a pop of warmer hues.

Photos © Yiorgis Yerolymbos