“The first time we set foot on the land where Keli and Mandri cottages proudly stand, an impressive 2.5 hectare property on top of a rocky hill overlooking the Kalo Ambeli fields, we said to ourselves this is the place to be. We are talking about what today is the Natura Residences complex.
The land had a small traditional construction, typical of the island’s architectural identity: a keli. ‘Keli’ (ancient Greek: κελλίν) stands for a small room for shepherds to rest and keep their tools. Keli has been there for at least 80 years, and its location was naturally chosen by a local farmer, who knew precisely which was the best spot in the whole hill. Thus the location of the Natura Residences is naturally one of the most breathtaking ones that the island offers as well as in harmony with the surrounds. It feels like his energy and way to treat his land has overcome the years to inspire us, and we have embraced and transformed it into a new way to offer accommodation.
And the idea came up to rebuild it in a conscious and sustainable way, respecting the environment that surrounded it for years and reconstructing it with the land’s own stone. Now this restored cottage consists of a small open area made of built-in structures of polish cement surfaces and traditional local reed ceilings. The bathroom is an independent space built over the natural rock of the land. The outdoors comprise the spacious dining area and kitchen, which is just perfect for the summer days and friendly gatherings. Undoubtedly we have chosen Keli as the flagship of the whole concept for our ongoing Natura project.
After renewing Keli we decided to rebuild Mandri, which is next to the first one. Mandri (ancient Greek: μάνδρα) used to be a small farm where cattle were kept and goat cheese was made. The residence has been designed along the same lines as Keli but giving more emphasis to indoor living and creating a more laidback luxury and contemporary ambience through eco-friendly, local and natural materials. Mandri consists of a sleeping area and living room open-plan space. The ample kitchen features a traditional island look and the minimal bathroom is built in a seamless, polish-cement whiteness surface. The whole indoor area opens to the outdoor terraces, which offer an impressive panoramic view to the Aegean Sea. It comprises two different zones, a nice dining room equipped with massive wood furniture and a built-in lounge area. A wild chestnut wood pergola provides comforting shade to the whole outdoor space.
The architectural work has been carried out by C-O lab studio, led by the young talented architect Olga Ktena, who is original from the island. The fact that she’s is from Serifos has revealed a flawless and unique way to treat the materials and the architectural aspects and design.”
Words: Lucía Vázquez Álvarez
Design Team: C-O lab (Olga Ktena, Marilena Ellinikaki)
Construction: Christos Siantrivanopoulos
Images © Alexandros Voutsinas, Chloe Kritharas Devienne