If, a couple of years ago, someone would have told us that we’d become the owners of a little house, we wouldn’t have believed it. Coming from Luxembourg, where having the humblest place to live demands a budget that’s off the roof, this was quite the challenging to even consider. Before we moved out to start working remotely while travelling, we had a little appartment. And we loved it, but it came with the heavy price of a mortgage. A mortgage as a huge financial commitment of money which we were responsible to pay back. For many people this is normality, or more easy to swallow when thinking about it as an “investment”. But as people who like to live in the moment, the idea of being tied down both physically & emotionally, spending the next 30 years of our lives in debt just did not feel right.
Little by little we had started questioning our entire lifestyle and started to live more minimally and more mindfully. We experimented, and by removing many obstacles, we realised that we didn’t need that much to be happy and for the sake of our wellbeing & our creativity, it didn’t make sense to be shackled at all. It was right around that time that we experimented with living nomadically, loving the freedom it brought us and soon after, selling our place and getting rid of our debt altogether.
For us, that was one of the most freeing decisions ever. It allowed us to be anywhere we liked. And so we did exactly that! We took our creative work with us anywhere and lived out of a suitcase, over Europe, Asia & Australia. This fresh start allowed us to find new inspiration, to grow and to ask ourselves an important question: “where is home“?
It was important for us to find it. Roaming around and living nomadically is such an incredible way to fill oneself with inspiration, but we craved a place to call our own. Despite being free spirits, we had always imagined finding some sort of sanctuary, a place that we could build or decorate the way we wanted to, somewhere where we could retreat & ground ourselves in between our travels, to create freely and to share with others.
For years, we had been looking for a way to create this space, without being dependent on a mortgage or a lifestyle where we have to “live to work” (and not the other way around). We had brainstormed virtually every option, trying to think out of the box as much as possible: tiny houses, co-living, and so forth… But the real epiphany came to us while we were travelling. We simply had to be away in order to realize it.
It came to us when we thought about the factor of “place”. We’re no globetrotters and yet we’ve seen a lot of places. But if there’s one particular place in this earth that has always felt like home and that has always welcomed us with open arms, it’s Crete. I could go on and on about why this place has always inspired us but I guess we’ve already written so much about it here on the blog. Crete is our soul place.
So we decided to look for a home right here on this island… and last summer, we came to find it.
After the sale of our place, we had a small budget. But we knew we’d find something here, even if it would have to be a very small or rickety old house. We travelled here on a mission to find something that inspired us, and we were quite lucky with that. After only a couple of visits, we stumbled on a little gem of a place. It was a small house, with a little studio made of stone on the side of it. It was filled with greenery, light and tucked in a little village up in the hills. I remember the day we visited it – David and I looked at each other and just couldn’t contain our excitement. This place felt magical. It had all that potential and it filled our minds with ideas right from the beginning. We knew we had to get it.
Buying that house, though, was not an easy or quick process. In Greece, these things take a lot of time and a whole lot of paperwork. However, while we were away in Japan, we we had a lawyer helping us out. We were so grateful about it as it saved us a lot of hassle from the crazy bureaucracy! So after having waited for several months and gone through quite some paperwork, right in the middle of spring we were finally told that the house is ours. From that moment, we just couldn’t wait to get back here.
It was both exciting & nerve wracking to be as far away as Japan when this was announced to us. This trip had of course been such an awesome way for us to find inspiration and ideas on how we’d like to design our home, but we also were impatient to just BE there and get started. While we were away, many sketches were done, many mood boards were made and SO many ideas were discussed, reviewed, brainstormed over and over. It was so intense. And that was before we had even started.
Let’s just say that we have big dreams for this place. We don’t just see it as a house. It’s a whole new creative project, and in fact it’s our biggest one just yet, because it’s the largest blank canvas we’ve ever gotten our hands on. It represents the opportunity of a lifetime and an adventure that to us is even bolder than leaving everything behind to live nomadically.
We are so excited about it, it’s even hard for me to put it into words. But I’ll try, because it’s going to be such an important chapter of our lives and I feel incredibly honoured to be able to share that here with you. Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll be here too!
This place will be our home, but it will also be a creative retreat, to explore new ideas and projects with no borders or limits. It will be a place which will ground us, connect us to our intuition and allow us to live at a slower, more mindful pace. Its doors will be open to friends and visitors, as we want to be able to share this island’s soul and inspiring sights with other people and make them feel welcome in this space. We imagine meaningful connections, heart-opening discussions as well as collaborative creative projects, workshops and exchanges happening here.
There is a lot of work for us to do in order to make it all come together, but we have decided to do it all by ourselves. Although it’s not the easiest way, we see it as an rewarding challenge and an opportunity to learn a bunch of useful new skills. All of this is will require creativity and perseverance, plus it’s such a great way to get away from our screens. It’s the perfect time to do that and to get our hands dirty.
We have a lot of ideas on how we want this place to look like. We want it to feel bright and light, and yet honour natural materials and imperfections. We will be bringing in textures and details from our travels and the environment around us. And as much as possible, we will keep our expectations low and our minds open, so that we can have a lot of flexibility to change things around and experiment more if needed. The idea is that at the end it should NOT look like a “Pinterest home” but rather a place that truly reflects our own personalities, lifestyle, experiences and …spontaneous artistic impulses.
The house has incredible potential for all of that, as it’s separated into several spaces. We brainstormed so much about what how we wanted to use each of these.
The main house
This is what we call the ground floor of our house itself and our top priority for the moment. It’s small but bright, so it can be anything! Right now it includes a kitchen, a bathroom and living room. We will re-do pretty much everything in there, from the floors, to the furniture and slightly changing the layout. The living room will turn into our bedroom, the new kitchen that we’ll create will include a communal sitting/relaxing/working table (which we’ll build ourselves) to offer a more flexible space.
The roof hideout
The second floor of the house is accessible through outdoor stairs and has a really lovely high roof. Right now it’s used as a master bedroom plus bathroom but our idea is to convert it into a fully separate little appartment which we can also use as a chilling/yoga room when not busy. We want this space to really feel like a sanctuary with little mystical details and bits and pieces of our travels. The tall walls here offer us an awesome opportunity to create art or display statement pieces like that beautiful kimono we found at the Boro Ichi market in Tokyo!
The creative shack
Our favourite feature in this house is the side studio. It’s made of stone, has high ceilings and looks quite rough at the moment (as it is unfinished). But that leaves us an amazing blank canvas to turn it into anything. Right now we are using this space as a dumping ground for old furniture and building materials, but our idea is to later finish up this space and turn it into a bright workshop/art studio where we can get creative and lose track of time! In the upcoming year, we want to experiment with many more activities and projects so this place will be ideal to make them happen.
Our house also has some really lovely outdoor spaces. They are completely taken over by greenery, much of which is invasive and make it impossible to go through, but we’re thinking of ways to declutter and keep things more minimal & easy on the eye, particularly on our patio. We’ll probably be changing some features by making our own stairs and finishes, and the walls will be either cleaned/repainted or occasionally be turned into mural artworks (because why not?) 🙂
The big renovation works have started already and we’ve been doing some fun things like removing old furniture and knocking down the old kitchen. We’re not completely sure how we will be documenting this whole process but I know we will in some way. What we have definitely already done is to start an instagram account dedicated to this project, called @kinlake.house. I would definitely recommend you to follow us there if you’re interested in seeing our progress, as we intend to post many pictures and instagram stories there.
Due to this project keeping us really busy (and oh my, it’s hard to keep up the balance with our studio work as well!), the blog will probably be a little slower and more occasional in the next few months. That said, if you don’t want to miss a thing when we do post an update, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter + follow us on instagram (@kinlake + @kinlake.house). We are SO excited to share all of this with you!