Opening up the boxes of delight
Written by Pete Wilcock
Whenever we are planning a return to Rhodes and the villa our thoughts inevitably turn to what`s next? and what can we buy for the villa? Luckily a good new idea is never too far away and we are never afraid to spend a few pennies changing and enhancing the villa, keeping it fresh and alive. At the same time it is about keeping it interesting and rewarding for ourselves and, ultimately, hopefully, adding to the pleasure for our guests during a stay.
A couple of weeks or so before flying back to Rhodes another inevitability is a trip to a nearby storage warehouse to buy two or three big packing boxes, bubble wrap and gaffer tape! Before those boxes are packed up the spare bedroom is usually brimming with all of our latest special villa purchases that, every time, resemble those photographs you see of Tutkhamun`s Tomb piled up high with treasures – albeit with a lot less gold! And on a budget!
When packed those “treasures” become our luggage – hardly room for a pair of socks for ourselves. Did you know on flights you can send a box the size of a washing machine over in place of a suitcase? We’ve become quite the experts in getting items over from the UK to Rhodes. Checking in we always get the oddest looks and extra suspicious questions from the check-in girl – surely we are not the first to do this? Maybe we are! But preparing for all of this is always a highlight.
Unpacking the boxes the other side usually happens the next morning – so it feels a bit like Christmas Day – there are always a few surprises as we have often forgot what we have sent over. We always exchange a few puzzled looks and ask ourselves did we really need that? But mostly there is a nice thrill of anticipation to unpack and set up what we had brought along this time.
I write this early January 2016 and we are already planning and buying ready for our next trip in March. So the wheel forever turns…We are not quite ready to reveal what we have up our sleeves for the next visit but if we rewind a little to our last trip we can share what was inside that last collection of packing boxes at the end of October 2015….
Wallpaper (6 BIG rolls of!)
click on any image to enlarge
Those were easily the most bulkiest item this latest visit and by far the biggest rolls of wallpaper we have ever seen. Extra wide and made from a heavy grass cloth it was not only an unusual thing to transport but also unusual and time consuming to hang. The wallpaper was for the living room and kitchen – long overdue for a makeover. Many of the most depressing rooms we have seen have one thing in common: bad use of scale. Sometimes it is people putting ridiculously oversized lamps or art in place, other times it can be sofas that just fill and dominate the entire room or miserable dark walls that close everything in. Although we are fortunate that our living room here at the villa is a very good size, with the high ceilings a great bonus, we were very guilty of closing things in with a darker wallpaper. Once that (orange) wallpaper was removed it was replaced with this grass cloth wallpaper in a predominant soft duck egg blue and overlaid white pattern. It transformed this room, not only bringing in a fresh, brighter new look, it showcases the size of this room – everybody commented how bigger the living room and adjacent kitchen looked. This smart revamp is now ready for our 2016 guests to enjoy.
lamps and shades
The third bedroom offered two single beds, a strikingly contemporary metallic wallpaper and – for a number of years – a hideously over the top mirror (with cherubs!!) and the same (less than basic) ceiling light that the builders of the house had installed. So this last set of packing boxes included a new glass ceiling lantern along with a collection of 5 circular mirrors, attached to leather straps, to hang over the featured wallpapered wall. A brown tartan lampshade completed the subtle change and gave the room a much smarter and more masculine look.
Sail Cloth shades
Another heavy space taker – the outdoor Mediterranean Kitchen received extra shade with 3 strikingly positioned sail cloth covers, wire hung and handmade in greys and cream coloured cloth. This hugely popular courtyard area includes chimney BBQ, stone sink, marble covered food preparation space, drinks chiller, stone seating, intricate mosaic floor and an abundance of potted plants. Now nicely shaded off for the hotter months of the year.
A Tea Timer and Reading Glasses
Attention to detail, no matter how small, is always important to us – little thoughtful touches – and there are a few lovely ideas being lined up for this year…we now include a Tea Timer (to help make you the perfect light, medium or strong brew) and also a box of reading glasses (varying strengths) with lens wipes – just in case you forget your reading glasses! Arguably fluff and not essential – such items are a bit of fun and add to the overall experience we hope VLK will always be.
Metal house sign: VLK logo
Another heavy item was an iron, acid-etched version of our popular new logo for the villa. This was made local to us in Cheshire at a nearby blacksmiths. The VLK logo is now also used as the house sign and is positioned in the front garden on the threshold into the villa. The placing of those three letters concluded the extensive rebranding and revamping of the villa we made in 2015. Everything is now all ready to welcome our 2016 visitors.
And the above is just a small example of what we bring over each visit. There are always some new coffee table books (a new blog discussing some of those amazing books coming later this month), magazines, kitchen items, complimentary toiletries and fragrances – and always, always some new cushions!!
This latest set of additions means we are already very well set up ready for 2016. But, of course, our next visit will see some more such packing boxes filled to the brim. More of our final finishing touches for this coming season will be revealed in the weeks ahead…
Luxury on Rhodes. Reinvented.