Conversation with Nicholas Chiotellis of Athena Penthouse
Athena Penthouse is a big corner flat in the heart of Athens, located rather enviably at the foot of the Acropolis. From its terrace, the ancient temple shines in the sunset; from its balconies, the activities of the restaurants and bars provide a live show. Inside, a very special light shines on great collectible furniture from the last decade of the 20th century. It’s not surprising to find out from its owner Nicholas Chiotellis that this characterful, 19th-century house has served as the home of a poet, a dancer and an architect, and that it once even served as a movie set.
NICHOLAS, WHAT’S THE HISTORY OF THIS HOUSE?
Nicholas Chiotellis: “My grandfather bought this building in the 1970s. We know that a century before that, it was the house of a Greek poet, Georgios Drossinis. He was probably sitting at this window, in the living room, watching an almond tree, and he wrote from here a poem called ‘Checking the blooming almond tree’. Then the house became a nightlife attraction, a kind of dance hall with an orchestra and a bar, and later on it was a set for a famous TV show. Finally, my grandfather bought it and renovated it, and my parents came to live here. This house was my family home when I was a kid.”
A POET, SOME MUSICIANS, A TV SET AND THEN YOUR FATHER… THIS IS A HOUSE FOR ART AND ARTISTS!
NC: “Yes, kind of. My father is an architect, and he designed a lot of things here. Every little detail like doors, lights, wall paintings and closets are from him. He designed the fireplace and the bookshelf. As an architect, he has an idea of space and light. I didn’t change anything from that period.”
IT’S VERY 1990S, ISN’T IT? WHICH IS NOT SO COMMON…
NC: “You’re right, my parents were in love with great furniture from designers of the ’90s like Philippe Starck. The dining table, the sofa, the chairs with their very particular mix of angles and curves… everything is so ’90s which is not trendy yet, but I like the details. The fact that you cannot see the screws. It’s very well made. The lamps are very ’90s too…. I think my guests like this ambiance. I hope that some elements of this house will be interesting.”
THE COLORS ARE SPECIAL TOO…
NC: “They’re very Greek, the old houses are like that. Buildings are two colors at the same time. Here, we used very sweet colors. I love this because it brings to the apartment a very nice light. I love the light of this place, with all these windows in the very large living room, its high ceiling. And the light changes all the time, even during the night, thanks to all the windows.”
WOULD YOU SAY THAT IS APARTMENT IS AN UNUSUAL PLACE TO STAY?
NC: “The house was not made to be rented. It was a family house. But I have been renting the apartment since 2014. So I wanted to be able to filter who would come here. I wanted to interact with my guests before they book. I was looking for a platform that could offer me this advantage and which sells something different–because my property is different. Those fine furnitures are from my parents, like the books in the bookshelves… For this kind of ambiance, guests spend a bit more money, and perhaps there is a kind of respect for the house.”
DO YOU SEE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUESTS COMING FROM BOUTIQUEHOMES AND FROM AN ANOTHER PLATFORM?
NC: “Yes clearly: Client are more respectful, elegant, educated. For me, BH is a different market.”
To book a stay at Nicholas Chiotellis’ apartment, click here.