The property is situated in 5 acres of rugged hillside surrounded by plantings of olive, fig and fruit trees, accessed by private gated drive. The hills are the home for sheep, goats and a wonderful selection of birdlife including eagles and partridge. At the bottom of the valley is a river from which we obtain our water supply. It is 2 km from beach.
The house is made up of two buildings, the very old small house (annex) which flanks the more recent 'grander' house separated by a terrace
The main house comprises of a double bedroom accessed from the bathroom, its own outside door and terrace.
An elegant sitting room leading into a twin bed room, and another passage bedroom, off the kitchen, bathroom and another inner terrace. The kitchen is well equipped with a fire place and leads onto the front terrace.
The annex has a similar arrangement with one double bedroom, shower ensuite, and one twin bedroom. There is also a kitchen with stone oven and fridge.
Andros is a real Greek island, unspoilt and very family orientated. Chartes, a village on the NW side of the island, was first cultivated in the 16th C, by Albanian mercenaries who were given tracts of land in exchange for their services. The remains of their walls and dwellings are still scattered amongst rock and thistles on rugged hills. My property, once such a dwelling, was extended in the fifties with the help of the local villagers, into a comparatively grand residence inscribing the dates in wet cement. Not so in 2004 when I bought it during the worst winter in 70 years, under a metre of snow.
There was still a cow in the (now) main bedroom and goats roamed everywhere which would explain why there was no vegetation but thistles and a solitary pine tree.The 3 acres were farmed until the late 90's, particularly the mulberries used for Cipero the local hooch, distilled in what is now the bathroom.
In the last 8 years we have restored and conserved the house using the same materials, original woodwork and typical bright colours and quietly modernised, introducing a bathroom, laundry/ loo and newer kitchen. Fireplaces are always found in kitchens, which we also use cook on and wood burning stoves have been put in for use in winter and spring.
Early stone and later woven bamboo ceilings are typical of the Andriot architecture and the rooms are easily dated by the beams, the more crooked, the older they are. These are clearly evident in my son Theo's house, the annex and earliest dwelling, now comprising of 1 twin and 1 double bedroom with an en suite bathroom. In the corner of the L shaped house is the typical oven, used to roast a whole lamb or goat. This small kitchen has an extra fridge and old fashioned sink.
The Pine tree, now has company, with trees planted every year, and hedges to provide shelter from the wind for the olives and fruit trees. Planted 7 years ago we were able to harvest our 1st olives for oil last year.
It is a home where one lives outside listening to the cicadas, bees, partridges, hawks and eagles, watching them hovering over the river, while the hills provide grazing for the sheep and goats, outside our fence!. Our neighbours are still farmers for whom life style and values are much the same we had as children in the 1950's and 60's.
However, history aside, there is lots to do, beaches, picnics, sun bathing, reading, cooking, tavernas, shopping in the capitol Andros, exploring, playing games and communicating. This is the antithesis of high tec, wi fi, air conditioning,
electronic amusement which is available everywhere else.
"We had a great stay in Carolyn's wonderful house perched in a wild and beautiful valley above the village of Hartes. We loved the way that the house was decorated and furnished, with really wonderful colours and textiles. To us it felt like staying in a real home in sympathy with the culture and the landscape around it. The house is a beautiful and comfortable place to be with everything we needed to relax and have a restful holiday. There are plenty of places to sit, lie, sleep, and eat in and out of the shade. During our holiday it was a great pleasure just being in the house and garden. Above you there are birds of prey wheeling over head, goats wandering across the hillsides, and stunning snorkelling on any of the many unspoilt and largely empty beaches nearby. We would definitely recommend Spiti Karolina to people looking for an original and beautiful place to stay comfortably in a wild setting."
I think of myself as a European. Drawn by drawing in the seventies into the art world, living and working its trajectory from Florence to Paris, Switzerland and California conserving Old Master prints and drawings. Returning to England in the nineties as a mother, I also practice printmaking in my studio at home, and teach yoga.
Andros is an escape from the demands of an increasingly busy life. Like all properties of this wild kind, I bought it on a whim, mainly because I romantically wanted to leave a house, land and a river to my son. Also I have friends with similar old houses nearby and when we are all there, we are quite a family spending time together, eating in one another's houses, on the beach, now 4 generations of us.
Andros is unspoilt and protected. It belongs to the Andriot families who return often from Athens for weekends and holidays. This means it never closes down and remains vibrant all year round. Seasons are defined by the local food and of course the climate. Warm in the autumn with rains in November, becoming green again in winter which can be cold. Spring is a profusion of flowers before the hot dry summer.
The house is situated in the north west of the island, surrounded by its own land, in unspoilt, total privacy.
20 minutes from the local port, the road climbs up into the hills with wonderful views facing west over Evia and endless roads/tracks leading to tantalising beaches found all round the north of the island. Surprisingly the most popular local taverna (open all year round) hides in the hillside en route to Chartes, usefull for the late boats from Rafina. In spring it is the horticulturists dream, green and absolutely covered in wild flowers. The ornothologist will not be disappointed, birds hover and dive along the river in the valley, and surf the thermals above the house. Eagles, falcons, bee eaters, swallows and more. Summer is wonderful for younger children and teenagers alike, spending days on the beaches, most with a family run taverna, then retreating to the cooler sanity of the hills in the evening, or later clubbing in Batsi for the youth. Taxis can be booked for the early morning trek home!
Andros is an Island for Greeks and it has a local family feel. It is not touristy and all our children feel very safe there.
Each beach has its own charm and offers something different, with rocks to jump off, white rollers to surf in on a windy day, or wild coves where one can fish and collect sea urchins.
Andros is about re discovering ones own resources, making ones own entertainment, improvising and a rewarding escape from electronic stimulus.