Design Inspiration: A Tour of Villa Kérylos

2 December 2016

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Dear Travel Diary,

My trip to Europe in August was one of the most gorgeous journeys I’ve taken in all my life, where every place we went was more incredible than the last. Of all the places we visited, Villa Kérylos was the most fruitful for interior design inspiration. The home, built in 1902 by French gajillionaire Theodore Reinach. Not sure how he got all that cash, but maybe it had something to do with how many jobs he had. He was an Archaeologist-mathematician-lawyer-papyrologist-philologist-epigrapher-historian-numismatist-musicologist-professor-politician. GOT THAT? His masterpiece home, designed by architect Emmanuel Pontremoli, is located in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which is about fifteen minutes away from Nice, along the Cote d’Azur in France.

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The home has been beautifully preserved and there are details around every corner that will make any interiors enthusiast want to rip her head off for joy. The whole property is Greek-style, with enough pattern to keep you entertained for hours and hours. Since I’m from California, it reminded me a bit of Hearst Castle. Not because it has any stylistic similarities, but because it feels like the same kind of house-fantasy-come-to-life. This is a dream home for sure, and you can tell from the attention to detail that the people who built it must have been deeply in love with it.

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I love everything about this room, except those lucite chairs, which feel like they were totally not invited to the party and are there solely for tourists who get exhausted and overwhelmed by way too much beauty.

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This is the living room, which is completely insane. Somehow everything still feels warm and inviting, despite the fact that every surface is hard stone or tile. The intricate mosaic work on the floor is a reminder that this isn’t just a house, it’s an incredible work of art.

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I’m a sucker for a painted ceiling and this home has many. The incredibly precise detail is mind-boggling. Just imagine the poor painter who laid on his back for days and weeks and years painting all that, screaming down from time to time “CAN SOMEONE LET ME DOWN I HAVE TO USE THE RESTROOM?!?”

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It’s heartening to see a historic home so lovingly preserved. The murals and hand-painted details throughout still feel fresh.

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It’s kind of incredible how universal pattern and design can be. These lovely painted ceilings are all Greek-inspired, but patterns also remind me of Native American designs, African mud cloths, and Swedish/Scandinavian patterns. LET THIS BE A REMINDER THAT WE ARE ALL ONE PEOPLE.

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In addition to the absolutely stunning interiors, this place also features the most incredible ocean views on earth.

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Like Hearst Castle, this home featured some of the most state-of-the-art bathrooms (for the time). Just imagine getting ready for your first date at this crazy marble sink.

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If you think your bathtub is glamorous, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This claw-footed beauty, made from pure marble, is the most glamorous bath on the planet. Downside: it’s probably haunted.

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This columned courtyard gives the home an inside-outside vibe that feels very contemporary. I love visiting places like this for design inspiration. Do I plan on making my house into a crazy, ornate palace where everything has a different pattern on it and is made from marble? Probably not, that would be gross. The takeaway here is more that incorporating some pattern can really make a home feel unique and welcoming. And not to be scared to go full-force in creating the home of your dreams.

Now get to work and go create your own dream house!

Love,
Orlando

PS: Two Qs – 1) What details from this house would you incorporate into your dream house? 2) If you could have a house any style what would it be? RESPOND IN THE COMMENTS!