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Xinara House, a beautifully converted former bishop's palace in the heart of unsung Tinos

Our Story

susan at work

In September 2016 London-based Peter & Susan Marston chanced on Tinos Island. They were curious; travelling the Aegean for years no one had spoken of the beautiful quiet island next to Mykonos. Charmed, they viewed impossible ruined houses, then spotted a grand old house, sadly neglected, sheltered beneath a beautiful mountain, in a pretty village. It was love at first sight. People said it was the old Bishop's house, but no one had lived there for decades, and there were 17 shared owners. A year later, somehow, miraculously, the Marstons owned it and work began. And equally miraculously a year later it opened for visitors. It had become a passion for Peter & Susan, designing, making and creating for the project. Local Tinos people helped with the project and many new friends have been made.

In the 1800s Xinara House was the home of Cyclades Bishop, Ioannes Kollaros (the house bears his coat of arms) and meticulous restoration was essential. Fortunately Tinos retains marble quarries and exceptional skilled workers who made the floors, tables and even solid-marble basins for the bathrooms and kitchen. Traditional island pebble-patterns are laid on the terrace. The exterior is repainted with natural limewash to which is added 'loulaki' (old-fashioned laundry blue) in time-honoured fashion. Inside it is now refreshed, comfortable and full of light.

Outside on the rebuilt stone terraces stepping up towards the mountain are ancient mulberries (silk was produced at the house), cedars, walnuts, almonds and fruit trees. A vineyard has been planted to produce rosé and new vegetable gardens stock the kitchens. Several sheltered sun terraces have been designed, and a beautiful wild garden of Mediterranean species is now established on the uppermost terraces where old tracks lead off round the island.