A Modern Home Is Gently Slotted Into a Steep Slope in Santorini

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By Michele Koh Morollo
This Grecian holiday home puts a modern twist on the area's traditional cave-like abodes.

While Santorini's smooth-edged, white-washed buildings have captivated travelers for decades, so have the island's yposkafas—the vaulted, cave-style houses delicately nestled into the rocky terrain. This holiday home  embodies everything wonderful about such cave-style dwellings, yet with a minimalistic and modern twist. Designed by local studio Kapsimalis Architects, this striking, 1,076-square-foot abode gracefully blends in with its peaceful landscape, and also embraces views of the Aegean Sea below.

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The elongated, rectangular form has been delicately nestled into the island's steep terrain. 

The elongated, rectangular form has been delicately nestled into the island's steep terrain. 

The floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide open to fully connect the interiors with the pool terrace, blurring the boundaries between inside and out.

The excavated material has been used to shape the property's exterior features.

The excavated material has been used to shape the property's exterior features.

Free-standing concrete walls along the terrace delineates the two lateral staircases, directing the eye toward the captivating sea beyond.  

Free-standing concrete walls along the terrace delineates the two lateral staircases, directing the eye toward the captivating sea beyond.  

"The house is integrated to the cliffside, leaving the least possible imprint," says Marianna Kapsimali, one of the studio’s founders.

"The house is integrated to the cliffside, leaving the least possible imprint," says Marianna Kapsimali, one of the studio’s founders.

From the open-plan living and dining area to the adjoining bedroom, the owner can enjoy spectacular views of the sea.  

From the open-plan living and dining area to the adjoining bedroom, the owner can enjoy spectacular views of the sea.  

Traditional Santorini cave houses usually have long, deep floor plans with narrow facades, but with this house, the architects have inverted the proportions to create a slender, rectangular plan with a 33-foot-long glazed façade that opens the interiors to the pool terrace and sea views.

The outdoor terrace features an infinity pool and spacious deck. 

The outdoor terrace features an infinity pool and spacious deck. 

The house is oriented toward the Aegean Sea. Floor-to-ceiling, glass sliding doors flood the home with plenty of Mediterranean sunshine.

The house is oriented toward the Aegean Sea. Floor-to-ceiling, glass sliding doors flood the home with plenty of Mediterranean sunshine.

The layout includes an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, along with one bedroom, and two bathrooms.

The layout includes an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, along with one bedroom, and two bathrooms.

By cleverly melding traditional, Santorini cave-house building techniques with pure, pared-back modernism, Kapsimalis Architects has created a home that takes full advantage of the island's unique views and terrain. 

The dining area and kitchen.

The dining area and kitchen.

Inside the home, a simple, neutral color scheme harmonizes with warm natural oak, walnut wood, and dramatic black steel details.  

Inside the home, a simple, neutral color scheme harmonizes with warm natural oak, walnut wood, and dramatic black steel details.  

Stone and concrete combine to create a stark, clean aesthetic that beautifully complements and contrasts the rugged landscape.

Stone and concrete combine to create a stark, clean aesthetic that beautifully complements and contrasts the rugged landscape.

Warm timber and plants add a touch of softness to the stone and concrete foundation.

Warm timber and plants add a touch of softness to the stone and concrete foundation.

Dividers made of brick, wood, and glass separate the different rooms and functional zones.

Dividers made of brick, wood, and glass separate the different rooms and functional zones.

A free-standing bathtub is located in one of the two bathrooms.

A free-standing bathtub is located in one of the two bathrooms.

The two bathrooms are sited on either end of the rectangular plan. Each have been fitted with discrete skylights for additional illumination.

The two bathrooms are sited on either end of the rectangular plan. Each have been fitted with discrete skylights for additional illumination.

This bathtub looks out to the outdoor terrace.

This bathtub looks out to the outdoor terrace.

Floor Plan Drawing

Floor Plan Drawing

Project Credits: 

 Architecture, structural engineering, landscape, lighting and interior design: Kapsimalis Architects