Where paradise welcomes you


This Old Home

This is the story of how we renovated my great grand parentís house.

Letís start with the view from the back of the house. This view has always provided more than enough inspiration throughout such a difficult project.

Nisyros has many properties that have been abandoned and forgotten over the last several decades. What most people do not realize is that Greece is an amazingly rich country in the areas of natural beauty and antiquities. It is the perfect vacation spot and a worthy investment especially considering the low prices that these houses can be purchased for.

Nisyros is especially unique in that it is a bit removed from the mainstream tourist trail. The nearest airport is a one hour boat ride away or 8 miles. This enables Nisyros to maintain an “old town” culture without the high rise hotels, traffic jams and revelry common in the mega tourists towns of other Greek Islands. The fact that the Olympics are coming to Athens in 2004 will further enable travelers to discover Nisyros. Also, the formation of the European Economic Union and it’s common currency are having a big economic impact.

My great-grandparents Irene and Nicholas Theororidis owned this house back in the 1930s and prior. That is all of the early history we know currently about the house. Irene and Nicholas had seven children back in the early 1900’s. The first was my grandmother Anna who was born in 1908. Of these seven children two of them immigrated to the United States. Others moved to other locations in Greece. One of the two that went to begin anew in the United States was my Grandmother Anna Theodoridis. Anna Married Emanuel Campanis, my grandfather. In the Greek tradition the eldest female child inherits the family property. My grandmother Anna inherited this house in 1935. My father inherited it upon her death in 1974.

Many Niserians have left property as they immigrated to other countries such as the USA or Australia. I write this story as an inspirational guide to those who feel a tremendous lack of direction regarding what to do with family properties on the Island that are falling into disrepair.

The first step is to open an account at a local bank. I did this with about 500E. The Bank name is “Cooperative Bank Of Dodecanese.” This should be done in person. The bankers name is Calliope. She speaks English and maintains services in a very professional and accurate fashion. Below is a photo of Calliope.

Whenever business is involved it is important to be able to pay people quickly. Working for someone in another country, as I was, at first seemed to be a credit risk to the tradesmen. The tradesman need to be assured that they can get paid in a reasonable amount of time. The bank allows me to fax payment notices to them. With these notices the bank will call the tradesman at the phone number I provide and ask them to come to the Bank to receive payments. In this way I could pay tradesmen within 24 hours. This service of the bank has proven to be extremely valuable. In the USA it takes more like 72 hours to mail a check. So, having blazing speed in this area greatly boosted motivation, credit ratings and speed of construction. Many property owners from the USA make the mistake of paying workers when they make their annual trip to the Island. This causes cash flow problems with tradesmen and is a significant disinsentive.

Language translation was a big part of this project. There are several individuals on he Island who are available for hire on such projects.

They can be paid by the hour and reached by telephone, email and fax. It is helpful to have a linguist who can also act as a general contractor if you do not speak Greek. It is also helpful to set a weekly time when the calls will be placed. This way a pattern is established and weekly goals can be set.

I was also able to use a telephone trick called a “three way call.” This is where I would call my bi-lingual father in Boston, Massachusetts, USA from my location in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. While on this call my telephone service allows me to place a third person on the call. This is really quite simple and inexpensive. We could then speak to tradesmen directly and with translation. We did use a general contractor who did a fantastic job and did most of my dealings with the tradesmen.

Skilled Labor on the Island is available but can be a little hard to find. I spotlight the following individuals for contribution to this renovation. Generally these tradesmen speak Greek. I would recommend all of them on future projects. Do remember that there are only about 750 people on the Island and that limits the number of tradesmen specializing in individual areas. If one has an expectation that they can choose from a dozen builders they will be disappointed. There are at best one to four tradesmen in each specific area.

1) Masonry and Stucco

This step is likely the biggest and most expensive. My uncle had contracted this in about 1993 and we have no more details.

2) Carpentry
George Amayotis did all of the carpentry work. George can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31177 (dialed from USA). George speaks Greek.

3) Property Survey
It is important to have the boundaries of the property delineated and registered. Nikos Papatsoo did our survey. Nikos can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31032 (dialed from USA). Nikos speaks Greek.

4) Plumbing
Stellios Fotinos did the plumbing work. Stellios can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31643 or 011 302 242 0 31437

Stellos is dressed for work and has just installed a hot water heater.


5) Sterna Cleaning and Repair
In Nisyros water is not piped to houses continually. The municipality turns the water on at certain times. Homeowners have tanks in their homes. This tank is called a STERNA. When the water is turned on the homeowner opens a valve and the sterna fills up. They take the water they need and shut the valve. These sterna are basically large holes in the bottom floor of the house that are lined with cement. When a house falls into disrepair these can become convenient places to dump trash or other items. The local person who does most of this work is George Kasandis. George is also known as “poor Kasandis” because there are two George Kasandis’ in Nisyros. One is rich and the other is poor or so the story goes. George can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31576

6) Tile
Manolis Petieneri specializes in the laying of ceramic tiles commonly used in bathrooms and other areas where wood cannot be used. I have no phone number for Manolis.

7) Electrical
Staveros Parionos performed most of the electrical work. Staveros can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31305

8) Paint
Stellios Kaszaklis performed all of the work painting the inside and outside of the house. Stellios can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31643.

9) Appliances
Kostas Simitsis and his son George. They installed the following appliances: Stove/Oven combo, Refrigerator and Heating/Air Conditioning. George, the son, speaks good English and gave me the following email address
Cell Phone: 011 302 697-226-2761 (this area code may be wrong for cell phones)
Land Line: 011 302 242 0 24238

Kostas Simitsis

10) Furniture
Nikos Sakellarides furnished our house with beds, table, chairs and diner plates. He delivered the furniture and placed it correctly into each room. There are always delays and issues with delivery. Leave more than enough time for delivery as these items usually come from Athens. The prices were reasonable and the service was friendly. Nikos can be reached at 011 302 242 0 31268.

Contact me if you need help:
Name: Paul Campanis
Office Telephone: 615 833 7742
Mobile Telephone: 615 300 7458
Domestic Fax (USA): 615 833 7742
International Fax (UK): 011 44 845 280 1860
Postal Address: 6503 Holt Road, Nashville, TN, 37211

Photos Before Renovations
The front of the house taken september 1992 (that is me, Paul Campanis)

Interior Shots – The walls had already been redone at this point.




Below are some photos taken after the renovations.






Thanks to everybody (and there are many) who made this dream come true!
See the House Dedication below in English or Greek
For more details Please contact Paul Campanis at:
615-833-7742 (U.S.A.) or