Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Garden Room

A Garden Shed?  

A history

First a laundry 

in the early 1900's an open building with just a roof and a covered well in the centre of the floor.

Takis' grandparents, with their nine children, would come to Lemnos every summer. They lived in Alexandria Egypt, but loved to get away from the oppressive heat of that city for a country holiday. The house had belonged to his grandmother's parents, the Pandazolou's. And we believe that his grandmother was born here. Certainly Takis mother, and many of her other children were born in this house. There were no bathrooms at that time and so this roofed area, with a well in the centre of the floor was where the all the washing was done. With water carried by servants up to the bedrooms for personal bathing. Of course the house was near the sea, so the children probably bathed down there too.

Then a shower room 

in the 1950's

Later, after the second world war, when the children were grown up, with families of their own, the house would again fill each summertime. Now there was water piped to the house and a bathroom was added on to the side of the house, but there were often 10 to 15 people staying there and so the sea was still a good bathing place. Now the old laundry became a place where those returning from sea bathing would shower off the salt water.

A garden shed? 

By now the old outhouse was beginning to look worse for wear and when we first arrived Takis wanted to take the structure down but I looked at it and thought, what a good garden room. And then he found the well and we decided it would make a special kind of garden shed. 

Finding the well

It all began with a watermelon
From my manuscript about our renovation adventure....

‘One evening, as Takis and I were walking around the property doing one of our post-siesta inspections, we were stopped at the back wall by a voice calling to us from the now reinforced car park above. It was Irini, another neighbour. She was hanging her washing out up there. She and Takis spoke of various things and then I whispered a question, ‘Ask her if she can remember if there was ever a well here.’
I’d been looking that day at a concrete square in the middle of the rough stone floor of the old laundry, and I wondered about it. Now she pointed to this very building and said, ‘It’s in there, in the old laundry.’
‘Right first time,’ I murmured to myself.
After she’d left we went to inspect the concrete block more carefully. Takis got a couple of tools and levered it up while I wedged it open.
‘No nasty smell,’ I said. ‘It’s not the septic tank.’
‘They wouldn’t have put the septic here, away from the house. We’ll probably find that closer to the bathroom.’
I found a small stone and dropped it into the hole. We both stood listening. A couple of seconds later we heard a splash. We whooped with excitement. We had our own water supply on the property: what a bonus!
‘It’s probably undrinkable with so many houses around us, each with their own septic.’
‘But at least we’ll have water for the garden,’ I said with great satisfaction.
The next day Takis asked Anestis and Marcos to open up the well again. He wanted to see how much water it held. Panayiotis, another neighbour, had called by and the four men lifted the slab then lowered a string with a weight attached. We discovered we had three metres of water at a depth of six metres. That sounded pretty good to me. '

Today a Garden Shed

In the making

The old well house now has a new roof and a partly cemented floor and has become my garden shed. It doubles as a drying room for onion in the summer, and for clothes in the winter when the weather is too inclement to hang the washing outside. American friends of ours were renovating another old Lemian house and putting in new windows. Takis was happy to take the old ones and spaces in the garden ‘shed’ are now filled in. the others are waiting to go in some year when we have time.

A new roof 

over an old laundry.

And now we have a pretty garden/well/drying/storage room

in the center of the garden.



  1. Your property has a lot of good surprises. First the old outhouse, and then the well. Though the water in the well is undrinkable, you can still use it for other purposes. Anyhow, February may be a busy month with all the renovation you made to your house, but seeing results, it’s very rewarding.

    Pleasance Faast @ Shelton Roofing

  2. A garden room is a good place to entertain guests, or just spend the afternoon out under a wonderful shade. It's great that you were able to expand upon it, so you can get more out of the space than you originally had. It certainly looks like a good place to hold an event, particularly if it will extend well into the night. All you need are some tasteful lighting, and you're all set. Cheers!

    Ronald Miller @ Eagle Building Solutions