Villa Talea and the owners

Jan Hansen and Dan Orbe are the owners of Villa Talea. We are both Danish nationals living in Copenhagen. Through the years we have travelled extensively all over the world from South Africa to Greenland and from California to Cambodia. However, Greece - and especially Crete - with its' relaxed Mediterranean culture, its' rich history and beautiful nature - has always been a favourite destination of ours.

A Beautiful Plot of Land

Villa Talea

In late 2006 we got the possibility for acquiring a plot outside Exantis. Situated outside the village on the mountain side with a magnificent view over the valley and the surrounding mountains the plot was just what we wanted. It had previously been used for growing vegetables and had been passed down from generation to generation in a local family of farmers but were now put up for sale as the owner did not want to continue cultivating the land.
In Crete it is still very often the case that the ownership of land is not registered officially. Everybody in the village knows who owns what piece of land and can identify the borders by pointing out an old olive tree, a stream, a drystone wall, a rock or the like. When we bought the land, we became the first officially registered owners ever of 'Πηγadιορουμα' (Pigadiorima) as the plot is called.

A Holiday House of our own

Obviously, we didn't buy the land to grow vegetables. We wanted to build a holiday house for ourselves, our families and friends. But since at the moment we cannot use the house ourselves for more than a few weeks or months a year we also wanted to let the house. Right from the beginning we took this into consideration. Therefore, the house and the pool has been designed and built to meet all the strict requirements of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) from which we hold a licence and are being inspected to be allowed to use the house as a holiday rental accommodation. Somewhat to our surprise the Greek authorities are actually very strict about the terms and conditions under which you are allowed to let your house to holiday makers.

A Traditional Country House

Villa Talea

Just as important as having a comfortable dwelling with all the modern amenities that will make yours as well as our stays pleasant, it was important to us to have a beautiful house that blended in well with the environment. The house has a very prominent position in the landscape because it is built on a projection on the mountain side with no other buildings nearby. You can actually see it from miles away. Therefore, we went for a stone house, built according to the traditional building style in Crete.
Well, not everything is traditional. The foundation of the house and the pool structure are very modern. Made of armoured concrete according to some of the strictest regulations in the world to secure the building from earthquakes (should it ever happen!). But the general appearance of the house with its massive, hand carved stone walls, wooden shutters, terracotta tiles and traditional stone arches is in our point of view a well balanced mix of modern comfort and traditional beauty.

At the beginning, the plot had to be levelled lowering the upper end of the plot with about 3 meters (10 ft) before the foundation could be laid. A lot of soil and rocks had to be moved around. Then from the quarries in the mountains huge boulders of the local limestone were brought to the site and skilled stone workers armed with hammers, chisels and muscles started to transform the rocks into more manageable sizes and build the solid walls and arches of the house.
Trunks of local cypress trees were turned into rafters and beamed ceilings, slabs of marble were turned into steps and stairs and windows and shutters were produced by the local joiner. Finally, almost 1½ year after we bought the plot we could move in and start the furnishing, work with the garden and add all the little final touches to turn Villa Talea into a home.