PLEASE HELP SAVE OUR GREEK FAMILY HOME

PLEASE HELP SAVE OUR GREEK FAMILY HOME (30/4/2022)
Hi dear friends, friends of friends and investors, firstly thank you for visiting this site.
 
Background;
In 2010, my two older sisters and I inherited our beautiful family home, in Potamos, Kythera, after the death of our last aunt in 2009. The house is a two-storey townhouse, on 2.5 acres, on the outskirts of one of the main towns on Kythera, Greece. A beautiful property with terraced land, a distinctive arch feature, thick stone walls, balconies, French doors, four bedrooms and two wells.
Naturally, however, time, age and weather have taken its toll on an old building and much more needs to be done to update and maintain it, even though it still has ‘good bones’.
The caretaker says the rats will be in through the front door soon, if it’s not replaced. Another external door already does have a hole.
I have not been able to visit since 2016, due to Covid and lack of renovation money.
(On a low income, it took a few years to pay off the bank loan that financed the 2016 renovations, last time.)
One more big ‘push’ to get it to a more rentable stage, is what I'm hoping for, after which it can support itself better, through short-stay rentals.
If enough money is raised, I already have my ticket money to go this SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER.
All funds will go solely to materials and labour.
Until now, tenants have been word of mouth and charged only a nominal rate since standards were not up to scratch. Covid, of course, has slowed that down almost completely.
 
A few things are becoming urgent, particularly replacing doors and painting the exterior. So time is becoming a factor.
I have 4 months to get organised so it would be helpful if I knew I had enough money to do the jobs required.
There's no point in going all that way without a reasonable sum, is the plain and simple fact.
Or we watch it sadly deteriorate.
 
History;
I have been visiting the island, our aunts and our house since 1982. I listened to my aunts’ stories of survival through the war, asked questions about our genealogy, went back to Greek school to communicate with them better, saw the looms where they wove fabric, watched them cook over a fire in the outside kitchen, in the 'old way'.
Built in 1910, by our grandfather Anargyros, this house is of significant historical value to the town and the island. He came to Australia in the early 1900’s with his brother Vrettos, and became a naturalised Australian citizen in 1906. With the money they earned from their shop in Gundagai, they both returned to Kythera to build their houses and start their families. That took gaul.
My grandmother, died young, leaving 5 children, each of whom received a good education on the island, learning a musical instrument and a foreign language.
Our father, the eldest, and his brother Panayioti came to Australia in the 1930’s. Dad stayed on, always sending letters and money to his sisters, visiting home only once more, after the tragic death of his brother, in Kythera, in 1978. One of my aunts lived her entire life in this house. At 90, she refused to go into the only Nursing Home on the island. In her mind perhaps, she was the guardian of the house. Not so much for us but for her sisters, brothers and parents. We wish to continue her legacy of fierce love.
 
Improvements to date;
In 2012, 2013 and 2016, we visited Kythera to complete some of the maintenance/ updating required. Works were funded by drawing down on our Tasmanian houses or using limited capital, in a valiant effort to keep our family history alive and to protect our house from deteriorating. If the roof goes, the house goes, is what they say on the island.
Works include;
  • 2009 Washing machine
  • 2012 Whitewashing the outside. (Whitewashing should be redone every 2-3 years. Plastic paint would exacerbate rising damp).
  • 2012 digging an external, aerating trench to manage rising damp.
  • 2012 repairing/ painting the roadside fence,
  • 2012 Increasing security on kitchen door and outer building, (after a forced entry).
  • 2015 repairing a retaining wall on one terrace.
  • 2016 a rock floor in one of the downstairs rooms
  • 2016 updating the bathroom and part of the kitchen, added by our father in 1979.
  • 2016 New kitchen shutter
  • 2010 / 2016 replacing metal and wooden gates,
  • 2016 Rebuilding two, small outside rooves to protect doors from the weather.
  • 2018 Repairing roof tiles
  • 2009/ 2012 / 2013/ 2016 Painting, painting, painting.
 
What will your contributions help finance?
Keep in mind that Kythera is a smaller island, with only a few local hardware and furniture supplies. Many items need to be ordered in, such as doors, kitchen units, hardwoods, adding costs. There are no tip shops or second hand/ cheap outlets.
 
Stage 1; URGENTLY needed minimum, immediate tasks;
  • Kitchen update to be completed (sink/ cupboards/ stove/ floor tiles)
  • Rewiring? (Electric stove/ oven needs to be installed safely.)
  • Front door and other perishing external doors replaced, asap.
  • Original upstairs floorboards and other woodwork treated for borers, asap.
  • Paint external walls, two-storey, asap.
  • Paint internal walls
  • Shutters replaced?
  • Mattresses replaced
  • Labour hire
 
Stage 2; Additional future ‘dreams’;
  • Creating an off-street parking space.
  • Tiling, painting, refurbishing the outside kitchen to make a one room bedsit.
(Only room with a raised fireplace, for cooler months.)
  • Cementing the adjacent shed floor to make a second bathroom/ plumbing/ connecting to sewerage line on street above. (Installing a shower/toilet).
  • Restoring the original bread oven, grape press and laundry.
  • Doors on outside sheds
  • Creating a museum room
 
Reasons for Crowd Funding;
1. The house has never been owned outside our family. My sisters and I are the only living direct descendants since no other children were born/ survived by Dad’s four siblings. There are no other financial members.
2. None of us are in a strong, financial position to afford the extensive costs of renovating an old house but we would like to keep it in the family, if at all possible.
It would be an enormous wrench to sell because of lack of money.
3. All three of us are single, mature aged women.
My older sister has been a carer for her quadriplegic son (car accident at 19 yo) over the past 34 years. Unfortunately, at 75, she is not in a position to help much.
My second sister also has a son born with significant physical disabilities who recently contracted cancer, having a serious operation in 2020 to remove a 15cm cyst.
Last year she had double knee replacements.
At 70, she no longer works and is just managing financially, on the age pension.
As the youngest, my children’s father died just after our second child’s birth when I was 31. I couldn’t work for many years but gradually began earning modestly until the GFC struck in 2008. In Tasmania, I was underemployed for the following 14 years.
Fortunately, I finally have more work, 2021-22, but am still earning modestly.
So, no nest eggs, no husbands helping out, no accumulated wealth over the years from double incomes.
4. We need to pull out all stops to get it more rentable because none of us are getting any younger. Time is passing quickly. Hence needing to ask others for financial help, if you feel you can give.
5. We have 6 children who will take on the responsibility, eventually, hopefully.
Currently however, they are all striving to establish themselves in an era where housing prices in Australia have exploded.
6. Once the Greek house is more viable, we will be able to employ locals to manage and clean during the tourist season, putting much needed money back into the island, still recovering from GFC. All rent money goes into a Greek Account and is used to service rates, water and power bills, land tax, and maintenance/ improvements.
7. The law in Greece states that long term tenants can stay for 3 years, and can only be evicted with a court application [in person]. In case of bad tenants, we have chosen not to go that way, [no way to monitor closely].
8. So, little money has been ‘coming in’, especially with Covid stopping overseas travel.
 
Target ;
$15,000AUD.
Any figure approximating or in excess would be highly welcome.
EVERY LITTLE BIT CAN HELP!
$10- $1000!
 
Recompense;
Any donations of $1000AUD or over, we offer, in return, 5 nights’ accommodation for two people, 2023-4.
Donations of $250AUD or more can negotiate a shorter stay.
Other large sums up to $250 may negotiate a discount, if wishing to stay in the house 2023-24. Names of donors will be retained.
(Reward for every donation, I'm sorry, would be a logistical nightmare?)
 
We hope for one or two more strong efforts to get it over the line.
So close but so far which is why we need your help.
If you can give something to keep this house alive, we would be extremely grateful.
In the words of Kevin McCloud, when a house represents an historical era, it starts to belong to us all and informs how we build in the future.
Below are more photos of the varying states of wear /repair over the past 12 years.
 
Contact;
My sisters and I thank you enormously for any contributions you can make to the restoration of our beloved family home and an historical icon in our town.
Angela Panaretos, Ioanna Panaretos, Coralea Diamantis.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Organizer

Angela Panarettos 
Organizer
Lewisham TAS