Claire Lloyd and rescue dog Mavrula copyright Carla Coulson
Any of you who have been following along for a while know that I am nuts about the Mediterranean in particular Greece and Italy. Well this summer I travelled to beautiful Lesvos and stayed in a very special guesthouse owned by the fabulous designer Claire Lloyd and partner artist Matthew Usmar Lauder.
Felix passes the Iron bed made with antique linen copyright Carla Coulson
I knew I was going to love this place as I know Claire has a beautiful eye from all those years working as an art director in London and I adore her beautiful book My Greek Island Island Home. Throw into the mix Matthew’s divine art and his knack for creating individual pieces of furniture and objects from found and recycled products and it was sure to ignite something big inside of me.
Loungeroom from the front door copyright Carla Coulson
But as a photographer I have learnt that the photos never do something really beautiful its true justice. It’s all those other dimensions that bring on the love rush, like the scent of jasmine, the exquisite view to the sea, the textures of floorboards under your bare feet, the sound of a home-made wind chime tinkling in the breeze.
A corner of the lounge room copyright Carla Coulson
You all know since the day I left Italy a piece of my heart has been hankering to go back to a simpler, slower way of living with a little vege garden out the back and to belong to a community. To belong to a community has been my life long ambition! I feel very fortunate to belong to a cyber community of wonderful people scattered around the world and for this I will be forever grateful.
Beautiful bedlinen and Matthew Lauders.. Copyright Carla Coulson
So here in this exquisite house not only did Francesco and I have a chance to relax and enjoy the fabulous scented candles, the fridge stocked with Greek Yoguhurt, local fruit and delicious local wine but we had the chance to taste what it would be like if we left our lives and went to live on a Greek Island.
Loungeroom copyright Carla Coulson
There was nothing touristy about this experience. We were in a small hill village about 4kms from the sea in a part of Lesvos that has no tourist shops or noisy bars just the local tavernas and a rich daily life.
Matthew’s art, a found table and vintage Turkish runner copyright Carla Coulson
I loved heading down to the Platia which is in the centre of the village, a wonderful tavern sits under a 100 year old tree (they just had the party to celebrates it’s birthday) which is akin to the village outdoor lounge room. Everything happens here, you can drink coffee, play cards for the entire day if your desire, eat lunch or dinner, check your Instagram or wile away the hours swapping stories with the locals.
Detail Loungeroom Copyright Carla Coulson
And right next door was the vege garden of my dreams. I adored watching the man tending it dressed in white collecting the biggest zucchini flowers I had ever seen.
Corridor Downstairs Copyright Carla Coulson
And going on long walks with Claire and the dogs and dropping into’s Matthews heavenly studio (blog post coming soon) to see what he was up to.
Traditional Wooden box to display treasured icons Copyright Carla Coulson
I have long been in love with Greece, Francesco and I have spent the past 6 years trying to find the most out of the way Islands, to get as faraway as possible from our busy lives in Paris to recharge with long days swimming and resting.
Kitchen Copyright Carla Coulson
But this was the first time I felt like I actually was living there, when I dared to ask myself ‘what if..?”
Beautiful ceramic plates in the kitchen copyright Carla Coulson
What if we had the courage to walk away from the security? What if we could live a simpler life like the one like we had all those years ago in Florence? What would we do and how would we do it?
Francesco’s Hat on the kitchen chair and local woven rug Copyright Carla Coulson
What if we could give our cat a better life?? LOL!
Bedroom with antique French Linen sheets Copyright Carla Coulson
Together we explored the island, had long lunches down at Kalo Limani and long dinners where there were just the four of us, a setting sun and simple Greek fare of grilled calamari, fresh fish and local veges.
Corner of the bedroom – Copyright Carla Coulson
Matthew and Claire’s generosity has no limits, they took us to their favourite beaches, we ate in their favourite restaurants all over the island and showed us the wonderful co-operatives where local ladies make traditional products.
Corner of the Bedroom Copyright Carla Coulson
I adored popping down the road to see them, like we had all lived their forever, swapping ideas and advice on all things creative and practical and talking about our hopes and dreams.
Bedside table detail Copyright Carla Coulson
Matthew’s studio in the centre of town is filled with his beautiful artwork and found treasures. It’s also filled with curious locals who can’t help sticking their heads in to see what was going on.
Bathroom Copyright Carla Coulson
Collection of local plates in the hallway Copyright Carla Coulson
Lesvos is so close to Turkey we even jumped on the ferry for the day and went to Avyalik on bazaar day. It was a frenzy of photos and shopping before we took the evening ferry back.
View from the terrace to the sea copyright Carla Coulson
I wanted My Greek Island Home experience to go on forever!
Felix and Fluffy Boy catching up on a little sleep Copyright Carla Coulson
Oh and for a cat lover missing her baby, not a problem there were a couple of stand-ins to help out..
Claire in the courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson
So to dearest Claire and Matthew the stay at your house was not only the loveliest experience yet to happen for us in Greece it was something bigger, it was a catalyst just like that Thai Takeway all those years ago in Darlinghurst that set me on a life of adventure and going after the things that really mattered to me in life.
Courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson
Even though I have left my life once before it was beautiful reminder of what I hold dear. Thank-you for allowing me to see that again and experience your beautiful island and lives through your eyes.
Front door Copyright Carla Coulson
“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.” Suze Orman
Please share if you dream of another life or love beautiful homes