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Exharos-Homes, Kalives, Apokoronas, Chania, GR-73003,

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I give my most enthusiastic endorsement to Exarhos Homes - they are the most professional, detail oriented, thoughtful, and creative contractors, renovators/home designers that I have ever worked with. I came to Crete from my home here in the USA in search of an idylic village home-in-the-country of my parents' birth. I truly love Greece, and have spent many summers here growing up. I also have a good sense of Greek traditional design, and have studied architecture although I am employed as a physician. I have very high standards. Kostas and his staff at Exarhos Homes exceeded my every expectation, and made a lifelong dream come true. With the help of a superb realtor, Niki, of Kritiko Ethos, I was able to find a crumbling, traditional stone Kamarospito (arched home), similar to the ones catalogued by the Benaki Museum of Athens, in a simple village. Niki suggested that I entrust owner Kostas Exarhos of Exarhos Homes to renovate this home. Kostas was an inspiration, as he was able to see beyond the decayed state of the home, and envision a gem of a villa, worthy of publication in a design journal. He enlisted a determined, creative hardworking group, including Christos, a top notch well educated engineer who created a remarkable modern lighting system for the home spotlighting architectural details such as the stone winepress and arches, carpenters, stonemasons, and an amazingly intense, driven, and artistic on site work supervisor Elias. They began work as scheduled, always keeping me informed via frequent emails, architectural drawings, and photos, even though I was thousands of miles away, in the USA. I must say that I have had a far better experience with Kostas and his group, then any of the American contractors that I have worked with for my American homes. The end result is stunning, and will be published in a design journal once it is furnished. The transformation is remarkable- I have had many friends visit from the USA, and all return wishing they had such a place! The cost was fair, and no hidden costs ever emerged. In fact, he would often "gift" certain items as we went along. I demanded a traditional home with some modern touches, unlike the many new poorly designed painful "villas" that have filled and damaged the beauty of Crete, created by other Builders here on the island, most of whom are from outside Greece but own businesses here, and have little sensitiviy to Cretan design. I wanted my home to represent the best of the Cretan traditional architecture, while blending in modern touches such as dramatic lighting and bathrooms. I wanted the fragile beamed cyprus ceilings preserved- most builders would have torn them out - but Kostas was able to save most of them with stunning effect. The concrete covered crumbling home re-emerged as a glowing traditional stone home with a courtyard, guest house, kitchen house and main house- the stable became the guest house, complete with a stone built in large bed. Kostas and Christos designed two lovely corner fireplaces to add warmth to the rooms. The build a striking cyprus pergola on the flat roof, for a perfect dining spot from which to gaze at the surrounding hills and mountains. A humble village home became my most dreamed of second home- and by far the most beautiful home I have ever lived in. I have had many visitors - stangers passing through the village and ask to see the home. One group travelled over an hour as they had heard of the house from their father, whose father had grown up in the home. When this man entered he wept, as the transformation was so very powerful, and yet so sensitive. He shared stories that his father in turn had told him about this beloved place. He told me that whomever did this renovation work needs to be highly praised and thanked, for bringing such a home back from the brink of collapse. All who visit tell me that they feel as if they are in a museum or a retreat center, and not a home at all! Every detail has been attended to- I wish I could include photos.

I worked with at least two other major groups here- including Euroland.Crete, and Hellenic Homes - and am so grateful that I ended up with Exarhos Homes. I know I would not have such a home had I worked with others.

You will never do better then this man, and his group. He is of the highest character, and was able to transform my dream into a stunning reality- a home that fits in its village and landscape. As I have gotten to know most in the village, I have heard over and over how beautiful the locals feel the house is, and how it looks again how it once looked many decades ago. This is the best compliment. I feel that another facet that adds to what Exarhos brings is the fact that it is a Greek owned business, with Kostas having roots in Crete - this is mandatory when it comes to understanding how to design and create a home here. I visited a modern home that he designed, and found it to also be lovely - in striking contrast to many of the other homes I see filling this beautiful island poorly designed by others.

If you are lucky enough to be able to work with Exarhos, you will not be dissapointed.

Kostas also kept me well informed along the way with many emails and photos so that I could imagine what was going on. As noted above, he employed very talented engineers, and workers- the onsight builder Elias who oversaw the project was a true master and artist- and was able to create the most remarkable stone, and polished concrete floors (one of which looks like an ochre colored river, with stepping stones, winding through the guest house floor)- his stone masons were also able to restore the stone walls. I asked him to create a modern bathroom- he fashioned an amazing sink from a large copper bowl that would be at home in a chic Athenian hotel or home- and created a bathtub from stones....lovely touches.

As if this would not be enough, Exarhos staff helped me furnish the home, and delivered some of the furnishings at no extra charge.

This group is a class act - I wish I could bring them to the states to design and build a new home for me here- as it would be far better then what I could get here!

Name Supplied
Although this company did not get to build my home, they submitted a very good build quote at short notice and provided an extremely detailed and authoritative document detailing exactly how they would construct the house complete with recommended changes and suggestions to keep the home in style with traditional Cretan homes. They are well worth considering if you are thinking about having a house built.
Exarhos Homes built my house in Crete, and I have recently taken final possession of it. When I initially made the trip to find a plot and builder Exarhos showed me another example of their work and guided me through all the formalities and legal bits such as helping me get a Greek tax number, opening a bank account, introducing me to an excellent English speaking lawyer and gave me a tour of useful furnishing shops. Thoughout the building process they kept me informed with emails and picture of the progress and I was able to choose finishes and fittings. They were always available for advice and help on my visits and generally made the process seem very easy. I would say their customer care is excellent. The workmanship seems very good, especially the stone work and I have had no problems with the build so far (I will update this if I do), and the project came in on budget.
The only glitches were that they were two days late in final finishing ( which is nothing), and on my first trip I asked if there was a bus service to the village and was told "Yes it stops at the end of the road". Unfortunately I did not ask which road - the stop is well over 3 kilometres away! (the lady no longer works for Exarhos).
We have been here one year now, and from the start of the project we have been totally satisfied with Exarhos-Homes, the house was ready on time, we had alternative choices on all our ideas which is good when you are not living here, and can only visit occasionally. The project management was excellent, the quality superb and have noticed that we do not have the problems other people seem to have encountered with other builders especially when the house was empty over christmas and new year,our house was well insulated and dry,with no trace of damp.We gave them an idea of our dream, ie a typical cretan home which was duly delivered.Thank you Exarhos-Homes.
Barry Hunter
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