My sleek Greek paradise: At home with designer Themis Zouganeli

Pared-back and beautiful is the simple philosophy behind designer Themis Zouganeli’s converted villa in the Mykonos hills. Blue-sky backdrop essential.

Interior and fashion designer Themis Zouganeli lives in a seven-bedroom villa in Mykonos with her husband, the founder of a global cement company, and their children, Mary Anne, 11, and Amalia, eight.

Pink bougainvillea frames the guest bedroom and softens the stone exterior. Themis’s skirt is from her own collection. Image: Julia Klimi

Themis’s villa is perched on a hilltop with views that arc across the iconic blue-and-white painted architecture of Mykonos town to the glistening Aegean Sea.

‘Dining with friends and entertaining is a big part of our culture. I often have people over for nibbles and drinks,’ says Themis. The pineapple mirrors are from an antiques store in Athens. Image: Julia Klimi

Natural light is in abundance in this region and hits every nook and cranny in the predominantly white space, which is punctuated with warm woods and dove greys. ‘I wanted to create a palette that was soothing to the eye, yet functional and decorative,’ Themis says.

A vantage point overlooking the Mykonos hills. For similar lounge chairs, try Design Vintage (designvintage.co.uk) Image: Julia Klimi

A love of design was instilled in her from a young age: her father pioneered the entertainment and nightclub scene in Athens and Mykonos during the 1960s, while her mother worked as a senior stylist at Harper’s Bazaar and an interior designer for the clubs. ‘Twice a year, my sister and I would wake up one morning and our mother would have rearranged the whole house!’ she laughs.

The living room focuses on comfort and light, which streams in through the front-facing windows. The sofas and armchairs are by Paola Navone. For similar white linen armchairs, try Loaf (loaf.com). The wooden table was bought during
a trip to Africa. Image: Julia Klimi

Themis’s eponymous lifestyle and concept brand ‘all started with a cushion,’ she says. ‘I had always dabbled in interiors, having dressed villas for my holiday properties. The catalyst came when I tried to find cushions and accessories that had more depth to them; I wanted things to be simple but well-made.’ Following a trip to Morocco, Themis added hand-crafted porcelain plates to the cushion range, designs that were soon snapped up by the likes of Dior Maison and the Belvedere Hotel on Mykonos.

Although predominantly inspired by Greek history and culture, Themis also collects and displays pieces from her travels. The Buddha head is from a trip to Laos. ‘I couldn’t resist it!’ she says. The candles are by Themis. Image: Julia Klimi

‘People need to fully experience a brand to get to know it,’ Themis explains, an idea illustrated in her new Mykonos store, a calm, relaxed space that showcases her exquisite but unfussy style.

This exterior dining area is practically hidden by foliage on the lower ground floor. For a similar wooden dining table, try Oka (oka.com). Image: Julia Klimi

The designs are authentically Greek, inspired by the relaxed beauty of her Athens birthplace. The ‘8’ symbol printed on cushions symbolises ‘mindfulness and happiness’ while the circular prints on the fashion collections represent infinity and serenity.

The combination of white and grey speaks of relaxed coastal holidays. ‘I often work outside as I find the sound of water relaxing,’ she says. For similar woven pouffes, try Maisons du Monde (maisonsdumonde.com). The cushions are from Themis’s collection. Image: Julia Klimi

‘These are not just products, they are a lifestyle,’ says Themis. The Mykonos ethos is all about relaxation and enjoying time with loved ones, a philosophy that Themis wholeheartedly supports. ‘I want my products to reflect that tranquil feeling of living beside the sea.’

‘Everything in the villa must be warm and inviting,’ says Themis. Despite the abundance of minimalist white throughout, soft linens, sheer fabrics and woven rugs add a feeling of comfort. The bed was sourced from Brazil. Image: Julia Klimi

For further information on Themis’s new collections and upcoming collaborations, visit themisz.com

Report by Nicole Gray