Mediterranean Garden Society

The house at Sparoza

There has recently been a renewed interest in the design of the house at Sparoza. It was built by Jaqueline Tyrwhitt in the 1960s to a design by the American/Polish architect, Jerzy Soltan, who did not visit the site during the construction of the building. Jaqueline Tyrwhitt and her architect chose to build in stone at a time when masonry skills had mostly disappeared in Greece with the predominance of reinforced concrete construction. The Sparoza house and two other stone houses subsequently built in the same era on the hill were the work of two local masons who were largely a law unto themselves and probably made numerous small changes to the architect’s plans. One instance was the so-called annex behind the garage which they set up for themselves with a WC as a place for resting and eating.

On Jacqueline Tyrwhitt’s death in 1983 the Sparoza estate was bequeathed to the Goulandris Natural History Museum on the understanding that the house and garden would be under the museum’s care. She ensured that the estate could not be sold by adding a clause to her will that the house was to be available for specified uses by a relation and a friend in perpetuity.

After several years of neglect, the estate was rented by John and Jay Rendall who kept the house in good repair and restored the garden. Since 1995 Sally Razelou has resided at Sparoza and has put her skills to work in the garden until it has become internationally renowned as an example of a water-wise mediterranean-climate garden. The Mediterranean Garden Society has held the lease for the estate since 1999 at which time Mrs Razelou became the full-time Custodian of the garden on behalf of the MGS. The house is still Mrs Razelou’s private residence.

Click or tap on the images to enlarge and read the details. Click here to read more about the MGS Garden at Sparoza as it is today.

  • View from the south-east

  • View from the east

  • Another view from the east

  • East retaining wall

  • Sloping path

  • East wall

  • East side, north lower section

  • North-east corner

  • Lower-roofed section

  • North-east corner close up

  • North-west corner close up

  • West wall

  • West wall looking north

  • West wall and garage

  • Higher-roofed section

  • South-west corner

  • Lorraine cross façade

  • South end

  • South end close up

  • South patio

  • South end walled garden

  • Rough track

  • House from the east

  • House from the north-east

  • House alone

  • Entrance hall and kitchen

  • Entrance hall

  • Entrance hall lived in

  • Dining well

  • Kitchen from dining well

  • East window with door

  • West 'Picture Wall'

  • Window by front door

  • West 'Picture Wall'

  • Lounge looking south

  • Lounge view to the south

  • Bookcase

  • South window

  • South patio - east end

  • South patio - west end

  • Jaqueline Tyrwhitt

  • Looking from south patio

  • First bedroom window

  • Ceiling-height window 1

  • Ceiling-height window 2

  • Ceiling-height window 3

  • Ceiling-height window 4

  • The house today

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