A brief history of our houses in Gramade, Bulgaria
I got lost in the mountains & discovered Gramade & found it really beautiful & fell in love with the region, it felt calm & relaxing like one had gone back in time.
In the summer of 2007 I met Jaylan, our now operations manager, who offered to come with me back to the village. On my 2nd trip I met the Major – Borislav who turned out to be a wonderful man, he made us feel very welcome, feeding us & joining in with the local festivities. I fell even deeper in love with the area & the villagers simple way of life!
I bought an old farmhouse from a lady called Zinca, this is situated higher up the hill, the view is beautiful but there was no road. In the old days horses were used to travel in & out. A road was built into the village but lower down the valley – this drew the people to near the valley floor, however i wanted to breath life into the old village houses, so I put in a road & restored Zinca’s house – at the same time I managed to buy the Mayor’s fathers old house & restore that too, this was combine to make Bosislav’s & Sabri’s apartments.
There are 3 main houses in the old village, these were owned by 3 brothers who really were the heart of Gramade.
The local people were amazingly helpful, kind, generous & welcoming. Continually giving support bring there own produce, offering help & encouragement. They seem to be just as proud as me about the final version of the houses.
A local builder called Sabri worked his magic on the old properties (one of which used to be in his family!) He too lives in the lower village now but he is really an artful man & one can see the quality & creative way he has restored the old houses along with his own, specific village creations.
Jaylan oversaw the whole project & kept it on track.
An extremely complex process began of negotiating with an antiquated bureaucratic communist system, to get permits & approvals. A large part of the remote rural areas still rely heavily on Cyrillic, this combined with the fact that at the start of the process she spoke NO English made progress painstakingly slow!
All the furniture was also designed by me & made locally from local wood. Each piece is individual drawn & hand made for a specific room. All the initial building materials had to be taken up the mountain, some before the road was established! Then later the furniture too!
Most of the food is grown in the village & by its nature is organic. Local milk un-pasteurised, meat & vegetables fresh out the fields (one can get to a supermarket for produce we are more used to)
All the houses bathrooms use the old roof tiles on the wall to make a natural rustic feeling wet room. All have been completed using local labour & materials. The money taken to rent the houses will go back into a fund to help the local community.
Please feel free to browse our accommodations to see the interiors and magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. It truly is a beautiful part of the world & the locals are the friendliest iv’e met on my travels.