The Home of Dimitra and Georgio Savva

Author: Georgio Savva Interior Designs And Events |

Blog by Georgio Savva Interior Designs and Events


But step inside, and space opens into more space, with unexpected bends and turns that reveal the Moorestown home's unending charm. For Georgio and Dimitra Savva, who purchased the home in 2002 just after they'd almost settled on a characterless townhouse, the home presented a blank canvas. Because both love design, it let them express their creativity and their love for their Greek heritage.

During holiday season, the 4,400-square-foot home, built in 1942, takes on a luminous quality that made it a highlight of the 2006 edition of Moorestown's annual Cook's Tour of very special houses, with proceeds benefiting South Jersey's Virtua Health Systems.

But it wasn't always so appealing. Just ask Dimitra.

"The first thing my wife said when she saw the house seven years ago was, 'I'm not living here!' " Georgio recalls. Occupied by renters, the place was furnished in "early chaos," without charm or style. Georgio's father, who spent his youth in Greece, likened it to "a barn where you could keep horses."

Georgio, an interior designer, was undaunted. He instantly saw the home's potential and its good bones, and even imagined it as a holiday home for his large family.

Dimitra, whose background is in textiles and who currently works in fashion, did come around. And today, Georgio's parents occupy a large suite in the back of the home.

Visitors enter by the main door into a hallway; next to it is a small room that takes on significance at Christmas. The Icon Room, as it is known, holds the couple's religious treasures, including photos and statuary representing saints. The couple began their collection on their honeymoon in Greece 10 years ago, and it now fills multiple shelves. Included in the unusual collection, in a heart-shaped holder, are the stefana, the silver and pearl crowns the couple wore during their traditional Greek wedding ceremony in 1999. Candles illuminate the pieces at night.

Beyond the intimate room, the home rambles on, with its center core comprising a formal living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. While each space is unique, there is a unity to the look and feel of a home that combines European formality with country charm. The balance never tips in one direction or the other, because that blend is exactly what the Savvas wanted.

Holiday central is the dining room, with its massive E.J. Victor dining table with mahogany inlaid top and apron of French appliques. A hand-painted ceiling sets off a distressed plaster finish on the butterscotch walls, a color and texture Georgio chose because the result is mellow enough to be discreet, but interesting enough to make an impression.

"On Christmas Day, after morning services, everybody comes back here to spend the holiday," Dimitra says. "We're a big family - siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins - and this house is large enough to accommodate everyone and their pets."

The Savvas keep the food coming, from appetizers like the traditional avgolemono soup (Greek chicken soup with rice and lemon) to the stuffed grape leaves and homemade Greek breads and, ultimately, a full sit-down dinner for 37 people, served family style.

In the formal living room, with pale silk sofas flanking the fireplace, European bombe chest, and Oriental carpeting, Dimitra and Georgio set up small golden tinsel trees of various heights, originally store props. The living room showstopper tree has as its motif birds and flowers in gold, bronze, sage, and coral tones, swathed in French silk.

Dimitra's favorite room is the tearoom that overlooks the yard. The tea fancier created a charming nook where teatime is set against a backdrop of teapots from around the world. At Christmas, the tearoom's golden tree sparkles with Swarovski and Waterford ornaments.

"This is a home where we've mixed European sophistication and drama with a country comfort feel," Georgio says. "We love it all the time, but in the holiday season, it reminds us of just how wonderful and important heritage, home, and family can be."