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June 12, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2018 issue

A clever mix of classic and contemporary

​​Words Andrea Christians  Photography Cyril Sancereau

A stylish compact home in historical surroundings

Set in the historic three cities area of Malta this traditional town house has been thoughtfully renovated to create a stylish yet practical home with a distinct retro feel. Occupying a corner plot the property is compact with a basement main bathroom, ground floor entrance hall and kitchen/dining and adjacent living room and bedroom on the first floor.


In the entrance hall the owner wanted to keep things simple and create the effect of an indoor garden. Subsequently the monochrome tile floor was left with an opaque finish to create an antique effect. This contrasts subtly against the interesting green paint of the walls and the simplicity of the wooden wardrobe. A limited edition French consul table supplied by Fabulous is made from brass and dark wood brings a touch of opulence whilst birdcages, fairy lights and an eastern figurine complete the finishing touches to the surroundings. Old style Maltese numbers adorn the walls of the staircase that leads to the first floor.


Although abandoned for some years and in a dilapidated state the owner realised the house had a number of interesting features. These included old style Maltese tile flooring that fortunately turned out to be in perfect condition! Its unusual geometric diagonal style and colouring were retained and subsequently influenced the colour palate of the kitchen and living room.


The kitchen is a mix of contemporary and classic styles with functionality being an important element. The oak dining suite has a distinct French influence whilst the contemporary kitchen has a lava rock work surface – once again reflecting the owners passion for natural materials. Notable features here are the integrated drinks cooler and the fact that there are no high level appliances – in keeping with the retro style prevalent throughout. Beyond the kitchen a closed balcony enjoys an abundance of natural light and has been transformed to create a reading/coffee area with a small table and antique chairs whilst a second balcony offers a sea view.


In the living room the theme of taupe, yellow and grey continues with one wall lending itself to an on going collection of paintings, frames and sculptures to create a gallery effect. In contrast another wall has been covered in a dramatic style organic and breathable Omexco wallpaper available from Fabulous – as is the a velvet upholstered stool that adds to the retro feel that defines this room. Subtle industrial style overtones are also present in the metal shelving unit and light fixtures.


The bedroom makes its own style statement with the use of natural wood for the bed and wardrobe. Here again a distinct old world feel has been skilfully achieved with stacked antique suitcases and a hat box on one side of the bed to create a bed side table and a feature in one. The vintage sewing machine base converted to a vanity table continues this theme and is topped with a Carrera marble top with bevelled edges. A large plant print that was actually originally a curtain panel acts as a focal point and adds visual interest to the neutral colour palate with an eclectic mix of ornaments completing the peaceful ambience of this room.


The bathroom is located in the basement and with its simple white ceramics and chrome fittings has a distinct 1950s look that is in keeping with the traditional theme of the house. The owner decided to retain the original exposed stone walls and ceiling to create something of a cavern look that complements the retro style. A small laundry room is also located here.


In conclusion, with the optimisation of the space available this is another excellent example of a sympathetic renovation of an old style property. The end result is a comfortable, stylish and functional home that successfully retains the character of the original house.

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