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December 3, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Winter 2018 issue

A twist in the tale of an unfamiliar penthouse

Words Justine Bartolo  Photography Alan Carville

As an interior designer, walking into anyone’s home can either be a pleasureable experience, but sometimes also, not such a pleasurable experience.

This particular property was captivating, interesting & full of memories and tales.

As one may know, our personalities are often reflected in many ways, it could be the music we listen to, or the clothes we wear. This is also true for the home we live in.

Walking into this beautiful penthouse, one can almost feel the personalities of the owners. Why is this? As they have not held back with keeping their memories, possessions and favourite pieces showcased, to remind themselves of the best times, and for their guests to get to know them and enjoy.



Walking through room to room the overall feeling of the space is bright, airy, comfortable & eclectic.

I do not often use the word ‘comfortable’ when describing design, but this somehow seemed fitting for this property. The master bedroom was just about the right size but still looked grand, the bathroom featured plenty of storage but was not over-bearing and felt like all the essentials had been thought of, yet the most comfortable room of them all would have to be the open plan space of the kitchen and dining.

The kitchen seemed to have all the appliances in the perfect place, strategically located just close enough to the kitchen island, whilst the dining table was a metre or so away, making it the perfect location to entertain guests and also enjoy the gorgeous terrace and views. Every nook had a purpose, every wall was utilized, and if it was not, it just made sense that it wasn’t.



A term I’ve recently started to use is ‘An eclectic home is a happy home’.


Over years in the interior design industry, and after having spoken to countless property owners and seen countless homes, the happiest are the people who live in a home where no design boundaries are set.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of keeping everything in a certain way, I for one, am definitely guilty of this. But the homes where you can walk in, throw your newspaper on the table, make yourself a cup of tea and lounge on your sofa after grabbing a book or two from your extensive collection, those are the homes where memories grow. Homes like this are often a mix between old and new. This is usually because the owners have given more importance to the way their pieces make them feel, rather than solely basing their purchases on how things should look.

But you have hit the jackpot when you manage to achieve a home that is beautiful aesthetically as well as personally.

This is the case for this home. The owners were previously living somewhere else where they made lots of memories and didn’t want to lose them, nor the pieces that held sentimental value to them, yet during the move they also enlisted practicality as one of their main priorities, meaning that sometimes modern design is a must, due to its clean lines and easy functioning furniture.

We can evidently see the mix of design concepts here, from the classic paintings on the walls, to the modern cloud light fittings that hang over the dining table. One can see that a lot of thought has gone into each area, where even certain wall colours were used to create contrast between spaces and highlight their features.

I particularly love the gallery wall. One can immediately notice that the dark wall colour works perfectly in the contrast between the art pieces and its background, but more importantly, the type of art used fits perfectly with the modern wall colour.

To achieve a space that flows so well from one room to the next, and that is also so practical in layout, size and furniture positioning is not an easy task.

It turns out that the couple living in this gorgeous hub have extensive experience in the interior design industry and were therefore able to make forward thinking decisions whilst working on this project. After speaking with the owners we also came to find that pieces from their art collection were also local, and that the creative talent ran through the family.

One of the main pieces that spoke to me was the female portrait that is so strategically wall hung above a well decorated console in the living room, that can be enjoyed whilst relaxing on the sofa or listening to music. The perfect place for such a gorgeous work of art.

After asking about it, it turns out that the portrait was painted by a family member back in 1970. I was later told he was one of the leading Maltese artists of the 20th century.

It is evident that this home is filled with memories, experiences & the joys of many years before. 45 to be exact! There is something relaxing about the property, comforting, well designed, but more importantly, personal to those who inhabit it. To me it feels that every corner and piece has a story, and perhaps, a twist in its tale!

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