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March 1, 2024 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn-Winter 2023 issue

A fusion of upscale interiors and practical solutions for defined spaces

Photography: Ramon Portelli

Designing an apartment is often challenging, especially when size is an issue. Functionality can take priority over personal preferences, while storage capacity must be maximised to avoid clutter.

However, sophistication and flair should not necessarily be absent within a restricted space. In fact, this particular Sliema apartment displays a chic and versatile design inspired by Art Deco characteristics that offer an essence of visual harmony and high-quality comfort.

Along with his long-term role as Brand Manager at Fabulous Home, Gianluca Tarantini used his background knowledge of fashion, personal inclination towards all things beautiful, and vast experience in interiors to expertly design the 50-square-metre home without being limited by its dimensions.

“The concept I was contemplating was that of an apartment in a big city like London or New York” – Gianluca

“This residence is ideal as a base for an international business person to relax in comfortable surroundings when returning from trips abroad. Keeping this type of client in mind, I toned down the design of this compact apartment with an elegant monochromatic theme complemented by a few touches of colour. Most of the furniture and décor items I chose were created by Eichholtz, a luxury brand now synonymous with Fabulous Home. The end result is a distinguished home which resembles a high-end hotel suite rather than a cramped flat.”

The open-plan living area extends from the front door into a welcoming space which immediately invites you to kick off your shoes and unwind. The granite grey Cesare lounge sofa is almost as wide as a bed, with only one armrest on the far side to allow you the option of lying back while watching your favourite TV programme. This also prevents the place from feeling confined. The velvet Chesterfield-inspired design adds a classic touch, while soft cushions enhance the sense of well-being. Space is further maximised with an over-arm side table replacing the traditional coffee table.

The retro Compton floor lamp in an antique brass finish offers the options of an uplight as well as an adjustable reading light, while the trendy Latour end table helps keep your aperitif at hand. A neutrally patterned, round carpet connects the sofa to the white television cabinet, which also displays a quirky table lamp from Eichholtz’s Extruder range. The brass skull perched on the black plinth lamp base will surely inspire a common topic of conversation between guests.

“To create graphic movement with the balcony curtains, I selected the Typhonic range in onyx from Harlequin’s exclusive fabrics,” Gianluca clarified. “This sense of motion is further expressed by the circular table in this corner of the flat, while pops of colour are inserted by the alternating teal and orange velvet dining chairs from the Singer collection.”

The white swirls on the black faux marble top of the Turner dining table are lit up by the single Chase chandelier, which helps to focus attention on the dining area. The white glass globes, supported by brass rods, generate a bright source of light in the evening, while sunlight pours in through the balcony during the day. The narrow Venetian blinds offer an element of privacy when the curtains are pulled open, without affecting the amount of natural light coming in.

The galley kitchen is practical but stylish, with most of the appliances concealed behind elegant floor-to-ceiling cupboards.

The Creo kitchen Tablet model by Gruppo Lube was acquired from Carmelo Delia By Vialino Ltd. The depth of its cabinet was extended from 60 to 90 cm to increase the work space between the hob and the sink. For the same reason, the plug sockets are hidden under a flap, which pushes up when their use is required. The Gres Koros countertop is thinner than normal and has a marble effect with gold swirls to reflect the touches of brass around the house.

Just outside the bedroom, the warm brown Fernand desk in front of the main entrance adds a minimalist aspect, alongside the adjacent Harmony shelving cabinet in piano black finish, with fretwork patterns inspired by the Chinese Chippendale geometric design. Installed within the opposite wall, lofty cupboards provide a hidden laundry area and storage facilities for domestic appliances and other items that would otherwise clutter the apartment.

The bedroom maintains the same glamorous décor in neutral tones, which are enhanced by the Roche blue shade from Eichholtz’s comfortable Dorset armchair with a swivel base. The three-door wardrobe stretches up to the ceiling, with each door cut in one whole piece to emphasise the height. A simple but contemporary element is presented by the bevelled frame of the full-length Domenico mirror.

The double bed includes a custom-made storage base, while the granite grey Melbourne headboard introduces a romantic note with its classical padded button decoration and nickel nailhead trim. The sleek Kingston table lamps, again in brass, are adjustable for easier positioning when reading in bed. The hotel theme is reinforced by the black mahogany Jaquet dress boy on which clothes may be hung, with two miniature drawers perfect for storing watches and jewellery.

The side tables represent two extremely different style periods. 

On one side, an antique family heirloom, complete with a vintage mirror, offers a second optional working zone, with the black velvet Burnett stool matching the grey velvet ottoman next to the TV unit. On the other side of the bed, an ultra-modern nightstand in brushed oak presents an interesting contrast. Its two drawers work with a push mechanism, portraying a smooth convex design with triangular silhouettes.

The en-suite houses a spacious shower with sliding doors and a white sink cabinet with two drawers, manufactured on order. The bathroom accessories – including a tall but simple towel rack – add touches of black, while the mirror extends to the ceiling to give the impression of space.

“For me, the complete luxury portfolio involves the proper decoration of a space,” Gianluca highlighted, “and that includes curtains and wallpaper! Covering all the walls in a room in similar colours presents a more luxurious visual than a feature wall. For the bedroom walls, I chose a paperweave option on a non-woven backing from Omexco’s range. The two different tones in blue-grey and brown were used again for the silk wallcovering in the bathroom. You also need to adapt your choice of materials according to the area. In the living room, for example, I opted for a durable and finely woven abaca texture printed on a non-woven backing, which is washable and not easily scratched.”

“Ultimately, the most important thing is to invest in quality furniture that will last and select exquisite pieces to make your home stand out. And if space is an issue, adapt your mental process, keep it functional, and always respect the place for what it is.” 

The exclusive brands Eichholtz, Harlequin, and Omexco are all part of the décor portfolio at:

Fabulous Home

Valley Road, Msida

Tel: +356 20601107

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