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July 15, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2013 issue

A mixture of old and new combined in a distinctively individual style

Words: Andrea Christians

Photography: Alan Carville

This apartment is centrally located in one of Malta’s most fashionable locations and has been the much loved home of its current owner for the last thirteen years. In the Hall area stands an excellently preserve example of a Maltese Sacristy Gradenza that would once have had it home at the back of a church. The Living room/Dining area is immediately adjacent and is essentially open plan and full of natural light with a balcony that traverses two sets of glass doors. Other notable features here include double stone arches that face one another from opposite sides of the room whilst the rich honeyed hues of the limestone walls are offset by neutral coloured walls.

The sofas in the Sitting Area are informal in style and low backed and are upholstered in brushed cotton with dramatic zebra print cushions and matching throw that are a personal favourite of the owner and certainly create colour and contrast. An eastern style coffee table stands before them whilst the remaining furniture is a mix of contemporary and antique pieces that work well together.

Immediately behind the central sofa stands a late Victorian antique table that is a mixture of walnut, rosewood and olive wood and has striking marquetry effect with an adjacent spindle leg drop leaf table in dark Oak near the window.

The walnut dining table is also antique and was once a refectory table that is now complemented by neutral coloured high back dining chairs. The owner’s love of art becomes immediately apparent on entering the room as nearly all the walls are adorned with original art works of some kind or another. Two antique Maltese scenes that have been handed down through the generations hang on either side of the balcony doors whilst the work of local Artist Ed Schembri is also to be found throughout the apartment with a sensual portrait of a woman on the wall near the dining table. Large well-tended house plants in antique style terracotta pots complete the look. All in all this room has an interesting ambience and despite having a combination of styles and textures has a strong sense of continuity and individuality that reflects the artistic nature of the owner.

The Kitchen located next to the dining area has a separateness created by pillars that effectively segregate the main living area from the rest of the apartment. It has a classic, uncluttered country style in dark oak that contrasts against the light walls and travertine work surface and backdrop and has a small bar area with stools for informal dining.

The master bedroom of this property is large and serene. The taupe coloured paint on the rear wall has a hint of pink that is reflected in both the soft furnishings, bed linens and even the uplighter that has been painted to coordinate.

Two antique bedside tables with striking marquetry stand on either side of the bed while in the far corner an antique regency style desk looks out onto fields with a woven antique spindle leg chair in front. The Roman blind above is again in a complementary shade and in keeping with the understated style. Near the window hangs another painting by Ed Schembri, this time a nude, that echoes the colours scheme and serves to further enhance the sensual simplicity that this room exudes – but modern technology is not banished all together and at the foot of the bed a television stands on a large wooden chest that has been cleverly designed to look like a chest of drawers.

Finally we come to the ensuite bathroom which again is a case of understatement with traditional white ceramics and tiles offset by a pale blue blind that is again reminiscent of a country style.

In conclusion, this is a charming property that is somewhat surprising in its peaceful ambience considering its frenetic central location. Above all else, however, it is a credit to the design capabilities of an owner who has successfully managed to combine many family heirlooms and personally loved objects with a comfortable and stylish result that has its own unique and timeless appeal.

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