Until they settled in Malta, the expat homeowners of this property were nomads, roaming the world. Over time the couple had tried to settle down – bought houses and sold them again, rented others. They had seen, says one half of the couple, literally hundreds of homes but rarely had they seen one that they loved straightaway.
Which is what makes this place so special. ‘As soon as we walked it we knew,’ says the homeowner. ‘It felt right.’ This is despite the fact that the four-storey house was little more than a concrete box with no doors or windows, let alone plumbing or electricity. ‘We bought it in shell form and although there was nothing there, it felt right,’ he explains. ‘The layout worked and it was able to fit in everything we wanted. We knew it would work for us.’
And it does, both in the configuration and the look, thanks to a collaboration between the couple, architects MJMDA, interior designer Nathan Martin and Alan Debattista from Chillis Chilli. It started with Nathan. ‘We were at the house just after we bought it and he knocked on the door, well not the door because there wasn’t one – the concrete, and told us he could help us turn the place into a home,’ says the homeowner.
Nathan introduced the couple to MJMDA, a multi disciplinary firm of professionals, and together over some weeks a detailed plan was drawn up to transform the shell into a stylish home. ‘We wanted a modern, minimal look that’s clutter-free but not cold,’ says the homeowner.
The design opened up the house, creating a line of sight from the front door right down to the end of the garden. Another created an axis that links the kitchen with the deck, the pool steps and finishing with the overhanging pool deck. ‘Both give the house a harmonious feeling,’ says the homeowner, who took time away from his job to project manage the final six months of the project.
A key part of the look of the house is the use of wood and this is where the third part of the team comes in, Alan Debattista of Chillis Chilli.
He was responsible for the extensive amount of stained oak cladding that gives the home its warm look and feel. The work also included wooden soffits as well as lighting that was incorporated into the woodwork along with the creation of hidden storage that ensured the sleek look of the house was maintained.
Outside was also a blank canvas but today is an outdoor space that looks chic. ‘It works really well too – there are lots of different places to sit and eat and if we feel a bit hot, we just jump in the pool for 10 minutes,’ says the homeowner.
In buying the house the couple who have three children, wanted some stability and this they certainly have. ‘The house lives really well,’ says the homeowner. ‘Just as we knew it would.’