The bones of this house are quite beautiful – traditional Maltese arches that gracefully support high ceilings, long cool corridors and solid stone walls that add subtle texture.
It was this that one half of the couple who now own the house fell in love with, convincing them that the property was the perfect ‘happy ever after home’. She says: ‘I have a weakness for old houses that need a family and this one was a proper Maltese house with the lovely arches.’
Unfortunately, however, her husband did not agree, and it was only 50 home viewings later that he finally capitulated and let her have her way.
It was, however, understandable that he was hesitant. Dating back to the 1700s, the house had been derelict for three decades, and needed a huge amount of work. His wife, though, was able to look beyond the wreck, and see what could be. ‘I can see things finished,’ she says. ‘Nothing about the house stumped me. I could see where our furniture could go the minute I walked in – my beautiful bone inlay chests and a big bright kitchen in the lovely long corridor.’
And so work began on bringing it back to life. It took a surprisingly short amount of time given the extent of the renovation – just eight months – but there were some unexpected shocks. ‘It was only when we brought down a wall and started to excavate, that we found that the entire house was balancing on just a couple of stones, and we were going to build two storeys on top of that!’
The house was underpinned and the transformation continued. The long corridor on the outside of the house was made part of the inside, and turned into the kitchen just as envisaged, and walls knocked through to create large,light-filled spaces. To the original first floor, they added another room, extending over the living room, so there is space for two separate dressing rooms and bathrooms, one of which is an ensuite overlooking the garden.
Plaster was used carefully, only where they wanted to add colour to the walls, and the combination of stone walls and plaster creates a fresh modern feel that is the perfect background to the eclectic nature of the furniture and accessories.
Varying shades of the colour blue from deep midnight to a royal blue and a lively turquoise along with flashes of red, give a richness to the look, which is finished by statement lights. The old and new mix of the building is reflected in the furnishings too, with different styles and eras juxtaposed for a look that feels very now.