Line of Beauty

Often the best things in life are worth waiting for and that is certainly the case with this home.
A historic property that had lain derelict for 30 years, the process of bringing it back to life took four years, but the end result is stunning, with modern additions seamlessly working with the original early 20th-century building to create a warm and welcoming contemporary home.
As the story with many a restored property, when the homeowners, an older married couple, first saw this house they were able to look past the dilapidated state, including a garden that was so overgrown they could not at first reach the front door, and see what it could become. ‘We felt this house deserved to be restored and renovated,’ says the homeowner. ‘We always had a fantastic vision of the end result, although we sometimes wondered if we would get there due to the gravity of the house’s condition.’
The process of planning the renovation was two years long. ‘As well as having to wait for planning permission, we felt we wanted to take the time at this point to ensure we chose the right people, from the engineer and contractors to the interior designer, who would respect the house, its architecture and its history,’ explains the homeowner.
To oversee the entire project, the couple turned to the camilleriparismode Design Team who oversaw every last detail of the project, from the exterior and interior design, to the gaining of
planning permissions to the day-to-day details when the work got started. ‘The wait was worth it – it was a good performance by all involved,’ says the homeowner. ‘The contractors never missed one day of work; they worked on the house as if it was their own.’
For the Design Team’s Paul Camilleri, rejuvenating this 110-year-old house was about balancing out the needs of modern living with the integrity of the original house. ‘We didn’t want to extend too much,’ he says. ‘Everything we did had a specific use in mind.’
Construction began in autumn 2017 and finished just a few weeks ago. Restoration of the original stone house meant replacing the rusted metal beams of the roof, renovating the stonework and reviving the original doors. The floors were replaced with marble and underfloor heating installed, alleviating the need for radiators.
Today the home has both formal and casual rooms. A gracious sitting room with its high ceiling and beautiful floor-to-ceiling doors and arched transoms lead into a spacious dining room with its eye-catching mantelpiece and seating for ten.
More relaxed is the cinema room where one finds the television and bar and, in a stylish extension, a large conservatory with sofas and a table. ‘This is a very nice part of the house that allows the clients to enjoy the garden in the autumn and winter,’ says Paul.
Adds the homeowner: ‘The house called for a room like this, a place to have our everyday meals as the kitchen is not large enough to have a table – and the view of the garden is very important to us.’
Made with crittall glass, the conservatory fits elegantly into the property. ‘At first, it was just clear glass but that looked too plain and too modern, ‘explains Paul. ‘So we decided to re-interpret the classic elements of the arch that can already be seen in the property. Following that decision, we used the arch at the front and the rear of the pool house too.’
The house was originally on a single, ground floor level but did have a ‘semi-basement’ which has been excavated to create a series of rooms including a music room along with service spaces such as a laundry. A lift was also installed, rising from the garden level through the semi-basement to the ground floor above.
The expensive garden is a mix of lawn, flower beds and mature trees. ‘The garden was a major challenge,’ says Paul. ‘There was a five-metre difference in level and we didn’t want the clients to be climbing a hill so we had to find a way to connect the different areas gradually – we put in a few steps to the pool house and after that, we started shifting earth to even the ground but without affecting the way the water flows when it rains.’
The pool house is substantial and well-equipped with a kitchen along with sofas, television, music system and wood-burning fireplace inside, and dining tables under a canopy outside. ‘We used to have a house in Gozo that we went to in summer, ‘says the homeowner. ‘This has eliminated that need as we have Malta and Gozo in one! The house is more formal so this provides us with an ideal entertaining space, especially when the family are visiting.’
The home’s colour palette consists of greys and off-whites, lifted by accents of sage and teal. ‘Because of the size of the house and the way the rooms are close to each other, we felt a neutral palette worked best, and these are classic colours that do not date,’ says Paul. ‘We used them as a constant throughout the house, including the pool house.’