"I saw this house in an advertisement while walking down Merchants Street and it looked like it had the right details. I felt comfortable the minute I walked in, particularly because we were looking for a lot of wall space for our books. I was a professor of applied linguistics, while Jeff was a professor of literature, so between us we have 10,000 reference books, plus all the ones we’re reading, which we then give away or donate to charity. The libraries are some of our favourite spots.
"The house had already been renovated when we bought it, so we added our own touch wherever we could. I cladded the steps’ risers with mosaic pieces to colour to the otherwise-whitewashed area and hung art we had collected on our travels. The hook in the picture is a star in its own right. In summer, we hang hats on this and the other two hooks, and it was this scene that inspired Maltese artist Rossella Dalmas to paint them – the painting, called ‘Hattrick’, hangs nearby.
"The walls of the house were simply too bare and white for us and, when it came to the guest bathroom, we decided to let our friends, neighbours and all those who enter the house leave their mark on the spare bathroom’s wall. Since then, people from all over the world have visited, scribbled and doodled to their heart’s content.
"This area is one of my favourites as it has a lot of personal meaning for me. The girl in the picture is me as a four-year-old. My father was an avid painter and, even when he was captured as a World War II prisoner-of-war, he continued to paint in miniature; around 1,000 of his pieces survive to this day.
"The cards in the bowl, meanwhile, are a collaborative initiative involving more than 200 people in support of the Happy Paws charity organisation. I got together with more than 60 artists living in the Maltese Islands to create Malta’s first (and portable) contemporary art museum. Aged between 19 and 84, they showcase the vibrant diversity of the local contemporary art scene. All profits from the Malta Playing Arts go to Happy Paws."