“It was my brother, Mark, who first discovered this property while I was living in the UK. He viewed over 180 places while on the hunt for his perfect apartment and, having extended his search parameters slightly, spotted this. I immediately loved it and advised him to get it, but it wasn’t his thing. When I moved back a year later, I was thrilled to find it was still on the market, and made an offer almost immediately.
“Structurally there was a lot to do. Aside from opening up three of the rooms to create the now-open plan kitchen/living/dining area, I also wanted to keep the original tiles. I removed the tiles myself, scraped off the cement and cleaned them. I like the fact that a part of the apartment’s past is still here, as well as some other old tiles that I sourced from houses in Bormla and Valletta.
“So many of the pieces here were actually sourced from other properties, and very little is new. At home we laugh that ‘nanna bought it, mum threw it out, and I brought it back!’ Some of the items are family-owned, including my grandfather’s original swivel armchair and my grandmother’s sofa, while I found others at garage sales, flea markets and online.
“The kitchen, on the other hand, is very minimalist. This fits in with my need for function and the fact that I knew the rest of the house would be quite ‘full’. The white kitchen is a Zen space where everything can be cleared away and put out of sight. I think it juxtaposes nicely against the rest of the space, as well as against the raw, concrete ceiling.
“When I look around this apartment now I love that almost every item has a story to tell; it’s authentic and real. Right now it feels as though most people are desperate to build or buy things new, without realising the potential of the properties and pieces already out there. With a bit of styling they can still look contemporary and modern, and there’s a sense of satisfaction to be enjoyed from their longevity too.”
This is a snippet. Read the full feature on the latest issue of STYLE on Sunday.