House of Light & Character

A new lease of life for an old Maltese home.

Site area: 162m2

Project Year: 2014 – 2016

Location: Siggiewi, Malta

#residentialdesign #houseofcharacter #conversion

project floor plan
project floor plan

Houses of Character are often considered dream homes by many for their rich history and charming environment. Characterised by thick, natural stone walls and unsymmetrical layouts, they offer a novel discovery around every corner.

This particular House of Character in Siggiewi had massive potential but needed upgrading to meet the needs of the young family who owned it. Their brief was to modernise the building, bring in more natural light and open up the rather segmented spaces. A steep uncomfortable staircase posed an issue for the family and the way that the old stone walls had been plastered with layers of cement meant that the house’s true beauty had been unnecessarily hidden away.

The first step was understanding how to bring in the much-needed light in order to make the place feel more open and airier. We decided to sketch our design looking inwards – onto the central courtyard which really offered the perfect focal point of the whole property. We opened up new apertures on three sides, with large glass panels on two floors, all looking inwards to the courtyard, bringing in daylight but still retaining the property’s privacy.

Our contemporary design was flecked with ‘old meets new’ concepts. We included a floating steel staircase, that ran adjacent to the new apertures. Concrete coloured floor slabs complimented timber furniture pieces, bringing in this feel of the best of the old with the beauty of the new. Additional internal rooms were opened up to give the family more space as they moved about the house in their daily lives. It also ensured we could include a master bedroom and two additional bedrooms in our proposal.

Although this property was centrally located, the introverted design theme gave the family additional privacy, even against its somewhat urban setting. Efficiency in our design maximised the available space and even though you knew you were entering a historical building, it was injected with a sense of fresh, modern openness at the same time.

Great design is not about reinventing the wheel, especially in the case of a House of Character. It’s about respecting history and making it a feature to be enjoyed within the demands of a modern lifestyle.


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