Perfect Harmony

At the heart of this perfect harmony home is a delightfully tranquil courtyard that artfully combines the old with the new. Surrounded on all four sides by the old stone walls of the 200-year-old house, teak decking gives a real sense of warmth. A round dining table, perfect for entertaining, is carefully positioned by the kitchen and there is seating made for relaxed lounging in perfect harmony. Scattered throughout are decorative objects which, with the pond and its multi-coloured fish, along with the use of teak, reflect the homeowner’s love of Eastern philosophy, and in particular Japan.
The courtyard, however, is just one of many outstanding features of this beautiful home. Split in two some 60 years ago, the homeowner has reunited both halves of the building to restore it to its former grandeur.
He actually bought one half of the building first but, he says,

‘when I did realise that I just had one half, I wanted to buy the other to make the house whole again, to bring it back to its original form.’

This he did four years ago and for the next two years devoted himself to its rejuvenation, fusing the history of the building with the present. ‘It was a challenge to take something that was built 200 years ago and maintain its authenticity whilst at the same time tweaking and twisting the design to give it a modern twist,’ he says. The end result, he continues, is ‘19th century baroque meets Japanese spa’.
The transformation was an organic process. ‘I surrounded myself with people whose opinions I valued such as [interior architect] Maria Mercieca who played a pivotal role in the early part of the process,’ he says. ‘We brainstormed ideas, vision and perspectives, and I researched a lot of ideas and then brought it all together’.
The end result is an expansive, light-filled and airy home with real character with perfect harmony. ‘The way I work is to look at each space through its energy – how it makes me feel and what I need to do to make it feel good, whether that be changing a wall or changing the flooring. In everything, I am guided by my senses,’ says the homeowner. ‘Each section of the house competes to have a pull on me – where I spend my time depends on how I feel at the time; do I want to be in a space that is calming, or one that is stimulating, that makes me feel that I want to explore the world. To me, one room is as exciting as the other.’
This perfect harmony is reflected in the decor which is an eclectic mix of styles and eras. ‘It’s a balance of the finer things with simple things and those that inspire emotion,’ he says. ‘As well, at times I felt it was right to go with the simplicity of the house although that may not be my natural style.’
In this, he had help from interior designer Eti Arzoan who chose all the colour schemes, fabrics, furniture and accessories. ‘Her very intuitive eye really enabled the place to reach its full potential,’ he says.
Natural materials are dominant. A rare and particularly beautiful marble that came with the house was used on the floor of the kitchen while elsewhere it is travertine, the smoothness providing a contrast to the texture of the original stone walls. Added to this is polished walnut which, like the teak, warms the stone.
Merging the inside with the outside was a major focus. ‘I want people to move between the two without even realising it,’ he says. To create this illusion, glass floor-to-ceiling doors that can be folded back entirely to open the interior out to the exterior are used to connect the house to the courtyard. However, instead of choosing similar flooring between the two spaces, he took inspiration from Japan, opting for teak for the decking. ‘For me, it is a defining feature that gives a sense of warmth to the space,’ he says.
Water and greenery soften the outside space and play to the senses. As well as the pond, there is also a pool. ‘I love the way the water reflects on the walls,’ he says. And at night, with the courtyard lit, the sound of trickling water fills the air for a magical feel.