Sculpture is strong in this modern home. The inspiration for the exterior was a carved block of limestone and this can be seen in the play between dark and light, and flat and indented; inside, concrete stairs encased in glass rise statuesque through the house creating a stunning centrepiece. The overall effect is a striking contemporary look that has been softened with warm materials and finishes to create a spacious and comfortable family home.
‘The owners liked the idea of traditional limestone so we created a contemporary interpretation of it,’ explains Matthew Mercieca of MJMDA.
‘The facade is clad in a high-tech, large format, travertine-like slim tile which looks good but is also energy efficient and easy to clean, and the blue/grey rendered recesses emphasise the singular volume of the building. The permeability of this volume, or absence of it, was the basis of the design concept called Solid Porosity. The house is south-facing to the street so there is one blank wall with two openings. East-facing, onto the garden, where there is privacy and less glare, we have opened out the house with glass.’
The house is semi-detached – on the other side of the main wall is another home, also designed by MJMDA. ‘Two sisters and their husbands came to us to create a house for each of them,’ explains Matthew. ‘They needed to be side-by-side, and of an equivalent similar initial aesthetic, so we needed a common denominator regarding how to approach the design.’ The end result is two properties that on the outside have a similar aesthetic but inside diverge to take into account the personal taste of its owners.
This home is an excellently balanced open-plan space that makes the most of the relatively compact footprint. The entrance hall is flanked by a bank of floor-to-ceiling storage on one side but the space doesn’t feel restricted thanks to the home’s showpiece – a glass divisor wall with its view of the stairs and, beyond, through another smoky partition glass wall, the kitchen. From above, a skylight in the double-height ceiling floods the space, giving it focus and keeping it bright. The entrance also directs the eye to a point in the distance, either up to the sky or towards the garden.
The wall of storage opens out from closed cupboards into a bookcase and then a pair of slim horizontal lacquered units as the corridor evolves into the sitting room that is part of a larger open-plan space that also includes the dining area and kitchen. Here floor-to-ceiling windows apertures that lead on to a balcony accentuate the views to the outside.
A parquet floor zones the sitting room, moving into a pale grey resin for the more functional dining and kitchen area. In the kitchen, where the view of the concrete stairs gives the space real character, the coolness of Corian is warmed by a wall of timber units.
Upstairs, the master bedroom leads out onto an upper balcony that spans the entire length of this side of the house. Another door leads into a walk-in wardrobe cum bathroom where taking a shower comes with a view of the sea. Also on this floor are two more bedrooms and a family bathroom.
Outside, there are significant areas of decking around the pool that reflect the symmetry of the building, but beyond is the freshness of green with lawn as well as planters throughout. A house that fits well in every way.