During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Malta experienced the birth and rapid growth in the trend to convert, renovate and restore long-neglected properties, houses of character and farmhouses in particular, but also encompassing traditional townhouses and palazzi.
Qormi House of Character
Initially, farmhouses and character houses in Malta’s outlying villages such as Siggiewi, Zebbug, Qrendi and Gharghur were the first to draw the attention of those searching for a change of lifestyle and who recognized these unique properties as homes that were each totally different but enjoying a depth of history, architecture and character that was totally Maltese.
The following years saw the rapid growth in popularity of these homes quickly becoming many people’s dream whether newlyweds, young families, or increasingly overseas buyers looking for that home in the sun that simply couldn’t be found anywhere else in the World. The village residents, by and large, welcomed these new neighbours with the friendliness, for which Malta and Gozo are renowned, even if with a little bemusement in the fact that people actually wanted to live in the place where their families had kept chickens and other assorted animal life for generations.
The trend grew and grew fast and during the last three decades or so, many centuries old habitats have been rescued from dereliction and transformed into exceptional homes indeed. The fact that these properties are located mostly in the highly protected village core areas means that despite the construction boom of recent times, they are still there to be enjoyed today.
Siggiewi House of Character
However, the time is ripe for the re-renovation of many of these conversions. Times and tastes have changed and property owners and restoration specialists have an impressive array of new design options and an equally impressive array of state of the art materials and methods that simply weren’t available thirty years ago; and even if they were, they were prohibitively expensive and options for the very rich alone. Things such as affordable double glazing, underfloor heating, even air conditioning and dehumidifying were beyond the reach of most young homeowners.
Hand in hand with the accessibility of cutting edge products has come to a wealth of talent and expertise, not only from artisans but also a whole new generation of extremely talented young Maltese designers and architects who are bringing light, comfort and technology to the properties introducing spatial concepts, larger apertures and 21st century convenience that were almost in the realm of fantasy a quarter of a century ago.
Re-renovating and giving these remarkable Maltese properties a third cycle is proving to be a huge success witnessed by the constantly growing demand for them. More than just buildings, they are character homes each offering the opportunity to own a slice of our history that doesn’t resist progress but embraces it.