Behind the door: 300-Year-Old House of Character gets showstopping make-over

“Pick one room and make it yours. Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself so it can introduce itself to you.” That’s what Frances Mayes wrote in her 1996 memoir, Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy, in which she writes about what she and her husband went through in renovating an abandoned villa in Tuscany. You may have even watched the 2003 film starring Diane Lane.

That’s sort of like what Sarah Micallef and Richard Muscat Azzopardi have done (and are still doing) with their 300-year-old house of character in Mosta. It’s easy to move into a ready-made house nowadays, but there’s a pleasure like no other to be gained from starting from scratch, especially if the house has good bones.

Here at House Malta, you know that we’re obsessed with DIY fixer-uppers, so for this article, we’re sharing some of the best moments in their personal renovation journey.

N.B: Sarah and Richard document every process on their page, On Old Mill Street, which you can find on Facebook and Instagram. Show that you support their efforts and give them a follow!

Here’s our favourite moments:

When they added a second peacock chair to their collection.

Proud mama of my second peacock chair, and after (literally) years of keeping an eye out, I’m so pleased to have finally found a rare specimen with lovely 70s swirls. To say I’m a little obsessed with it would be an understatement.

When they repurposed ceramic floor tiles as table coasters.

Here they are! The results of the tiles turned coaster project on full display in our little den upstairs! If you weren’t following on Stories, I picked up a selection of Portuguese Azulejo tiles during a short visit to Porto, gave them a good clean and turned them into coasters by simply coating the bottom in felt (to prevent scratches). And here are a few of them… love how they turned out!

When they cleaned up this antique bistro set they found in Lyon.

Been a while since my last Before & After shot! Here’s a side by side comparison of my latest project: the metal bistro chairs in our courtyard. Before, when we first spotted them at an antiques market in Lyon, and After, in the yard after being scraped down to metal, rust treated and painted blue.

When Sarah set up her Secret Rose workspace.

The studio is filling up nicely! And now that the Christmas rush is over at @the_secret_rose, I’m enjoying working on creative projects at a more leisurely pace. This room certainly helps… I love having a space dedicated solely to my creative work. I genuinely think it helps my output!

Sarah runs a small busineses called The Secret Rose, which offers custom embroidery for a variety of items. Check out the page here.

When they put up their very original Christmas tree.

It’s our first Christmas #onoldmillstreet and we like to do things a bit differently! While I love a traditional Christmas tree, Rik isn’t the biggest fan, so here’s our way of meeting in the middle: a simple hand crafted tree made from sustainably sourced Birch, decorated with baubles I’ve collected over the years.

When their living room was looking ‘especially cosy.’

Flowers in the house. These sunny days create such beautiful light at home, and the flowers like it as much as we do. Here’s the living room looking especially cosy.

Be sure to check out the rest of the photos on their page! They’re always sharing new items in their collection, from framed original prints to eclectic refurbished furniture!