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Welcome to

HOMEWORKS 16 edition. th

Christmas is finally here! This issue is positively packed with some serious hoopla. This year, we’re firing you up with fantastic Christmas inspiration in the 12 days of Christmas. Also, be sure to check out our 48 page pull-out Christmas gift guide positively packed with great Christmas gift ideas. Open plan and white is the theme for interiors this edition. Check out 1 White, White Space – Marisa O’Cock’s contemporary creation in San Pawl Tat-Targa (page 018). Xandru Grech, Izzy Abela and Pugi the dog create a beautiful home from scratch, with an amazing view and a beautiful big glass wall to make the most of it. See 3 Tinselly Towers (page 030). Anthony Sultana and Jeff Fabri invite us to their sublimely minimalist St. Julians penthouse in 5 Golden Fish (page 042). Don’t miss Joe Vella’s scrumptious Christmas recipes in 6 Christmas Cookeries (page 50). We haven’t forgotten greenery either – get florally inspired by Simone Salerno’s incredible creations in 7 Sylvan Symphonies (page 055). The 12 Days of Christmas allows us to encourage a little Christmas eccentricity. Get some aha! on Christmas tree decorating (page 025). If our four table settings don’t invigorate your creative juices this year, we don’t know what will – check out 4 Sexy Settings (page 038). Anne Marie Quercia brings us nine different craft ideas on page 063, while Katja Wiedersum brings us twelve homemade Christmas gift ideas on page 081. 11 Ways of Wrapping is abundant with exclusive concepts for gift presentation and page 075 gives readers the opportunity to receive real advice from the experts in 10 Questions Conquered (page 069). I have to say – it’s been a great year for Homeworks and I’d like to take this issue to thank each and every person that has helped make the magazine what it is. This includes the numerous advertisers that continue to support us; writers, designers and architects that aid in compiling exclusive editorial content; the staff at MAS Communications that consistently do their best to make sure everything comes together; the staff at Progress Press that ensure the highest quality printing time after time. Then of course there are my immediate colleagues - Marc Spiteri, our creative director/photographer/publisher who makes the magazine look as good as it does and drives us all to keep doing better; Alberto Serra, for his dedication to advertisers and amazing sales management skills. Also a big thanks to David Sciberras, for his fresh and innovative design. Last but certainly not least – to all you readers out there who keep us on our toes with ideas and suggestions. We do it for you and certainly couldn’t do it without you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

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7 sylvan symphonies

060 8 cosy carpets

042 5 Golden fish

030 3 tinselly towers


HOMEWORKS

075

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11 ways of wrapping

2 twinkly trees

038 4 Sexy settings

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9 craft creations

1 white, white space

050 6 Christmas cookeries

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12 tasteful tributes

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the rea ders, ca sonally n have y our by the e a x 10 questions conquered

WRITEON CHRISTMAS HOMEWINNERS HOMENEWS HOMEWORKS Needs You! Antiques Call 1 White, White Space 2 Twinkly Trees 3 Tinselly Towers 4 Sexy Settings 5 Golden Fish 6 Christmas Cookeries 7 Sylvan Symphonies 8 Cosy Carpets 9 Craft Creations 10 Questions Conquered 11 Ways of Wrapping 12 Tasteful Tributes HOMEWORKS A to Z SUPPLIERS 003


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Merry Christmas and a Happy New

ear from the

writeon

Christmas

Team That’s a Wrap! HOMEWORKS would like to sincerely thank the following contributors, designers and homeowners for their invaluable assistance in 2005.

Front Cover: (From left to right, top to bottom) Box 1: Katja Wiedersum (Interior Design) with husband Damian and son Mihi. Box 2: Joe Vella (Gastronomy) Box 3: Pippa Toledo (Interior Design) Box 4: Joanna Spiteri Staines (Architecture) Box 5: Simone Salerno (Floral Arrangement) Box 6: Henry Borg Barthet (Design; DIY) Box 7: Mark Pace (Interior Architectural Design) Box 8: Maria (Interior Design) and Daniel Scerri (Architecture) Box 9: Johanna Zammit (Styling) Box 10: Anne Marie Quercia (Crafts) Box 11: Sharron McNamara (Interior Design) Box 12: Davina Preca (Interior Architectural Design)

StockistDirectory the companies listed below have supplied The Merchandise featured editorially in this issue. • BoConcept (Tel: 2137 8012) • Christmas Palace (Tel: 9986 2842) • Christopher Sharp Oriental Rug Gallery (Tel: 2133 4191) • Design House (Tel: 2134 6474) • Home Space (Tel: 2149 0984) • Magnolia (Tel: 2122 6580) • The Christmas Shop (Tel: 2144 0539) • The House Shop (Tel: 2133 4226) • Gifts & More, Topline (Tel: 2137 2256)

• Cover (From left to right, top to bottom) Box 1: Little Mihi’s shirt – Monsoon Children; Garland – Christmas Palace; Angle decorations – Gifts & More, Topline Box 3: Pillows – Joinwell; Baubles – Christmas Palace Box 5: Wreath – Christmas Palace Box 6: Poinsettia, Baubles – Christmas Palace Box 7: Christmas tree – Gifts & More, Topline Box 8: Villeroy & Boch glass bowls – Joinwell; Baubles – Christmas Palace Box 9: Tree – Gifts & More, Topline; Baubles – Christmas Palace Box 10: Candles – Gifts & More, Topline Box 11: Garland – Christmas Palace Box 12: Boxes – Gifts & More, Topline

Kurt Arrigo Paulene Attard Henry Borg Barthet Chris Briffa Peter Calamatta Joe Camilleri Paul Camilleri Vanessa Camilleri Elizabeth Cardona Alan Carville Kevin Casha Rose Marie Cassar Hugo Chetcuti Michelle Clements Joe Coppini Willi De Battista Steven Ellis Jeff Fabri & Anthony Sultana Mona Farrugia Franco Fenech Brian Grech Engelbert Grech Xandru Grech & Izzy Abela Gordon Guillaumier

Adrian Hillman Jason Jones Sandro Loporto Pippa Mattei Sharron McNamara Peter Mercieca Paul Mizzi Michael Mumford Strana & Jean Claude Muscat Marisa O’Cock Mark Pace David Pisani Davina Preca Anne Marie Quercia Simone Salerno Daniel & Maria Scerri Carlo & Stefania Schembri Maria Elena Scodanibbio Joanna Spiteri Staines Pippa Toledo Godwin Vella Joe Vella Katja Wiedersum Johanna Zammit

• 1 White, White Space The Porcelain “Strawberry Cream Dinner Set” Black and white wooden vases Crystal and glass hanging decorations Candlesticks and tea light holders Dinner Set “Strawberry Cream” SIA “Garland” Glasses Black Cushions and cushion sash Coffee Table Vase with glass flowers Feather Wreath and silver flowers - Design House

• 4 Sexy Table Settings The Florentine Table ‘Florentine Turquoise’ plates, Wedgwood Stainless steel cutlery, Wedgwood Silver napkin rings, Wedgwood Silver name places, Wedgwood ‘Eclipse’ crystal wine glasses, Waterford – The House Shop

• 2 Twinkly Trees All decorations and trees – Christmas Palace, The Plaza

The Safari Table Gold placemats Bowl containing oranges Zebra print table cloth – Design House

• 3 Tinselly Towers 3 White sparkly Christmas trees – The Christmas Shop Flat silver candleholders - Magnolia

The Rosy Table ‘Chinoiserie’ crockery, Jasper Conran – The House Shop

• 6 Christmas Cookeries Tablemat & napkin – Design House • 8 Cosy Carpets Maroon Hand-woven polyester carpet with cotton warp – Home Space Red 100% Wool carpet – Home Space Geometric, 80% Pure new wool, 20% Cotton – BoConcept Meknes, 100% Pure new wool – BoConcept Sunburst & PopArt, 100% Espirelle Acrylic – BoConcept Cowhide Rug – Oriental Rug Gallery Leather Rug – Oriental Rug Gallery

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S R E D A E R r u O 5 1   E U S S

“Most of the maisonettes in Malta have yards – small back yards, which sometimes we use to keep dogs, bins and lines to hang clothes. Please give us ideas how we can make these yards interesting, relaxing and nice to look at both in summer and winter.”

I n o E T I WR

end us s o t s r e t the y r read invite ooupinions on wha e w and Every ISSUE mmentlsike to see in HOMEWORKS o c ir e h t ould like or w

Joanne Vella “I would like to see a step by step of do-it-yourself items. I’d like a feature on how to make items such as decorations, unique picture frames etc. I think that when you do things for yourself, you appreciate them more.” Alison Galea “What I’d like to see in Homeworks is some information on crystal and silver that might have been given as wedding presents not very long ago. Are they still in fashion nowadays? How do we incorporate them into a modern setting?”

HOMEWINNER 15TH edition…

Josette Camilleri

Congratulations to Elisa Cuschieri – our fifteenth Homeworks reader suggestion winner. Elisa has won the Chinese dinner set for 4 + accessories from Living Interiors.

HOMECompetition

HOMEWORKS

We want your feedback!

to submit interesting photographs

needs you!

ISSUE 16 PRIZE

Please forward your ideas outlining what you would like to see published within HOMEWORKS.

Elisa wrote: “Thank you for managing to put so much interesting information in every edition. I keep flipping through the pages, not only at home but also with my colleagues at work during break. Due to the fact that we have reason to believe that there will be a rise in our electricity bills, as well as, in order to protect our environment, I would appreciate to read more about solar heating / solar lighting solutions in our homes.”

HOMEWORKS

HOMEWORKS READERS are invited and a brief description of their homes which may be distinct in their architectural design. Of

The person submitting the most interesting idea/concept will receive A nest of tables from Boconcept.

particular interest are homes that

Value: Lm45.00 Kindly note that our policy for the Christmas issue is that the prize will be given before Christmas day. Winner will be chosen and notified December 19th.

submissions for future features.

offer outstanding elements of living spaces both interior and exterior. HOMEWORKS will select the best Send a photo and information to the attention of The Editor, Writeon Ltd., P. O. Box 48, Msida, Malta or info@writeon.com.mt (photos will not be returned)

Send your ideas to: HOMEWORKS Feedback, P. O. Box 48 Msida, Malta. or email: info@writeon.com.mt

Issue 16.05

This Edition: Editor Lisa Borain

Associate Editor Zillah Bugeja

Art direction David Sciberras Marc Spiteri Designer David Sciberras Keith Baker

Sales & Marketing (2133 9999)

Contributors

Pre-press and Printing

Design MAS Communications

HOMEWORKS is a bimonthly publication inserted in The Sunday Times and is published by:

Photography MAS Alan Carville

Henry Borg Barthet Michelle Clements Sharron McNamara Anne Marie Quercia Simone Salerno Joe Vella Katja Wiedersum

Alberto E Serra Progress Press Postal Address / E-mail

WriteOn Ltd. P. O. Box 48 Msida, Malta info@writeon.com.mt

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. Dates, information and prices quoted are believed to be correct at time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Neither the editor no publisher accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise. While we endeavour to ensure that firms and organisations mentioned are reputable, the editor can give no guarantee that they will fulfil their obligations under all circumstances. © 2005

HOMEWORKS is a registered trademark of WriteOn Ltd.

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Solid Wood, 100% pure. Solid wood, 100% pure, synonym for beauty, solidity and durability. The wood is absolute and noble, it makes the room where it is placed precious: the solid and resistant structure makes it a choice to last in time. Solid wood is like a massif golden ring, which appears at first glance identical to a plated one. The difference arises with daily contact when time passes by. The solid wood is eternal, consistent and passes through senses, creating a sensation of safety and stability.

core

upper valley road birkirkara tel +356 21 443449 info@core.com.mt www.core.com.mt


HOMENEWS THELATESTINDUSTRYHAPPENINGS

Spot On Spot On Supplies of Paola has recently introduced a new collection of classical and rustic style light fittings, created and designed by the Spanish manufacturer AJP Iluminacion S.L. The new collection is available in thirteen different finishes to suit everyone's tastes and pockets. This traditional lighting is a mark of a warm and welcoming environment, complementing Maltese homes. Lighting may be viewed at Spot On Supplies of Palm Street, Paola.

The Tile A new arrival at The Tile is the Fabbrica Del Vignola. One of its products, Prairie Stone, is the result of advanced production technology. The pre-compacting technique moulds it and its special features are high thickness and tactile effects, together with the authentic colours of natural stones. The back of the material has a “saw cut” profile, while the edges and corners are straight. Prairie Stone, with its complete fusion and highly compact mix, guarantees the best qualities in terms of mechanical reliability (impact, bending and surface abrasion strength) for both domestic and commercial use. Exclusively available from The Tile, Bellavista Street, San Gwann.

Antiques & Fine Arts Antiques & Fine Arts are now the exclusive agents for Meissen, Dresden, Plaue, Kammer, Sitzendorfer, Wallendorff, and Volkstedter – the world’s finest brands in porcelain. Antiques & Fine Arts, 31 Merchants Street, Valletta. (Next door to HSBC).

Idea Casa Idea Casa is continuously looking for ways to offer a complete environment to their clients’ homes. Light fixtures by top Italian brand Firme di Vetro have been introduced to the collection. Flooring by Skema is also available, offering a wide range of finishes for domestic as well as commercial purposes. Complete and specialised service is always available.

The Kempinski Residences Kempinski Residences – San Lawrenz form part of the Kempinski Hotel. This new unique and exclusive residential complex offers tranquillity, luxury and security. Living at a Kempinski Residence, one can easily pamper oneself in one of the best spas in all of Europe. The spa offers a vast range of treatments and facilities, including the best Ayurveda Centre in the Mediterranean. This is the ultimate five star residence in the heart of the Mediterranean and it’s within easy reach. Call the Kempinksi sales office or one of the appointed agents across Europe for a private on-site viewing.

Granny Smith launches new range of bronze items A new range of bronze fountains, sculptures, vases, lamps and ornaments in all shapes and sizes, for indoor or outdoor use have just arrived at Granny Smith. Exclusively available from Granny Smith, Anthea Collection, Naxxar Road, B’Kara and Granny Smith, St Paul’s Street, Naxxar.

Design House Design House have just received their new consignment from “The Initials Collection”. Every product typifies the designer’s style. Created in collaboration with leading craftsmen from all over the world, each product offers an exclusive “bite”, in their limited editions. “Initials” is geared primarily towards contemporary furniture, decoration and lighting; each product exemplifying quality with design. Private viewing and appointments for fabrics/interior design can be arranged. 011


HOMENEWS THELATESTINDUSTRYHAPPENINGS

Home Solutions

Any kitchen from Rinaldi is not just any other kitchen. Crafted in Tuscany, Rinaldi Cucine is now available in Malta, offering the discerning customer a wide selection of quality and stylish kitchens that meet all expectations for today and the future. Rinaldi Cucine has just recently launched ‘Multidoor System’ – a new range of innovative and elegant kitchens, which will soon be available at the showroom. The range of kitchens may be viewed at Home Solutions, Tigne Street, Sliema.

New Piazzetta Fireplaces Piazzetta was born from a great love of fires, which has become the company’s mission. Keeping this objective in mind, Piazzetta is constantly developing new, modern ideas to create an atmosphere where beauty and function merge harmoniously to ensure an everhigher level of comfort. Piazzetta’s distinguishing mark of design is based on the theme of “the hearth is the centre of the home”.

Kymono Newbridge Home is Kymono’s latest brand. Today the Newbridge brand has become synonymous with style and quality the world over. It offers an ideal co-ordinated range of essentials for the home, all beautifully presented in premium gift packaging. Guaranteed to give a lifetime of service, Newbridge provides the ideal gift solution for the style conscious consumer. A stylish range of silver plated executive gifts is available together with a variety of exquisite hanging decorations and charming candleholders. Available from Kymono, 6 Triq l-Uqija, Ibrag. (Opposite B.O.V. branch).

Fitwell Fitwell is introducing the 2006 Office Furniture Collection. It’s versatile, practical and innovative. No matter the size or style of your office you will find a selection that suits your expectations. Visit the showroom in Constitution Street Mosta and their experienced Interior Designers will help you make the best out of your room size and budgets. Delivery and installation of all furniture is prompt and guaranteed, in Malta and Gozo. Fitwell is an ISO 2002 Quality Certified company.

Mandelli A new model range has just been launched at Mandelli to add on to the 200 models already available. The company’s success is based on individual creativity and professionalism, meant to create innovative and original products to improve our living environment. The exclusive distributors for Mandelli solid brass handles, pull handles, doorknockers, flush door handles, designer curtain poles, knobs etc. are GI Ltd, Mandelli, Birkirkara Road, San Gwann.

The Lawn Co. Ltd. This new collection of vintage wine fragrances is a welcome arrival to the Yankee Candle® range. So many visit friends and family over the Christmas period with a bottle of wine in hand as a kind and social gesture. Now you can take a candle that will fill the home with the aroma of vintage wines. Available from leading outlets in Malta and Gozo. Trade Enquiries: The Lawn Co Ltd, St. Anthony Street, San Gwann.

Do you have HOMENEWS? We want your feedback. Please forward any news items that you would like to see published within HOMEWORKS and we’ll

tell the rest of Malta! Send in your news to:

HOMEWORKS News, P. O. Box 48, Msida, Malta. e:mail info@writeon.com.mt 013


HOMEWORKS

Homeworks NEEDS YOU!

Antiques Call

Antiques Homeworks is compiling A comprehensive and definitive antiques guide for an upcoming issue and needs you! 1

How can you, the readers, help?

Whether it’s an antique piece that you cherish, or a piece that you’ve had for years but know nothing about, HOMEWORKS wants to give you the real story about the antiques you own. Are the items you deem valuable really worthless? Did you perhaps inherit pieces that are worth a small fortune but you may not be aware of it? Show us what you have and our panel of experts will select and evaluate the items for FREE!* Those items will then feature in our HOMEWORKS Antiques issue for our other readers to enjoy. Of particular interest will be ceramics/porcelain, books and maps, art, curiosities and furniture. However, we will consider anything that's antique!

2

3 The following experts will be appraising your antiques and informing you of their worth and history:

Silver & jewellery: Charles Azzopardi (C. Azzopardi Antiques) Fine Arts: Patrick Galea (Eureka Antiques) Antique maps & engravings: Patrick Formosa (Collector’s Den) Continental furniture: Edward Pelligrini Petit (Antiquaria) Maltese furniture: Alfred Tanti (Paul Tanti Antiques) Porcelain: Antique Consortium The deadline for submission is December 31, 2005. Each submission will be answered. Those that are chosen for publishing, will be Featured in the February 19th issue.

Antiques provided by Antiquaria.

*Onlyitemsdeemedofinterestforpublicationwillbe selectedforafreeevaluation.Theowners'nameswillbe kept strictly confidential.

What

You

Need

to Do:

Send a photograph and A brief description of your antiques, along with your contact details to: Antiques Call, Writeon Ltd., P.O. Box 48, Msida or send it digitally on info@writeon.com.mt

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On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

White,White Space Marisa O’Cock creates nine semi-detached houses, one of which expresses the epitome of her style. Homeworks meets the Haarmans.

Photos: mas stylist: katja wiedersum 019

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HOMEWORKS

The interior is a mix of glass and wood, creating a contemporary and adaptable space.

T

Lucky break: The Haarmans’ shipped bookshelf fits this wall exactly.

he first things you see are the Wassily Chairs by Marcel Breurer. It’s the primary sign that the world-travelling Haarmans have taste with a capital T. Mr. Haarman’s employment with the Royal Netherlands Embassy requires the couple to move every four years, so they’ve been just about everywhere (Stockholm, Paris, Kinshasa, Strasburg, Guadalumpur, Malaysia City, Sydney, Nairobi, Barcelona, Bangkok and New Delhi – in that order), along their way collecting an eclectic mix of items. “In the beginning, I would just buy everything. Because we move so much it’s just not practical to take so many things with us. I’ve had to learn that I just can’t do that. Nowadays I don’t buy anything unless I really need it or I absolutely fall in love with it,” Mrs. Haarman says.

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Carob Lane in San Pawl tat-Targa is a new project. The site was originally developed into a bungalow and cottage in the 60's. In 2001, designer Marisa O' Cock's brother proposed that they redevelop the property. The project was to create nine semidetached houses, all linked to form a development. The original architect was Chris Falzon, later handed over to Ivan Bartolo. The nine houses front onto a secluded central area, which is controlled, landscaped and maintained. Each house is a subtle variation on a simple u-shaped plan which ‘backs’ onto (while not turning its back on) the surrounding streets and gives the development a uniform and consistent appearance, something Marisa feels strongly about. The community concept was inspired by a London property she had previously resided in: “This is where I raised my children for some time. Because of the commune nature of the property, it was easy for the kids to play as well as for the neighbours to become fast friends. It created a feeling of being individual, but not alone. This is what I wanted to achieve here.” Antigua and Australia inspire the exterior timber decks leading to the front doors and the exterior colour of the properties is provoked by Marisa’s desire to add a dose of Mediterranean into the mix.

As very few Maltese rent, more foreigners were interested in the properties and now six out of nine properties have been rented out by foreign nationals. Hence the Haarmans. They were the first tenants to move in and because of the neutrally minimalist setting Marisa provided, Mrs. Haarman’s African, Asian and European fusion emerge even more dramatically, creating an art gallery feel. Marisa says of Mrs. Haarman’s style: “She just puts everything in the right place. Had I furnished them myself, this is the style I would have gone for.” Marisa’s style tends to be clutter free, “...probably due to the need to make my own life as clutter free as possible!” The interior is a mix of glass and wood, creating a contemporary and adaptable space. Marisa left the interior as low key as possible, with the intention of making the tenants feel comfortable to express their individual tastes. Although the fitted aspects were installed, all the houses were left unfurnished. “It was really important for me to keep the places uniform and create consistency. What people do on the inside is up to them. The project was a big challenge design-wise. I had to think about twenty-seven bathrooms and nine different kitchen layouts all at the same time. Getting the stairs in was

also a big challenge, as they all had to be different specific lengths and widths. Although all nine of the properties are very similar, they are all different in specifications. The builders kept telling me that certain things couldn’t be done, and I just kept persisting. The frustrating part is believing that something is


HOMEWORKS

Floor aperture allows light to come in from the ground floor.

This house is ideal for entertainment because it is low maintenance, with lots of light and space. I also really like the community living. If you need help, there is always someone there to lend a hand.” Her favourite item? “Oh, I love everything that we’ve collected. Okay, if I had to choose, it would have to be my silver elephants!”

Black and white creates an understated and sophisticated festive mood.

possible when everyone else says that it isn’t. It’s like an artist trying to express himself on to a canvas. I had it all in my head; it was just actually executing it that was so difficult. I have learned from my mistakes. My last project was in Kappara, working alongside AP (Architecture Project), which was another learning curve." Her trial and error approach clearly works. Mrs. Haarman loves the house: “If I could, I would take it with me. This is our first time living without the children, so we have a quiet lifestyle with a lot of social functions. I entertain quite a lot.

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Katja Wiedersum’s Christmas Style Notes: Why not use a bit of black to set off the white, silver and red to their maximum? The ideal colours for minimal settings are mainly black and white. However, it must be remembered that when using these colours they have to be softened up with pattern, texture and light. For the more adventurous one could even go completely Gothic!

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Hand Made Decorations 1. Hand made Christmas Cones: These can be made in all sizes, using underlay. They can be decorated with fixed sequins and Polo mints, using pins to hold the Polos in place. 2. White Twigs: The twigs were sprayed. One can even make a simple Christmas tree in a long vase. 3. Mobiles: These were made from cut-out stars and circles...these are great for that odd empty corner.

Table Setting 6. Glasses: These glasses were chosen for a romantic look 7. Mirror Tablemats: Tablemats were placed on black felt mats for contrast and added effect. Porcelain Dinner Set: This set was chosen because it was plain in colour and simple enough not to dominate the entire setting. Red Water Lily Napkins: Napkins were folded and placed in larger water lillies made from black fabric, and then filled with pearls. Paper Doilies: Doilies were sprayed black and placed beneath a plate to create contrast. The silver doilies were sprayed and then folded onto the black felt mats to give that lacy look. 8. Silver Twigs: The twigs were placed in a tall wooden vase to create the height sometimes needed on a festive table. 9. Black Table Runner: Runner was made from fabric with a piece of old lace stitched on either side. Clearly black was chosen so that candlesticks and decorations were accentuated even more.

Soft Furnishings 4. Cushion Cover Ties: These were sewed, using different sized pearls to give the idea of falling snow. It looks so elegant on any existing plain cushion 5. Lamp Star: Stick a star or any other Christmas motif inside a shade and find its silhouette appear when the lampshade is lit.

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Silver Stars: These cut-out stars are easy to make and can simply be strewn all over table, along with the pearls. 10. Nametags: Silver cut-out trees were used as nametags General 11. Crystals: Crystals were wrapped around banister to create a Christmassy effect. 12. Glass Drops: Drops were hung in a row using nylon, across a doorway, so that light would catch them and they could be made to look like icicles. 13. Pearls: Pearls were stuck onto a piece of furniture with Blue Tack. This just added to the festive atmosphere of the room.

14. Tinfoil: Tinfoil was scrunched up and used as backing for square recesses, so that the lighting would be even more effective for Christmas. 15. Red Panel: The red wrapping on the wall was hung as a panel in order to really bring out the shape of the lovely sculpture. Because of the red, it looks festive at the same time. 16. Round Mirror: A round mirror placed on the coffee table looks good under anything that needs a little bit of extra importance. 17. Feather Wreath: A feather wreath wraps around large Christmas decorations. HW For stockist details see page 7

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On the

2 Twinkly Trees

HOMEWORKS

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Christmas Trees are a fun part of this time of year. Not only do trees make the home cosy, but decorating them also allows us to be creative and provides us with the perfect excuse to get together with the ones we love.

This Year

T

his year’s Christmas colour trend is lime green and

burgundy

Photos: MAS stylist: Monica borain

–a beautiful mix if you have the type of classical home that can accommodate it. If you have a more contemporary space, it doesn’t mean that a Christmas tree has to be forfeited for a few sparse twigs painted white. In this case, it’s best to opt for neutrally coloured decorations. If the home were based on a very neutral colour scheme, a thinner tree would look less overbearing.

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HOMEWORKS decorations Use lights, garlands, and ornaments along with ribbons and special decorations. There is an order to the decorating:

lights, garland and then decorations.

First

Place ornaments and other decorations inside the tree, as well as on the tips of branches, to add depth and interest. Also arrange the lights inside the tree (about halfway from the tips of the branches to the trunk of the tree) as well as on the perimeter of the tree. Mix special ornaments with “filler� ornaments. Filler ornaments are a good way to make the tree look full of decorations without having to spend a fortune on special decorations. Plan to use at least a dozen filler ornaments for every half a dozen special ornaments. Fillers can be glass balls bought cheaply at less expensive Christmas shops.

trees These days, many are forfeiting real trees for artificial ones, as they are less hassle and safer. However, for those that are brave enough to go for the real tree, keep it fresh by keeping the water reservoir in the tree stand full, especially during the tree’s first days indoors. Most trees with a fresh cut will drink quite a substantial amount of water in the first few hours, so check the water level in your tree stand several times a day for about a week, and less frequently thereafter.

themes Spark your creativity with a colour or style theme. Use natural materials, such as clusters of dried flowers and twigs. Silk flowers also add a nice touch to a more traditional tree in a classical setting. Clip each branch into small sprigs, and lay the flowers between the branches. White flowers can give a snowy effect while red will brighten the tree. A simple spray of gold or silver paint will adorn preserved leaves, pinecones or twigs. Spray lightly for a misty effect, or cover completely for a more formal look. You can also spray nylon rope from the ironmonger for a look that imitates expensive gold cording. Use some conventional clip-on candleholders and add small candles to your tree. Be careful when lighting them, especially if the tree is real! Any colour can be used to accommodate the chosen colour theme. For something a little different from traditional tinsel, attach long ribbon streamers to the top of the tree. Then wind and swirl them through the branches, down to the bottom of the tree. Any kind of ribbon can be used, according to what type of theme the tree is. (Raffia for a country look or burgundy velvet with a gold trimming for a luxurious tree.) For the top of the tree, stars and angels are the favourites. An alternative idea is to use a family heirloom instead. This adds an element of sentimental value to the tree, while making it look unique at the same time. Christmas trees are fun, so why not have more than one? Make the second one smaller and theme it to the room. For instance, in the corner of a large kitchen the tree could be decorated with kitchen utensils, baskets, dried herbs and raffia bows. Let the kids decorate their own little Christmas tree with sweets and homemade ornaments. HW For stockist details see page 7

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On the

3Tinselly Towers day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

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Photos: alan carville stylist: henry borg barthet

Xandru Grech and Izzy Abela create an open plan home from scratch. Mellieha’s the place, Wenge and white the space.


Walt Whitman’s claim that

simplicity is the glory of expression seems really fitting in a place such as this.

The kitchen was designed around cooking for friends with a Japanese inspiration.

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HOMEWORKS

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ugi is over the moon with the photo shoot that’s taking place. He’s playing in the photographer Alan’s bag, burning his nose on tea candles and trying to bite Izzy’s sparkly cowboy boots. This dog is the epitome of this house – new, well finished and fun. The Mellieha home is simply beautiful. Indeed, its secret is simplicity.

The plan was to have an open space, the walls contrasting significantly with the floors. Open plan plus distinction was achieved with supreme finishing – the wooden floor is all real Wenge and the gorgeous wood even continues up (and down) the stairs. The walls are all white, including the fitted blinds that cover the wall-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Terraces surround the house, and it seems that wherever there’s a door, there’s a veranda. “The upstairs terrace is my favourite part of the house,” Izzy says. “I love coming home in the afternoon and watching the sunset. It’s so relaxing. Mellieha is a great place to see the sky. The sun and the moon seem so accented here.” The house was built from scratch and was designed around entertaining and relaxing. “I like cooking for Xandru and friends, so we thought having an open plan kitchen/lounge area would be perfect. We also wanted space that allows friends to sit around the kitchen when we cook so we opted for a Japanese style island.” The kitchen's finishing is practical and lovely in stainless steel and glass. The island is surrounded by a glass shelf that’s perfect for guests to perch and have a glass of wine while chatting to the cook. This idea also derived from the wish for a breakfast table, but not having enough room for it. The kitchen also reaches the spot-on form to function ratio through other little details – the oven opens out instead of up or down, the hood is attached to a stainless steel band so it keeps its position safely while appearing suspended and the workspace is stainless steel covered with glass.

The house was built from scratch and was

designed for entertaining and relaxing.

All shelves were custom-made.

Floors are all original wenge, contrasting beautifully with the white furnishing and walls.

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Keeping it simple wasn’t easy. “When the architect came, he had all these elaborate plans to put in columns and stuff. We had to keep telling him – simple and open, simple and open. It was a struggle.” The huge sliding doors practically cover an entire wall allowing the living room to flood with light. “Like everything else, those doors were a hassle. They were supposed to be finished, so we decided to come up and see them.

We found them on the floor. They had been blown over by the wind in the middle of summer!” Although the house is somewhat minimalist, there are quite a few personal touches – picture frames wherever possible, paintings by Angela Agius (Izzy’s best friend) throughout the house, Xandru’s countless running trophies and his toy collection in the study (a couple of Mini Me’s, but mostly Lord of the Rings).

Xandru and Izzy have managed to create their dream home

a space loaded with pockets for them to relax and chat with friends and an area that doesn’t really take much maintenance at all.

For stockist details see page 7

HW

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4 Sexy Settings

On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Designers Sharron McNamara and Henry Borg Barthet style four different table settings, giving us inspirational ideas for the ultimately festive Christmas table.

Photos: mas stylist: sharron mcnamara

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setting

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The Florentine Table Plates: ‘Florentine Turquoise’ plates are hand enamelled fine bone china. As they are so beautiful, I made them the focal pieces of this setting. The design is so intricate and colourful that I chose very simple colours to match the crockery. Red Ribbed Placemats: These placemats accent the red that is within the design at the centre of the plate. Cutlery, Napkin Rings and Name Places: I kept clean lines that have an enduring appeal in the cutlery, napkin rings and name places. Crystal wine glasses: Crystal glasses are essential when raising a toast to the festive season. Leafy Foliage: Foliage or any type of greenery in the centre of the table gives off a Christmas appeal. The pots are sprayed gold, which adds a more traditional feel. Candles: The golden glow of candles adds a warm touch to the surroundings.

Sharron McNamara’s Style Notes Both table settings are deliberately understated and vaguely resemble the traditional Christmas. They are both contemporary, inspired by the original crockery and its details.

The dining table and chairs are Art Deco in American Walnut. The table itself is a stunning piece and exudes an understated elegance, which I kept as my main theme.

With the right table setting, add the warmth of an open fire, flickering candlelight and the scent of pine burning and you have all the ingredients for a magical Christmas in the home.

The Rosy Table

setting

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Gilded pears: The pears were gently sprayed gold. Any fruit sprayed gold instantly becomes festive. Plates: The plates are placed above three taupe linen runners and matching napkins and brass napkin rings. Fresh Roses: The scattering of fresh roses creates a lavish table setting.

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Sole Agents:

20, Windmill Street, Valletta. Telephone: 21 234 527, 21 248 712 Fax: 21 241 926 Distributors:


setting Henry Borg Barthet’s Style Notes I wanted to create these table settings based on different themes. I think we can all get carried away with the traditional Christmas, so I wanted to make them a little more innovative. The Safari theme is African rough mixed with colonial sophisticated, while the Moroccan table is a lot more intimate and casual. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that we can’t be comfortable!

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HOMEWORKS The Moroccan Table Crockery: This set of crockery is actually from Morocco. I think all crockery should have a chance to shine at some point. Even though it doesn’t look Christmassy, it can be made to look festive with the right accessories. Festive Accessories: Almost anything can be used on a table to make it look festive if it has some sparkle. Colours: Since the crockery was somewhat busy, plain blue was used throughout to compliment the crockery. When the crockery is strong, be careful to avoid confusion.

setting

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The Safari Table Placemats: As the table is a mix of rough with elegant, I opted for gold painted sticks to place on top of an elegant gold table mat. This gave the table an African feel in a festive way. Candles & African Statue: I wanted height on the table without obstructing the view across, so I included these tall candleholders and wooden African statue. I actually thought it could be a nice option for a wine glass with a difference. Fruit bowl: The fruit bowl really complements the theme. It seems so colonial to have a bowl of fruit in the middle of the table. Zebra tablecloth: This makes the table seem really exotic and exciting. It doesn’t even need to be a tablecloth. Any material can be folded to look like a band across the table. Colours: I used a lot of masculine colours and they’re all pretty earthy. They go very well with gold too. HW

Photos: Alan Carville stylist: Henry borg barthet

For stockist details see page 7

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5Golden Fish

On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Jeff Fabri and Anthony Sultana find an ideal penthouse apartment in St. Julians, with just the right amount of cool colours and clean lines.

* NB Anthony and Jeff’s aquarium was featured in “Floating Spaces”, issue 14. We couldn’t resist going back for more. So for all you die-hard Homeworks fans – no, you are not mistaken, you have seen this aquarium before. Photos: mas stylist: sharron mcnamara

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It could be said that Anthony and Jeff’s mornings can be a bit fishy. “No! Don’t write that!” Anthony laughs, right after he has made me green with envy by outlining their morning routine. “We just sit on the counter, drink coffee and watch the fish. Sometimes we get carried away and forget that time is passing and that we have to go to work. We love this aquarium.”

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HOMEWORKS As they should – not only is the Aquarium the aesthetic focal point of both the kitchen and dining/living area, but it also has ample storage space, gives off a very cool light, is great for initiating conversations and is more entertaining than watching TV.

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nthony and Jeff moved in to the St. Julian's penthouse ten months ago. The property took them eight months to do up from less than shell form. “We wanted to find a place in the St. Julian's/Sliema area, and for the price, it was a pretty good deal.” They knew what they wanted – simplicity and practicality in a place to relax. As they both work late and don’t have a lot of relaxation time to spare, the last thing they wanted was to have the hassle of cleaning all the time. They wanted convenience and they found it. Their first priority was the open plan dining/living area. They also had to think of Spiro the dog (half Chi hua hua, half something else – no one quite knows what) and the space he would need to run around, hence the huge terrace. “We both had some experience in doing up houses, so we weren’t really daunted. However, the workmen were a total nightmare. They just wouldn’t turn up. We ended up doing the wall painting ourselves.... after all the furniture was in!”


HOMEWORKS

Biggest expense? “The air-conditioning system. We didn’t want those units that show because our ceilings are already kind of low. So we had to install a central airconditioning system. It wasn’t cheap.” Saving grace? “The aquarium, we didn’t pay a cent!” (Anthony owns a pet shop, importing mainly fish and aquariums.) “The bedroom was also a nice break. We had a fantastic carpenter who did it very quickly at a great price.” The bathroom and back screens are Japanese-inspired, creating a tranquil mood in the main bedroom. They’re still working on the spare bedroom, and at the moment it serves as a space for Anthony’s Pop art. It’s also home to their magnificent new crocodile wardrobe.

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Japanese inspired storage space.

Anthony and the fabulous crocodile wardrobe.

Relaxation quality is a high priority for Jeff and Anthony

“For the first time in my life, I got high on glue,” Anthony tells me. “I stayed in there while the guy was gluing the crocodile pattern on and I promise, I got completely high. It kept me awake for an entire night.” But it was worth it. The wardrobe is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. “We wanted wall-to-wall storage. Actually, first we fell in love with this crocodile upholstery fabric. Then we figured, why not cover the wardrobe with it?” Why not? It’s this kind of personal passion for specific pockets of the home that creates such a cosy space in a somewhat minimalist setting. Jeff and Anthony get the best of all worlds – comfort and convenience wrapped in a nice parcel of marvellous.

Low maintenance and clean simple lines. The fish tank is the focal point of yet another room. Jeff and Spiro have a moment. 047


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Sharron McNamara's Christmas Style Notes: The apartment was based on clean and simple lines; the look is orderly and comfortable with cool whites and neutral-coloured furnishings. The atmosphere is light and calm. To style this space with a traditional dĂŠcor would have been unfitting and added clutter to a clutter-free space. Using a traditional green Christmas tree would have unbalanced the room, so I used wax branches with fairy lights and birds as accessories. The silver baubles were displayed in a bowl and I placed tea candles throughout the room to enhance the atmosphere with a warm glow. HW

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Asparagus Soup

Roquette Salad

Venison

6 Christmas Cookeries

On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

he's done it again. The Hilton's Executive chef, Joe Vella goes out of his way this Christmas to bring us luxurious meals with soul-warming ingredients.

Veal Chops

Linguine

Salmon Fillet Photos:mas

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1. Asparagus Soup with Arugula and Crème Fraiche Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons butter 2 Leeks, white and light green parts only, quartered 1⁄ Onion, diced 2 3 Cups chopped asparagus, tips reserved for garnish 1 Cup peeled & diced tomatoes 1⁄ Teaspoon sea salt 2 1⁄ Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish 2 5 Cups chicken stock or vegetable stock 2 Cups lightly packed Roquette 1⁄ Cup heavy whipping cream 2 6 Tablespoons Crème Fraiche Freshly grated nutmeg

Method: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the leeks and onion, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the chopped asparagus, potatoes, sea salt, pepper and cook gently, again stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the stock and cook over medium-low heat for about 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are soft enough to mash. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus tips in boiling water until just tender, refresh under cold water until cooled and set aside. When the potatoes are ready, transfer the soup in batches to a blender and blend with the arugula and cream until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and reheat gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of Crème Fraiche, the asparagus tips and strips of dry Pancetta.

Recommended Wine Delicata Gran Cavalier Sauvignon Blanc 2004

2. Baby Roquette and Blue Cheese Salad with Maple-Sherry Vinaigrette Vinaigrette Ingredients: 3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup 1 Shallot, minced 1/ Teaspoon salt 8 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 6 Tablespoons pure olive oil Freshly ground black pepper

Salad

3⁄ -1 Cup walnuts 4 1 Bunch Roquette salad 1 Cup watercress 2 Cups mixed lettuce leaves 4 Ounces crumbled blue cheese 1 Cup Fava beans Freshly ground black pepper

Method: To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, salt, maple syrup, and shallots in a small bowl until the salt has dissolved. Gradually whisk in the oil and continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Taste to adjust. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the walnuts in a shallow pan and toast until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Wash the Roquette, watercress, lettuce and beans. Tear the large leaves into bite-sized pieces. Spin dry, place in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with the cheese, walnuts and pepper. Serve Recommended Wine with a Parmesan cheese Delicata Medina tuille.

Vineyards Rosé 2005

3. Venison with Grilled Vegetable Gratin and Cognac Peppercorn Sauce Cognac Peppercorn sauce Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter 1 Teaspoon minced shallot 1 Teaspoon crushed black peppercorns 1 Cup Cognac or Brandy 3⁄ Cup heavy cream 4 1⁄ Cup Cabernet Sauce 4 1⁄ Cup olive oil 4

1 Teaspoon minced garlic 1 Teaspoon minced lemon grass (optional) 1 Teaspoon crushed black peppercorns 1 3⁄4 Pounds of venison loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 4 portions Salt to taste

Method: To prepare the sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan and sauté the shallot and peppercorns over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the Cognac and carefully flame to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the liquid for about 2 minutes, or until 1 teaspoon is left. Add the cream and reduce one-third for about 2 minutes. Stir in the Cabernet Sauce and reduce until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep warm in a double boiler. Prepare the grill. Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon grass, peppercorns and salt in a shallow bowl and thoroughly coat the venison. Grill the venison for about 2 to 3 minutes for medium rare. Arrange the grilled vegetable gratin on one side of each serving plate. Grill or bake to melt the cheese. Arrange the venison on the other half of the plates. Ladle the sauce beside the venison.

Grilled Vegetable Gratin Ingredients: 1 Eggplant sliced 1 Zucchini sliced 1-2 Tomatoes sliced 1-2 Onion sliced

1⁄ Tablespoon minced garlic 2 1⁄ Cup olive oil 2

4 Ounces Mozzarella cheese sliced

Method:

4. Veal Chops with Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Black Olive Relish Ingredients:

Marinade Ingredients:

2 Red bell peppers roasted, peeled, seeded and diced 1⁄ Cup oil-cured black 4 olives, pitted and finely chopped 2 Tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil 2 Cloves of garlic, minced 1⁄ Red onion 2 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Pinch of freshly ground black pepper Salt

1 Jalapeno chilli, seeded and minced 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce 1 Orange, juice and zest of 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1⁄ Red onion, very thinly 4 sliced 2 Tablespoons honey 2 Cloves of garlic, minced 1⁄ Teaspoon salt 2 1⁄ Teaspoon white pepper 4

Veal Ingredients: 6 (10 ounce) Bone in veal loin chops 10g Mangetout

10g Zucchini 10g Asparagus

Method: To make the relish, combine all the ingredients, except the salt, in a small bowl and mix well. Taste for salt. If the olives are on the salty side, you may not need any at all. This can be made up to 3 hours ahead and kept refrigerated until needed. Remember to bring it to room temperature before serving. Pound the chops with the smooth side of a meat mallet to flatten them slightly. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub the marinade into the chops and marinate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator Grill the chops over a medium fire, rotating them a quarter on each side to create nice crosshatch marks. One-inch thick chops should take 4-5 minutes on each side to cook to medium. Reduce or increase the time for your desired doneness. Boil the green vegetables in salt water. When ready, put them in cold water to stay green. To serve, place the mash pot off to one side of the plate. Position the veal chop with the bone towards the Recommended Wine inside along but not over the mash. Place a pile of the green vegetables Delicata at the point where the bone and Medina Vineyards main part of the loin connect and top Superior Syrah the meat with a spoonful of relish.

2004

5. Linguine with Morel Mushrooms, Garlic & Sage Ingredients: 220g Fresh linguine 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 Leek, spring onion or shallot, finely julienned 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 100g Fresh morel (or local)mushrooms, carefully cleaned and halved 1⁄ Bunch fresh sage, chopped (3-4 tablespoons) 2 1⁄ Cup dry white wine 4 1 Cup vegetable stock & mushroom soaking liquid 1⁄ Cup fresh cream 2 2 Tablespoons butter Salt & freshly ground black pepper Grated Parmesan cheese Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Method: Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes until al dente. Drain, saving a cup of the water for the sauce, if desired and set pasta aside To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until just tender but not browned. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes until tender. Add half of the sage and all the white wine. Let the wine reduce by half, then stir in the stock and cream. Remove from the heat. Add the pasta to the sauce, toss them together and cook for a moment or so longer to heat the noodles through. Serve in large deep bowls and garnish with Parmesan, parsley and the remaining sage.

Recommended Wine Delicata Fior del Mondo Gellewza 2004

Recommended Wine Delicata Gran Cavalier Syrah 2003

Prepare the grill. Place the olive oil in a mixing bowl, add all of the vegetables and marinate for 1-2 minutes. Remove and grill until tender. When ready to serve, put all vegetables in a tube, sprinkle the grilled vegetables with mozzarella and bake until cheese melts.

6. Salmon Fillet wrapped in Prosciutto with Herby Lentils & Spinach Ingredients: 9 Ounces lentils 1 Salmon fillet, skinned and pin-boned 2 Slices of Prosciutto 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 Lemon, juiced 1 Handful mixed herbs, (flat-leaf parsley, basil and mint) chopped 1 Large handful spinach, chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the lentils into a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Season the salmon fillets with a little pepper before wrapping them in Prosciutto slices. Leave some of the flesh exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for around 10 minutes until Prosciutto is golden. Drain away most of the water from the lentils and season carefully with salt and pepper, the lemon juice and olive oil. Just before serving, stir in the herbs and spinach into the lentils on a high heat, until wilted. Place on plates with the salmon and finish with tomato and bean salsa.

Tomato & Bean Salsa Ingredients:

Recommended Wine Delicata Gran Cavalier Chardonnay 2004

1 Teaspoon basil 1 Teaspoon lemon juice 1 Teaspoon fish sauce 1 Teaspoon Fava beans 1 Teaspoon green olives 50g Diced tomatoes 4 Teaspoons olive oil Salt

Method: Mix all ingredients together.

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7Sylvan Symphonies

On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

What’s Christmas without the fabulous flowers and arrangements to make the season all the more festive? Simone Salerno of Peter Calamatta Nursery brings us some highly creative ideas this Christmas.

Photos: alan carville stylist: simon salerno, peter calamatta nursery 055


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1. Silver Square

For contemporary arrangements, don’t simply rely on flowers to create an impact. Take inspiration from around the home – here we have plundered the kitchen and have used citrus fruit to add interest to the arrangement. Choose any fruits or vegetables, but be sure to stick to your colour scheme. Add silver baubles or silver Beargrass. This will give the arrangement an evening glow.

2. the holly

Make the most of wintry woodland walks by collecting berries, foliage and flowers along your way. These materials are perfect for large-scale arrangements. Paint them to create the colour scheme of your choice.

3. The Bridge

This striking contemporary arrangement is unusual because it features water. Cyclamen flowers and brightly coloured bands of sand liven this arrangement up. Remember, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that it has to be traditional.

4. Birds of Heaven

This arrangement demands space and would look fantastic in an entrance hall to greet guests. You can select any flowers – in this case we opted for Roses and Eustema. We added foliage for a full green effect as well as sliced oranges and avocadoes to balance the design.

5. Tropical Christmas

Why not have a wacky centrepiece that creates an atypical version of Christmas? I love using nuts and fruits in cases like this. Also, although orange is not a colour often used for Christmas time, it is still warm and goes beautifully with gold and green.

6. The Sophisticate

This centrepiece is an ideal choice for dinner parties. The low-level design allows guests to make easy conversation across the table. Select the blooms in shades to match or compliment your chosen crockery and table covering. Feathers are rarely used in arrangements, but I find them very delicate and perfect for a subtle table setting.

7. The Big Red

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Of course, some still prefer the traditional red and gold Christmas. I brought in some plastic beads and green glass balls into this arrangement to make it a little more interesting and dress it up a little. HW

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8Cosy Carpets

On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

There is nothing that can make any room more intimate and comfy than the right carpet. Homeworks finds out what’s available and which fibres may be spot on for you.

When you buy a carpet think about the people who made it! A hand-knotted carpet in a standard size 170 x 240 cm is the work of two people and takes between 10 and 60 days, depending on the design. A hand-woven carpet generally takes about half this time to produce, again depending on the design. If you see a hand knotted or hand-woven carpet at a ridiculously cheap price, you can be sure that someone has been exploited in order to produce it!

Photos: mas 060


HOMEWORKS Wool

This traditional favourite offers a deep, rich look and feel. Wool remains the premier fibre in carpet construction, but it is more expensive than most other types of fibres. It has excellent resilience and durability, but is very expensive – often twice as much per yard as nylon. Other synthetic fibres have done an excellent job of duplicating the characteristics of wool, although none can duplicate all of these characteristics. Wool cleans especially well, provides beautiful colours and has good resiliency. Unfortunately, wool tends to “wear down” or the pile tends to wear away. In some cases bald spots may occur as a result of heavy traffic loads. Wool is naturally a staple fibre. Although it is naturally stain resistant, it requires a high level of maintenance including mothproofing.

Acrylic

Acrylic is the closest to wool of any of the synthetics. Its use is primarily because of its springy feel, resistance to soiling, excellent cleaning ability, and resistance to static, moths and mildew. It’s available in a wide choice of colours, and is less likely to fade in bright sunlight than some fibres. It is susceptible to pilling and is slightly more expensive than nylon.

Nylon

Nylon is a very durable fibre with excellent performance characteristics. Its strengths include good resiliency, good carpet cleaning efficacy, good stain resistance, good soil hiding ability, and good abrasion resistance. It is the strongest fibre, making it an excellent choice for the heavy traffic of an active household or commercial facility. It’s also the most durable of the synthetics. It is soil and mildew resistant and resilient, but is prone to static.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene, also called olefin, is the fastest growing fibre segment in use today. It is a relatively inexpensive fibre, which is easily extruded by most carpet manufacturers. There are very few, true branded olefins available other than those brands registered by carpet manufacturers. Its strengths include superior stain resistance, with the exception of oil-based stains, and low cost. It has superior resistance to bleaches and sunlight fading. However, it has poor resiliency, which can lead to crushing.

Polyester Cotton

Cotton is soft, but it does not resist stains or matting well. It also absorbs moisture, which makes it difficult to keep clean. Cotton is subject to browning if cleaned with alkaline solutions.

Cow Hide & Leather

It’s generally known that the best cow hide rugs are “chromium tanned”. A properly tanned cowhide rug should last for a very long time never cracking or shedding.

HW

For stockist details see page 7

Polyester fibre produces some of the most beautiful colourations available. It also is extremely fade resistant and provides excellent resistance to stains. However, it does have poor resilient properties and thus is susceptible to crushing.

Photo: alan carville

Photo: alan carville

Check out the Homeworks Christmas gift guide for a further variety of carpets

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HOMEWORKS Party Glasses

Cut desired shapes or use a hole-puncher to create a design out of metallic contact paper. Simply stick the cut-out contact paper onto the glasses. The contact paper will last a few washes.

Coil Coasters

Place coil of white and gold rope on sticky contact paper to keep in position. Use textile glue to hold into place and glue all around. Remember that when the glue dries, it won’t show as it will be clear, so the more glue, the stronger the coaster will be.

On the

9Craft Creations day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Anne Marie Quercia works her craft magic and brings you nine different Christmas craft ideas. “These crafts are inexpensive and very easy to do. All you need is a little bit of patience and time.”

Photos:mas

Napkin Ring

Make sure that the ribbon you select for this can fit through the hole of the button twice. You need about 3⁄4 metre of ribbon per napkin.

Snowflakes

Find a snowflake design on the Internet, or design your own. On the reverse side of a sheet of contact paper, draw a circle with a compass. Find the centre of the circle and section it off evenly into 6 or 12 pieces. (These will be the snowflake points.) Place a carbon sheet between the pattern chosen and the contact paper. Place the pattern exactly in line with the circle, and copy the pattern onto the contact paper. It’s easier to cut out the shapes with a blade or Stanely knife as opposed to scissors. Be careful when sticking the snowflakes onto the windows as they can easily tear in the process. Start from the centre and go slow.

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the mobile

Cut out desired shapes with shear scissors to get the jagged effect. Thread the painted dried seeds and paper with fishing line.

Candle Holders

This is made from an old furniture foot. You can find lots of them at car boot sales, etc. The actual candleholder can be found at a crafts shop. Decorate as you like.

Papier-mâché Bowls

You can find a good Papier-mâché technique over the internet. A useful tip is to cover whatever you are moulding with cellophane before starting the Papier-mâché process. This material needs time to dry, so be sure to plan ahead. It could take up to 4 days, depending on how damp the weather is and how many layers were applied.

Place Mat

Cut out desired design onto contact paper. It is best to use a Stanley knife instead of scissors, as it will result in smoother corners. For the material underneath, try to find a thin plastic so that it will be easy to wipe. HW

Pillows

You’ll need a sewing machine for this. Take a sheet of paper and fold in 2. Mark the corners as follows: A

e

b

c

f

d

Fold so that A & B are together as well as C & D. Sew side F-D together as well as E-B. Fill the stuffing in the open side, pull A, B, C & D together and sew. You now have a triangular pillow! 065


Readers Answered

HOMEWORKS

Finally! A section whereby you, the readers, can have your design questions answered personally by the experts. You can even pose your question to a specific designer. For questions relating to DIY and carpentry, ask Interior Designer Henry Borg Barthet. For questions about materials, colours, and soft furnishings, ask Interior Designers Michelle Clements or Katja Wiedersum. you can even pose your question to a specific designer for queries. On the

10 Questions Conquered day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

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Q Perspex is fantastic: it’s smooth, light to carry, and can be cut for electricity points. Nevertheless, I couldn’t find a single supplier who would just sell me the size I needed and had to buy a massive sheet. Although glass would be my preferred material, I’ve been told time and time again that cutting rectangles out of it would weaken it and possibly crack it. Is there a solution to this?

A

- Anthony Duca, Zebbug

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Q

Perspex can be bought in smaller sizes from sign companies. It’s not the ideal material for a splash back in a kitchen because it scratches. Glass can be cut, but the layout and distances between the holes are important. It will only crack if the glass is stressed. Be sure to use laminated glass for safety reasons and do not over tighten the switch covers.

We set out to buy the perfect sofa, got carried away, and fell in love with a white Lshape. It’s modern, but I’ve just realised how totally impractical it’s going to be with the children. I’ve learned that we can’t change it, and now I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to redecorate the living room to accommodate this sofa. We have light coloured parquet flooring and I’m very worried that it’s going to look cold. I'm really at a loss as to how to make the room feel warm and cosy. I had in mind neutrals (creams and beige), but I’m not sure they’re going to work with the white sofa. Please help.

– Henry Borg Barthet

- Sabrina Borg, Kalkara

- Mona Farrugia, Gudja

We had laminate flooring laid in the living room a few months ago. It looked fine in the beginning, but now gaps are appearing between the boards. I want new flooring but I don’t have a huge budget. What is in fashion at the moment floor wise?

A The white sofa provides a clean slate to work with, so this actually works in your favour. I love using throws on sofas. Choose one or two in a beige/taupe colour with perhaps a border in an animal print. The fabric should be soft and luxurious, such as nobucksan suede, which is easy to clean. Large scatter cushions, preferably 60cm square or bigger, trimmed with something fun like feathers or glass beads instead of plain piping will detract from all the white on the sofa and add a sharp contrast. Use varying shades of chocolate brown for these and you may want to add a splash of colour, perhaps one cushion in deep red

chenille. A soft rug with a long pile a couple of shades darker than your parquet flooring placed in front of the sofa will provide the cosy look you seem to be after. Finally, the lighting is very important. Depending where you position the L-shaped sofa, one or two eye-catching table lamps will help create a warm atmosphere. If the sofa is not up against a wall for example, a console table at the back of the sofa is the perfect place for a pair of lamps. I usually scotch guard upholstery prior to using it. This helps protect the fabric and remove stains easily. – Michelle Clements

You shouldn’t have gaps appearing only after a few months. This is an issue you need to take up with the company you bought the flooring from. The company might be able to knock the boards back into their grooves. Usually, a damp proof underlay is laid to prevent any damp to cause such movement. In terms of what is fashionable at the moment – my personal favourite is poured resin. However – this needs to be laid professionally and is quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, you might want to go for floor paints (durable polyurethane-based) if you have a smooth screed and want that seamless modern look. These are for wooden floors or mineral substrates. Concrete and slate are also great alternatives. Once cured, the concrete is sealed to make it resistant to food stains. Slate can be bought as tiles in a range of colours from blue-black with silver streaks to a greeny-grey with yellow mottling. – Katja Wiedersum 069


Readers Answered

4

Q We are currently redesigning a large part of our house, including the bathrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. We know exactly what we want, but we’re having a big problem finding a good reliable builder. We’ve already had a few negative experiences, and would really appreciate any advice on finding a dependable builder, who’s willing to work, without breaking the bank.

5 A

Ask a project co-ordinator or designer that uses a builder all the time. He/she would know the person and the contractor couldn’t afford to let his constant supplier of work down. If you are engaging someone, ask for references; see his work. The problem will always remain that builders often leave one-off jobs to service their regular clients. This is a very frustrating problem and one of the main obstacles we have in Malta.

6

Q

I want to create an ethnic look in my bedroom, using a fusion of Moroccan, Indian and Oriental. I want to avoid dingy, and create a more chic atmosphere. However, I don’t even know where to start when it comes to putting this look together. Can you give me some pointers on where to begin? - Brian Bonnici, Sliema

- Christina Agius, St. Venera

A

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It is very important to keep the concept simple. I don’t think you can successfully combine Moroccan, Indian and Oriental styles in a single setting. I would be concerned that the final look will be neither of the above, but confusion. Start by choosing a preferred style. Typically, ethnic furniture would be quite heavy looking,

so avoid too many bulky pieces. Liven the room up by choosing a bright colour scheme based on perhaps reds, yellows and oranges – have fun with colour. The focal point in the room should be a four-poster bed draped with beautiful colourful fabrics. Look for richly patterned silk and linen damask in bold colours. This will give a luxurious feel to any room. Perhaps paint the wall behind the bed in a bright orange. I always think of ethnic settings like a stage set, whereby one is free to exaggerate the accessories. A couple of large square cushions thrown casually on the floor provides good seating. Rugs are always good to use. – Michelle Clements

– Henry Borg Barthet.

We’d like to do our bathroom up in minimalist Japanese style using simple lines. Do you have any suggestions of where we can begin? - Anika Johnson, Kappara

A

You’ll be pleased to know that you can’t really go wrong with the Japanese minimalist look! Emphasize tactility by opting for natural materials for the surfaces and finishes. Natural colours and dimmable lights are critical factors when it comes to generating that peaceful contemplative Japanese atmosphere. Colours tend to be white or light brown, materials organic and texture matte as opposed to gloss. Also, wooden bathtubs (in non-resinous, naturally waterproof wood such as cedar and teak) have gained popularity for minimalist décor. The reference point is in fact the traditional Japanese soaking tub, which is deeper and shorter than western equivalents, so that the bather sits immersed in chin level! Another Japanese idea is to use wood as removable slatted platforms placed on the floor of the washing area. – Katja Wiedersum

7

Q We have a very small kitchen and want to update it soon. Unfortunately, the space is very tight. We thought that using the corner area of the worktop for the hob would help save space, but we can’t seem to find anything that will fit. Do you know of anywhere that supplies smaller hobs? Can it perhaps be custom made? - Samantha Chetcuti, Sliema

A

To be honest, I haven’t heard of custom-made hobs. Also, could the sink realistically go in the corner? I suggest that you get somebody in to offer some suggestions. Often a fresh look by a third party may bring in the solution that could have been staring you in the face without you even noticing. – Henry Borg Barthet

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Q I recently stayed in a hotel in Rome where the bathroom mirrors didn’t steam up. Was this a special type of glass, and if so, who sells it?

9

- Marika Ellis, Ta’Xbiex

A

I don’t blame you - we all know how annoying steamed-up mirrors can be! A simple solution to this problem is to install a heating mat behind the mirror. This will eliminate the effects of the temperature difference. The mat could be set to switch on together with the bathroom or mirror light. Constructed in the same way as under-floor heating, it will give you a clear mirror with the energy consumption of a 60W bulb. These mats come in various sizes and can be retro fitted to existing mirrors.

Q I’ve noticed a few homes in Malta where the walls finish with a wooden floor, with no skirting boards. Is this difficult to do? How is this done?

10

Q

- Harold Zammit, San Pawl TatTarga

A

– Henry Borg Barthet

I think attention to detail is very important. Finishes, such as skirting, help to complete a room. When laying wood floors, it is very important to leave an expansion gap between the wood and the walls. Once laid, this allows the wood to move freely without coming up in areas. Skirting hides this gap which otherwise will look untidy. If you do not want to highlight the skirting, then choose a simple wood design and paint it the same colour as the walls. I usually go for a high skirting of 15-17cm. –Michelle Clements

I’ve seen these amazing acrylic shutters in a few foreign magazines. I’d like a little more privacy in my living room, without using the usual curtain or wooden/ aluminium shutters. Are there any acrylic shutters available in Malta? If so, who makes them? Monica Azzopardi, Qormi

A

From your question, it seems that you are referring to the PVC finished shutters. There are now quite a few local companies available that import this product in different profiles and colours. I am aware of three: AM Systems Ltd. and Direct Developments Ltd. both import German PVC apertures. You might also want to try Finestral in Zebbug. However, check that they do shutters as well as window apertures. – Katja Wiedersum HW

For your design questions answered, write in to: Questions Conquered, The Editor, Writeon Ltd., P.O. Box 48, Msida, Malta or info@writeon.com.mt * Please be sure to include which designer you’d like your question answered by.

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HOMEWORKS On the

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Ways of Wrapping It’s all in the presentation. Homeworks offers eleven different ways to make that special gift shine.

1. Boxy

Make your own box out of poster and wrapping paper. This is perfect for recycling old wrapping paper Photos:mas

2. name it

Add that special touch by making your own name tag. Recycle old wrapping paper and glue together a collage of your own creation.

3. The Can Can

Use feathers to make the look exciting. Why not take an era or character to style the present according to its contents?

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HOMEWORKS

4. Bunch It

This is great for the kids. Take any piece of colourful tissue paper. Cut out a giant circle and tie up with wire. Cover wire with lots of shiny curly ribbon.

8. The Wine Wrap Why try and hide it? People usually know when the gift is wine anyway. The best way to wrap wine is to use the shape and make something festive out of it. Any kind of ribbon can be tied around the neck and a little flower or vine leaf makes it interesting.

5. The Classic

There’s nothing more elegant than a traditionally wrapped gift all in silver. To add extra grace and a gentle hint of festivity, add a lightly coloured artificial fruit at the top.

9. Hang It

Make a box out of poster and wrapping paper and then hang it from the Christmas tree. A creative way to display a gift instead of keeping it under the tree.

6. Rosy Wrapping

This is a sweet way of wrapping for a young girl. The concept is simple, but takes some time. Use plain parcel wrapping paper and glue small artificial roses around the box. A red ribbon adds colour and the rose at the top finishes it off.

10. Angel Wrapping This is perfect for little gifts, like sweets or even jewellery. It’s an inexpensive and unique alternative to stockings. Simply cut circles out of wrapping paper and wrap around the gift. Tie with shiny string and curl to make it look as festive as possible. Use nylon string to tie all together.

7. Bag It

Bags are great because they are blank canvases. You can decorate them any way you like. The ideas are endless.

11. The BIG Sweet

Wrap and leave the edges long and free instead of tucking them away. Cut to make it look like a sweet wrapper.Addthefestivepieceofyour choiceontoptomakeitlookunique.

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HOMEWORKS

On the

12

day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Tasteful Tributes sights sounds smells tastes Christmas is all about sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Katja Wiedersum covers the senses and gives us twelve different ideas for doit-yourself presents that will bring festivity and cheer into the home.

Photos:mas 081


HOMEWORKS

1. Gingerbread Cookies

2. Homemade Jam

3. Toffee Apples

Find a gingerbread cookie recipe on the internet. This is great for the kids to do as it is relatively simple and a lot of fun for them.These are great for Christmas parties. Decorate your tree with them, and then give them as a parting gift.

Jam is easy to make and can be the perfect present if presented properly. Jars can be found at supermarkets or Lm1 shops.

Toffee apples are an age-old Christmas tradition. Wrapping ideas for these sweets are endless. Try using chopsticks as holders.

4. Mulled Wine

5. Christmas Mobile

6. Scented Frames

Nothing says Christmas like the aroma of mulled wine being heated up. Make a batch of mulled wine and pour into differently decorated bottles. When received it can be heated it up. This way those it was given to can have the smell of Christmas in their home.

The smell of cinnamon and cloves bring Christmas alive. This mobile was made with cloves stuck into radishes. For an even more fragrant mobile, try using oranges instead.

Replace photographs in wooden frames with spices that create wonderful aromas. Cinnamon sticks are ideal, as they look great too!

taste smell

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HOMEWORKS

7. Baby Feet

8. Advent Booties

9. Candle Mirror

There’s nothing better than a gift that has sentimental value. Capture those fleeting first months of your child by creating a plaster mould of their feet or hands. It will make grandparents gloat!

This is an exciting gift for all of the family. This means that next year, Christmas presents will start from the 1st of December!

Creative lighting and reflections create the right Christmas atmosphere. Why not create a gift that reflects candlelight?

10. Bells

11. Cutlery Mobile

12. Bell Wreath

What would Christmas be without jingle bells? Give these so that they can be tied around the front door knob or in an area that has a draft. Every time the person you give them to hears them ring, they’ll think of you and the magic of Christmas!

If done with a little bit of patience, a cutlery mobile is a great gift and a wonderful curiosity for kids.

Add bells on to any wreath and make it all the more festive. Bells of different sizes can even be incorporated in the actual wreath. HW

sight sound

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HOMEWORKS

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