Brad wanted a pool and an outdoor kitchen. Trisha dreamed of a spacious, indoor kitchen, with a walk-in pantry and plenty of storage. Brad liked the idea of a wet bar while Trisha entertained thoughts of a designated laundry room and neatly organised closets.
Above all, the Watts wanted a house for their family, a place where their two young children would feel at home and where Trisha and Brad could entertain their friends.
The Watts’ new home in Grand Harbour brought all their dreams to life. Icon Architecture’s Tami Scott, lead architect on the Phoenix Group’s show home, has taken the Watts’ wish list and turned it into an elegant yet child-friendly home.
The high-quality materials, faultless finishes and skilled workmanship hint at luxury, without ever crossing over into opulence. The overall impression, however, is space where warmth and relaxation prevail.
It’s a home that embraces outdoor living, tailored to its canal-front lot in Grand Harbour. The plot is shaped like a slice of pie, Tami explains, with the broad side at the water’s edge. She therefore designed the side of the house that faces the canal in a series of steps, which gradually retreat from the water, creating a larger terrace area.
“We could have built a much bigger house,” Brad says of the home, which was constructed in 2011.
“But we wanted to put more into the exterior. Outdoor living was very important to us. Now that we are settled in here, we find we spend more and more time outdoors.”
Dining al fresco is one of the greatest pleasures afforded by a warm climate and being able to cook in the open air doubles the enjoyment. The outdoor kitchen, complete with built-in sink, barbecue grill and smoker, and their spacious outdoor dining area, ensconced under the shade of a pergola, ensure dining under the stars is an everyday possibility for the Watts.
The ambience extends beyond the outdoor kitchen. With stunning views overlooking the gentle waters of the canal, the terrace is the perfect place for the family and their guests to unwind. They can retire to a sun lounger, take a dip in the pool or, as day turns to night and tiki torches light up the terrace, take a seat around the fire pit and watch the flames leaping into the sky.
The expansive terrace does not compromise the spaciousness of the interiors. Stepping through the front door, the open plan living area seems to unfold, as one space after another comes into view, each separated by freestanding cabinets and counters. The consistent use of black, white and grey unifies the space, creating a sense of warmth and cohesion.
“I wanted a beautiful kitchen,” Trisha says. “The kitchen always becomes the focal point. When you throw a party, people always end up in the kitchen.”
The Watts therefore chose to build a kitchen that would be the heart of the home. A large central island with a six-burner gas range means Trisha can chat to the family while cooking; a counter-height bar is ideal for eating en famille. And, nestled in one corner is Trisha’s longed for walk-in pantry.
State-of-the-art appliances and uncluttered work surfaces ensure it is the type of kitchen in which it is a pleasure to spend time, whether preparing a meal or chatting over a glass of wine.
“From the sink I can be looking out at the terrace, so I am not missing out on anything even if I am in the kitchen,” Trisha explains. “And the windows slide all the way across so I can carry on talking to people outside.”
Black countertops are offset by white cabinetry around the perimeter. On the central island, the colour scheme is reversed, with light countertops and black cabinetry. The clean lines and neutral palette creates a calming space with a contemporary twist.
From the kitchen, Trisha can also keep a watchful eye on the children in their play area, which is cleverly constructed from floor to ceiling cabinets.
“As the children grow up, this may be turned into the office, and the office may become their playroom,” Trisha says.
Indeed, the home’s design has one eye on the future. Although their children are both under the age of three, desks and bookcases are already built into their rooms. The guest bedroom, located off the kitchen area, has its own entrance, offering privacy to visitors.
“The spare bedroom and bathroom do double duty as this bathroom can be accessed from the pool terrace without having to walk through the rest of the house,” Brad says.
“The non-slip tiles in the bathroom were chosen specifically because of this. But also, if we do want to sell in the future, this area could be sold as helper’s quarters.”
A double-sided cabinet creates a subtle division of spaces between the living room and the wet bar, while the bamboo floorboards in the living area further create the illusion of separation, despite the lack of physical walls or steps.
Sunlight pours into the living and dining room through double sets of windows. When the impressive corner windows at ground level are rolled all the way back, the absence of a supporting beam creates the impression that the two walls of the living room have been removed completely, truly merging the outdoor and indoor spaces.
“We’ve even had people sitting out on the terrace, watching the match on the TV indoors,” Brad says.
The split level design again offers a psychological rather than physical separation between the living areas on the lower level and the sleeping areas on the next level. The two children have separate rooms but share a bathroom; down a corridor is the master suite complete with organised walk-in closets.
The location of the master suite affords Brad and Trisha total privacy as well as expansive views over the canal.
The bathroom is a sleek and sophisticated space with a hint of indulgence: a spacious glassed-in cubicle with glass beading set into the walls contains an overhead rain shower, wall jets and a regular shower head. It offers the ultimate in a luxury spa experience, in the private of their own home.
It is clear that this is Trisha and Brad’s retreat, where they spend a few minutes or a few hours escaping from the world. A flat screen TV, positioned between the double sinks, hints at a sense of pleasure and relaxation.
“I saw this somewhere else and just thought it would be so handy,” Trisha says. “This way I can catch up on the news while I am washing my face and getting ready.”
The top level is home to Brad’s office and also the control centre for the house’s surround sound system. Next to Brad’s work area is where he comes to play: the media room.
The 65-inch screen creates a cinematic experience and the surround sound comes from speakers that lie flush with the walls. But a media room would not be complete without somewhere comfortable to sit and relax. The Watts installed a custom-made five-seater couch, with cup holders and reclining back rests, to fit perfectly along the back wall, for an authentic movie-watching experience.
Although modest in size, the Watts’ new home does not compromise on their dreams. The design meets the needs of every family member while having the flexibility to adapt to their changing priorities in the years to come. It is comfortable yet luxurious, the perfect place to raise a family and entertain friends in an elegant setting. What more could you want in a home?