Francis Sultana

The Valletta home of Gozitan interior and furniture designer Francis Sultana has recently been featured on prestigious design and interiors magazine ELLE Decoration UK.

The magazine showcases some of the world’s most beautiful homes, also offering style and insights from notable names in the interior design industry.

Mr Sultana is based in London and works on residential, hospitality, and commercial projects around the world. His studio, named after him, was launched back in 2009 and is located in the same building as David Gill Gallery, of which Mr Sultana is also Artistic Director and CEO. Last year, he was named in the prestigious list of honourees for 2024 in Architectural Digest, which features a list of 100 creatives who represent the world’s top talent in interior decoration, architecture, and landscape design.

Francis Sultana home / Rachael Smith
Francis Sultana’s home / Rachael Smith

In the ELLE Decoration UK article, he described his home as his own “sanctuary” from the “bright and bustling” Valletta.

The home, a former palazzo originally built for knight Francesco de Torres in the 16th century, has retained its baroque features, with its towering ceilings, winding limestone staircase, as well as a number of other impeccable proportions.

Mr Sultana bought the home in 2006, and over the years was on a mission to restore it in a way that stays true to its historical narrative.

Francis Sultana home / Rachael Smith
The kitchen in Francis Sultana’s home / Rachael Smith

While he drew upon the expertise of local craftspeople to save and recreate certain elements, he also put in his own modern touch to the layout and interiors. These include self-designed stone tiles and an internal staircase. Each room was refurbished and redecorated, with a “pistachio-hued” kitchen and “marble-clad” bathrooms also being added. A set of rooms that once belonged to the knight’s concubine, were transformed into a mezzanine-level guest bedroom.

Mr Sultana stated that while the home may feel grand at first, the decision to include a basement swimming pool, as well as a two-level roof terrace that presents breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour, make it “very human in its scale.”

“It was built for one man, and you can sense that in the way it feels intimate to me, more like a townhouse than a palazzo. It was so cleverly designed, because being built around a central courtyard brings a coolness to the house in the summer, and in winter it feels very protected,” he added.

Francis Sultana home / Rachael Smith
The view from the rooftop of Francis Sultana’s home / Rachael Smith

The dining room, featuring blue-painted walls, also contains gilded Maltese crosses and towers that continue to give the home its Maltese look.

The home also contains a number of notable pieces, such as a butter-yellow coffee table by Paris-based Mattia Bonetti in its salon, as well as rugs by Galerie Diurne on many of the floors.

Francis Sultana home / Rachael Smith
The dining room in Francis Sultana’s home / Rachael Smith

The magazine remarked that many of Mr Sultana’s own designs, ranging from the desks and chairs, to the tables, “jostle in the mix of ancient, antique and modern, the style imbued with hints of orientalism to echo the eclecticism of Malta’s own historical collision of cultures and inhabitants, from the Phoenicians and Romans to the Sicilians, French, and British.”

Additionally, the home has also acted as an opportunity for Mr Sultana to showcase some of his favourite pieces of contemporary art. “We live in the present, not the past. I truly believe contemporary art can fit into a historical home if it’s done with conviction,” he affirmed.

Mr Sultana added that the house “evolves as layers are added over time,” with each different piece having its own meaning.

Featured Image:

Francis Sultana / Francis Sultana Ltd

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