Converting a Palazzo

Last updated: 20.11.2020


A Case Study

With over 17 years’ experience in giving properties in Valletta a new lease of life, interior designer Mark Pace guides us through one of his latest projects.


Valletta is now one of Malta’s brightest jewels, with both locals and foreigners paying hefty price tags to own a slice of, or live in, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the meantime, Mark’s quest has never waned, if anything it has got bolder.

“Just over four years ago, I acquired a very big property on St Paul’s Street – which some would refer to as a palazzo – and decided to split it into various apartments,” he says. “In the end, the property was comprised of five studio apartments measuring 50m2 each, as well as a duplex of 200m2.”




Mark, an interior designer by profession, was keen on preserving as many of the architectural elements as possible, and, today, each of the properties within the 250-year-old building has unique quirks and finishes that marry the old with the new.

“I wanted to give the building what it deserves,” he continues, “which is why I saved the patterned Maltese tiles where possible and laid brushed Carrara marble in others. The furniture was also custom-made for the property to make the most of the space and ensure that it would fit in aesthetically.”



The corner-house, which had been used as offices for a period of time before being abandoned, didn’t require any major structural works. Even so, the permit from the Planning Authority (PA) took two years to acquire, and, once that was in hand, Mark forged ahead with his plan.


Mark’s aim when he purchased the property was to have high-end apartments for rent but, half-way through the project, he decided to sell some off. With such a central location and striking finishes, they were snapped up instantly.



“I always try to find interesting spaces and properties to do up, and my advice to anyone thinking of doing the same is to cast their net wide. Property in Valletta is in very high demand right now so, if that is beyond your budget, there are many beautiful places in Malta’s less popular towns and villages that need some TLC… These could then be rented out or turned into a wonderful home.”

Mark’s project shows how flexible property can be, and how respecting the heritage of the place can actually work to your advantage when it comes to selling as, both as an investment and as somewhere to live, these beautiful apartments on St Paul’s Street in Valletta are definitely turning heads.

Photos by Alexandra Pace – find more photos here


Melanie Ciantar