Property: A deep dive into interior design firm Rebirth’s approach to its projects

Company uses blending and layering to incorporate trends into its schemes that fit with client briefs

Paul Cuschieri and Malcolm Abela Sciberras, founders of Rebirth

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Refurbishing and updating the interior of a property can have myriad benefits.

The process offers owner-occupiers the chance to enjoy and use their home to its full potential while adding value should they wish to sell in the future.

For landlords, it’s an opportunity to boost and extend the appeal of their asset to attract more affluent tenants. 

Interior design specialists Paul Cuschieri and Malcolm Abela Sciberras have expanded their business to London, having established Rebirth in Malta.

Here we look at three of their projects that typify their approach when working for clients in the field.

Rebirth’s minimalist kitchen in a London flat


“This property is a mid-century London apartment,” said Paul.

“With us, it’s all about discussing briefs, budget, timelines, style and the needs of our client. 

“In this particular project we were tasked with creating a home away from home for our client, but with the possibility of it being rented out.

“This two-bedroom home was dated, worn and tacky, so we had to bring it up to modern standards.

“Efficiency and energy conservation were also very important, so we installed double glazing and changed the central heating system to one that uses less fuel.

“We also made sure the property was in line with all relevant regulations for rental homes.

“Once all these things were set, we went into the design of the space.

Old and new – some original furniture has been retained

“We recommended going for a minimalist, eclectic feel that’s common to many of our projects. The reason is that we layer the space, creating points of interest.” 

This approach allowed Rebirth to take existing statement pieces from the property and build them into their scheme.

Malcolm said: “It gives the place more character, with different features making it feel a bit homelike.

“Our approach also enables us to include any pieces of furniture a client may want to keep and that can be restored if necessary before being incorporated into the design.

“For example, here the dining table and the chairs, a desk and a wall unit were brought back into the final design accordingly so the living area still has those elements.”

Much of the interior on the three-month project, however, was newly installed, with Rebirth also dressing the apartment ready for rental. 

“Having worked with the client during the whole process, obviously it becomes easier for us to select items that make the apartment feel like somewhere they would be comfortable living,” said Malcolm. 

Rebirth always aims to satisfy its clients’ briefs

Paul added: “The architectural elements of the space did not convey bombast – they are a bit minimalist and we wanted to respect this and the era the apartment was built in.

“We were also inspired by the feeling that the place gave us. 

“Our design aims to be timeless so it will age well and it’s also very neat.

“The kitchen units hide the new boiler system very well and the appliances are beautifully integrated, making the space feel less cluttered.

“That’s important because rental properties need to appeal to as many people as possible.

The firm also dressed the apartment, ready for occupancy

“We use layering to make our interiors feel as though they’ve been there since the beginning, rather than having designs which look too clinical that people can’t relate to.

“The principal bedroom, for example, features darker colours with a masculine feel, but softer furniture with more feminine elements to broaden its appeal.

“We wanted to make it so that when moving from room to room, each would be aligned to the overall feel of the place.

Glass is used to break up the white cabinets


>> Functionality and versatility were the two watchwords for Rebirth when it came to the scheme for this three-bedroom apartment in the company’s native Malta.

Cupboards and doors to conceal functional elements are everywhere in this property hiding an oak-panelled cloakroom, for example. 

“The palette is white, white, white, so we wanted to break that down with warm materials, such as bronze or brass accents,” said Paul.

“It has a certain formality but it’s still comfortable.

“One of the things we do when it comes to trends – and at the moment, minimalism is on trend – is to adapt them.

Wooden elements are present in multiple locations

“This kitchen needed to be open-plan and to blend with the aesthetics we’ve got whites and neutral colours.

“But in order to break that up, we also have some glass-fronted cabinets to create interest.

“Then we have the engineered oak flooring which we’ve introduced throughout most of the apartment.

“Then against the white we have included accents via different textures.

“For example, we were given a healthy budget for the main bathroom so we clad the walls in marble with different shades of white and grey. 

“That’s broken up by the vanity unit with its textured front and the bespoke marble sink on top as well as the brass handles and accessories and a timber-rimmed mirror.

“We’re always looking to create balance.”

>> Malcolm added: “Our use of colour and texture depends on the design of the project. 

“Here we’ve used brass as it’s the right amount of contrast.

The principal bedroom of the property

“Chrome and silver are on a different spectrum to brass and bronze – they are colder and white is already rather cold so we can balance that with warmer shades.

“We’ve done similar things in some of the other rooms where the furniture is white but broken up with oak drawers.”

>> Paul said: “Light and lighting are also exceptionally important in our designs.

“We always make sure there is lighting at various levels with wall lights, ceiling lights and inset lights to make sure the space works during the day and at night.

“In this apartment there is a single bedroom that we designed for the owners’ daughter. 

“We created a working area as well as a sleeping area, using a visual barrier to divide the space without stopping the natural light from the window from coming into the space. 

Textures and accents in a white marble bathroom

“It’s a playful area so we were able to bring more colour in here than in other parts of the apartment to add a bit more character. 

“We also wanted something a bit grand for the principal bedroom and we continued the oak with panelling up the walls  to do that. 

“This is linked to an en suite via a glass door to let the light through – here we’re also introducing darker, more masculine tones against the feminine elements in the main room. 

“We have a marble sink that mirrors the one in the main bathroom, but this time in a dark grey with a matching floor.

“The idea is again to create a balance.” 

This two-room project saw a kitchen and living room refurbished


>> The final property we’re featuring from Rebirth is a two-room project.

While the company often tackles whole properties, it also takes on the refurbishment of specific spaces to add value to homes.

“This was a kitchen and living room in a duplex penthouse at a residential block in Malta,” said Paul.

“In the kitchen we’ve combined traditional Maltese styles with Scandinavian influences.

“For example, with the units we’re using warm timber tones in a modern approach to Shaker style and creating combinations which are anything but minimalistic, but still aren’t overwhelming.

While different the spaces are designed to respond to each other

“There’s a modern-looking island unit and a plain matte look for the work surfaces with a marble mosaic for the splash back.

“We’ve included different dimensions of white with elegant coving and green to bring the outdoors indoors to complement the traditional tiles.

“Once again, we’ve made sure there’s plenty of lighting with track lights, pendants and illumination over the splash back.

“It’s a dynamic space that isn’t too much.”

Colour has been used, inspired by the vibrant ceramic floor tiles

>> Rebirth’s strategy, inspired by the vibrant ceramics on the floor was not to shy away from visual complexity, but rather to frame and contain it within interior elements. 

In the kitchen, that meant a wall unit housing a wine fridge, shelving and more plus plenty of display space in the living room.

“The lounge is much more subtle – still not minimalist – but softer,” said Malcolm.

“We’ve gone for white curtains, but we’ve also included plants to make it feel like a garden.

“Once more, we’re blending – the kitchen is perhaps more masculine while the living room is a more feminine space.

“To mix that up we have the black fireplace in the lounge, while the kitchen has the round dining chairs and the floral pattern on the floor. 

“There are elements of bold black in both spaces and that helps to make sure that the transition from one room to the other really works.”

Plants have been employed to soften the space

>> Rebirth offers a full suite of interior services in London including individual room design and whole-home options.

The firm can handle full renovations including engineering tasks, right through to dressing properties ready for occupancy.

Specialising in refurbishments – hence the company’s name – the company offers everything from conceptual design to detailed drawings and renders, decor and furniture selection and project management.

While Malcolm’s background is in design, Paul is an architect by training, with the pair teaming up five years ago to go into business together.

Full details of all the properties featured and Rebirth’s services can be found here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Property: How Rebirth is expanding its interior design business to London

Studio specialises in refurbishing properties with a wide range of practical and aesthetic services offered

Rebirth specialise in refurbishing properties to add value to homes

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Excitement bounces between Paul Cuschieri and Malcolm Abela Sciberras as they talk about their approach to the projects they work on.

Having known each other for more than a decade, the pair joined forces in 2019 to create Rebirth, an interior design studio that brings together multiple disciplines to offer clients a comprehensive range of services.

Working in their native Malta, the pair have now expanded operations to London, recently establishing an office to cater for clients across the capital.

A full service operation, Rebirth combines architectural, aesthetic and practical disciplines to offer homeowners as wide a range of options as possible.

Specialising in refurbishments – hence the company’s name – the pair offer everything from conceptual design to detailed drawing and renders, decor and furniture selection and project management.

“Malcolm’s background is in design and mine is in architecture and we’ve joined our vision and expertise together to offer a holistic, well-balanced approach to projects,” said Paul.

“But it’s more than that, we are now providing what we call experiential design.

“We want to create something that goes beyond just being beautiful – spaces that express emotion, that have a certain character, and immediately feel like home.

“We don’t have a specific style. That’s because our work is focused on each client and their requirements are different.

REbirth was founded by Paul Cuschieri, left, and Malcolm Abela Sciberras

“Rebirth offers a boutique experience.

“We need to make sure our spaces speak their language, so that when they have guests they can see and feel that it’s our client’s space they are in. 

“As designers, we grow thanks to these projects, because we are subject to so many influences from the people we work for and our research, which helps us creatively.

“We consider our designs as pieces of living art.”

Everything for Rebirth starts with a budget and a brief.

The first is key to identify the boundaries of a scheme, while the second is where the creativity begins.

“When we’re discussing the brief, that’s when our imaginations start to run wild,” said Malcolm.

“We’re always listening to the client, of course, but having a new project is something that’s very exciting for us and the team.”

Paul added: “We start by asking our clients how much they want to invest.

“It would be useless for us to invent all kinds of designs without knowing what they can afford.

“We need to base our concept on their budget, so that’s quite an important question.

“Something we then do – although it takes a bit more effort on our side – is to draw up a skeletal breakdown of the costs.

“Whatever the budget, we create a wish-list to identify what in our proposal we consider to be a priority.

Rather than following a specific style, Rebirth’s approach is bespoke to the property

“We presume that we will have this amount for decoration, this money for services, this for furniture, this for kitchen appliances and so on.

“That gives a starting point. This is flexible, of course, because the client will have certain priorities – communication is key.”

Having completed a diverse portfolio of projects in the firm’s native Malta, Rebirth has expanded to the UK thanks to a recent project.

“We were fortunate enough that one of our Maltese clients has a property in London,” said Paul. 

“As soon as we’d finished refurbishing it, we felt that we were on the right track. We’ve always loved London, the culture and the cosmopolitan feel of the place.

“I love its history and that’s something we know about, because we work on listed properties in Malta.

“For those reasons we decided London would be an interesting place to take our services – so we’ve established an office in the city.” 

That affinity for working with historic, listed and protected properties is perhaps typified by Rebirth’s response to a brief for a client with a property at Balluta Buildings in St Julian’s.

Built in 1928 and designed by architect Giuseppe Psaila, it is scheduled as a Grade I monument on the Mediterranean island.

“It was built in the Art Deco period and was, at the time, one of the largest and most luxurious properties in Europe,” said Paul. 

“The brief was to get the apartment back to its former glory, so we had to do our research on the style and decor.

“The reason people come to us is that we make sure our schemes are layered, that the new interiors we create for a project like this feel like they’ve been there from the start.”

Rebirth works with a brief and budget for its clients

The approach goes far beyond aesthetics too, with Rebirth able to call on the engineering expertise of Paul’s father’s firm to present clients with a full suite of options.

“That means we can combine things like underfloor heating, air conditioning, central heating, lighting and fire protection with what we do,” said Paul.

“We always try to come up with challenges that we might face during a project, so we can tackle them at the design stage rather than during the implementation and risk having delays.

“As my father is an electrical engineer I’ve always been around construction sites, but decided I wanted to follow a more artistic path where I was designing and building something.

“That’s how I got into architecture and I’ve often worked on boutique-type projects with an interest in design, so it’s only natural that I’ve followed this path into interiors.”

The reasons for considering an interior refurbishment are many.

There are practical considerations, when properties require updating purely to remain functional. 

Then there are aesthetic and wellbeing concerns, where a change is needed to please the resident and ensure they are comfortable in their environment.

A refurbishment is also an investment, potentially adding significant value to a property if approached correctly.

“Number one on the list is an open-plan kitchen – that’s the thing that sells,” said Paul.

“It mustn’t look dated, it should be functioning well, organised, clean and designed with the right colours.

“The kitchen is the heart of everything and if visitors feel comfortable and welcome there, then that’s a real selling point.

“Then you have the living areas, the principal bedroom and the main bathroom.

Rebirth’s work includes the refurbishment of an apartment at Balluta Buildings in Malta

If there’s a guest bathroom, that’s a place to be a bit more adventurous and to go for a bold statement.

“At Rebirth we can tackle any one of these areas individually for a client or refurbish a whole property. 

“If we are doing single rooms, then we will always make sure our design fits with the existing home.

“We also have to make sure our designs are sustainable and that the spaces we create look after us psychologically.” 

 The overriding theme that runs through the firm’s expansion is one of anticipation.

“We get so inspired when we’re discussing everything with our clients – especially when we’re working on a different style of project and creating a nice concept for them,” said Malcolm.  

“In London, we’d love to do a Victorian house with a garden – a property with a lovely character. 

“It would be a challenge, but we’d like that and we are able to offer landscaping too.” 

Paul added: “We are, of course, a whole team. It’s not just two of us.

“But with every project we have grown and each new one is part of Rebirth’s creative development.”

Find out more about Rebirth’s services here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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