Charlie Luxton Homes by the Med

Time Schedule

Mon 23:00 | Tue 10:00 | Wed 14:00 | Fri 18:00

Overview

Charlie Luxton sets sail to explore the fascinating architecture of Mediterranean seaside homes. With a fantastic climate, gorgeous coastline, rich history and diverse collection of cultures, it’s no wonder so many people are drawn to the shores of the Med. Bordered by Europe, Africa and Asia, this “sea in the middle of the land” has a coastline stretching 28000 miles and attracts a staggering one third of the world’s international tourists. But there’s more to the Med than holidays.

In this series, architectural designer Charlie Luxton travels from Ibiza in to the White Coast, exploring this diverse region’s fascinating architecture. Find out what makes the Med the perfect seaside destination as Charlie gets hands on to experience life as a local and of course meets the lucky people who wake up to breath-taking views of these amazing Homes by the Med.

18 – 24 March: Episode 5 – Malta

In the fifth programme of the series, architectural designer Charlie Luxton is in Malta investigating homes on its wonderful shoreline. At just 122 square miles Malta is smaller than the Isle of Wight, with a population about the same as the city of Liverpool.  It’s a tiny but undoubtedly vibrant nation.

Charlie starts his Maltese mission in the Grand Harbour – the main gateway to the island and its capital Valetta. He arrives on a typical Maltese craft, a Luzzu, which has a design which can be traced  back more than 2000 years, to the Phoenecians.
The first house Charlie visits is in an ancient part of Malta called the Three Cities – made up of a trio of age-old communities, Vittoriosa, Senglia, and Cospicua.
Jim Dunn and Arthur Whieldon are a pair of serial property buyers  from Ireland, who’ve owned around  30 houses during their 50-year relationship. They’ve created a magical home from a quintet of houses – furnished in an opulent traditional style with a modern flourish, including a rooftop terrace complete with infinity pool and striking views towards Valetta.

After a brief tour of historic Valetta Charlie heads north to Melliah.
Here he meets Chris Pace – a Maltese financial consultant who has built a gargantuan modern mansion with stunning sea views. The interior is top notch – including an amazing spiral staircase at the heart of the home – but it’s the epic roof terrace that takes the breath away. Cut into a limestone cliff, it’s a massive multi-levelled space that resembles the deck of a luxury ocean going cruise liner more than a house.
Of course Charlie’s exploring lifestyles as well as houses.  Only around 5,000 British expats live on Malta.  One of them is Matthew Manderson.  A former tax consultant from Portsmouth, he’s transformed his life and now helps clients indulge their love of adventure sports.  He takes Charlie by boat to climb the 60m high Blue Grotto – to give him a flavour of what his new life is all about.
Then Charlie heads for Valetta where he still needs a head for heights as he visits a thin but very tall town  house. It’s a major revamp courtesy of its owners, Maltese born Joanna and her partner Henry,  who’s from the Faroe Islands.
They’ve sprinkled modern touches around their ancient home and provided innovative solutions to space restrictions – such as an ingenious expanding table that pulls out from under a mezzanine floor.
Charlie’s final port of call is the old village of Bahar ic-Caghaq, or The Sea of Pebbles, half way along the northern coast of Malta.  It’s the home of Michelle O-Reilly , a globe-trotting designer who has returned to her Maltese roots to create a stylish contemporary family property.  Overlooking a historic chapel… Michelle’s created an echo of California, a slice of glamour in a rustic setting.

Episode 6 – Costa Blanca

In the final programme of the series, architectural designer Charlie Luxton is on the Costa Blanca exploring the best homes on its 120-mile long stretch. The “White Coast” takes its name from the beaches that dot its shoreline – although the term Costa Blanca only came to the fore as an airline marketing tool in the 1950s. It’s famous for its package holidays but there’s a lot more to see than that might suggest..

Charlie arrives at the small coastal town of Moraira on one of the handful of fishing boats that still operate out of this traditional port.
Then he is off to Denia. Here on a rocky hillside is a stylish modern take on an Ibizan-style farmhouse.  Owned by Belgians Kristina and Johan Dreissen, it’s a compromise between their desire for the traditional and their architect’s more cutting edge aspirations.
But perched in a prime spot above the Med there’s no sign that the compromise has damaged the design.  Its mix of stone and white render sits impressively  in a commanding position with spectacular sea views.
Next Charlie heads to Xabia – one of the smartest towns on the Costa Blanca. After visiting a fascinating building constructed for the industry that brought prosperity to Xabia – raisin production – he turns inland to Pedreguer.
There amongst a forest of almond trees and orange groves, and hidden down a quiet country lane is a fabulous farmhouse rescued from oblivion by Essex couple Lee and Kerry Francis.  It’s a charming renovation.  Lee and Kerry recycled and repurposed every stone to create a resplendent rural retreat that seems like an organic extension of this landscape.

His next port of call is a very different house. In the seaside hamlet of Portixol interior designer Jessica has turned a tiny old fisherman’s cottage into a delightful refuge from the pressures of modern life. It’s simply furnished and its position right on the beach makes it the ideal spot to relax, slow down and do absolutely nothing.
That’s the opposite of what the next couple Charlie visits spend their days doing.  He’s off to the former pirate’s refuge of Tabarca  with Wayne and Daisy. Originally from Liverpool and Worcester respectively they’ve deserted the cold and wet of their home cities to make a new life running a dive academy on the Costa Blanca. Charlie accompanies them on a snorkelling trip and sees the unspoilt underwater world that’s so close to the main tourist sights.

Finally, Charlie returns to Xabia to visit an astonishing epic modern villa owned by Mandy and Adrian. Diced into a series of cubes, with the occasional 90-degree slate-grey twist to highlight the angles and accentuate the white render, its lavish inside and out – and it’s a spectacular end to Charlie’s mission to see the other side of the Costa Blanca.