Real Homes

Building for the Future

Rachelle, Jacob, and their baby girl Julia moved into their home in Burmarrad eight months ago. The new parents share their experiences of renovation, braving the elements and looking ahead with OurWedding.

Rachelle Gauci, an English teacher, and Jacob Vella, a doctor, have been together since 2008. Their daughter Julia was born six months ago – two months after they moved into their new house in Burmarrad, facing the chapel of San Pawl Milqi.

“We have always believed in living together before tying the knot. We have been together for more than seven years, but a relationship’s worth is really tested to its limits when confronted with the less glamorous aspects of cohabitation,” says Rachelle. “Chances are that you will be in better shape for the grand commitment of marriage if after living with one another for some time you realise that it’s not always fun and games.”

Rachelle and Jacob wanted their home to be both warm and modern. Jacob worked on making it as efficient as possible as the couple are both very environmentally-conscious people and wanted to set an example to Julia. They also took into consideration that soon enough, Julia would be up and about. “Our daughter is only 6 months old at the moment, but when we set out to buy the furnishings we kept an eye out for décor with sharp edges and awkward corners that might lead to injuries later on. Additionally we purchased a microfiber sofa which is easy to clean when sticky fingers start to make their much-dreaded appearance!”

For Rachelle and Jacob, doing up their home has been a learning curve. “You learn a lot as you go along – speaking for myself, I was a complete newbie when we started off, but became increasingly knowledgeable with every step. Jacob had some previous experience with renovating private properties, but he also encountered new challenges along the way.”

“Getting some parts of the house done in winter was a challenge because of the elements; the workers had quite a tough time doing the membrane and painting over it in the rain! Jacob and I have very similar tastes when it comes to decorating the house, so everything ran smoothly when we chose the colour schemes and furniture – but funnily enough we could not for the life of us find a kitchen/living room table that suited our needs. We searched high and low for one, becoming more and more disappointed – until we found one that matched both our financial and aesthetic expectations.”

Rachelle advises couples who are doing up their own homes to do the rounds and compare as much as possible. “You’ll be amazed at how much local variety there is. Get at least three quotes for each project but do not forget that quality is better value for money in the long run. Go through online sites in order to get ideas from other homes worldwide.”

By moving in and working in unison on such an extensive project that would be at the heart of family life and serve as a legacy for their daughter, Rachelle and Jacob, who are planning to get married in summer 2017, were brought even closer together. “We learned to work as a team by balancing our studies, careers and finances. It helped us solidify what was already a very steady identity as a couple.”

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