Valetta, a modest-sized suburban house built in 1874, was adorned throughout with an extraordinary array of painted decoration by one-time resident Frederick Atterton (1854-1943). Atterton, who lived with his family at Valetta between 1889 and 1929, was a painter, decorator, sign-writer and embosser of glass who learnt the trade from his father. Elaborate painted decoration was a feature of wealthy late-19th-century Australian homes, but less common in modest suburban residences like Valetta. The wide range of decorative hand-worked and -stencilled designs employed at Valetta suggests that Atterton may have been practicing his craft in his own home.
The inspiration for many of the designs at Valetta probably came from trade journals and specialist manuals for designers. The dado in the entrance hall at Valetta, which features a pair of winged and horned grotesques, has been almost exactly copied from Owen Jones' influential tome, The grammar of ornament, first published in 1856 but subsequently republished many times. The grotesques were in the 'Italian' section and along with a series of arabesques were reproduced from designs by Raphael completed for 'the Loggie, or central open Arcade of the Vatican, Rome'.
Valetta is now known as Trelowarren. In May 2001 the Historic Houses Trust of NSW engaged photographer Christopher Shain to photograph the interior decoration of Valetta for the Caroline Simpson Library, shortly before the house was auctioned in mid-2001. The decoration has subsequently been painted out. A small section of ceiling with painted decoration, removed some decades earlier, was donated to the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection at that time.