Elegant but Nonchalant

A townhouse for expanding one’s dreams

Previous state

A young family that left a small apartment on an upper story decided to get back in touch with the land by buying a new private house from a contractor immediately after finishing the building. The basic design was good, but the structure was bare, lifeless and tasteless and they therefore turned to me to create their house.  I removed the finishing materials, such that I was free to look at the house anew and to give its tenants, over and above their functional needs, a warm environment that included the activities and dreams of each person and of everyone together.

The Dream

Every journey begins with a small step. Here too, one morning with the expansion of the family the tenants discovered that until recently they had felt so happy in their home, but now with the family’s increase in size it no longer met their present needs and it was short of meeting their future dreams. As parents of two young sons, they understood that what their children most wanted was space – a spacious area that would include all their toys and would leave room to move, to host friends, and to be able to perform a number of activities in parallel. In contrast to this it was clear to the parents that they also deserved quality of life and that all this action should be separated from the central space, and from this evolved the awareness that they were looking for a private home with a garden and cellar that would enable the family to do a lot together but at the same time provide a quiet space for the parents.

What we did

To the right of the entrance, the kitchen is open to a central space but relatively distanced that on the one hand provides eye contact with the dining area and lounge, but on the other hand according to the owner leaves an area that is the busiest and yet lacks and is free of immediate pressures.

I believe that interest is derived from combinations, the creation of connection between elements that renders a result that is bigger than the sum of the parts that complement and enhance one another. Therefore I tried to preserve part of the original kitchen with a modern grey-green finish and to which was added a rural island in a deep, warm green, and high mocha cupboards that go with the shade of the concrete floor, oak shelves and green shelves that are hung above them.

In the entrance, the wall at the back of the stairs is covered in bricks of a sandy color, which joins and follows through the floors from the cellar to the entrance and living room upstairs.

The clients asked me to design the lounge as an inviting space for hosting, pleasant and comfortable for family use, but also as a space to which adults set the tone. The flow between the entrance of the house to the deck outside, through the wide showcase doors, creates a very large area in which a lot of people can be sociable and feel relaxed.

I designed all the furniture for this space, made to order. Behind the couch is a rust-stained iron book case. Despite its size it is very light and defines the space giving a large storage area and display. Inside one of the cabinets is a mirror-covered bar for drinks and next to it a music corner.

The structure of the house is long and narrow and therefore leaves space on the plot for a wonderful Mediterranean garden that we planted in such a way that it embraces the house. At the exit of the deck is a long, upholstered bench made from Ipea wood. At the back of the deck is a tall planter that fills the area of the pergola in green. The bench space is used for storing upholstered cushions in winter. The place of the external kitchen is near the seating area in such a way that it is practical and convenient and so that the cook on duty will not be detached from socializing, however it is far away enough under the open skies for the guests not to suffer from the smoke.

The guest bathroom is conveniently situated between the floors on the way to the cellar in which the children spend most of their free time.

The cellar is divided into three areas: a well-equipped gym in the shelter, an office space adjacent to the stairs defined by glass walls and Belgian iron that enables the parents to supervise the children’s playing while sitting at the computer and meanwhile can enjoy the acoustic insulation as well as the main and busiest place – the games area for the children’s entertainment.

At first sight it became clear that our young clients really liked lego! The long cabinet contains many drawers that facilitate sorting and quick gathering of the different parts. Above the cabinet there are shelves that display the changing exhibition of the lego that is built on a low creativity table that is adapted to their measurements. Behind the seating area is the costume area and a small kitchen, and you can’t do without a large television and a console for computer games which are also lego products.

There are three bedrooms in the living area besides the parents’ unit. But because of the young age of the children and the fact that they shared a room in their previous home, it was decided that they should do the same until they were a little older. In contrast to the cellar filled with toys and action, the children’s bedroom is minimalistic and serene. There is wallpaper on the wall with a map of the world that reminds you of a treasure map full of fine details that are pleasant to look at and to discover each time anew. A bookshelf for reading before going to sleep is hung above the bed, and next to it (how can you do without it) colored lego images are framed.

Our client requested that the main bedroom should be seen specifically as her bedroom. As a young mother that manages and maintains the house very efficiently, it was important to her to have a corner of her own. A place that when she entered it she would relieve herself of all her duties and relax. Next to the bed is a grey, feminine dressing table covered in works of art, a sitting area in the adjacent veranda and a spacious walk-in clothes cupboard. In the center I left an upholstered seat and above it a hanging rod for airing clothes. There is a harmony of deep blues and greys, delicate textures and a meeting of complementary materials: brass, leather, wood and natural materials of high quality.

To me a house is second nature. When I returned after a number of weeks to visit and take photographs, I realized once again how much the living space changes the dynamics between the people that share the home and the person itself. As with a tiny sapling transported from a small pot to a large one holds huge promise of great growth, so it is moving into a new house.

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