Certain houses and clients excite me on the very first meeting. It’s apparent right from the start that beyond a simple process of planning and designing, these are houses filled with treasures, ones that need to be understood and appreciated. Houses filled with a cultural collection which reflects the life story, loves and talents of those who live in it. Such as this apartment and its residents.
The challenge was to create a space which would feel open and not over crowded, one which would serve as a warm and clean background for the many collections in the house. By creating an abundance of hidden storage spaces for objects not on display, “the stage is clear” for the objects which we chose to display. For each collection we made sure to choose a display area as a focal point for the collection. Collections made up from many small objects, such as tableware, ceramics or toys, are displayed in closed, delicate glass cabinets. The large book collection, which was largely in the living room, we chose to split so it wouldn’t weigh on the room. Some of the books are located on the long high shelves while the other books are displayed inside a revolving cabinet with a surprising capacity and a light look.
The apartment is part of an old building in Ramat HaSharon, which was about to be expanded due to a legislative change. The apartment was split by a narrow hallway, with a low ceiling, which separated the living areas and created a restricting feeling in the apartment. By opening the hallway into the main hall I was able to enlarge the living room and dining area.
The family’s study remained in the same place, but rather than being exposed in front of the entrance of the apartment, the study was turned around toward the bedrooms and sealed inside a cube of walls and glass held by a Belgian iron frame. The upper windows let natural light into the study and the transparent glass front keeps the open feel of space despite the small size of the room. This way we created a study which can be used by all residents, and that can be both closed off from the rest of the house by closing the door, but still remain part of the general living space of the apartment.
In front of the apartment’s entrance is an old cinema bench which invites the entering visitors to remove their shoes and coats and put them in the hidden wardrobe left of the doorway.
At the entrance to the kitchen is a wide cabinet filled with tableware, which serves as a display cabinet for the beautiful serving dishes and embroideries collected by the client all around the world.
In contrast to the style common in Israel, the clients chose to keep the kitchen itself closed and separated from the rest of the house, and to consider it as a separate room. A warm wooden table is located in the center of the room for light breakfasts, which completes the room with the colorful cabinets which complement it. A Belgian iron door leads from the kitchen to a practical service veranda.
The master bedroom and its adjacent bathroom are filled with cool light blues, which balance the wood.
The client brought the hand painted tiles in bathroom form Portugal, and kept them for years until the renovation. They blend naturally with the Mediterranean blue tiles of the floor.
Delicate handmade laceworks were integrated into the windows and glass door.
The new Mamad (secure shelter) which was added to the apartment is used as a study room by the children. Beautiful illustrations from various children books adorn the walls and create a charming and naïve ambiance.
In the reading corner there is a rocking chair and a vintage cabinet with a nostalgic value, which was inherited by the clients.
The strong bold green lights up the general bathroom, and the concrete tiles share a dominant ethnic pattern and texture. The room is not large, but feels spacious and illuminated. The washing machine is concealed inside a tall cabinet with small openings for ventilation.
The rooms of the three teenage kids are decorated with private collections as well, which hints at their own interests, and furnished by handpicked or personally ordered furniture.
The real charm of this house is in its blend of beauty and life. It is filled with activities rather than treating itself as a gallery. Despite the sensitivity and care given to the wonderful objects which fill it, the house was first of all created for the people who live in it and enjoy it.
The residents love hosting breakfasts on the balcony or relax with a book after a long day of work.
They also like to play together, invite friends and family to large dinners, or to sit together on a chilly night and embroider on the sofa.
Every house starts with walls, but each house needs to be the perfect background to the memoirs of its residents.
*Thanks to Aviv Kurt for the wonderful photos.