The owners of this home, who are new immigrants from the United States, were renting a small house brimming over with large American furnishings when they found the house of their dreams for sale not far from where they were living.

“I just fell in love with the house,” says the owner, a Pilates teacher and mother of four. “I knew it would need a few adjustments to accommodate our furniture, most of which I wanted to keep.”

To help her achieve the task she had set herself – creating a warm and inviting home with plenty of space for teenage children to bring their friends over – she turned to veteran designer Selwyn Elkin, whom she knew about through various friends who had also availed themselves of his very special talents.

The house, set on a quiet street near Netanya, had everything they wanted, but they immediately realized that the step separating the living room from the dining room would have to go. Although they loved the two-level, sophisticated look, it meant that they would not be able to fit in their beautiful dining table and chairs, a very important item in their lifestyle.

The answer was to raise the living area floor by 30 centimeters, quite an undertaking, to bring it on a level with the rest of the ground floor. They also had to remove a low stone wall dividing the two areas.

Once this was done, Elkin felt there was not enough light in the living area so they opened another large window looking out to the garden. This suited the owner well as she wanted the garden to be a part of the house. With the new floor-to-ceiling window, it really is.

Because of the extra expense involved in these structural changes, Elkin felt they must economize on the floor.

“Instead of expensive wood parquet or marble, I found special laminate parquet in a design reminiscent of the floors in English castles, and this made a perfect background for all the American furniture,” he says.

The owner was very happy with the choice and she and Elkin worked in close harmony to choose other elements of the décor.

Because she has so much colorful furniture and many paintings reminiscent of “The Joy of Color” exhibition at the Israel Museum years ago, they used a neutral, off-white wall color as a starting point and base color for the whole house.

“I like my décor to be slightly unpredictable,” says the owner. That’s why the lounge is furnished with several unrelated pieces and why the dining-room chairs are not all upholstered in the same fabric.

IN THE lounge there are several chairs which do not match but blend together to produce a warm and cozy look; the two round chairs covered in blue velvet, the purple, gold and green piece which she calls “a chair and a half” and a beige and brown window seat specially made for them.

“Some of the furniture was my grandmother’s,” says the owner, “and each piece came at a different time in our lives.”

The whole scene stands on a pink carpet patterned with different colored squares, a motif picked up in the decorative cushions on the cream sofa. Neutralcolored drapes hanging from wooden poles give the perfect finish.

Elkin was especially happy when curtains were agreed on.

“Not many clients in Israel agree to have curtains, finding them to be too fussy or to be dust collectors. But there are no two ways about it, curtains dress a room.”

The magnificent inlaid mahogany table now has its own space and the “unpredictable” chairs fit easily around it thanks to the initial construction work, which proved to be well worth the effort.

The kitchen needed a complete makeover to accommodate their gargantuan American sub-zero refrigerator.

They chose a wood finish for the cabinets, with a stone floor and mottled granite worktops. Another window was added and they acquired bright red chairs for more color.

The garden is very pretty and inviting, with two separate areas, one for sitting and one for dining. The lounging area, furnished with gray straw furniture, is set on a wooden deck with a flourishing rockery and matching rock wall, while the wooden dining area is set on a stone floor. The barbecue grill and a children’s swing are situated here too.

Before inspecting the bedroom level one passes a very pretty display at the foot of the stairs. A built-in stone planter which came with the house is full of healthy green plants while next to it on the wall a metal tree flourishes.

“I love trees,” says the owner.

The master bedroom is exceptionally lovely and has all the usual additions – walk-in closet, private bathroom and plenty of room to move about. It also has a small balcony with its own water-feature and a coral red headboard for the bed, which tones well with the beautiful, hand-printed wallpaper. The view from the bedroom is the courtyard below.

The aim of the owner was to create a home which is warm and inviting, and she and Selwyn Elkin have certainly succeeded.

Do you feel you own one of Israel’s most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: gloriadeutsch@gmail.com

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