I prefer 'slightly unpredictable decor,' says the owner.
(photo credit: Uriel Messa )
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
“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
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, offwhite 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.”
scene stands on a pink carpet patterned with different colored squares, a motif
picked up in the decorative cushions on the cream sofa. Neutral-colored 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 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.
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
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