Homes: A labor of love
Homeowners with even a modest budget can create a living space that is comfortable and practical.
Dining room furniture Photo: Uriel Messa
As an architect and interior designer, Marla Haber-Goldstein, who made aliya
from Canada 28 years ago, has worked on some magnificent homes for her
When it came to creating her own home, she did not have access
to an unlimited budget like some of her clients do, and had to work within the
budget of an average family with three grown children.
well-known in Jerusalem circles, but her husband Avi even more so – he is the
repairman all the American immigrants call when anything goes wrong with their
big imported appliances.
When they acquired their four-room apartment in
Talpiot three years ago, they were delighted to find something that was crying
out to be renovated.
“We found the ideal place, a first-floor apartment
in a standard building which had been constructed in the Sixties,” she says. “It
had eight apartments and we were able to acquire a small extra room in the
basement, which we use as an office.”
With her many years of experience
in renovation, the new home presented a challenge even for Haber- Goldstein’s
“It had small, dark rooms and a lot of little spaces cut
up,” she says. “There was a feeling of being caged in.”
The first step
was to remove some of the interior walls; once that was done, the high ceilings
showed to better advantage. One wall got knocked down unintentionally and she
immediately saw the potential, turning the wall leading into the sitting area
into an elegantly curved separation.
“I worked together with the
contractor. We took a regular flexible pipe and tried out different shapes until
we created the most attractive curve we could,” she says. “It also complemented
the ceiling curve of the entrance hall.”
For the living room she utilized
the blue and white sofas she already had and added two neutral, off-white easy
chairs. The floor in the lounge is made of polished Halila stone. The big
innovation was the built-in wall unit containing the television, designed to
hold a huge variety of things: an aquarium, wine bottles, loudspeakers, family
photos, all topped off with an antique Singer sewing machine perched at the
The lower cupboards are made of stained walnut veneer while the
upper units are in shades of cream and deeper beige.
The solid dining
room furniture is made of African walnut and the floor is created from different
shades of polished beige tiles with a dark brown frame that simulates the look a
carpet. An old Ikea glass cabinet blends into the scene.
The kitchen was redone and Haber-
Goldstein is very happy with the large amount of counter space and the bleached
oak wood veneer of the cabinets.
“We kept the backsplash very simple as
there’s so much going on in the granite counter space,” she says.
is plenty of room for her very large American oven, an eat-in table-and-chairs
arrangement and lots of storage.
As could be expected from an
electrician’s home, the lighting is quite complex.
“We have four
different kinds of lighting in the apartment,” she says. In the entrance is a
fluorescent ceiling light, as the window doesn’t give enough natural light.
Spotlights in the ceiling are placed strategically, while in the kitchen,
undercabinet lights create a warm look. Finally, regular light fittings hang
over the diningroom table.
“The whole apartment is very comfortable and
lived in,” says Haber-Goldstein.
“The colors provide warmth and the
layout is very practical.”
It may not be luxurious in the way that some
of her creations for clients are, but it is definitely a labor of love.