The owners of this magnificent home in Herzliya Pituah made aliya from England 11 years ago. They had always had a holiday home in the town, but two years ago they decided they wanted to live here full-time and approached architect Michael Horowitz to build them the perfect house.
Twenty-five years before, they had renovated their previous home so they were amazed at how the building business had advanced to the point where the most modern and varied materials are available.
“Years ago one had to import tiles and other things from England, but today the stuff that’s available is mind-blowing,” says the owner. Together with the builder, Amit Marshanski, she and her husband have created a spectacular modern home which incorporates many features and ideas gleaned from past experiences.
“I told the architect what I wanted – more space, bedrooms for accommodating the grandchildren, a place for my husband’s office as previously we had been renting, and I was quite definite that the kitchen must not face south, as I didn’t want to have to prepare food with the sun blasting through the window all day.”
Even before one sets foot in the house, one has the feeling this home is something out of the ordinary. The front gate opens to reveal a tiled approach with one of Asnat Halter’s lovely bronze birds welcoming the visitor. A lily pond behind it is full of tiny goldfish, and fossilized tree trunks in the water simulate alligators. At the heavy front door, two ceramic cats stand guard. The house is cat-friendly with many knitted versions of the felines resting on sofa backs.
In the entrance hall, a white wall with a gap in the middle separates the area from the lounge and dining room beyond. It enables a glimpse of the garden framed in the sculpture-like simplicity of the wall. Against this the owner has placed a vase of gladioli and an animal sculpture.
“Having this wall here is not only an attractive visual feature, but it also helps with acoustics,” says the owner. “I had a book club meeting here recently and everybody commented on how nice it was not having to shout.”
Above, the very high ceiling is lowered at this point with a huge circular feature incorporating a rounded gallery safely ensconced behind clear glass walls. Plumb in the center hangs the light fixture, a gorgeous floral ball of white mother-of-pearl petals edged in fine black.
The lounge cum dining room is breathtaking in its magnificence. The furniture was all acquired in Tel Aviv and is testament to what superb things are available here now. Predominantly white, with cushions and some upholstery providing relief in the shape of vivid black-on-white designs, the lounge is the place the owners like to sit and read, surrounded by the few objects they chose to bring over from their previous home in Hampstead.
In particular the owner shows me some of her glass collection, of which she retained only a few of the 300 pieces she once had of a particular tulip-engraved design. Glass as decoration is everywhere in this home, some antique, some modern and colorful, some functional as in the glass candlesticks on the long sideboard, some purely decorative. A long gas log fire is placed on the wall between two of the tall windows and above this an oil painting hangs, unusually not in the center but to the side of the wall.
“It’s a bit too small to have it in the center,” explains the owner.
The dining table of a shiny dark wood was made to measure, as was the matching sideboard, and the chairs are upholstered in embossed dark velvet.
Over the whole scene hangs a gorgeous crystal light fixture, like a huge question mark.
The north-facing kitchen is equipped with two ovens, two hobs and a massive refrigerator. The expanse of work tops is covered in beautiful black granite with flecks of yellow and bright blue. Off the kitchen is a suite of utility rooms with a pantry/storeroom and then a laundry with a washing machine and dryer, although I was impressed to learn that the owner rarely uses the dryer and prefers to hang laundry out to dry.
We take the elevator up to the bedrooms – “When you are building, a lift isn’t such a big deal,” she tells us. Most of the bedrooms are decorated in white, with parquet floors and windows covered in white drapes. The master bedroom looks out over the back garden and pool where a wall fountain gurgles gently all day and the grass is so green and perfect it could almost be synthetic, but it’s not.
In the dressing room, a center island is made from speckled wood called shoresh
which is used to great effect in many places in the house. Here the sliding doors of the wardrobe are mirror-fronted as in several of the other bedrooms, making the rooms larger and more practical. The bathroom en suite is in a warm mole shade with contrasting granite in brown with glints of orange.
Having viewed the garden from above it is now time to inspect it at
close quarters. Another two lily ponds stand on either side of the
patio and fruit trees are in bloom.
“When we built the house two years ago, there was not one twig or tree
or shred of garden,” says the owner. It’s amazing what green fingers
and nonstop sunshine can achieve in so short a time. Style Points
1. Pebbles set into a floor make an attractive and unusual indoor surface.
2. Floor lighting is subtle and avoids exposed wiring.
3. Mirrors on sliding doors expand space and bring more light to the room.
4. A striking fabric can alleviate a monochrome room.
5. A painting does not always have to be in the center.