(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
Until the age of 40, Liora Vure, the designer of this apartment, worked as a hospital nurse.
"I'd always loved to paint and draw," she says, "and when I turned 40 I decided to give up nursing and study design."
After receiving her qualification, she worked for nearly 10 years at Regba Kitchens, and always longed to be able to use her talents for a whole house and not just the kitchen.
"At fifty I took the plunge and became an independent designer," she says. "It wasn't easy to start a new career at that age but I've been very lucky and for the last five years the work has just rolled in."
Without advertising, people find out about Vure by word of mouth. The young doctor who owns this apartment found Vure through a friend and approached her for help in improving his home. Together they transformed the 110-square-meter Kfar Saba apartment into this attractive home.
"My aim is to find out what the client's dreams are and to make those dreams come true," says Vure. "It's much easier to do that in a large house than in a small apartment where there is obviously less room to maneuver."
The apartment, in a 12-year-old building, was almost gutted to achieve its present look, but it certainly had some natural advantages - such as being built on the edge of a park, with a medical clinic directly opposite and shady veteran trees growing almost into the balcony. It meant the space would never be used for high rises and fresh air was guaranteed.
The owner, recently divorced, still wanted it to be suitable for a family, with bedrooms for each of the two teenage children, a boy and a girl. He also wanted a convenient kitchen to accommodate his cooking, which is more of a pastime than a necessity.
"The first thing we did was to take down the wall at the entrance and to replace it with a partitioned wall so there would be a softer, more welcoming entrance than coming face to face with a solid block of concrete," Vure says. "Also, you don't walk straight into a kitchen." Big vases and other ornaments were found to fill up the spaces.
All the living space can be taken in at a glance and is designed to blend together both color-wise and in its use of different materials.
One is struck immediately by the far wall painted in a rich red shade, which is repeated in various pieces of furniture in the room - red easy chairs and red roses on the cushions.
"I wanted warm colors," says the owner, "and actually I really wanted the wall to be bright orange, but Vure vetoed that. I also couldn't have a fireplace which I really wanted, so the red wall is compensation for that."
The lime-green sofa was chosen as a striking contrast to the wall which is hung with Vure's own paintings, a gift to the owner. The color also links up with the green tint of the kitchen breakfast bar in a natural wood.
Both the owner and the designer agreed on the importance of using natural materials.
"I absolutely didn't want a Formica finish, however practical - it's too cold - so I went for the natural wood in the kitchen and a light parquet floor," says the owner.
In the dining corner he chose an extendable glass-topped table which he felt would not show stains as opposed to wood, and white leather chairs. Emphasis was put on hidden lighting and there are practically no lights dangling from the ceiling.
To complete the lounge, dark gray ceramic tiles cover the floor and a custom-made coffee table stretches the length of the sofa.
"Nothing here was bought 'off the peg'," says the owner. "Everything was made to our own design." An unusual feature in the bedroom is the metal basket-weave front of the closet doors.
"This finish was on the laundry basket and I asked the carpenter to do the same on the wardrobe," says the owner. "I had to fight with him to get it, but I really liked the idea as it gave a rustic look to the bedroom, which is what I wanted."
The balcony is a popular place for sitting and entertaining, while straw chairs outside link up with similar straw high chairs around the breakfast bar.
"One of the great things about this apartment is that, even though it's right in the center of the town, it's very quiet and peaceful," says the contented owner.
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