Makeover in Re’ut

Finding extra space, with a little initiative, adventure and overseas experience.

house makeover (photo credit: Uriel Messa)
house makeover
(photo credit: Uriel Messa)
A few years spent in Boston can have the strangest effect on people when they return. Having lived for four years with a basement, this couple decided they had to have one in their house in Re’ut too. It meant digging under the foundations of the 20-year old house, but at the end of a great deal of work, they doubled the space of the original house.
The new basement is now home to the family and television room, freeing up the lounge and dining room to be entertaining rooms, always kept in the aesthetic eye-pleasing state dreamed up for them by interior designer and neighbor Sisi Ziv.
A few weeks ago, we featured a home Ziv designed in Ramat Hasharon and had so many positive comments that we asked her for another of her designs. We have come to recognize many of the features in both houses as her trademarks. She loves rough surfaces, unusual contrasts and the use of internal brick walls for instant impact.
Apart from adding the basement the main activity Ziv was required to do was to create the décor. The house had undergone a large renovation 15 years before when a second floor had been added. Now the owner, a teacher, felt she needed some advice on getting the look she wanted.
“I would never have got to this alone,” she admits. “What I wanted was a warm but clean look. Not too contemporary and cold, but also not too much clutter. Sisi got exactly the look I wanted; the only disagreement we had was the color of the profiles – she wanted cream and I preferred dark gray. Otherwise we worked in perfect harmony.”
Entering the house from the pretty garden, which has a long-established feel about it, with steps made of weathered wooden planks and a flourishing olive tree, one is greeted by two sets of brick walls. The first is under the spiral staircase and the second covers two supporting pillars which separate the lounge from the dining room. The owner tells us that the bricks are imported from Europe and were once part of old and probably very ornate buildings.
The walls are covered in pigmented plaster, a very rough but appealing finish, this one in a shade of pale apricot. It provides a perfect foil for the greeny-gray velvet three-piece suite and the rectangles of butcher block which are used as occasional tables. On the wall next to the suite is a collage and oil painting chosen to match the colors of the furniture.
“If you like the painting and it blends well into the color scheme, why not?” asks the designer.
The dining table is solid oak, bought in Tel Aviv, while the chairs were upholstered to match the lounge suite. Over the whole she has hung, rather incongruously, a very ornate brass-and-crystal chandelier that serves to emphasize the workaday quality of the table.
“It’s all part of the theory of contrasts,” explains Ziv.
The large kitchen is blessed with plenty of storage space to make up for the missing Boston pantry and the fact that upper cabinets are no longer considered modern. The sit-around island had wide drawers all around it, and in case the built-in cupboards are not enough, she has added a distressed white Welsh dresser to contribute to the rustic look.
At the entrance a very attractive guest bathroom has an unusual sink, colored turquoise and decorated with flowers.
“I had it made specially for me,” explains the owner. “I saw the design in a small bowl, loved it and gave it to the ceramic artist and asked her to make me a sink exactly like it.”
Another bathroom, this one upstairs, has furniture in cherry red – an unusual color for a bathroom – with matching towels.
Up another small flight of stairs the owner proudly presents her master bedroom, an entire suite slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.
“My friends call it my tzimmer,” she says with a smile. And indeed, from the light parquet floor, to the wooden ceiling, with the filmy gray curtains fluttering in the slight breeze, the whole feel of the room is of a delightful refuge from the cares of everyday life. Hand-painted wooden furniture, a cane chair and a brightly-colored quilt complete the rustic look. At the entrance to the room two Thai figures, brought from a recent trip to the Far East, stand guard.
There is one more room to inspect, the study and computer room, which has two steps up to the desk and is also built under the roof with the shape of the roof clearly visible from inside.
Compared to the original modest four-room house, they now have plenty of space for the whole family, parents and three children, to enjoy, thanks to innovative building ideas, an adventurous interior designer – and a few years spent in Boston.
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